Non-Dairy Milk Might Slow Down Children’s Growth

Parents who believe that milk alternatives like almond milk, rice milk or oat milk are better for their kids, should think twice!


New research showed that children who drink non-dairy milk alternatives are slightly shorther than kids who drink regular cow’s milk.

According to the research that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the type of drink the children consume might highly affect their height. The study showed how kids who are drinking plant-based milk alternatives tend to be 0.4 cm shorter than the average. On the other hand, kids who consume cow’s milk are 0.2 cm higher for every cup of milk they drink. When it comes to simple math, height difference for two children drinking 3 cups of milk (or non-dairy product) can be 1.5 cm.

Dr. Jonathon Maguire, lead expert in the study and a pediatrician in St. Michael’s Hospital explains how more and more parent decide to give their children non-dairy products even if there is no need for that. Actually, milk is an important source of fat and protein, while at the same time plant-based drinks don’t have proper regulatory framework and often use false advertising.

Over 5,000 children between ages 1 and 3 took part in the study that showed that 92% children drink cow’s milk on the daily basis, while 13% kids drink non-dairy milk. Other factors that were included in the study are the family income, maternal ethnicity, BMI, mother’s height, age sex etc. The researches say that this study is only observational and that they don’t claim that certain type of food might influence height.

Maguire still claims that it is important to help parents understand that so-called ‘healthy alternatives’ might not always be the best choice for their child, especially as many of them are advertised as equally healthy and nutritious replacement to cow’s milk. Such claims often lead consumers into believing that what they are consuming is healthy, without them knowing what they are using. He recommends reading the labels and comparing different products for making a better decision.