NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Experts are weighing in on new guidelines from several health care organizations that say most kids under 5 should avoid plant based milk.
The recommendations comes from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Economy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association.
Registered dietitian Pat Baird MA, RDN, FAND told News 8 that nutritionally alternative milks aren’t equal to cow’s milk.
She said, “milk has 9 essential nutrients and they are really important for growing brains and growing kids.”
Researchers said milk made from rice, coconut, oats, or other blends may not have the key nutrients kids need for early development.
Dr. Christine Patterson, with Pediatric and Medical Associates, said this new study is to make people aware of what’s in plant based milk.
Dr. Patterson said, “components of cow’s milk that are important for children are protein, fat, calcium and vitamin D and particularly for calcium and vitamin D it is hard to get those in large quantities in any other food source.”
Dr. Patterson said a child under 5 should be getting three servings of milk a day or 750 milligrams of calcium and between 400-600 (IU) international units of Vitamin D.
“Calcium and vitamin D are necessary for good bone health so calcium helps with bone density, bone growth and vitamin D is necessary for you boy to adequately absorb calcium,” said Dr. Patterson.
Dr. Patterson added not all plant-based milk is created equal.
“Even among the plant-based milk’s a very different nutritional component so almond milk looks very different nutritionally than the oat milk. So just plant-based across the board doesn’t help you know one is better than the other,” Dr. Patterson said.