When it comes to healthy beverages, low-fat milk is one of your best options. Soda is high in calories and sugar but provides you with no nutrients. Drinking it regularly can lead to weight gain and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Milk is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein and, if you opt for skim milk, low in fat and calories.
Milk is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorous and potassium. A cup of milk gives you 30 percent of the daily value of calcium. Calcium builds strong bones and teeth and prevents osteoporosis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 3 cups of milk, or milk equivalents, per day to improve bone mass. A cup of milk gives you 11 percent of the DV of potassium. This nutrient enables your muscles to contract and regulates fluids in your body, thereby regulating blood pressure. One cup of milk contains 20 percent of the DV for phosphorous, which fortifies bones and makes energy.
Energy and Immunity
Milk is rich in vitamins that build bones, boost your energy and keep your vision and immune system strong. An 8-ounce glass of milk contains 10 percent of the DV of vitamin A. This vitamin keeps your vision, skin and immune system healthy. The B vitamins in milk -- B-2, B-3 and B-12 -- convert food into energy to keep you going throughout your day. Vitamin B-12 also helps to build red blood cells. Most milk is fortified with 25 percent of the DV of vitamin D. Vitamin D absorbs calcium so you can build strong bones.
Excellent Protein Source
Amino acids are needed to make protein, and your diet should include nine essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own. Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are called complete protein sources. An 8-ounce glass of milk contains 16 percent of the DV of protein. Protein gives you energy and builds bone, muscle, cartilage, skin, enzymes and hormones.
Eight ounces of soda contain 27 grams of sugar compared to 11 grams in 8 ounces of low-fat milk. When you consume a lot of sugar at once, your blood sugar and insulin levels quickly elevate and then come crashing back down. Over time, this leads to insulin resistance and diabetes. The calories in soda can lead to weight gain, heart disease and stroke. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk may reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes while lowering blood pressure.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Beverage Consumption Among High School Students
- University of Illinois Chicago: Milk, Cheese and Yogurt's Nine Essential Nutrients
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: Health Benefits and Nutrients of Dairy
- KidsHealth: Healthy Drinks for Kids
- Fox News: Soda: Public Health Enemy Number One?