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Best Milk For Weight Loss 2023: 7 Healthiest Milks To Lose Weight

Cassi Donegan

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Dr G. Michael DiLeo, MD

best milk for weight loss

There are many different types of milk on the market now, but what is the best milk for weight loss? The regular milk, or dairy milk, that many people grew up drinking is high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar, and high-cholesterol. 

Not to mention, many people in the population have a dairy allergy[1] or are lactose intolerant and should not consume dairy products since they have trouble digesting it, which can lead to a whole list of health issues. Both dairy and soy milk will sit this list out since they may contribute to unwanted hormone changes[2].

Plant milks have a large range of weight-loss-friendly health benefits, although their nutrition facts vary from brand to brand.

Is milk even good for weight loss, and when is the best time to drink it? Let’s answer this and look at seven healthy plant-based milk alternative options that can be helpful on your weight loss journey.

7 Best Milks To Drink For Weight Loss

  1. Cashew milk
  2. Almond milk
  3. Hemp milk
  4. Coconut milk
  5. Macadamia milk
  6. Oat milk
  7. Pea milk

7 Best Milk Types To Drink For Weight Loss

Plant-based milks are rich in calcium content and lower in fat and calories compared to full-fat dairy, making them an excellent contribution to losing weight and bone health. 

This milk list refers to the “unsweetened” versions of milk that should clearly list this on their labels for you to see. While some of these alternatives are not good for those with nut allergies, others here may meet your need for a healthy milk option.

Cashew Milk

best milk for weight loss

Cashew milk comes from soaked cashew nuts. It contains healthy fats, iron, potassium, and magnesium to benefit your overall health. This plant-based milk is one of the best for weight loss since this milk alternative has a lower calorie count than the rest on this list.

Depending on the milk brands, nutrition counts may vary, but this milk has around 25 calories for an 8-ounce cup, compared to the high-calorie content of over 100 calories[3] in each cup of regular cow’s milk. It is also a low-fat milk with just two grams of fat per cup. 

Almond Milk

best milk for weight loss

Almond milk may be the healthiest milk alternative for weight loss since it only has 2.6 grams of fat[4], most of which are healthy fats that can promote weight loss. Unsweetened almond milk is low-fat and contains one gram of carbohydrate in each serving and has fewer calories than most milk, with only 30 calories per cup. 

Almond milk has fiber and protein, and while you can make this milk at home, most brands add extra nutrients to fortify it with calcium, iron, and vitamins D and B12.  

Hemp Milk

best milk for weight loss

Hemp milk is made from the plant’s hemp seeds and has an earthy, nutty flavor. A serving size has around 80 calories[5] and seven grams of fat. Hemp milk is rich in healthy polyunsaturated fats, essential amino acids, and other nutrients, which can help increase your chances[6] of weight loss and muscle growth compared to saturated fats. 

It also has close to five grams of protein per cup and only one gram of carbohydrate for those on a low-carb diet. This milk can be an excellent choice for those struggling with inflammation, in addition to reducing weight[7], since it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Since hemp milk contains arginine, a heart-healthy amino acid, it can also help lower[8] your blood pressure. 

Coconut Milk

best milk for weight loss

Coconut milk may be one of the best plant-based options to drink. It has 45 calories per cup and less than one gram of carbohydrate. While it has almost five grams of fat, some are healthy fats, e.g., monounsaturated fats, that are easier to digest[9] and promote thermogenesis[10] which can lead to calorie burning.

One of the best parts about coconut milk is that it contains medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, that have a wide range of health benefits, including helping with losing weight[11]. MCTs may increase your energy levels for workouts and reduce food cravings. 

Macadamia Milk

best milk for weight loss

Macadamia milk is another alternative milk made from nuts. It ranks high in calcium[12], with one cup containing over 450 milligrams and only 50 calories. This milk has zero sugar and one gram of carbohydrate, making it a great option for drinking while trying to lose weight. 

Macadamia nuts are low-fat and offer a variety of health benefits, including reducing cholesterol and risk factors[13] for cardiovascular disease. This milk also provides omega-7 fatty acids, a healthy fat that animal studies have shown[14] can reduce the risk of weight gain and help control blood sugar. 

Oat Milk

best milk for weight loss

Oat milk is a healthy and tasty option for those who love milk with a creamy texture but want a plant-based option. This milk is usually fortified with a vitamin and mineral blend containing calcium, and vitamins D and B12 for an extra nutrient boost. While oat milk is higher in calories than most milk alternatives, it’s still less than dairy milk. 

Oat milk contains soluble fiber, which can help satisfy your hunger, regulate your digestive system, feed its good gut bacteria[15], and protect against heart disease. Studies show[16] that diets high in fiber intake can promote weight loss. 

Pea Milk

best milk for weight loss

Yellow field peas and pea protein are the source of pea milk. This milk contains more protein than any of these other plant-based alternatives on the list with almost 8 grams per cup, or 16% of the recommended daily need for protein. Diets high in protein[17] can help you reach weight loss goals and keeps you feeling fuller longer. 

Pea milk has one gram of carbohydrate[18], and is rich in iron, vitamin D, and calcium. This may be a great plant-based alternative for those allergic to nuts. 

Is Milk Good For Weight Loss?

There are many kinds of milk, including these on the above list, that have health benefits, including being a good addition to your weight loss diet. 

Some milk comes with added cane sugar or other types of sweeteners and may be high in saturated fats that can promote weight gain instead of loss. 

The nutritional values of each milk vary, so it’s important to take a look at the ingredient label to see exactly what you’ll be consuming. Let’s look at ten reasons that milk alternatives can be good for weight loss. 

  • The low-carbohydrate counts in milks like hemp and almond milk fit right into diets that rely on little-to-no carbs to work. Studies show that eating low-carb for weight loss[19] is even more effective than low-fat diets.  
  • Plant milks are high in calcium, and getting all the calcium you need can help enhance metabolism[20] and may help reduce obesity[21].
  • Fiber, like in oat milk, can help control food intake by filling your stomach, feeding your good gut bacteria, and can promote weight loss[16]
  • Many brands fortify their milk with vitamin B12, a necessary vitamin for your body’s overall health and may help with losing weight. Studies show[22] that having low vitamin B12 levels correlates with being overweight and obese.  
  • Many alternative kinds of milk are also fortified with vitamin D, and studies find[23] that having enough vitamin D and calcium can significantly increase fat mass loss and the ability to lose stubborn belly fat compared to those with low calcium and vitamin D intake.  
  • Coconut milk is naturally rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may make it one of the best fat-burning plant milks.
  • Replacing long-chain triglycerides, or LCTs[24], like those found in regular cow’s milk, with MCTs, can help you meet your weight loss goals.
  • Consuming MCTs can help you feel full and reduce food cravings. This may be because they help to release satisfied-feeling hormones[25] like leptin.
  • If you’re using a ketogenic diet for weight loss, you’ll be happy to hear that MCTs[26] promote ketosis, which can increase fat burning
  • Furthermore, studies show that MCTs increase gut microbiome health and are an anti-obesity[27] intervention. 

Best Time To Drink Milk For Weight Loss

If you’re looking to boost weight loss by drinking milk, the best time to drink it may be before meals in the same way that pre-meal water intake[28] helps weight loss goals. Having a glass of milk before you eat can help you to feel full and reduce the amount of food that you want to eat. 

You can drink milk alternatives when you wake up to help minimize the onset of hunger and give your stomach something easy to digest in the morning, or drink this bedtime snack with a glass of milk to fill your belly with something low-calorie and rich in nutrients. Either way, drinking the right kinds of milk can be beneficial any time of day. 

The Bottom Line

Depending on your dietary preferences, plant-based milks like hemp milk may be the best milk for weight loss. While the milk itself may not burn fat, most of these are low in calories and carbohydrates but have filling nutrients to help you feel satisfied. 

Many brands enrich their milk with calcium and vitamin D for bone growth. Milk is best before a meal if you want to reduce your calorie intake. 

Avoid milk with added sugar and saturated fats, as this can slow down your weight loss and encourage weight gain. 

If you have a lactose intolerance, you’ll want to avoid dairy products like whole and low-fat milk since digestive upset may slow down a healthy weight loss. 

+ 28 sources

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Cassi Donegan

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

Cassi Donegan, Licensed Practical Nurse, is a freelance health writer and editor. She has over 17 years of nursing experience in various specialties including Neurology, Orthopedics, Spine, and Pediatrics. Patient care has convinced her to be passionate about educating others on nutrition, natural childbirth, home birthing, and natural remedies for the holistic and alternative healthcare field.

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

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