Why Your Child Shouldn’t Be Drinking Almond, Soy, or Rice Milk

Updated: Jun. 19, 2017

If it's any kind of "milk" other than cow's milk, kids shouldn't drink it—because they could coming up short (literally).

A recent study found that children who drank almond, soy, or rice milk were slightly shorter than children who drank cow’s milk. Dr. Jonathon Maguire, the study’s lead author, told cnn.com that a 3-year-old child who consumes three cups of non-cow’s milk in comparison to cow’s milk was about 1.5 centimeters shorter.

Why-Your-Child-Shouldn't-Be-Drinking-Almond,-Soy,-or-Rice-MilkEvgeny Atamanenko/shutterstock

For their study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined 5,043 Canadian children ages 2 to 6 (51 percent males). Five percent of those children drank exclusively non-cow’s milk and 84 percent drank cow’s only milk; 8 percent drank both, and 3 percent drank neither. The scientists were surprised to discover that the amount of growth shortfall depended on how much milk the kids consumed—or didn’t consume, as the case may be. “If you are consuming non-cow’s milk, with each cup that a child consumes, that child on average appears to be a little bit smaller, a little shorter,” Dr. Maguire told CNN.

The researchers don’t yet know if this growth shortfall will persist into adulthood, as shorter children may ultimately reach the same height as the milk drinkers when they grow up. Only time will tell; however, it’s pretty well established that children who are in a certain height percentile tend to stay at that same percentile into adulthood.

Why-Your-Child-Shouldn't-Be-Drinking-Almond,-Soy,-or-Rice-MilkEvgeny Atamanenko/shutterstock

In the meantime, if you’re concerned, other new research suggests serving eggs with that cow’s milk. Researchers at the Brown School at Washington University found that eggs significantly increased growth and reduced stunting by 47 percent in young children, according to Science Daily. Lora Iannotti, the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, said that eggs are “affordable and easily accessible,” and have the potential to reduce stunting around the world. Iannotti and fellow researchers looked at children ages 6 to 9 months; some were given one egg a day for six months and others did not receive eggs. In addition to reducing stunting, being underweight was reduced by 74 percent among the egg eaters. They also showed a reduced intake of sugary foods.

Here are 55 creative ways to cook eggs. And don’t forget that glass of milk!