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Which milk is best for toddlers: almond, coconut, dairy? | Verify

THV11's Dawn Scott verifies that dairy milk is the best for children 2-years-old and younger.
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Last week a viewer asked about whether different kinds of milk, 1 percent, skim or whole milks, affect cholesterol levels.

The answer was yes -- the higher the fat content in milk, the higher the cholesterol level. In other words, whole milk has the highest amount of fat, therefore has a higher level of cholesterol.

Today, THV11 is verifying a different question about milk.

April Williams asks us this: Which is better for your toddler almond, coconut or regular milk?

For an answer, we went to the same source as last week, Tonya Johnson, UAMS head of nutrition services.

She says the nutritional value of almond, coconut and dairy milk are very different.

Almond milk is low in protein and calories. It is a good source of calcium and low in saturated fat, but it would not be a good choice until after the age of two, given the low fat and protein content.

According to Johnson, coconut milk has 5 grams of protein, but a whopping 550 calories per serving, and 57 grams of fat -- primarily saturated fat. It's also a very poor source of calcium.

She does not recommend drinking large quantities because of the high calorie and fat content and low vitamin and mineral content.

Johnson recommends dairy milk for toddlers, at least until two years of age, because toddlers need the higher fat content for brain development.

If a toddler has a milk allergy, soy milk is more comparable in nutritional value. Once a child turns 2-years-old, they can transition to a low fat or skim milk if they are at a normal rate of growth.