“Got Milk?” isn’t such a simple question in today’s grocery store.

Beyond the old skim or 2% battle, there are so many other options out there. Soy? Almond? Rice? What was once the simplest of transactions, with a one-size-fits-all home delivery from the milkman, has become pretty darn complicated.

But a new study falls in favors of traditional cow’s milk.

It turns out Mom was right in telling you you’ll get taller if you drink your milk — but only if that was cow’s milk. A study published this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that kids who drank non-cows milks had shorter statures than their cow milk drinking peers.

Canadian researchers studied 5,034 healthy kids ages two to six over several years. They tracked what type and how much milk the children were consuming, and found that each cup of non-cow’s milk consumed was associated with 0.15 inches (0.4 centimeters) lower height than average for the child’s age.

“We found that children who are consuming non-cow’s milk like rice, almond and soy milk tended to be a little bit shorter than children who consumed cow’s milk,” Dr. Jonathon Maguire, the study’s lead author and Toronto pediatrician told CNN.

But how much height overall could actually be lost?

It’s about a half inch — and for a 3-year-old, that’s significant.

“For example, a 3-year-old child consuming three cups of non-cow’s milk relative to cow’s milk was on average 1.5 centimeters (0.59 inches) shorter,” said Maguire.

The findings are adding to the already fiery ongoing debate about the health benefits of various kinds of milk on the market.

For some, plant-based milks are the only option, so this study shouldn’t serve as a deterrent for forgoing milk entirely. Plant-based milks have many nutritional benefits as well such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and have been linked with lower levels of some cancers in adults.

There’s clearly a bigger picture when it comes to modern day milks that we don’t yet fully understand.


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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.