Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

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If you don’t drink milk and eat milk products, you are missing out on the calcium they provide. Here are some dairy substitutes to consider as you age.

Dairy products are key sources of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin B-12, riboflavin, and choline. However, about 30mn people in America are lactose intolerant, and they miss out on the calcium that milk provides which helps to enhance their bone density.

Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

Older adults are even more in need of calcium since their body starts to lose bone health with age. Dairy substitutes help the body to provide the necessary Calcium to stay healthy and fit. 

In this article, older adults can find out the foods that give sufficient calcium, enjoy their favorite foods without dairy products, and develop lactose intolerance symptoms.

Why Should Older Adults Avoid Dairy?

Lactose is a substance found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. According to reports, 30 million people are lactose intolerant in America. It is also common in non-white races, including Asian, African, and Hispanic ancestry. 

Lactose intolerance is also caused due to aging; when people grow old, they lack sufficient enzyme production that breaks down the lactose. The undigested lactose passes into the large intestine when your small intestine doesn’t digest and break down enough lactose. It causes gas, bloating, and diarrhea symptoms.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, including bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and gas after consuming milk or dairy products, you should avoid using dairy products in your diet. 

However, avoiding dairy foods also means losing essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, protein, riboflavin, and more from your diet. 

Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

In this case, you should see a doctor and ask for a healthy dairy substitute to treat your lactose intolerance. You can use calcium supplements or eat calcium-rich foods instead of consuming milk and other dairy foods.

Dairy products like cheese or ice cream also have high amounts of fat, including saturated, sugar, and salt. When older adults eat too much fat, they are at risk of becoming overweight. You should consider dairy products that provide balanced nutrition such as low sugar and fat yogurt.

Lactose Intolerance and Cow’s Milk Allergy

Many people suffer from lactose intolerance and become unable to break down the natural sugar called lactose readily present in milk and other dairy products. Lactose is broken down in the small intestine by the enzyme lactase. When its production declines, it results in lactose intolerance. 

In the absence of this enzyme, the small intestine doesn’t digest the lactose. It passes to the large intestine, where the undigested lactose interacts with the bacteria and causes gastrointestinal symptoms.  

Older adults can develop primary lactose intolerance, the most common type of lactose intolerance that occurs due to aging. As you age, the amount of lactase your body makes may decrease and increase the risk of lactose intolerance symptoms. The symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, gas, and bloating.

Some babies are born with lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy. These children can take this allergy to their old age and stay unable to consume cow’s milk. According to a report, CMA is one of the most common food allergies that happen in babies.

When the baby’s mother first introduces their baby to cow’s milk in fluid form or foods with solid form.


Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

Doctors advise breastfeeding women which helps to avoid cow’s milk when their child has a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. If the child with this allergy takes cow’s milk it can cause undesirable health problems.

When you develop a cow’s milk allergy or intolerance, you should visit your doctor. You should consume dairy alternatives and substitute for treating your condition. 

What Is Pasteurization?

Pasteurization is a process to kill bacteria and prevent food poisoning using heat. The milk industry pasteurizes its product to make it safe for all consumers. 

However, some dairy products are unpasteurized, like cream, raw milk, and cheese. Older people should avoid these products as they are more vulnerable to food poisoning. 

When purchasing food products, you should look for pasteurized ones. Some dairy products are harmful to seniors, including goat’s cheese, camembert, and brie’s cheese, as they are made using unpasteurized milk. It would help if you used healthy dairy substitutes to avoid food poisoning as you age.   

What Are the Healthiest Dairy Substitutes?

Older adults need to go for lower-fat and more nutritious kinds of milk. Using dairy products as you grow old is not a wise choice; you should replace your dairy product with healthier alternatives to avoid lactose intolerance, overweight, and milk allergy. Try these healthy substitutes as you age, including:

For Milk

Avoiding milk when you develop lactose intolerance is better, but avoiding milk can also cause you to lose valuable nutrients essential for maintaining your health. Luckily, you can use other milk substitutes, including:

  • Soy milk 
  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Oat milk
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Potato milk
  • Quinoa milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Hemp seed milk

You can find this vegan milk at most supermarkets and all-natural food stores. You can also use food products containing the tag “suitable for vegans” or “dairy-free.”

Generally, stores sell vegan milk in two types of packing, including a conventional milk carton and an aseptic juice box. You should use unsweetened milk substitutes as they dramatically cut your sugar intake. 

Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

You can purchase soy milk and pour it on your cereal as it gives you the same nutrients and taste. These kinds of milk are also cheaper and have more than a year of shelf life.

For Cheese

Older adults should be able to tolerate the small amount of fermented cheese as they have less lactose than other dairy foods. You can use hard or aged cheese, including Parmesan, Swiss, and blue cheese, as they are good sources of protein and calcium and excellent for people with lactose intolerance. 

These aged cheese usually have less than two grams of lactose per ounce. 

You can also choose non-dairy cheese with an elegant taste and texture for your lactose intolerance diet. Much plant-based cheese is suitable for older adults. Look for the vegan cheese containing casein or sodium caseinate as it helps older adults synthesize protein. 

For Yogurt

According to dietary guidelines, yogurt is also a good choice for milk substitutes as it has less lactose than other milk products. Doctors also recommend people to consume yogurt containing good bacteria as it helps break down lactose. 

Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

However, it would be best if you avoided frozen yogurt because it lacks active bacterial cultures. You can also use non-dairy yogurts from different brands, including:

  • Silk’s Peach & Mango soy yogurt
  • So Delicious yogurt
  • Kite Hill yogurt
  • Trader Joe’s yogurt
  • Nancy’s yogurt

These brands of vegan yogurt provide exceptional flavor and smoothness. You can also eat yogurt with bread or prepare a dish with it. 

For Ice Cream

Many seniors eat ice cream as dessert, but ice cream is also a dairy product that can affect their lactose intolerance condition. However, you can get a healthy substitute for your favorite ice cream flavor. 

You can eat low-lactose sherbet as one cup contains 4 to 6 grams of lactose.  

Other non-dairy ice creams are available for older adults. You can have a different variety of vegan ice cream from Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s. More brands of vegan ice cream include:

  • Luna and Larry’s ice cream
  • Turtle Mountain’s ice cream
  • So Delicious ice cream
  • Tofutti ice cream

You can find different ice cream flavors and different types from the vegan ice cream brand. 

For Butter

Seniors should use vegan butter instead of dairy butter. Dairy butter is also rich in fat, and overeating can cause obesity in older adults. You can eat wonderful flavor butter from several vegan brands. 

Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

Vegan butter is also free of harmful trans fat. You can purchase Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter, which has organic ingredients and provides a similar taste to butter made from cow’s milk. You can also use Earth Balance butter as it also excludes trans fat, making it healthier for cooking.  

For Cream Cheese

Seniors spread the cream cheese on their morning bread. However, seniors should avoid cream cheese and rather use its substitutes such as cottage cheese, silken tofu, or greek yogurt. You can also switch to vegan cream cheese from many different brands. Some dairy-free cream cheese companies include:

  • Follow Your Heart
  • Miyoko’s Creamery
  • Kite Hill 
  • Tofutti
  • Daiya

You can find these brand’s cream cheese in many supermarkets and natural food stores. You can also purchase vegan sour cream from similar brands.

For Other Dairy Foods

You can use many foods alternatively to dairy foods to maintain the necessary calcium and protein without it. You can use mayonnaise instead of cream as it has zero lactose. 

You can also purchase lactase-added food products such as milk; these food products are useful for older adults as it helps in breaking down lactose. You can eat calcium-rich plates of seafood, including small fish with soft bones, tuna, and salmon.  

What Milk Substitute Is Closest to Milk?

When people age 50, they start losing intolerance to lactose and require more calcium. It is hard to provide older adults necessary calcium intake without milk. 

However, milk also becomes your enemy as you age; it is essential to find a milk substitute closest to milk. All mammals, including sheep, goats, and buffalo, produce milk that contains lactose, so they are not the right answer for milk substitutes. 

Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age

Luckily, you can use plant-based milk such as coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, and more. Doctors recommend that older adults consume three glasses of milk equal to 1,000 mg of calcium each day. You can get 500 mg of calcium from one serving of soy milk. 

Soy milk is made from ground soybeans soaked in water. You should use soy milk as a milk substitute because it contains all the benefits of cow’s milk and is a nutrition powerhouse.

You can receive 7 grams of protein, 300 milligrams of calcium, and 4 grams of carbohydrates from soy milk. You should avoid drinking flavored versions of soy milk as they are high in sugar.

You should also avoid using soy milk in your diet if you are allergic to soybeans.

Why Should You Switch Your Diet to Dairy-Free Diets?

Dairy-free diets are helpful for people with lactose intolerance to develop any symptoms. Dairy-free diets are also a good source of milk’s nutrients. Plant-based food such as leafy greens, beans, calcium-set tofu, calcium-fortified soy milk help cover the deficiency of milk’s calcium. 

You can take calcium supplements with your vegan or dairy-free diets. 

Other nutrients you should consider when you shift to a dairy-free diet include:

Vitamin D

Older adults usually get vitamin D from milk and other dairy products, and when they decide to switch to dairy-free diets, increasing vitamin D in their diet is sensible. As people age, they gradually lose necessary nutrients from their bodies, and doctors suggest filling those gaps.

You can take vitamin D supplements along with your dairy-free diet to maintain the vitamin D requirement in your body.


You can get protein from many plant-based dairy-free foods. You may not get enough protein from the low-lactose dairy product.

When switching to the dairy-free diet, use alternatives that contain an equivalent amount of protein. You should avoid using milk substitutes like almond and rice milk as they don’t contain enough protein.   

Dairy Substitutes To Consider As You Age


Iodine is essential for people aged above 50. When you drop dairy products from your diet resulting in a loss of iodine source in your diet, you should check the vegan dairy-free diet that you are getting sufficient iodine in your diet. You can use iodized salt while you are on your dairy-free diet. 

You can also increase your seafood intake as they are excellent sources of iodine. However, before starting your dairy-free diet, you should check the list of your food products with your doctor to ensure your safety and utmost health benefits.

Final Words

As people grow old, the chances of developing lactose intolerance symptoms increase. All foods in dairy products provide calcium and other necessary nutrients, but they can also have a negative impact on seniors.  

Replace your milk consumption with other alternative milk such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and more. 

You should find other healthy substitutes for your daily milk products and start a dairy-free diet to prevent lactose intolerance as a result of aging.

We hope this article has inspired you to find your own perfect substitute for milk and dairy products. Do let us know the experiments that you take on after reading this information!