While chocolate milk does contain added sugar, both regular chocolate and chocolate soy milk are rich in a variety of essential nutrients. These two beverages are fairly similar in nutrition content. The best choice for you -- chocolate soy milk vs. regular chocolate milk -- is mainly based on taste preference, weight-management goals, and whether or not you have certain health conditions.
Regular chocolate milk (about 140 calories or more) per cup, generally contains slightly more calories per serving than chocolate soy milk. Silk chocolate soy milk contains just 120 calories per cup. If you opt for Silk light chocolate soy milk, you'll be getting just 90 calories per cup, which is comparable to the calories in skim cow's milk and beneficial if you're trying to shed pounds.
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, healthy weight management, and proper growth and development in children. The protein content of chocolate soy vs. regular chocolate milk is similar, but regular chocolate milk contains slightly more protein. Chocolate cow's milk generally provides 8 grams of protein per cup, while Silk chocolate milk contains 5 grams, and Silk light chocolate milk provides just 3 grams of protein. The 8th Continent version of light chocolate soy milk contains 7 grams of protein, which is almost as much as regular chocolate milk.
Amount of Sugar
Regular chocolate milk and chocolate soy milk both contain added sugar. With the exception of 8th Continent light chocolate soy milk, the total amount of sugar is similar in regular chocolate milk and chocolate soy milk. For example, regular chocolate milk often contains 18 grams, or more, of sugar per cup. Silk chocolate soy milk provides 17 grams of sugar in each cup, while 8th Continent light chocolate soy milk contains just 11 grams of sugar per cup.
Considerations for Lactose Intolerance
If you're lactose intolerant, chocolate soy milk may be a better option for you because soy milk is lactose free. Soy milk is also a better choice if you have a milk allergy. However, if you're lactose intolerant but prefer the taste of regular chocolate milk, try Lactaid, which makes lactose-free chocolate cow's milk.
Risks and Benefits of Soy
Soy in foods and beverages is considered safe for most people, according to the National National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). In fact, the NCCIH reports that ingesting soy daily may help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce symptoms of menopause in women. However, soy contains compounds called isoflavones, which are similar in structure to the female hormone estrogen. Therefore, some men are leery about ingesting soy products.
A study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition did find that men who supplemented their diets with 20 grams of soy protein powder daily for 14 days had slightly lower testosterone levels. However, the amount of soy protein from the supplements they ingested was much greater than the amount of soy protein in a serving of chocolate soy milk. Furthermore, a review published in 2010 in Fertility and Sterility reports that moderate amounts of soy ingested from foods don't affect testosterone levels, have no effect on sperm, and don't cause feminizing effects in men.
An experienced health, nutrition and fitness writer, Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has worked as a clinical dietitian and health educator in outpatient settings. Erin's work is published on popular health websites, such as TheNest.com and JillianMichaels.com.