Q. I understand that it is healthier to get calcium from food rather than supplements. Does the calcium added to almond milk count as a food or a supplement? Is there any risk of getting too much in this form?
A. Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Bone Metabolism Laboratory, replies: “Food is preferred over supplements as the source of calcium. I would consider calcium added to foods as being of food origin, although technically it is a ‘hybrid.’ The recommended calcium intake is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day for adults. This includes calcium from natural foods, fortified foods and supplements. The TOTAL intake should not go much above the amount recommended.”
It can be tricky to determine exactly how much calcium is found in products such as almond milk, because the Nutrition Facts panel typically lists calcium content only as a percentage of the Daily Value (DV). The DV for calcium is 1,000 milligrams. A typical one-cup serving of almond milk contains 20% to 45% of the DV, depending on the brand, which translates into 200 to 450 milligrams (20% to 45% of 1,000).