Plant Based Milk Alternatives: 5 Things To Consider
September 21, 2019 Katharina Kropshofer By Katharina Kropshofer Follow

Plant Based Milk Alternatives: 5 Things To Consider

We have heard about the environmental footprint of plant-based milk alternatives. Almond ‘milk’ is great, if your priority is fewer CO2 emissions, while and soy and oat are great, if you want to consider water scarcity. But leaving these considerations aside, you might still want to know how they fair in terms of their nutritional value.

 

    Here are 5 quick nutrition facts:1

  1. Plant-based milk alternatives don’t contain lactose or cholesterol 

    Good news for the 65% of the global population suffering from some degree of lactose intolerance.2

  2. Milk alternatives are diluted with water.

    Oat ‘milk’ may have the lowest environmental impact, but it lacks sufficient nutritional value. This is due to its high dilution with water, explains Michalis Hadjikakou, researcher at Deakin University.3

  3. All plant-based alternatives have a lower protein content than cow’s milk.

    Proteins also contain essential amino acids, which we need for good health. The World Health Organization introduced a scoring system for digestible amino acids, which showed that soy protein had the highest values, whereas no proper source of protein could be found in almond milk.

    But in terms of protein content levels, soy-based milk alternatives score the highest on the protein spectrum, while rice products the lowest.

  4. Plant-based alternatives have less saturated fats.

    When it comes to fat, plant alternatives might have beneficial effects since they contain less saturated fats–the ones that raise your level of cholesterol in your blood, and therefore increase the risk for heart disease.

  5. Plant-based milk alternatives have calcium supplements.

    Many plant-based milk alternatives contain added calcium and B vitamins. Some of the plant-based products have higher levels of calcium. However, since most calcium is supplemented in plant-based products, it can sediment when not shaken appropriately and therefore not be available for intake when we drink it.

What kinds of plant-based milk alternatives are there? 1

Cereal-basedOat, rice, corn, spelt
Legume-basedSoy, peanut, lupin, cowpea
Nut-basedAlmond, coconut, hazelnut, pistachio, walnut
Seed-basedSesame, flax, hemp, sunflower
Pseudo-cereal basedQuinoa, teff, amaranth

So, there you have it. There are many different plant-based milk alternatives to choose from, all of which vary in their nutritional value and environmental impact. Which type of milk will you choose?

September 21, 2019 Katharina Kropshofer By Katharina Kropshofer Follow

References

  1. Chalupa-Krebzdak, S, Long, C.J., Bohrer, B.M. (2018): Nutrient density and nutritional value of milk and plant-based milk alternatives. Elsevier: International Dairy Journal, Volume 87, pp 84-92. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idairyj.2018.07.018
  2. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine
  3. The Guardian
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