What is your favorite “Mylk”?
Founder of Teatis Tea
There are a lot of milk alternatives now. Do you want the latest list?
According to Mintel’s survey, the types of milk (including dairy and non-dairy) that Americans perceive to be the healthiest are whole cow’s milk (20%), skim/low-fat cow’s milk (18%), and almond milk (17%). Despite this, however, nearly one in five (19%) Americans say they are consuming less dairy for health reasons.
So, why people rush to plant-based milk?
There are the main reasons why they avoid dairy products.
- Lactose intolerant
- Take a stand for animal rights
- Sustainable, good for the environment
Surprisingly, 65% of the adult population has difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk.
For the environmental footprint, a researcher who analyzed plant-based milks, looking at the impact of soy, oat, rice, and almond milk on the environment. He found that all of those plant milks fared better than cow’s milk.
How about the nutritional advantages of non-dairy milks?
Now we have a lot of choices on milk both dairy and non-dairy and luckily, they are widespread in supermarket aisles. These are available everywhere, so the thing is that you know what you want for your needs.
Among the non-dairy milk, almond (64% market share), soy (13% market share), and coconut (12% market share) remain staples in the category.
So, which is the healthiest milk for your needs?
Let’s get started with the “gold standard” of milk.
Cow’s milk: high in calcium, protein, and fat
Whole milk is good, particularly for children and pregnant women because of the high in protein and calcium. Generally switching to lower fat is encouraged as individuals get older.
In the United States, most dairy milks are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals and are notably good sources of phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A and D.
Goats or sheep’s milk is another option if you prefer milk from animal sources. They are high in protein but lower-lactose.
Legume-based milk: packed with protein
Soy milk is made by combining dried soybeans with water, resulting in similar nutritional content to that of regular cow's milk, but a low-fat option. Because soy milk lacks any kind of dairy product, those who are lactose intolerant or who suffer from milk allergies can consume it safely. It is also a good choice for vegetarian and vegan diets.
In terms of protein, soy milk is the only one that really compares. Its protein levels are comparable with dairy milk, with 3.4g per 100ml for soy versus 3.5g per 100ml of cow’s milk, on average. On the other hand, other plant-based milks like almond, rice, and coconut contain much less protein compared to soy.
According to the doctor who published a study comparing various plant-based milk alternatives to cow’s milk, soy milk is the best substitute for cow’s milk out of the non-dairy beverages at this time. For promising one, among some newer milk alternatives, pea milk matches cow’s milk even more closely in terms of nutrition.
Seed-based: healthy fats
Hemp milk is a good option for those who cannot consume nuts, dairy, soy or gluten.
In terms of other major nutrition, hemp milk is an excellent source of healthy fats: omega-3 and omega-6 and magnesium but higher in fat than other choices and lacks the calcium and vitamins D and B12 of other options. 2 grams of protein per 100ml, around 35 calories.
You can see this alternative milk in coffee shops because its flavor is a bit nutty and the texture is creamy and thick and does well in latte art.
Flax milk also contains no cholesterol or lactose, gluten, and nuts, but taste nutty-flavor. Relatively low calories (20 calories per 100ml), low sugar, and rich in omega-3 but low in protein and other major nutritions compared to other alternatives. Generally similar in nutrition to nut-based milks.
Grain-based milk: allergen-friendly
Oat milk is a creamy texture and very allergen-friendly. However, it only has 1grams of protein per 100ml, along with 53 calories, 1 gram of fat and 7 grams of sugar. Most of the oat milk you can find at the supermarkets are flavored, so in this case, the calories and sugar will get higher than it.
Rice milk is similar to oat milk in terms of nutrition balance. It is naturally sweeter than other types of milk, but low in protein and high in carbs.
Generally speaking, people with diabetes should avoid these.
Nut-based milk: versatile
Almond milk and cashew milk are a good choice for both people looking to lose weight and diabetics. Among its pros, unsweetened almond/cashew milk are lower in carbs and sugar than a lot of other options and is a good source of polyunsaturated fats and vitamins A and E.
Coconut milk is great for cooking and easy to enjoy with its sweet taste, but not the best option for drinking. Coconut milk is generally higher in calories and saturated fat than other milks. It’s better to think of it as a substitute for cream.
Hazelnut milk is naturally gluten-, lactose-, and soy-free same as almond milk. Rich in Vitamin E and B. However, the cons are high in fat and calories and low in protein and calcium.
Other points to consider before you purchase.
- Make sure to choose Non-GMO and organic since doing so will help you avoid pesticides. (For example, GMO soybeans made up 94% of all soybeans planted!😵)
- Oat milk gluten-free individuals should need to check: oats are grown in the same fields as wheat, and contamination can occur.
*Make sure to check with your doctor before changing eating habits, or trying new supplements.