A Guide to the Best Plant Based Milk Alternatives
Are you considering a plant based milk alternative?
If so, it’s probably because you’re aware of the dangers of dairy – or, at least, think it may be behind your health problems.
Once upon a time – not too long ago – we were all told to get several servings of dairy each day. At least a couple of generations were raised on the “milk is good for you” nutrition attitude that has caused a lot of health problems for so many people.
In fact, my age group can remember being given a small bottle of milk to drink every day at school.
But times have changed. And now we know that milk and dairy products don’t necessarily lead to improved bone health, that was one of the big selling points of milk.
However, a Swedish study showed that when women drink more than 3 glasses of milk a day, they increased their death rate over 20 years by 100%.
Additionally, multiple studies have shown an increased risk of
- type I diabetes,
- several cancers,
- high cholesterol,
- and pro-inflammatory conditions
for people who are on a diet which includes dairy milk.
Which Plant Based Milk Alternative Should I Use?
If you’re reading this short article, it’s because you’re looking for answers.
But, whilst you understand that dairy milk can be replaced by a plant based milk alternative, the choice has become overwhelming. And you’re left asking…
- Should you try soy milk or almond millk?
- What’s the difference?
- Are there any other plant based alternatives?
Let’s take a look. (The following numbers are averages, and depend on the brand and flavour that you purchase.)
Soy milk – This plant based milk alternative delivers about 110 cal per serving, with just 4 or 5 g of fat.
You receive 8 g of protein, 30% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D, and 45% RDA of calcium.
Additional benefits include magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin B 12.
Almond milk – You get just 30 to 35 cal and 2.5 g of fat per serving.
You also receive 45% of your calcium RDA, and 25% of your vitamin D RDA.
Extras include magnesium and vitamin E.
There are many brands on sale, but try to avoid the sweetened versions.
Rice milk – Expect about 120 cal, 2.5 g of fat, 1 g of sugar and 30% of your calcium RDA per serving.
You also receive 25% of your vitamin D RDA, as well as phosphorus and vitamins A and B 12.
Coconut milk – You get 10% of your calcium RDA and 30% of your daily vitamin D allowance.
You receive zero protein, 7 g of sugar, healthy fatty acids, vitamins B12 and A, and magnesium as well.
Recently, cashew, hemp and kefir milks have started to be produced, but the 4 milks just covered are the most popular.
Remember, most plant based milk alternatives have less protein than dairy milk – with the exception being soy milk.
Coconut milk delivers more saturated fat than whole dairy milk, but research has shown that that particular type of fat is healthy.
Also, look for versions with added protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and other wonderfully healthy nutrients.
With more than 50 new milk substitute products as of 2015, you have a lot of choices.
Just make sure to read the nutrition label on any type of plant based milk alternative product you buy, and try to steer clear of whole dairy milk whenever possible.