Milk from cows, goats, sheep, and other livestock is referred to as dairy milk. They are rich in nutrients and offer a variety of health advantages.
It has long been recommended that you consume dairy milk, particularly cow’s milk, for your general health. Even so, on a global scale, more people consume goat milk than any other animal’s milk, despite the fact that when we hear the word “milk“, we typically think of cow’s milk. Globally, over 440 million goats generate approximately 4.8 million tons of milk, most of which is consumed locally or turned into different kinds of cheese. Since keeping goats is simpler than keeping cows, goat milk is more common.
Now, both dairy milk and non-dairy milk varieties have increased in number as more people explore alternatives to dairy milk. Choosing the healthiest milk involves more than just considering its lipid content. There are other additional considerations to take into account. If you want to consider other options or if you choose to avoid drinking cow’s milk for nutritional or health reasons, you might wonder which type of milk is the one that is healthiest for you.
It is now time to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of milk substitutes, so keep reading to find out more. Later we will list the most prevalent non-dairy milk varieties with all their nutritional values and notes.
To begin with, it is not difficult to locate non-dairy alternatives on the market that provide a supply of calcium and vitamin D, much like cow’s milk. For optimal growth and development, as well as bone health, vitamin D and calcium are critical nutrients. According to a scientific evaluation of milk substitutes, fortified plant milks frequently contain even more calcium than cow’s milk. This frequently takes shape as calcium carbonate, which absorbs at a rate comparable to that of cow’s milk.
Compared to cow’s milk, milk substitutes frequently have fewer calories per serving. They are therefore a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to lose weight. A cup of unsweetened almond milk has about 30-40 calories, compared to more than quadruple the calories in a cup of whole cow’s milk.
The large selection of aromas and textures that are offered for milk substitutes is another advantage. These days, plant kinds of milk come in sugar-free, vanilla, chocolate, and numerous other flavors. These can be ingested into baked pastries and other foods or consumed as a beverage. Plant milks are excellent for adapting to a variety of recipes due to their various textures and fat contents. While thicker products including coconut or soy milk are ideal for homemade ice cream, whipped cream, or even a latte, lighter kinds of milk like almond or cashews are ideal in cereal or for overnight oats.
Finally, drinking fewer dairy products has positive effects on the environment. One glass of dairy milk generates almost three times as many greenhouse gas emissions as one of soy, almond, rice, or oat milk, according to a recent study. Additionally, it takes more than 10 times as much land to produce a glass of dairy milk as it does oat milk over the course of a year.
While there are many advantages of substituting milk replacements for dairy products, there are also some drawbacks to be aware of. A lot of the milk products that are not dairy-based available are very low in protein or completely devoid of it. It is crucial to make sure you are receiving enough protein through other sources if you are avoiding dairy because it is essential for optimal health.
You occasionally rely on milk to give your meal the protein it needs. This frequently occurs when eating a bowl of cereal in the morning. You will need to provide protein in another way if you are substituting something low in protein, like almond milk. Think about adding some nuts or hemp seeds to the top. Or, even better, instead of a bowl of cereal with non-dairy milk which will not give you enough protein, choose a recipe and order it from Home Chef where you can substitute, double, or upgrade your protein in around 3/4 of the dishes on the menu. Combine this with your oat-containing breakfast during the week for optimum protein intake.
Additionally, it is critical to check that your milk has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D, both of which are essential for strong bones. If not, think about if you require vitamins to maintain bone health. The fact that plant-based milk substitutes can contain a larger list of ingredients, including thickening agents and sugars, is another disadvantage. These chemicals can aggravate certain illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome, or bring on symptoms in persons who are sensitive to certain foods.
There are currently several non-dairy milk options available for lactose intolerant persons, such as those who have allergies to milk, those looking for milk alternatives for either health or fitness motives, and vegans who do not wish to devour animal milk for reasons of ethics. After all, a vegan diet consists of dishes with specific nutritional factors.
Soy has been a component of the standard diet for ages. Even now, the method that was used in the past to obtain soy milk coming from soybeans is being used. There are full-fat and low-fat versions of soy milk, as well as varieties with flavors like chocolate and vanilla. It is a nutritious non-dairy milk kind.
Similar to producers of dairy milk, those of soy milk frequently add vitamins A and D, riboflavin, and calcium to it. Due to the fact that it offers roughly equal quantities of protein per serving as dairy milk, it is the most equivalent alternative to cow’s milk.
Following is a list of the nutrients included in 240 ml (an average cup) of soy milk:
- Calories: 110-130
- Protein: 6-8 g
- Fat: 3.5-5 g
- Calcium: 300-450 mg
- Carbs: 12 g (including 8.91 g of sugar)
- Vitamin D: 2.68 mcg
- Vitamin B12: 2.07 mcg
- Potassium: 298 mg
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Fibre: 0.488 g
The flavor and added minerals and vitamins that it is enriched with affect the nutritional makeup. Organic antioxidants called isoflavones can be found in soy milk. There may also be connections with a lesser likelihood of heart disease when using soy products. A single cup of soy milk contains roughly 25 milligrams of isoflavones.
Soy consumption may be advantageous for women going through or emerging from menopause. Soy-derived phytoestrogens have the potential to mimic the physiological effects of estrogen. Meta-analysis and a review found that these drugs may alleviate various menopause symptoms without having negative side effects.
There are GMO and non-GMO varieties in the stores. You can eat either one because they are both healthy. Soy milk, however, is a poor substitute for newborn formula or breast milk.
To produce almond milk, almonds are soaked in water, then processed and filtered. It is a delicious non-dairy milk substitute for people who cannot or do not want to drink dairy milk, but it is dangerous if you have a tree nut allergy. If you practice a low-carb diet, raw almond milk provides a wonderful alternative because it contains fewer carbs and calories than cow’s milk. But bear in mind that many brands contain additional sugar. Avoid almond milk brands that have been sweetened, and always read the ingredient list.
Almond milk naturally contains a lot of vitamin E, an antioxidant, but it is also lacking a lot of other nutrients, such as protein. Vitamin A and calcium are added to many types, however, the amounts vary by brand.
Almond milk contains the following nutrients in 240 milliliters:
- Calories: 30-40
- Protein: 1 g
- Fat: 3 g
- Calcium: 450 mg
- Carbs: 2 g
- Vitamin E: 50% of the DV
Some brands incorporate carrageenan to thicken it. Carrageenan’s potential impact on the health of the gut is still up for dispute.
White coconut flesh is used to make coconut milk. It is among the safest non-dairy milk options, particularly if you have a tree nut allergy. Coconut milk is mixed with water in order to provide the consistency that cow’s milk has. Protein concentration is considerably lower when compared to almond milk in terms of nutrition. However, it has additional nutrients added to it.
Indian food typically includes coconut milk since it has a distinct flavor and is frequently higher in fat than other dairy products.
The nutrients in 240 ml of sugar-free coconut milk are as follows:
- Calories: 40-46
- Protein: 0 g
- Fat: 4 g
- Calcium: 460 g
- Carbs: 1 g
Higher concentrations of good cholesterol, or HDL, and other heart health benefits have been linked to the consumption of coconut milk. Vitamins A, D, and B12, as well as minerals, are added to some products. Compare the labels carefully because distinct brands may add various types and amounts of nutrients.
The nutritional benefits of eating a bowl of oats are greater than those of oat milk, which is created by soaking whole oats in milk. But it is one of the favored non-dairy milk varieties and is very nutrient-dense. Because of its inherent sweetness, oat milk is high in carbs.
Oat milk is unique because of the soluble fiber it contains, which gives it a creamier texture. Because soluble fiber absorbs water and transforms it into a form of gel during digestion, it slows down digestion and helps you feel fuller for longer. Additionally, it can help to stabilize blood sugar. Additionally, the soluble fiber may reduce cholesterol levels. Consuming oat milk lowers LDL cholesterol levels, according to studies.
The nutritional content of oat milk might differ based on the manufacturer and fortification method. However, 240 ml of oat milk typically has the following vitamins and minerals:
- Calories: 120-130
- Protein: 3-4 g
- Fat: 5 g
- Calcium: 270-300 g
- Fibre: 2 g
- Carbs: 16 g
- Vitamin B12: 50% of the DV
- Phosphorous: 22% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 46% of the DV
- Vitamin D: 18% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 18% of the DV
Hemp seeds are soaked and crushed to produce hemp milk. These seeds from hemp are devoid of Cannabis sativa’s psychoactive component. The seeds are a strong source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as protein. Hemp milk thus contains a little higher concentration of important elements than other plant kinds of milk.
A 240 ml portion of hemp milk has the following types of nutrients in it:
- Calories: 60
- Protein: 3 g
- Fat: 5 g
- Calcium: 280 g
- Carbs: 0 g
- Phosphorous: 25% of the DV
- Magnesium: 15% of the DV
- Iron: 10% of the DV
Hemp milk is largely carb-free, despite the fact that some varieties contain sweeteners that increase the amount of carbohydrates. When buying sugar-free hemp milk alongside other plant milks, be sure to carefully check the ingredient list. If you are on a low-carb diet, this is a great non-dairy milk alternative option.
A plant milk derived from rice is called rice milk. Brown rice syrup, and especially brown rice, is frequently used in the production of commercial rice milk, which may also be sweetened with sugar or sugar alternatives and flavored with common additives like vanilla. Protein and micronutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, or calcium are frequently added as fortifiers.
In 240 ml of rice milk, there is:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 1 g
- Fat: 3 g
- Calcium: 300 mg
Rice milk typically has poor nutritional value unless it is supplemented with vitamins and calcium. It is, however, the most unlikely of all the dairy milk substitutes to cause allergies. However, it has almost no protein. Since oat milk is growing more popular, rice milk is no longer as popular as it formerly was.
Given your health needs, you have other options in addition to the non-dairy milk varieties already mentioned.
- Pea milk
- Quinoa milk
- Sunflower milk
- Flax milk
- Cashew milk
There is a substitute for regular dairy milk if you have a lactose intolerance and do not want to drink non-dairy milk. There is also lactose-free cow milk that is equally nutrient-dense as ordinary cow’s milk.
If you are worried about hormones or antibiotics in raw milk, your concerns are unfounded. Before delivering milk, manufacturers screen it for hormonal or other impurities. However, some choose raw, unpasteurized, and organic cow milk. Contrary to pasteurized milk, this milk could be harmful to your health.
Choose non-dairy milk that has a composition of nutrients that is most similar to your current products if you want to replace dairy products. Before selecting a milk substitute, consumers ought to always review the packaging label. Manufacturers regularly add various amounts of extra nutrients to dairy milk and substitutes.
Milk should be consumed as part of a wholesome, well-balanced diet. A diet devoid of dairy products can be advantageous for any age group with meticulous preparation and qualified dietitian assistance.
It is critical to comprehend the numerous benefits and drawbacks of using milk substitutes. In order to assist you in making a better-informed decision, hopefully, this article has clarified some of the factors to take into account when selecting a milk product.