Plant-based milk alternatives: Choose the Right one!


Plant-based milk alternatives: Choose the Right one!


Alternatives to dairy milk are becoming increasingly popular for people with allergies and intolerances or for those who prefer a dairy-free diet. Dairy milk is a key source of micronutrients such as phosphorus, selenium, and zinc, so consumers need to understand the differences in the nutritional content of any plant-based milk alternatives they are consuming.

Plant-based milk alternatives are popular for health, ethical, and environmental reasons. Many people may also prefer the taste of plant-based milk alternatives over regular cow’s milk.

Plant-based milk includes a range of options like soy, coconut, oat, hemp, rice, quinoa, pea, almond, and other varieties of nuts, but the nutrition profiles often vary among certain brands and types.

Consumers, however, may not always be aware of the differences in micronutrient content of plant-based milk alternatives when compared to dairy milk.


Why choose plant-based milk alternatives?

People may choose plant-based milk alternatives for the following reasons.

  • Allergies and intolerances: Some people are lactose intolerant, meaning they do not produce the lactase enzyme needed to break it down.
  • Veganism: People who follow a vegan or plant-based diet do not consume or use any animal products out of concern for animal welfare.
  • Sustainability: Among other ecological effects, cows contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, so people may choose to go dairy-free for environmental reasons.


Which plant-based milks should you choose?

Despite the strong nutritional profiles of pea and soy milk, these choices may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, pea-based milk may cause digestion upset, while soy milk may not suitable for some allergies.

It is worth checking the labels on plant-based milk alternatives since some are sweetened and contain added sugars, and many are low in protein. Furthermore, plant-based milk can be low in calcium, iodine, and vitamin B12, nutrients that are normally found in cow’s milk, so one must have a look at the label to see if they are fortified.

Overall, each milk has a variety of pros and cons when looking at their different nutritional properties.

Opt for milk that suits your taste and fitness. For example, if you are lactose intolerant, dairy is not for you. Allergic to nuts? Almond milk is a no-go. Some people may choose to alternate between different plant-based milk alternatives, which could add a variety of micronutrients to their diet.


Best Plant-Based Milk alternatives


1. Almond milk

Slightly sweet and nutty in flavour, it’s often popular as it’s low in calories and fat. Its almond content is typically around 2%, so it’s very low in protein, and it’s a much less concentrated source of beneficial nutrients than whole almonds due to its usually high water content.

2. Coconut milk

Also, very creamy in texture, and it has one of the lowest carbohydrate and protein contents of all milk alternatives. It has a high-fat content, with mainly 90% saturated (the one you don’t have too much) fat. It also has a high number of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

3. Hazelnut milk

Sweet and nutty, hazelnut milk contains relatively high calories, fat and carbs, and is low in protein compared to other plant-based milk. It does taste great, though.

4. Oat milk

Naturally sweet and mild in flavour, it tastes great with cereals and smoothies. It has double the amount of carbohydrates and half the amount of protein in cow’s milk. Oat milk has one of the highest amounts of fibre out of all the milk alternatives.

5. Rice milk

Rice milk is the least allergenic of all the non-dairy milk. It is high in carbohydrates and calories, contains little protein, but is low in fat. It’s also great in smoothies.

6. Soya milk

The taste can vary between brands, but soy milk is the closest non-dairy alternative to cow’s milk in terms of protein quantity. It’s one of the few milk alternatives to be a complete source of protein, which means it contains all essential amino acids.

Other milk alternatives that are new to the market include:

  • quinoa milk
  • flax milk
  • oat milk
  • potato milk
  • 7-grain milk – from oats, rice, wheat, barley, triticale, spelt, and millet
  • sunflower milk
  • hemp milk


Milk helps humans by providing several host-defence proteins that can help protect the body against some microbial infections. Cow milk though controversial, most researchers now agree that it is a wholesome food, containing all major nutrients like fat, carbohydrates and proteins. Ultimately it is the individual's choice whether they go for a dairy alternative or just stick to cow's milk. 




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