Drinking cow's milk seems to be over nowadays. Whether it's a true allergy to milk, a lactose intolerance, a vegan diet that tends to become the celebrity drinking almond milk, or the doctor calls it bad, there are many reasons why people go milk free.
Trendy or not, if cow's milk does not work for you, you're in luck, because in recent years there has been an explosion of "milked" nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. As a registered nutritionist, I'm not a milk fanatic, but I'm not against it either. Every morning I enjoy my 2% simple Greek yoghurt, but I've decided to use unsweetened almond milk in my coffee. But with other milk alternatives, I can see why decisions in milk can be difficult!
So, whether you are intolerant of dairy products or wanting to hedge your bets and live a more plant-based lifestyle, let's dive into the most popular alternative dairy products on the market and what to look for when shopping. Because we really do not need another overwhelming decision when it comes to our health.
What to Look for in Alternative Milks
I wish I could give you a black and white answer. The truth is that the milk you choose depends on a number of different factors ̵
1. Sugar Added
If sugar is one of the first three ingredients listed on the nutritional label, I'll stop right there. That always baffles me, because most of these milk with no added sugar taste good. So why fool you? Most alternative dairy products have an unsweetened option, so always opt for it.
2. Too many additives
It is difficult to find an alternative milk that contains no additives. And some of these hard-to-pronounce additions are not as scary as they sound. However, it is a good practice to look for brands with fewer ingredients.
Lately, much has been discussed about carrageenan, a thickener and stabilizer in tons of food and drink. It is a controversial topic due to some reports of its proinflammatory and potentially toxic effects on the gut. On both sides of this argument there is a preliminary science, which means that we really do not know what is right now. However, many companies have decided not to use other alternatives, such as guar gum, gellan gum and tapioca starch, all of which help give alternative milk masses a thicker and creamier consistency.
Although more thorough studies are needed to determine if it's really harmful, I'd rather search for carrageenan. While it does not seem to be harmful to most individuals, there are people who think they have a real sensitivity for it and feel better. My recommendation is, if possible, to choose a product without it, but do not go crazy, especially if you have not noticed any negative side effects after drinking alternative milk.
Most non-dairy milk is fortified with calcium, vitamin D and B12, which is a good thing but not common to all brands, and quantities can vary widely. Read the labels carefully and make sure that you also get these nutrients from other food sources.
Most "cleaner" plant-based dairy plants (even those that do not have a long shelf life because they do not contain a ton of additives) tend to have a higher price. I will leave that decision to you, but I just want to prevent you from suffering a sticker shock. I could also say, "Save a dollar and make your own!" but nuts are expensive and time is precious! So you do it when it comes to how much money and time you want to spend on your alternative lactation.
Well, let's resolve the differences between your options.
Soy was one of the first alternative milk that is gaining popularity. Of all alternatives, soya is most similar to cow's milk when it comes to nutritional information, especially in terms of protein and calcium content. Some consumers may be wary of soy products because of their phytoestrogen and GMO content, but there are not enough conclusive studies to suggest that people should avoid soy. Soy is full of isoflavones that can protect against certain health problems such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Verdict : When I drink soymilk, I always opt for organic food, but I am also looking for carrageenan-free. This used to be my choice, but I'm sorry, soy milk, I enjoy more almonds these days.
Hemp milk has not really stolen the spotlight like some other milk (we see, oatmeal). But it is from cannabis seeds, so TBD, if that milk has a moment like any other cannabis-based product. The benefit of this milk is that it is a great source of polyunsaturated omega-3 fat and contains some protein (about 2 to 3 grams per cup). It is also usually made with sugar, as the taste, if you ask me, is less appetizing. Whatever you felt as a taste of hemp milk, it's probably worse.
Verdict : It's a great option for anyone looking for a vegan-friendly, allergy-friendly and omega-3-rich nutrient option. if you can handle the taste. But maybe it's just me.
Much like hemp, rice milk has been around for a while, but it's not really the next star in your local café. Where rice milk shines: Easy to drink for people with soy, nut or gluten allergies.
Judgment : Its sugar content is typically higher than cow's milk, it is low in protein and the taste is a bit watery and sweet, but hey, if you suffer from allergies, this is a good choice.
Of the vegetable milks out there, coconut is the highest saturated fat with zero in the protein division. However, if you add protein in other ways, this is a good one because it is one of the more hypo-allergenic options for people who suffer from dairy, soy or nuts (coconut is considered a fruit rather than a nut).  Judgment : Coconut is usually lower in sugar and calories and not a bad option if you like the taste. And for you, who are keto fans, coconut milk is a source of these valuable MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). Unless you know them, MCTs have been demanded for their ability to be quickly absorbed by the body and easier to use as fuel than other types of fat. That means we save less and use more – and because the ketogenic diet is a very high-fat diet overall, this type of fat is appreciated by those who focus on it.
Pea Protein Milk
One of the newer kids on the block is pea milk and Ripple seems to be the hot brand out there. And with its original and unsweetened versions, the company may be ready for something. This milk is comparable in calorie, protein and fat content to low-fat cow's milk, but is superior in that the sugar is 6 or less grams per cup.
Judgment : I think pea-based milk is a solid option if you miss the milk of your cow. In terms of taste, it is fairly mild with a similar structure to dairy products, making it a very acceptable substitute.
This Sh * t is so popular that there is currently a shortage. Coffeeshops are dependent on demand, with the exception of Starbucks, and offer this type for your morning latte. In addition to the fact that it is delicious, it has a higher protein content than most plant-based options. It is also a higher fiber source than other alternative milk. So if you can find it, give it a try.
Judgment : Oatmeal is so creamy, so this is an excellent choice if you & # 39; Look for a latte reminiscent of the two percent milk of your past. It's also sweet by nature, so the sugar content is slightly higher, but it might be worth it for this type of creaminess.
So they officially milked every nut, and when they & # 39; It's only a matter of time. Each nut has its own vitamin and mineral profile, but they all have a fairly similar macronutrient profile: relatively low calorie and carbohydrate, low protein and moderate fat. Almond milk (the top of nut milk) is also a great source of natural calcium.
Verdict : If it tastes good, some nut milk may taste slightly watered down / nothing The nut with which they are made brings us to the previous point: Look for brands with fewer additives! One of my favorite brands is Elmhurst. She has just introduced a line of unsweetened milk, in which the ingredients list is only the nut presented (and they milk all of it) and water. Let's just say I'm definitely going to make my hot chocolate from walnut milk.