What you need to know about plant-based milk
Published Wednesday, October 23, 2019 7:51PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, October 23, 2019 8:17PM EDT
A recent study from Consumer Reports found that about one third of people now choose a milk made from a plant, instead of from a cow.
Sales of non-dairy milk are up 61 per cent in the past few years, according to Consumer Reports. The favourites include almond, soy, coconut, and milk made from oats.
The trend also reaches beyond the lactose-intolerant and vegan crowd. The survey found that more than half of plant-milk buyers said they think it’s healthier than cow’s milk, but is it?
“Cow’s milk is rich in protein, and supplies much of the calcium in most people’s diets but when you replace it with plant milk, you may actually be missing out,” Ellen Klosz is with Consumer Reports said.
Klosz said that if someone wants to replace milk from a cow with milk from a plant, they should start with soy as it is closest in terms of nutritional value.
“Soy milk has about the same amount of protein, or more. If it is fortified it can have similar vitamin and mineral content, but watch out for added sugars,” Klosz said.
Research by Consumer Reports found that almond milk is the most popular plant-based milk. It can have a slight to moderate almond flavor and little to no chalkiness, but it has low protein content and poor protein quality.
Oat milk has a slightly sweet oat-like taste. It has a bit less protein than soy or cow’s milk and it does have some fiber, but not enough to contribute much to a person’s daily requirement.
Coconut milk generally has mild coconut flavor, but it has little to no protein and is high in saturated fat. There are now also milks being made from peas and hemp.
Your best bet is taking a close look at the labels. A lot of plant-based milks contain added sugar and stabilizers, so opt for one with the best nutritional profile and the fewest additives.