If you're considering going vegan and cutting out dairy products there are a few things you need to keep in mind before making the diet change.
These days, you can walk down your grocery aisles and find many different non-dairy milk options.
But have you ever wondered if non-milk is providing you with the much needed nutritional value?
Experts say that when it comes to plant-based, non-dairy milks – like almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk or hemp milk – many people don’t realize these non-dairy milk options don’t always have the same naturally occurring nutrients as the dairy milk we're used to.
In fact, health fundis say substituting another beverage for milk can lead to gaps in calcium and other key nutrients like high-quality protein, phosphorus and vitamin B12 so it's important to do it right.
Plant powered dietitian, Sharon Palmer says: “plant milks are a wonderful, versatile alternative to dairy milk for anyone who doesn't tolerate milk, or is reducing animal food intake for dietary or animal ethics reasons.”
People often go for almond milk, specifically, because it’s mild in flavor and easy to tolerate digestion-wise, Palmer says.
A 2017 review in the Journal of Food Science and Technology actually found that soy milk, not almond milk, was the healthiest plant-based milk.
Here are 5 surprising facts about non-dairy milk
- Cow’s milk has about 8 grams of high quality protein per cup, but non-dairy milks can vary widely in their protein content.
- Soy milk is the closest milk substitute in terms of protein content.
- Rice milk and almond milk are very low in protein content, barely containing a gram per cup.
- Soybeans and yellow peas are the protein provider for soy milk and pea milk, respectively.
- Cow’s milk contains both saturated and unsaturated fat. Most non-dairy milk contains unsaturated fat, with the exception of coconut milk, which delivers a significant dose of saturated fat.