Experts are investigating different milk alternatives
Many people in the world like to drink milk. Milk is a good source of calcium and protein, and it also contains important vitamins and minerals. Most people have already eaten milk from cows, but there are alternatives in the form of other milk for lactose intolerant and vegetarians. Researchers examined different types of milk in their study.
The researchers at McGill University wanted to find out how well milk from soy, almonds, rice and coconut can keep up with the milk of cows in terms of nutrition. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Food Science and Technology".
Milk from cows contains many healthy ingredients
Milk from cows contains calcium, proteins and vitamins A, D, B2, B12 and minerals like zinc and iodine. Vegans or lactose-intolerant people cannot drink milk from cows. Are there alternatives for these people? The doctors tried to answer precisely this question during their examination. For this reason, the researchers analyzed four popular plant-based milk alternatives: almond, soy, rice and coconut milk.
Soy milk is the best substitute
The scientists found that soy milk was the healthiest. This is because this milk contains so much protein and helps people eat a balanced diet. Soy milk is the best alternative for replacing cow's milk in human nutrition, the researchers report. But why weren't the other three types of milk alternatives rated as well as soy milk? The purpose of the study was to compare milk alternatives with cow's milk. So all four alternatives were evaluated according to their suitability as a nearly perfect replacement for the animal product. It was actually a question of which vegetable milk could provide the same or at least similar nutrients, vitamins and minerals as cow's milk.
Almond milk does not have a high nutrient density
Almond milk could be an alternative for people who cannot consume cow's milk, do not like the taste of soy milk, or have a soy allergy. The study assessed almond milk as tasty and low in calories. However, the nutrient density and the total number of calories in almond milk are not as high as in milk from cows. There are also people who are allergic to almond milk.
Milk from rice contains a lot of sugar
Rice milk contains a comparable amount of calories as the milk of cows. However, rice milk contains a lot of sugar and can promote an unbalanced diet if consumed regularly. Rice milk is also a poor source of protein and fat, the scientists add.
Coconut milk is low in protein
Coconut milk has a good taste and has been classified as low in calories. But this milk contains little protein, but is rich in saturated fats. Rice milk and coconut milk may not be an ideal alternative for cow's milk due to the limited variety of nutrients, but they are an option for consumers who are allergic to soybeans or almonds, the doctors explain.
Heart health benefits do not apply to milk from nuts
Almond and coconut milk has a good taste, but it contains a lot of water. Although nuts are actually rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and good for the heart, these benefits do not apply to milk from nuts. The health benefits can only be enjoyed if the nuts are eaten, the researchers say. Coconut milk is also so rich in saturated fat that it could cause cardiovascular problems.
What makes soy milk so healthy?
Because of its nutrient content, soy milk has been used as a replacement for cow's milk in the West for over four decades. Soy has now been an important part of the South Asian diet for hundreds of years. Soy forms a unique source of food that is rich in protein and fat. Soybean seeds contain up to 45 percent protein and 20 percent fat. This makes soy milk an important source of protein for vegetarians.
Choose milk fortified with calcium
No matter what alternative to cow's milk you consume, you should make sure to choose a calcium-fortified variety. The experts advise you to always choose a calcium-enriched alternative and ideally unsweetened milk. (as)