Because November is Vegan Awareness Month, it’s a good time to talk about the milk substitutes available in the dining halls. A person may seek a dairy milk alternative for a variety of reasons, including veganism, lactose intolerance, and potential health issues (antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones).
Cow’s milk has an amazing nutrient profile from a nutritional standpoint. It’s high in protein, has a good balance of key minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, folate, and vitamin B12, and is vitamin D fortified (the sunshine vitamin). What milk alternative(s) compares or comes closest to the nutritional content of dairy? Soy and almond are the two most popular choices, and both are accessible at North and South Dining Halls.
For instance, a cup of low-fat dairy milk contains about 100 calories and 8 grams of protein. Soy milk comes the closest, with 95 calories and 7 to 12 grams of protein per cup. Almond milk has the fewest calories (30 to 50), as well as the least protein (1 gram per cup). Isoflavones, a type of phytonutrient found in soy milk, have been shown to have cancer-fighting qualities. Soy milk is high in polyunsaturated fat, which is good for your heart. Almond milk, on the other hand, is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamins A and E, which are good for your heart. Calories are the lowest, as mentioned above, but with fewer calories comes fewer nutrients. “It is fairly evident that nutritionally, soy milk is the greatest choice for replacing cow’s milk in the human diet,” according to a recent research published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology. They do admit, however, that almond milk is more popular than soy milk in terms of flavor.
It all boils down to personal preference and balance in the end. Calcium and vitamin D are routinely added to both milks. They’re both sweetened and unsweetened, and while they don’t have quite the nutritional punch that cow’s milk has, they can be excellent substitutes if you read labels and seek out other foods to make up for the nutrients you’re missing.
What kind of milk is the healthiest to consume?
Hemp milk is prepared from crushed, soaked hemp seeds that are free of the psychotropic ingredient found in Cannabis sativa plants.
Protein and omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats are abundant in the seeds. As a result, hemp milk has a somewhat higher concentration of these nutrients than other plant milks.
Although hemp milk is almost carb-free, some brands include sweets, which raise the carb count. Make sure to read the ingredient label and get hemp or any other plant milk that hasn’t been sweetened.
On the ingredient label, sugar may be described as brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, or cane sugar.
The seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant are used to make hemp milk. While the drink isn’t psychotropic, it does include more healthful fats and protein than other plant milks.
What are some of the drawbacks of soy milk?
Because of the added sugar, some forms of soy milk have a significant nutritional disadvantage. Added sugars increase your calorie intake without adding nutritious value to your diet, and they can raise your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Almond milk has only 1 gram of protein per cup (240 ml), compared to 8 and 7 grams in cow’s and soy milk, respectively (16, 17).
Protein is required for a variety of body processes, including muscular growth, skin and bone construction, and the generation of enzymes and hormones (18, 19, 20).
Beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and hemp seeds are among the high-protein dairy-free and plant-based foods.
If you don’t mind eating animal products, eggs, fish, poultry, and beef are all good sources of protein (21).
Unsuitable for infants
Cow’s or plant-based milks should not be given to children under the age of one year because they can inhibit iron absorption. Until 46 months of age, breastfeed or use infant formula exclusively until solid meals can be introduced (22).
Offer water as a nutritious beverage option in addition to breast milk or formula at 6 months of age. Cow’s milk can be given to your infant’s diet after the age of one (22).
Plant-based drinks, with the exception of soy milk, are inherently low in protein, fat, calories, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin D, and calcium. These nutrients are necessary for development and growth (23, 24).
Almond milk has only 39 calories per cup, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein (240 ml). This is insufficient for a developing infant (5, 24).
Continue to breastfeed or see your doctor for the best nondairy formula if you don’t want your kid to swallow cow’s milk (23).
May contain additives
Sugar, salt, gums, tastes, and lecithin and carrageenan can all be included in processed almond milk (types of emulsifiers).
Texture and consistency are achieved by the use of emulsifiers and gums. Unless ingested in really large quantities, they are harmless (25).
Despite this, a test-tube study indicated that carrageenan, which is often used as an emulsifier in almond milk and is generally considered harmless, may disturb intestinal health. Before any judgments can be drawn, however, further thorough research is required (26).
Despite these issues, many companies avoid using this ingredient entirely.
Furthermore, many flavored and sweetened almond milks include a lot of sugar. Sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, tooth problems, and other chronic illnesses (13, 14, 27).
Almond milk is low in protein, lipids, and nutrients necessary for an infant’s growth and development. Furthermore, many processed kinds contain sugar, salt, flavors, gums, and carrageenan, among other things.
Is soy milk the healthiest milk on the market?
Soy is a wonderful source of plant-based protein that is low in fat. It is cholesterol-free, decreases LDL levels in the body, and has less saturated fat than cow’s milk. On the other hand, cow’s milk has more calcium than natural soy. Calcium, as we all know, aids in the formation of bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Is 2 percent or almond milk better for you?
Almond milk is generally thought to be healthier than ordinary milk. Both have varied nutritional and vitamin contents, as well as variable percentages of minerals and vitamins. The primary distinction is that almond milk contains fewer calories than normal milk.
Almond milk is made by mixing almonds with water and then straining it to remove the solids. Many almond milk manufacturers add additives to match the nutritional content of conventional milk. For flavor, some people add sugar. If you’re trying to avoid sugar, make sure to read the labels on the products you’re buying.
Which milk is the most effective for weight loss?
For most people, cow’s milk is the ideal option because it provides a good source of protein and calcium.
Switch to reduced-fat or skim milk if you’re attempting to lose weight.
Lactose intolerant people should choose lactose-free milk.
Soy milk is recommended for those who have a cow’s milk protein allergy or who eat a vegan or plant-based diet because it contains the majority of the nutrients found in cow’s milk.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential in all types of milk, so pick calcium- and vitamin D-fortified versions whenever possible.
Why Lite n’ Easy?
Ashleigh Jones is a Registered Dietitian with over 10 years of experience in hospitals, corporate health, private practice, and the food sector. She is a published researcher who has worked in a variety of fields, including genetics, multiple sclerosis, and sports nutrition. Ashleigh is an expert in endocrine problems, having a special focus in weight loss, pituitary and thyroid disorders, and diabetes management. Ashleigh is passionate about encouraging healthy habits, particularly among busy people, and she provides simple and long-term nutrition solutions.
In comparison to cow’s milk and soy milk, almond milk is low in calories and protein. When switching from cow’s milk to almond milk, consumers need supplement their diet with additional calories, protein, and vitamins.
Carrageenan is used as a thickening in nonfat meals and dairy substitutes, such as almond milk, by some manufacturers. Carrageenan has a number of negative side effects, the most prevalent of which are digestive problems, ulcers, and inflammation.
Make almond milk at home to avoid additives in almond milk. People can find a variety of nut milk recipes online, including those from trained dieticians.
Some people are allergic to almonds, similar to how the protein in cow’s milk causes allergic responses, and should avoid drinking almond milk.
Despite the fact that soy milk contains protein, some varieties lack methionine, a necessary amino acid, due to the manufacturing method. This amino acid may need to be obtained from other sources in the diet.
Soy milk may be a poor alternative for cow’s milk if a person does not acquire enough extra methionine, calcium, or vitamin D.
Some people may be allergic to soybeans and should avoid soy milk, just as they should avoid almond milk.
Antinutrients are chemicals found in soy milk that some people call antinutrients. These natural antinutrients can disrupt protein and carbohydrate digestion and limit the body’s ability to absorb critical nutrients.
Soybeans’ nutritional value may be improved by several production procedures that reduce the level of antinutrients. These procedures necessitate additional labor, time, and money.
Is it safe to drink soy milk on a daily basis?
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, one to two 8-ounce cups of soy milk per day are deemed safe and provide many of the same nutrients as cow’s milk (AICR). However, keep an eye out for soy milk versions with added sugar, and limit yourself to one serving per day.
What effects does soy have on a woman’s body?
The Bottom Line: Soy is a unique food that has been extensively researched for its estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties. Studies on soy may appear to come to contradictory conclusions, although this is mostly owing to the great range of methods used to study soy. According to current population research, soy has a favorable or neutral influence on a variety of health issues. Soy is a nutrient-dense protein source that can be ingested several times a week, if not more frequently, and is likely to bring health benefits, especially when used as a substitute for red and processed meat.
Some people praise soy as a health food, claiming it can help with hot flashes, osteoporosis, and hormonal malignancies including breast and prostate cancer.
Others, on the other hand, avoid soy because they believe it causes breast cancer, thyroid difficulties, and dementia, despite the fact that these assertions have not been proven.
Whether in a popular press story or a well-designed scientific trial, there is still some dispute concerning soy. Nutritionists frequently classify soy as a food with considerable health advantages because it belongs to the bean family. However, there has been a reluctance to advocate soy wholeheartedly due to contradictory data that reveals possible detrimental effects of soy in specific scenarios.
Part of the ambiguity stems from the complexities of soy’s impact on the body. Soy is special in that it includes a significant amount of isoflavones, a kind of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that functions similarly to human estrogen but has far less side effects. Soy isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors in the body and have estrogenic or anti-estrogenic properties. Genistein and daidzein are the two primary isoflavones found in soy. Based on the following factors, soy isoflavones and soy protein appear to have different activities in the body:
- Type of research. Is it being investigated in a human or animal study? Because soy is processed differently in animals, results from animal research may not apply to humans.
- Hormone levels are important. Soy’s effects can vary based on the quantity of hormones in the body because it has estrogenic qualities. Estradiol, the most common type of estrogen in the human body, is found in significantly larger concentrations in premenopausal women than in postmenopausal women. Soy may serve as an anti-estrogen in this situation, but it may act as an estrogen in postmenopausal women. In addition, women with breast cancer are classed as having hormone positive (ER+/PR+) or hormone negative (ER-/PR-) tumors, which respond to estrogens differently.
- Soy bean variety. What kind of soy is being investigated: Tofu and soybeans as whole foods, soy protein powders as processed foods, or soy-based veggie burgers? Soy foods: fermented or unfermented? Do the supplements you’re taking contain isoflavones or soy protein?
Who says almond milk isn’t good for you?
Allergies to milk are number five. If consumed in excess, almond milk might cause negative effects in people who are lactose intolerant. Such people may experience adverse reactions after ingesting almond milk, thus they should avoid it entirely.