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.
Which milk is the most nutritious?
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.
It is nutritious
Although almond milk does not compare to cow’s milk in terms of nutrition, enhanced products get close.
They usually contain extra vitamin D, calcium, and protein, making them nutritionally comparable to ordinary milk.
Almond milk, on the other hand, is naturally high in various vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.
The table below compares the amounts of a few nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in a cup of enriched commercial almond milk versus a cup of low-fat cow’s milk, as well as some daily values (DV) (2, 3).
Is it safe to drink soy milk on a daily basis?
If you consume fewer than three servings of soy milk per day and do not have a soy allergy, it is not harmful to your health.
Soy milk and other soy products have long been thought to be harmful to one’s health. This is partly due to animal studies that have painted soy in a negative light. The estrogen concentration of soy was thought to be a risk factor for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society, on the other hand, has stated that while the isoflavones found in soy may act like estrogen, they also have anti-estrogen qualities. According to several research, a high-soy diet has no effect on breast cancer. Even among cancer patients or survivors, current data does not advise reducing whole soy meals.
Men can also consume soy products, such as soy milk. Because of the presence of isoflavone, it was thought that eating soy products was linked to the development of feminine features in men. Human studies, on the other hand, have found no substantial evidence linking the two. Consumption of soy isoflavones has been shown in several studies to lessen the risk of prostate cancer in men. Soy isoflavones have a structure comparable to estrogen, although their activity is less potent.
Soy meals are high in protein and are also healthy for pregnant women. They can be used to replace high-fat foods like red or processed meat. They’re also a great choice for vegans. Soy meals may help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease by acting as a low-fat replacement and a source of antioxidants.
Is soy milk actually beneficial to your health?
Soy milk’s vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants may have significant health benefits. Vitamin B types present in soy milk, for example, are crucial for maintaining nerve cells and DNA in your body. They can also aid in the prevention of anemia, which can lead to tiredness and fatigue.
Protein is also abundant in soy milk. Soy milk protein is nutritious, plant-based, and can aid in the maintenance of healthy muscles and organs.
Soy milk is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are “good” fats that the body cannot produce on its own. The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated to a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Soy milk’s influence on various disorders is still being researched, however soy is one of the greatest non-animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Soy milk can also improve your heart and circulatory system. Soy milk, whether fortified or not, is a good source of potassium. Potassium is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and pulse. Soy milk has also been related to reduce cholesterol levels, particularly in those with high cholesterol.
Isoflavones, a type of molecule known as phytoestrogens, are found in soy milk. In the body, these isoflavones work like a weak kind of estrogen. As a result, studies have indicated that soy milk and other soy products may help to alleviate menopause symptoms like hot flashes.
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.
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.
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?
Is it true that soy milk causes weight gain?
Soy milk is prepared by soaking soybeans in water, grinding them up, then straining them. This milk’s fiber and soy protein may reduce your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. While soy milk isn’t very calorie-dense, eating too many calories from any source might lead to weight gain.
Why is soy superior to milk?
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.