Is vegetable milk good for you? (Released in 2021)

The days when the most complex choices you had to make in the milk section of the dairy aisle reduced fat or whole are over. Now you’ll find cartons of dairy-like beverages made from foods you never thought could be “milked,” such as almonds, oats, rice, and peas.

Milk remains the most popular according to retail sales, but non-dairy alternatives reached an estimated $ 2.95 billion last year, up 54% from five years ago, according to market research firm Mintel.

These plant-based alternatives are usually made by soaking legumes, nuts, grains, or other major ingredients and pressing and straining a liquid or “milk”. Many people prefer dairy products because they want or need to avoid them, but others choose them because they believe they are healthier than milk. Some experts encourage consumers to go beyond hype and look at nutrition labeling, because some experts may not be as healthy as they look.

This depends on the type of vegetable milk you drink, whether it is fortified, the number of sugars it contains, and how it fits into your overall diet. For example, even if your drink is white and creamy, don’t assume that vegetable milk contains the same nutrients as cow milk. Also, some sweetened versions can add more sugar than donuts.

“Generally, non-dairy milk is advertised as healthy, but not always,” said Melissa Majumdar, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Nutrition. increase.

Milk is naturally rich in vitamins such as protein, calcium, potassium and B, and is often fortified with vitamin A (naturally found in whole milk) and vitamin D. Milk, not all.

Also, many people do not adequately provide certain important nutrients such as protein, potassium, and vitamin D. Jackie Haven, Deputy Director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy, wrote in an email: All the nutrients needed to replace dairy products. “

That said, non-dairy beverages can be an important alternative for those who are allergic or intolerant to milk, or who avoid dairy products. And as long as you pay attention to nutrition labeling and ensure that you are getting the same essential nutrients that you normally get from real milk, they can be part of a healthy diet.

Megan Lott, nutritionist and deputy director of the Duke University Healthy Eating Research Program, said: “You really need to educate yourself.”

According to market research firm SPINS, the six most popular plant-based milks based on sales data over the past year are almonds, oats, soybeans, coconuts, peas, and rice (excluding blended versions such as coconut almonds). )is.

Here’s how the original or sugar-free versions of each version overlap each other to make whole milk in terms of taste, protein, calories, fat, and other attributes. (Although we used whole milk for comparison because of its increasing popularity in recent years, USDA’s dietary guidelines recommend drinking low-fat and skim milk instead of whole milk. All less than calcium. The version contains Vitamin D.)

Almond milk: According to SPINS, this nut-flavored beverage is the most popular vegetable milk. One cup of the sugar-free version has only 37 calories (about a quarter of the whole milk) and is about 96% less saturated fat. However, in terms of protein, there is nothing comparable to milk (or raw almonds themselves). It’s only about 1 gram compared to the 8 grams found in whole milk. If you have a nut allergy, experts recommend avoiding it as it can cause an allergic reaction.

Oat milk: According to SPINS, sales of this rich, creamy drink have increased by 182% from last year, making it one of the fastest growing vegetable milks.A popular cup Autory!! The original version of the brand has very little saturated fat (0.5 grams) and slightly less calories than whole milk (120 vs 146), but with 7 grams of sugar (not included in plain milk). Contains 3 grams of protein.

One cup contains 2 grams of fiber, but Dr. Edwin McDonald IV, Deputy Director of Adult Clinical Nutrition at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, said not many. “If you’re looking for the health benefits of oatmeal, it’s better to eat oatmeal,” he said. For example, 1 cup of oatmeal contains twice as much fiber as 1 cup of oatmeal. Dietary fiber is important for gut health, cholesterol, blood sugar control, and weight maintenance.

Soy milk: When fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D, soy milk is the only non-dairy milk comparable to milk in terms of nutritional balance, according to dietary guidelines. One cup contains 6 grams of protein, 105 calories, and about 89% less saturated fat than whole milk. Made from soybeans, it has the same viscosity as milk and is a natural source of potassium. “If you’re looking for more nutritionally balanced milk replacers, peas and soy will be the best,” he said. David Ludwig, an endocrinologist and obesity researcher at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

in the meantime There were some concerns There is not enough data to prove the harm and benefits of the estrogen-mimetic compound called isoflavones in soybeans. However, if you are allergic to soy, experts will tell you to avoid it.

Coconut milk: Made from grated coconut meat, naturally sweet, with about half the calories of whole milk, but with very little protein (0.5 grams per cup) and 5 grams of saturated fat. This is about the same amount as whole milk. There are no healthy unsaturated fats. Alice H. Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition and policy at Tufts University, is concerned that coconut fat, like milk fat, can raise levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.

Pea milk: This beverage, sometimes called “vegetable protein milk,” is made from yellow peas. Like other botanical milks made from legumes like soymilk, pea soymilk is high in protein (8 grams per cup) and the sugar-free version has about half the calories of whole milk and only 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Includes. “The only milk other than my favorite dairy product is pea milk,” he said. McDonald’s is a chef trained in lactose intolerance. It’s because of its protein and its texture, which he likens to cow’s milk. It has a slightly creamy and mild taste.

Rice milk: Milk made from brown rice has a naturally sweet taste. It has slightly less calories than whole milk (115 vs. 146 per cup) and is free of saturated fat. However, the protein is very low (0.7 grams per cup). “There seems to be no benefit to rice milk when compared to other plant-based milks,” said Dr. Liechtenstein.

Beverages are also quick to digest carbohydrate, Doctor. According to Ludwig, this can be quickly converted to glucose, spiked insulin, and blood sugar levels, which is a potential concern for people with diabetes and severe insulin resistance.

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