Milk is considered wholesome nutrition, as it is a good combination of protein, carbohydrate, fats and various other micronutrient required for maintaining good health. However, choosing the right type of milk considering your health conditions is equally important to benefit from it.
There are various milk alternatives available in the market. Almond, soy, rice, hemp, oats and coconut “milk” are popular plant-based milk alternatives. The nutrient content with respect to type of protein, palatability, composition of amino acids, content of fats and other micronutrient will differ so as the source of milk.
Look at the differences in milk and its alternatives and choose the best suitable option for you. With any variety, opt for unsweetened version, as simple sugar may add up to unnecessary calories.
Read along to understand more about individual milk type:
Soya milk is extracted from soy beans and filter water. As it is a plant based milk derivative, it is cholesterol free, low in saturated fatty acids and lactose free. Suitable for people with lactose allergies. Soya Milk is low in phosphorus, calcium and calories as compare to animal based milk substitutes.
Suitable for people looking for high protein vegan option, weight watchers, Lactose intolerant, deranged lipid profile, Hypertensive, and people struggling with high phosphorus levels
Almond Milk- Natural-
Almond milk is made from grounded or pasted almonds and filtered water. It may contain additives to increase shelf life. People who are allergic to nuts should avoid almond milk. Unsweetened Almond milk provides the least calories as compared to other milk and it is naturally lactose free. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Unlike Almond nuts, almond milk is a poor source of protein and calcium. It is the best available option for the people looking for low potassium and low phosphorus beverage.
Suitable for weight watchers, Lactose intolerant, deranged lipid profile, Hypertensive, restricted protein diet and people with altered kidney functions.
Rice Milk is made from milled brown rice and any water. This is least likely of all milk alternatives to cause any allergy. Rice milk is high in carbohydrate and may not be a very good option for people with diabetes. As like Almond milk, it is very low in protein and may need to include a protein supplement to fulfil the suggested protein requirement. Research has also shown that consumption of rice milk as an alternative to cow’s milk without proper care can result in malnutrition, especially in the case of infants because of the varied difference in the nutrient profile
Suitable for people with protein restricted diet, lactose intolerance or allergies to milk, soy and nuts.
Less in calories as compared to buffalo milk. It also less in carbohydrate and fats, which makes its consumption suitable for elderly population. It is a good source of Protein, calcium and magnesium as compared to plant based milk alternatives. It is also high in potassium and phosphorus.
Suitable for weight watcher, infants and all life styles disorders except for lactose intolerance.
Calorie dense and high in fats as compared to cow’s milk. Low in potassium and phosphorus which makes it a good choice for people on dialysis with low fat mass. People with lactose tolerance and high cholesterol may have to avoid it.
Suitable for people with low fat mass, underweight, high protein diet, restricted potassium and phosphorus diet.
Nutrient content in Plant based and animal based Milk
|Soy Milk Natural||Almond Milk- Natural||Cow Milk||Buffalo Milk||Rice Milk|
|MRP Rs||15/ 100 ml||35/ 100 ml||8.5/ 100 ml||11.4/ 100 ml||298/100 ml|
Overall, the article outlines the nutritional differences among various plant based alternative and animal milk sources.
The factors you need to look for while choosing the type of milk:
- Allergies to any food groups
- Specific nutrient requirement like low in potassium or high in calcium
- Availability of the product
- Fluid Allowance
- Cost per serving
By: Mrinal Pandit, Chief Dietitian, NephroPlus