Nutritional Differences, Health Benefits of Milk Alternatives Examined

Rice milk and coconut milk cannot act as ideal alternatives to cow's milk due to limited nutrient diversity
Rice milk and coconut milk cannot act as ideal alternatives to cow's milk due to limited nutrient diversity

(HealthDay News) — The nutritional differences and health benefits among various plant-based alternative milks are discussed in a review published in the January issue of the Journal of Food Science and Technology.

Sai Kranthi Vanga and Vijaya Raghavan, Ph.D., both from McGill University in Montreal, discuss the nutritional implications of consuming plant-based alternatives to cow's milk products. They focused on almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk as alternatives to cow's milk.

The authors outlined the nutritional differences between cow's milk and plant-based alternatives. Nutritionally, soy milk is the best alternative for replacing cow's milk. However, the flavor and presence of anti-nutrients have encouraged people to look for different alternatives. Almond milk also has a balanced nutrient profile and was found to have a better flavor than soy milk, but it has a lower nutrient density and total number of calories compared to cow's milk. Those who consume almond milk should take care to get appropriate quantities of various essential nutrients from other dietary sources. Rice milk and coconut milk cannot act as ideal alternatives to cow's milk due to limited nutrient diversity. These are options for those who are allergic to soybeans and/or almonds.

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"Further research is needed to understand the effect of various conventional and novel processing methods on the nutrient profile, flavor, and texture of these alternative milks," the authors write.

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