Which Plant Based Milk Is Best For You?
Café owners used to blink when people asked for soy milk in their hot drinks, but those days are well and truly gone. With a rise in dairy free and lactose free diets, the list of vegan milk alternatives to dairy grows by the day – from almond to macadamia, from rice to oat.
But what is the best plant based milk? And how can you choose which vegan milk is right for you? Keep reading to find out more from an interview with nutritionist and dietitian, Amanda Muhl!
Is plant based milk better for you?
The nutritional value of plant based milk options vary significantly. Some types of plant milk contain almost the same amount of vitamins and minerals as dairy milk, such as soy milk. However, others do not. For example, coconut milk is low in protein and is considered high in saturated fat, so Amanda advises having this only on an occasional basis.
What plant based milk has the most protein?
“Soy milk is the most comparable to cows’ milk, in terms of energy, protein and nutrient content,” she says. “It also has the highest amount of protein in it, of all the plant milks.”
What is the healthiest plant based milk?
Amanda notes that soy milk is low in saturated fat but has a good amount of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, making it a good choice for someone considering their heart health. Soy milk is also her pick for children, based on its high protein content which kids need for energy and growth.
What plant based milk tastes most like real milk?
"If you don’t like the taste of soy and you’re not looking for a low-energy milk, oat milk is a reasonable one to try,” comments Amanda. “Out of all the plant milks, it has the most fibre and has some B vitamins in it too. Oat milk is second in terms of protein content and actually has a slightly higher energy content than soy milk.”
Which plant based milk is lowest calorie?
Almond milk is probably the vegan alternative we hear about the most often, but Amanda notes that it contains the least amount of energy of all the plant-based milks and is low in protein too. “This is a good one to have if you’re trying to lose a bit of weight or if you’re on a low-energy diet,” she advises. “Just make sure you’re getting enough protein from other sources.”
Is rice milk good for you?
Rice milk has comparable energy levels to soy milk, because of its high carbohydrate content and high amount of natural sugars. “When the rice is processed, the carbohydrates in them break down into sugars,” Amanda explains. “It gives the milk a sweet flavour. However this milk has a high glycemic index, so it isn’t really suitable for diabetics.”
Is plant based milk better for the environment?
All vegan milks have a lighter impact on the environment than dairy products in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, use of water and land.
We hope that this information makes your next plant milk purchase a little less daunting.
For more inspiration or if you're interested in becoming plant-based, check out this plant based recipe book.