How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk?
- 4.3k Downloads
Due to the issues like lactose intolerance and milk allergy arising from the consumption of cow’s milk, there has been an increased demand in the plant based alternative milks around the world. Food industry has addressed these demands by introducing various milk beverages which are promoted as alternatives coming from plant sources which include almond milk and soy milk. Though they are popularly advertised as healthy and wholesome, little research has been done in understanding the nutritional implications of consuming these milk beverages in short term and long term. Further, consumers associate these alternatives to be a direct substitute of cow’s milk which might not be true in all cases. This review tries to address the issue by outlining the differences between cow’s milk and commercially available alternative milks in terms of their nutrient content. Though various plant based alternate milks have been studied, only the four most consumed milk beverages are presented in this review which are consumed widely around the world. A complete nutritional outline and the corresponding health benefits of consuming these plant based milk beverages have been discussed in detail which could help the consumers make an informed decision.
KeywordsMilk beverages Nutrition Plant based alternative milks Almond milk Soy milk
Dietary Reference Intakes
Estimated Average Requirements
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
United States Department of Agriculture
The authors are grateful to the discovery grant provided by NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) as financial support for the research program.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflict of interest.
- Cuppari C, Manti S, Salpietro A, Dugo G, Gitto E, Arrigo T, Sturiale M, Salpietro C (2015) Almond milk: a potential therapeutic weapon against cows milk protein allergy. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents 29:8–12Google Scholar
- Douglas G (1995) Dairy science and technology education series. University of Guelph, GuelphGoogle Scholar
- Ekanayaka R, Ekanayaka N, Perera B, De Silva P (2013) Impact of a traditional dietary supplement with coconut milk and soya milk on the lipid profile in normal free living subjects. J Nutr MetabGoogle Scholar
- Eshtiaghi MN, Paoplook K (2013) Application of high electric field pulses in coconut milk processing. Int J Agric Innov Res 2:357–362Google Scholar
- Gizzarelli F, Corinti S, Barletta B, Iacovacci P, Brunetto B, Butteroni C, Afferni C, Onori R, Miraglia M, Panzini G, Di Felice G, Tinghino R (2006) Evaluation of allergenicity of genetically modified soybean protein extract in a murine model of oral allergen-specific sensitization. Clin Exp Allergy 36:238–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Loss G, Depner M, Ulfman LH, van Neerven RJJ, Hose AJ, Genuneit J, Karvonen AM, Hyvärinen A, Kaulek V, Roduit C, Weber J, Lauener R, Pfefferle PI, Pekkanen J, Vaarala O, Dalphin J-C, Riedler J, Braun-Fahrländer C, von Mutius E, Ege MJ (2015) Consumption of unprocessed cow’s milk protects infants from common respiratory infections. J Allergy Clin Immunol 135(56–62):e52. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.08.044 Google Scholar
- Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB (2003) Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr 77:1146–1155Google Scholar
- Oxford English Dictionary (OED) (2016) milk, n.1 and adj. Oxford University Press, United KingdomGoogle Scholar
- Qin L, Xu J, Wang P, Tong J, Hoshi K (2007) Milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer in Western countries: evidence from cohort studies. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 16:467Google Scholar
- Salpietro CD, Gangemi S, Briuglia S, Meo A, Merlino MV, Muscolino G, Bisignano G, Trombetta D, Saija A (2005) The almond milk: a new approach to the management of cow-milk allergy/intolerance in infants. Minerva Pediatr 57:173–180Google Scholar
- Sandler RB, Slemenda CW, LaPorte RE, Cauley JA, Schramm MM, Barresi ML, Kriska AM (1985) Postmenopausal bone density and milk consumption in childhood and adolescence. Am J Clin Nutr 42:270–274Google Scholar
- Scrimshaw NS, Murray EB (1988) The acceptability of milk and milk products in populations with a high prevalence of lactose intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr 48:1142–1159Google Scholar
- Stewart H, Dong D, Carlson A (2013) Why are Americans consuming less fluid milk? A look at generational differences in intake frequency. Economic research reportGoogle Scholar
- Swagerty DL Jr, Walling AD, Klein RM (2002) Lactose intolerance. Am Fam Physician 65:1845–1850Google Scholar
- Tavazzi L, Maggioni AP, Marchioli R, Barlera S, Franzosi MG, Latini R, Lucci D, Nicolosi GL, Porcu M, Tognoni G, Gissi HFI (2008) Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with chronic heart failure (the GISSI-HF trial): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet (London, England) 372:1223–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28 (2015) US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. http://www.ars.usda.gov/nea/bhnrc/ndl