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The Pros and Cons of Alternative Milk

The popularity of alternative milks is on the rise. More grocery stores and coffee shops are carrying a variety of nondairy or plant-based milk alternatives to meet the demand. There are various reasons why people switch to nondairy milk over cow’s milk, from lactose intolerance and allergies to taste preference. There has been some misinformation that all plant-based milk is ‘healthier’ than cow’s milk, and that’s not always the case. We’re going to discuss the pros and cons of popular alternative milks. 

Why People Choose Nondairy Milk

Most people drink nondairy milk due to lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. Alternative milk also fits into a vegan lifestyle and for people who have ethical or environmental concerns. Dairy milk can contain a lot of hormones and pesticides, and can have some adverse effects on overall health. People with conditions like IBS, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative Colitis also avoid dairy milk. However, some people, like myself, just simply prefer the taste of plant-based milk rather than cow’s milk. 

Popular Types of Alternative Milks

These common kinds of milk are typically available in unsweetened, sweetened, or vanilla. We will compare one cup of unsweetened alternative milk versus one cup of regular cow’s milk. 

Dairy milk – 146 calories, 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbs

Oat – 140-170 calories, 4.5-5 grams of fat, 2.5-5 grams of protein, 12-29 grams of carbs. Has more fiber and folic acid than other options but is high in calories and carbs. Good for people with nut or soy allergies. 

Hemp – 60-80 calories, 4.5-8 grams of fat, 2-3 grams of protein, 0-1 gram of carbs. High in omega-3 fatty acids and low in cholesterol and calcium. 

Soy – 80 – 90 calories. 4 grams of fat, 7-9 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs. Highest protein, cholesterol-free, and low in fat. Does contain estrogen, which is a common allergen. 

Almond – 30 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, 2 grams of carbs. Rich in vitamin E, low in calories and sugar

Coconut – 45 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein, >1 gram of carbs. High in potassium and low in carbs and cholesterol; however, lowest in protein. Good for people with gluten or soy allergies.

Rice – 130-140 calories, 2-3 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, 27-38 grams of carbs. High in carbs and calories. Good for people with nut, gluten, or soy allergies. 

Cashew – 25-50 calories, 2-4 grams of fat, 0-1 gram of protein, 1-2 grams of carbs. Typically has Vitamin E & D but little fiber and minerals. Low in sugar and calories, high in calcium. 

Macadamia –  50-55 calories, 4.5-5 grams of fat, 1-5 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs. Good source of monounsaturated fats and Vitamins A & E.

Pros of Milk Alternatives

  • Lower in calories
  • Accommodates a variety of lifestyles and diets
  • Can be made at home
  • Less fat
  • More water content
  • Can be dairy, gluten, and soy free
  • Plenty of options and flavors
  • Some brands have fortified options adding essential vitamins and minerals

Cons of Milk Alternatives

  • More expensive
  • Low in protein (except soy milk)
  • Can have more added sugar
  • Lower in calcium
  • Can have carrageenan and gums

The Bottom Line

While plant-based milk might have a lot of positives, it might not be the right choice for everyone’s dietary needs. A lot of these beverages lack a few vital nutrients. If you are considering switching from cow’s milk to nondairy milk, consult a medical professional to get all the necessary information. When cutting out regular milk, getting the right amount of nutrients can be achieved with peptide and IV therapy if needed. If you’re unsure if your body is getting all the crucial vitamins, a comprehensive stool exam can help evaluate your health. Call BioCure today to learn more about how our services can improve your health.


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