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Which Milk Substitute Is Most Nutritious?

It’s been a necessity for some and a vogue for many in  recent years, to give up Cow’s Milk in favour of other ‘Milks’, mainly of vegetable origin. If you can’t stomach Cow’s Milk or simply choose not to drink it, you’ll be interested to see how the popular Milk substitutes stack up in nutritional value…

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A recent study of Milk substitutes has yielded some interesting and – for some – dismaying results about their relative nutritional values.

Researchers at McGill University in Montrèal tested Cow’s Milk and four vegetarian substitutes for basic nutrition content and found that Soy Milk is by far the best choice for those those want to avoid Cow’s Milk. Some of the other popular choices are seriously lacking in nutrition…

Here’s what they found…

Soy milk — the most balanced nutritional profile

  • Soy milk is widely consumed for its health benefits linked to the anti-carcinogenic properties of phytonutrients present in the milk known as isoflavones.
  • Has been a substitute for cow’s milk for 4 decades.
  • Concerns, however, are the ‘beany flavor’ and the presence of anti-nutrients (substances that reduce nutrient intake and digestion).

Rice milk — sweet taste and relatively little nutrition

  • Lactose free and can act as an alternative for patients with allergy issues caused by soybeans and almonds.
  • Concerns, apart from the high carbohydrate count, is that consumption of rice milk without proper care can result in malnutrition, especially in infants.

Coconut milk — no protein and few calories, but most of them from fat

  • Widely consumed in Asia and South America
  • Consumption can help reduce levels of harmful low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) that are associated with cardiovascular diseases.
  • Nutritional values are reduced if stored for over 2 months.

Almond milk — need for complementary sources of food to provide essential nutrients

  • Almonds have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that are considered helpful in weight loss and weight management. MUFA also helps in reduction of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).

So there you have it…

Soy milk – the substitute that came out first some forty years ago, is the most nutritious. But Cow’s milk is still the most beneficial, if you can drink it.

~ Maggie J.