Oat milk is red, soy milk isn’t blue, I’m allergic to dairy…what about you?
As an inductee into the world of dairy free alternatives, (recently found out I have a milk allergy, in addition to my lactose intolerance) my experience thus far has been a science experiment. In order to find out what milk best suits my nutrition requirements and lifestyle, it has taken a little research plus trial and error.
If you google milk substitutes or milk alternatives, what you will find are recipes and milk comparisons, either for or against consumption of milk alternatives. One blog I have found to be most helpful is from realfooduniversity.com, which not only compares the nutrition content, but the anti-nutrients. As an Internet connoisseur, you have to be weary of any ultimatums. The blog author does raise my eyebrow when he cautions against soymilk due to its high content of omega-6 fatty acids. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for human health, although high amounts of omega-6 have been shown to cause inflammation. Therefore, drink soymilk in moderation folks.
Looking at a table comparing nutrition content like this is helpful, but it does not account for a person’s lifestyle. Are you watching your weight, cholesterol, or lead an active lifestyle? If so, the nutrition-content matters and that includes a comparison of the carbohydrates, proteins and cholesterols in each milk alternative.
*Per 1-cup serving **Most store-bought alternative milks are calcium-fortified — Photo Credit Melina Hammer (Cow: Peter Cade)
Here is a color-coded guide I came up with to help with the decision-making process. Each color emphasizes a highlighted benefit:
- Oat Milk – High in fiber and cholesterol free. It is also rich in naturally occurring plant chemicals, called phytochemicals, which help fight heart disease and cancer.
- Hemp Milk – A good source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids that work together to reduce inflammation.
- Almond Milk – It is antioxidant-rich in vitamin E and selenium, which help fight damaging particles, also known as free radicals, that contribute to aging by damaging cell membranes and DNA. Antioxidants neutralize, prevent or reduce the damage caused by free radicals.
- Soy Milk – Is a protein-rich alternative containing 8g per serving. It is the only alternative that can compare to the amount of protein in cow’s milk.
- Rice Milk – With no nuts and no lactose, this might be the solution you are least allergic to! Although keep in mind, it has the highest amounts of sugar and carbohydrates.
- Coconut Milk – It contains beneficial electrolytes and potassium to promote healing. Although it contains high amounts of saturated fats, which are short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids that can be quickly converted to energy instead of stored fat – great for that marathon training you signed up for!
Let me know how helpful this guide was in influencing your dairy free shopping trip!