Even ten years ago, the milk aisle was nothing like it is now. More people are moving from conventional cow’s milk to milk made from plants like almonds, coconut, peas, cashews, and oats as plant-based diets become more popular (to name a few). Every couple of months, a new type of plant milk appears, contending for the title of “best new type of milk.”
Let’s check out the variants of milk available inside the grocery store for the people.
- Almond milk – Simple yet full of most of the nutrients needed for the human body, almond milk has held up well against some of the more recent substitutes. I believe this is due in part to its simple, mild flavor, which goes well in everything from a cappuccino to a bowl of cereal, and in part to its nutritional profile. The nutritious value of almond milk varies slightly depending on the brand and flavor. Most nutrients, including protein, fat, carbs, and calories, are quite low in almond milk. Although most vitamins and minerals are not found in almond milk, many versions are fortified with vitamin D, B12, and calcium.
- Oat milk – Oat milk, perhaps the newest alternative milk, is created from, you guessed it, oats. Since oats are high in nutrients, particularly heart-healthy soluble fiber, one would hope that some of that nutrition is transferred to oat milk. To some extent, it does. When compared to almond milk, one cup of oat milk includes around 1 gram of soluble fiber and greater protein (about 3 grams per cup). Oat milk has more carbohydrates than other alternative milk products because it’s made from a carbohydrate (oats), with roughly 16 grams per cup. Because of its high nutrient density, oat milk is a hearty and substantial option. It goes well with fruit or a slice of bread as a snack.
- Coconut milk – Coconut milk is excellent in coffee drinks, yogurts, and even on its own with a cookie. Coconut milk is the only alternative milk with saturated fat, which is often found in animal products but is also the predominant fat found in coconuts. Because saturated fat can raise LDL cholesterol levels, I recommend minimizing it or substituting heart-healthy monounsaturated fats whenever possible. Coconut milk is also devoid of protein, so keep that in mind if you want your alternative milk to be a source of protein. Although coconut milk is poor in vitamins and minerals, many kinds are supplemented with vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.