For some individuals, belly and headaches or allergic reactions make a switch from all things dairy to a non-dairy alternative a requisite reality beyond mere curious inquiry or choice. Others may switch from dairy because they like a different taste or texture, or want an additional nutrient that a milk alternative offers. Whatever the reason, there is quite a variety of non-dairy milk to choose from, for morning tea and coffee.
However it can be overwhelming by the amount of choices available nowadays. Amongst the unsweetened, flavoured ones, with/without E-nummers, conservatives and thickeners, which one to choose?
Well I make it simple for you how to choose your milk and how to use best in your tea or coffee.
A side-by-side comparison of the following plant-based milk alternatives (oat, hazelnut, hemp, coconut, cashew, almond, soybean, rice, pea, flaxseed) showed some interesting ingredient similarities and differences based on nutritional value per 200ml serving of beverage.
Compared to 200ml of whole fat, cow milk:
Oat milk has almost as many calories as cow milk (130 vs. 148). Almond, rice, coconut, hemp, and cashew milk are lower in calories.
Most have 25-63% of the fat of cow milk, with the exception of Hemp (8 g)
All are lower in sugar (<3 g) except for Oat and Hazelnut (17 g and 13 g vs. 12 g)
All are lower in protein except Soybean, Pea, and Flaxseed (9 g, 8g, and 8 g. vs. 8 g)
All have comparable sodium except coconut, which is much lower (15 mg vs. 105 mg)
Pea protein milk has more potassium than cow milk (450 vs. 322 mg); soy is comparable (390 mg)
Almond, pea, and flaxseed milk have more calcium than cow milk (560, 560, 450 mg vs. 425 mg)
Did you know that milk is low in iron, and calcium in milk inhibits iron absorption? Your main source of iron should not be the same as that of your calcium. Try consuming your iron source with your vitamin C for better absorption.
How to choose your milk
Avoiding by a plant-based milk which cointains the following ingredients:
Cane Sugar — Many milk substitutes contain added sugar, and it’s often the second listed ingredient (ingredients are listed in the order of most to least amounts in a product). To avoid upwards of six grams of sugar per cup, choose unsweetened.
Carrageenan (E-407) — Carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and added to foods like yogurt, soymilk, and ice cream to thicken them and prevent separation. Some studies have linked carrageenan to inflammation, gut irritation, and even cancer. Some brands have started removing this ingredient per consumer request, but many still use it.
GMOs — Most genetically engineered foods have been created by Monsanto (now Bayer) to withstand Roundup, a widely-used glyphosate-based herbicide they manufacture. Glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. And it’s not just used on GMO crops, like soy. It’s also increasingly being used as a desiccant on non-organic oats, barley, and other cereals to dry the crop out before harvest. The good news is that foods grown organically are GMO and glyphosate-free.
Here’s a very extensive shopping guide to help you avoid products with carrageenan.
My favourite options
Why you should be avoiding dairy at all?
Milk from cows could be bad for your health and the science has already several times proved it. See this website where you will find lots of studies to deepen your knowledge why dairy can be detrimental to your health. Click here to read further