Saturday, 21 July, 2018

What is the healthiest alternative to milk?

DREAM BEAN Soy was the best replacement for the nutritional value in cow's milk DREAM BEAN Soy was the best replacement for the nutritional value in cow's milk
Melissa Porter | 01 February, 2018, 03:01

But when you break down the nutrition facts, dairy-free milks have a hard time competing with traditional cow's milk, mainly due to their difference in protein. Its popularity grew mostly by being commercialized as an alternative for people suffering from lactose intolerance, but today it is enjoyed by a much broader audience.

The down side? Well, let's be honest, soy milk can taste kind of funky (the researcher's refer to the flavor as "beany"), and it contains "ant-nutrients", which can reduce the absorption of all the other good stuff.

Soya "milk" is the healthiest alternative to cow's, new research suggests. That's what researchers from McGill University wanted to find out.

Despite the study's assumption that cow's milk is best, many health experts disgaree.

Let's hear it for soy milk!

The study found that soy was safe (and actually beneficial) to women with breast cancer, with disruption to the sex hormone network and thyroid gland perturbation deemed "unlikely, especially with low isoflavone intakes actually reported in vegetarians".

Coconut milk was described as containing "no protein and few calories, but majority from fat".

Meanwhile, dairy-free coconut beverages have no protein. Among the four plant bases, its calorie count was the highest with 130.

For the, 'But think of the calcium!' brigade, it's interesting to see that cow's milk actually contains the second lowest amount, with coconut containing the least and soy and almond holding joint first place.

Cow's milk and soy were the clear winners in the protein round, with cow's milk having 8.11g protein per serving, and soy trailing just behind at 8g. Milk also helps humans by providing a number of host-defence proteins that can help protect the body against some microbial infections.

But, the researchers note that various pathogens, including Salmonella and E. coli, have been associated with disease outbreaks around the world. Furthermore, lactose intolerance affects anywhere between 10% (in Northern Europe) and 95% (in some parts of Africa and Asia) of a population. This review is one of the few to analyze the nutritional benefits of these drinks and provide useful advice to consumers.

However, while soy may milk be nutritious in itself, researchers had concerns that it contains "anti-nutrients", which can reduce the body's nutrient uptake and digestion.

As regards almond milk, researchers describe it as balanced, with a low calorie content, but advise that a food supplement is essential to obtain essential nutrients. "Hence, when consuming almond milk care should be taken that various essential nutrients are available through other sources in the diet in appropriate quantities".

Soy milk, a popular alternative option for more than four decades, was found to be the most comparable to cow's milk in terms of overall nutrient balance.

Aside from understanding the nutritional value of each milk and comparing their benefits, the researchers say that "more work will need to be done to understand the effects of various conventional and novel processing methods on the nutritional profile, flavor and texture of these alternative milks".