Chew on This

Lots of choices for milk substitutes, but beware of sugar content

About 15 years ago soy was the primary dairy alternative. Then almond milk hit the scene, followed by rice, hemp, coconut, walnut, cashew and oatmeal. The latest arrival is a milk substitute derived from peas.
About 15 years ago soy was the primary dairy alternative. Then almond milk hit the scene, followed by rice, hemp, coconut, walnut, cashew and oatmeal. The latest arrival is a milk substitute derived from peas.

You might not be able to get blood from a stone but after gazing at the ever expanding dairy case I now believe you can get “milk” from anything that grows.

About 15 years ago soy was the primary dairy alternative. Then almond milk hit the scene, followed by rice, hemp, coconut, walnut, cashew and oatmeal. The latest arrival is a milk substitute derived from peas. If this wasn’t confusing enough there are blends of nut milks and products with added flax and omega-3 fatty acids.

Sheah Rarback.jpg
Sheah Rarback

Are all these choices necessary or is this trend being milked? The following suggestions are for people who have chosen to avoid dairy milk. I am not advocating these milks as better for you. But there are people who have either allergies, intolerances or other issues with dairy and these products can fill a nutritional gap. They are an excellent source of calcium and usually a good source for vitamin D.

  • Taste: This is worth repeating. Don’t drink something because you “think it is good for you.” With so many choices, odds are you can find a milk substitute that pleases your palate. Taste away and find one you like.

  • Nutrition: Choose a product that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Almond and coconut milk have almost no protein so if looking for a protein boost, pea protein milks or soy and to a lesser extent oatmeal would be a better choice. Read the nutrition facts label for protein content.

  • Sugar: This is what bothers me the most. So many of these products are loaded with added sugar. Most brands have a chocolate version that has a bit over 4 teaspoons (17 grams) of sugar. For perspective, the recommended amount of added sugar for an adult is 25 grams. Non-chocolate versions have between 1-2 teaspoons of added sugar. Whether it is nut, oat, pea or soy, I recommend the unsweetened vanilla version.
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