September 7, 2022

Plant-based Milk: Which One Should You Try?


With the plant-based movement gaining more traction on a daily basis , you might wonder, “what is all the hype around plant-based milk?”. Well, today we’re looking at four of the most popular types of plant-based milk, so you can decide which you want to try first!

There are many types of plant-based milk, and not all of them are nut-based. They are essentially water-based, non-dairy beverages made from a plant extract for flavouring and aroma. While many plant-based kinds of milk, namely soy and almond, were once thought to be exclusive to people with lactose intolerance or vegans, today almost everyone enjoys the occasional cup of plant-based milk, as an additive to a latte, tea, smoothie, or simply on its own.

COW’S MILKOAT MILKMACADAMIA MILKSOY MILKALMOND MILK
CALORIES1481305010030
CARBOHYDRATES (g)12150.581.1
PROTEIN (g)84071.1
FIBRE(g)020.510.7
SUGAR(g)1219060.2
A Table showing the typical nutritional information of a cup of (unsweetened) plant-based milk in comparison to a cup of cow’s milk.

OAT MILK

Oat milk is an ideal additive to your morning cup of coffee or tea. It’s also an ideal substitute for cow’s milk if you are lactose intolerant as it is lactose-free. It has a mild and creamy flavour, making it a good additive to cereals and a lovely treat on its own and goes for about R39,99 a litre. If you have a nut allergy and cannot enjoy a cup of Almond Breeze, oat milk might be the milk for you.

It is also important to note, that while oats themselves are gluten-free, many are cross-contaminated with gluten. Meaning that not all oat milk is gluten-free and therefore not suitable for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease unless certified gluten-free by a third party.

On the positive side, oat milk has a good source of potassium, iron and vitamin B-2. Many manufacturers also add additional vitamins and minerals to oat milk to increase its nutritional value. These vitamins and minerals are great for your overall health, including bone health, digestive health,  blood sugar and cholesterol. 

MACADAMIA MILK

Macadamia milk, a relatively new addition to the nut milk family, has been making waves, both online and in stores, going for around R39,99 a litre. It contains less sugar and calories than cow’s milk and has similar levels of calcium and vitamin D, and has been described to have a thick, smooth, almost fruity flavour.  

It has some of the lowest levels of carbohydrates among plant-based milk and is typically free of carrageenan, an additive used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve food and drinks, which may cause digestive problems. 

Even when compared to low-fat cow’s milk, macadamia is still lower in calories. Many brands of macadamia milk are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D. 

SOY MILK

Soy milk is probably the first milk most people think of when it comes to plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk. It is also the cheapest, going for about R26,99 a litre (depending on the brand). Soy milk first came about as a waste product during the manufacturing of tofu, which is made of soy. When comparing them to other plant-based milk, this one also contains the highest amount of protein. 

Soy milk is high in vitamin B, which is great for maintaining nerve cells and fighting fatigue. It is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some people do not enjoy the taste of soy milk, and manufacturers sometimes add other flavours and sugars to mask the bean-like taste. People looking to reduce their sugar intake should be mindful of these additives. 

ALMOND MILK

Almond milk is also one of the most widely known plant-based alternatives, along with soy milk. A litre of almond milk typically goes for R39,99, depending on where you buy it. There are different flavoured varieties of almond milk and even a barista’s blend, due to it being such a popular alternative to cow’s milk in cafes, and has been known to have a nutty flavour. Many coffee shops have almond milk as their main alternative to cow’s milk.

Almond milk is lactose-free and a good source of magnesium which is helpful when it comes to controlling your blood sugar levels. It also has a low glycemic index, meaning it is less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels. In comparison to cow’s milk, almond milk has less saturated fats and more unsaturated fats, which may help people lose weight and keep it off. 

CONCLUSION

When it comes to plant-based milk, it really is all about choice. Are you a fan of the creaminess of oat milk? Or are you more into the fruitiness of macadamia milk? Or will you choose to ignore the plant-based milk movement and decide to stick to good old-fashioned cow’s milk? The choice is all yours.