These days it is not uncommon for people to look for alternative to their regular cow’s milk, whether it’s because they are lactose intolerant or are quite allergic to dairy products, or if they are looking for lower fat alternatives, even if they could safely consume cow’s milk. In fact, the use of milk alternatives is so prevalent that many might say there really is no “regular” milk anymore.
Regardless of why you want to find an alternative to cow’s milk, it can be confusing for someone first considering the idea. To help make the transition easier, here are details on five of the most popular alternative’s to cow’s milk.
Made from soybeans, you can find soy milk in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. In addition to the original flavour, some brands also offer chocolate, vanilla, or even cappuccino flavour of soy milk. Out of all the alternatives, soy milk is perhaps the most prevalent, and tends to be the first one others might recommend if you want to make the switch, even if you only consume it as a transition to another alternative.
For the most part soy milk is the nutritional equivalent to cow’s milk, though makers often have to fortify it with calcium and vitamins A and D in order for that to happen. Another good thing about soy milk is that just about all varieties have between eight and 10 grams of protein per portion.
However, some report soy milk can cause severe allergic reactions, and some reports indicate the soy in the milk can negatively influence fertility in men and women (thought this also linked to overconsumption).
Next to soy milk, almond milk is the next on the list of most popular cow milk alternatives. As you might expect, it is made from almonds and water. Naturally, this milk alternative contains quite a lot of vitamin E. Some brands even reach half of your recommended daily intake in one cup. Another significant benefit, particularly for those looking to reduce the fat and calories they consume, is how most varieties of almond milk contain only one third of the calories of 2% cow’s milk.
In terms of texture, coconut milk is perhaps the closest to whole cow’s milk, though this is, in part, because it is normally quite high in fat.
It is, however, a great option for those allergic to gluten and soy, since it contains neither. It is also an excellent choice for baked good because of its nutty flavour.
Unfortunately, drawbacks other than the fat content include a lack of nutritional value when compared to cow’s milk.