Cow’s milk is considered a staple in many people’s diets. It is consumed as a drink, poured onto cereal flakes and smoothies, tea or coffee added.
Although popular with many people, some people may or may not want to drink milk due to personal preferences, diet restrictions, allergies, or intolerances.
Fortunately, if you want to avoid cow’s milk, there are many alternatives that do not contain milk. This article lists nine of the best alternatives for cow’s milk.
Why a milk substitute at all?
Many times cow’s milk also brings contradiction with many diet plans. Like many low carb diet. And it is true that foods with many health benefits are not good for different weight loss plans. Such as- agave syrup.
If you ask us- is agave good for health? Our answer will be yes, of course. But if you ask us- is agave keto? Unfortunately, our answer will be no. Cow’s milk also have some issues like that.
Cow’s milk has an impressive nutrient profile. It is rich in high-quality protein and important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins.
In fact, a cup (240 ml) of whole milk provides 146 calories, 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbohydrates.
However, cow’s milk is not suitable for everyone. There are several reasons why you are looking for an alternative, among others
- Milk allergy: 2-3% of children under three years of age are allergic to cow’s milk. This can cause a number of symptoms such as rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and severe anaphylaxis. About 80% of children grow beyond this allergy by the age of 16.
- Lactose intolerance: An estimated 75% of the world’s population is intolerant of lactose, the sugar contained in milk. This condition occurs when people are deficient in lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose.
- Dietary restrictions: Some people choose to exclude animal products from their diet for ethical or health reasons. For example, vegans exclude all products that come from animals, including cow’s milk.
- Potential Health Risks: Some people choose to avoid cow’s milk due to concerns about possible contaminants, including antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones.
The good news is that there are many non-milk options if you want to or need to avoid cow’s milk. Read on for some great recommendations.
1. Soy milk
Soy milk is made from either soybeans or soy protein isolate and often contains thickeners and vegetable oils to improve taste and texture.
It typically has a mild and creamy taste. However, the taste can vary from brand to brand. It is best used as a substitute for cow’s milk in hearty dishes, with coffee or on cereal flakes.
A cup (240 ml) of unsweetened soy milk contains 80-90 calories, 4-4.5 grams of fat, 7-9 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
In terms of nutrition, soy milk is a close, milk-free substitute for cow’s milk. It contains a similar amount of protein, but about half the calories, fats, and carbohydrates.
It is also one of the few vegetable sources of high quality “complete” protein that provides all the essential amino acids. These are the amino acids that the body cannot produce itself and that must be ingested through food.
On the other hand, soy has become one of the most controversial foods in the world, and people are often concerned about its effects on the body.
This is mainly due to the large amounts of isoflavones in soy. These can affect the estrogen receptors in the body and impair the functioning of the hormones.
Although this topic is widely discussed, there is no conclusive evidence that moderate amounts of soy or soy milk can do harm to otherwise healthy adults.
Soy milk is made from whole soybeans or soy protein isolate. It has a creamy, mild taste and is most similar in diet to cow’s milk. Soy milk is often considered controversial, although moderate consumption of soy milk is unlikely to cause harm.
2. Almond milk
Almond milk is made either from whole almonds or from almond butter and water.
It has a light texture and a slightly sweet and nutty taste. It can be added to coffee and tea, mixed in smoothies and used as a substitute for cow’s milk in desserts and baked goods.
A cup (240 ml) of unsweetened almond milk contains 30-35 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.
Compared to cow’s milk, it contains less than a quarter of the calories and less than half of the fat. It also contains significantly less protein and carbohydrates.
It is one of the lowest calorie non-dairy dairy products on the market and is a great option for those who want or need to reduce the number of calories they consume.
In addition, almond milk is a natural source of vitamin E, a group of antioxidants that help protect the body from disease-causing substances called free radicals.
On the other hand, almond milk is a much less concentrated source of the beneficial nutrients found in whole almonds, including protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
This is because almond milk mainly consists of water. In fact, many brands only contain 2% almonds. These are often blanched, removing the skin, which greatly reduces the amount of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
To make the most of the nutrients and health benefits of almonds, you should choose almond milk brands that have a higher almond content of around 7-15%.
Almonds also contain phytic acid, a substance that binds to iron, zinc, and calcium to reduce their absorption into the body. This can somewhat reduce the absorption of these nutrients from almond milk into the body.
Almond milk has a light, sweet, nutty taste and is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. On the other hand, it is low in protein and contains phytic acid, a substance that limits the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium.
3. Coconut milk
Coconut milk is made from water and the white pulp of brown coconuts.
It is sold in cartons with milk and is a more dilute version of the coconut milk commonly used in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine, which is usually sold in cans.
Coconut milk has a creamy texture and a sweet but subtle coconut taste. A cup (240 ml) contains 45 calories, 4 grams of fat, no protein and almost no carbohydrates.
Coconut milk contains a third of the calories from cow’s milk, half of the fat and significantly less protein and carbohydrates.
In fact, coconut milk has the lowest protein and carbohydrate content among non-dairy milk products. It may not be the best option for people with high protein needs, but it would be suitable for those who want to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
In addition, about 90% of the calories from coconut milk come from saturated fats, including a type of saturated fat known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Some research suggests that MCTs can decrease appetite, aid weight loss, and improve blood cholesterol levels more than other fats.
On the other hand, a recent review of 21 studies found that coconut oil can increase total cholesterol and ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels more than unsaturated oils.
Much of this research, however, is based on poor quality evidence, and there is very little research into the effects of coconut milk in particular. Ultimately, eating a moderate amount of coconut milk as part of a healthy diet should not be a cause for concern.
Coconut milk has a creamy, milk-like consistency and a sweet, coconut-like taste. It contains no protein, little to no carbohydrates and is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), a type of saturated fat.
4. Oat milk
In its simplest form, oat milk is made from a mixture of oats and water. However, manufacturers often add additional ingredients such as rubber, oils and salt to achieve the desired taste and texture.
Oat milk is naturally sweet and mild in taste. Like cow’s milk, it can be used for cooking and tastes great with cereals or in smoothies.
A cup (240 ml) contains 140-170 calories, 4.5-5 grams of fat, 2.5-5 grams of protein and 19-29 grams of carbohydrates.
Oat milk contains a number of calories similar to that of cow’s milk, up to twice as many carbohydrates and about half the amount of protein and fat.
Interestingly, oat milk is rich in total fiber and beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that forms a thick gel as it passes through the intestine.
The beta-glucan gel binds to cholesterol, reducing its absorption into the body. This helps lower cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, the type that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
A study in men with high cholesterol found that eating 750 ml of oat milk daily for 5 weeks reduced total cholesterol by 3% and LDL cholesterol by 5%.
In addition, research has shown that beta-glucan can help to increase satiety and lower blood sugar levels after a meal.
Oat milk is also cheap and easy to make at home.
Oat milk has a mild, sweet taste. It is high in protein and fiber, but also high in calories and carbohydrates. Oat milk contains beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
5. Rice milk
Rice milk is made from ground white or brown rice and water. Like other milk-free milk, it often contains thickeners to improve texture and taste.
Rice milk is the least allergenic among non-dairy milk products. This makes them a safe option for people with allergies or intolerance to milk, gluten, soy or nuts.
Rice milk is mild in taste and naturally sweet in aroma. It has a slightly watery consistency and can be drunk very well both alone and in smoothies, in desserts and with oatmeal.
A cup (240 ml) of rice milk contains 130-140 calories, 2-3 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 27-38 grams of carbohydrates.
Rice milk contains as many calories as cow’s milk, but almost twice as many carbohydrates. It also contains significantly less protein and fat.
Of all the non-milk substitutes on this list, rice milk contains the most carbohydrates – about three times as many as the others.
In addition, rice milk has a high glycemic index (GI) of 79-92, which means that it is quickly absorbed in the intestine and rapidly increases blood sugar levels. Because of this, it may not be the best option for people with diabetes.
Because of their low protein content, rice milk may not be the best option for growing children, athletes, and the elderly. This is because these populations have a higher protein requirement.
Rice milk has also been shown to contain a high level of inorganic arsenic, a toxic chemical that occurs naturally in the environment.
Long-term exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic has been associated with an increased risk of various health problems, including certain cancers and heart diseases.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people eat rice as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of grains. Exclusive consumption of rice and rice products is not recommended, especially for infants, young children and pregnant women.
For most people, eating rice milk shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, if rice happens to be a significant part of your diet, it may be beneficial to diversify your diet by eating different grains, including other dairy-free dairy products.
Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic milk-free milk. It is low in fat and protein, but rich in carbohydrates. Rice milk contains a high level of inorganic arsenic, which can lead to some potential health problems for those who eat rice as their main food source.
6. Cashew milk
Cashew milk is made from a mixture of cashew nuts or cashew butter and water.
It is rich and creamy and has a sweet and subtle nutty taste. It is ideal for thickening smoothies, as a coffee cream in coffee and as a replacement for cow’s milk in desserts.
As with most nut-based dairy products, the nut pulp is strained from the milk. This means that the fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals are lost from the whole cashew.
A cup (240 ml) of unsweetened cashew milk contains only 25-50 calories, 2-4 grams of fat, 0-1 gram of protein and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.
Cashew milk contains less than a third of the calories from cow’s milk, half of the fat and significantly less protein and carbohydrates.
Due to their low protein content, cashew milk may not be the best option for people with high protein needs.
It might be worth switching to a higher protein milk like soy or oat if you have a high protein requirement or if you have difficulty meeting your daily protein needs.
With only 25-50 calories per cup (240 ml), however, unsweetened cashew milk is a great, low-calorie option for those who want to reduce their total daily calorie intake.
The low carbohydrate and sugar content also makes it a suitable option for people who need to monitor their carbohydrate intake, such as people with diabetes.
Finally, cashew milk is one of the easiest types of milk to prepare at home.
Cashew milk has a rich and creamy taste and is low in calories, carbohydrates and sugar. The downside is that it contains very little protein and may not be the best option for people with higher protein needs.
7. Macadamia milk
Macadamia milk is mainly made from water and about 3% macadamia nuts. It is relatively new to the market and most brands are made in Australia using Australian macadamias.
It has a richer, softer and creamier taste than most milk-free dairy products and tastes great on its own as well as in coffee and smoothies.
A cup (240 ml) contains 50-55 calories, 4.5-5 grams of fat, 1-5 grams of protein and 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Macadamia milk contains a third of the calories and about half the fat of cow’s milk. It also contains a little less protein and carbohydrates.
It is very low in calories, with only 50-55 calories per cup (240 ml). This makes it a great option for those trying to reduce their calorie intake.
The low carbohydrate content also makes it a suitable option for people with diabetes or those who want to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
In addition, macadamia milk at 3.8 grams per cup (240 ml) is an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
Increased intake of monounsaturated fatty acids can help lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease, especially if it replaces some saturated fatty acids or carbohydrates in your diet.
Macadamia milk is a relatively new milk on the market. It is made from macadamia nuts and has a rich, creamy taste. Macadamia milk has a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and is low in calories and carbohydrates.
8. Hemp milk
Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. This is the same way that the cannabis drug, also known as marijuana, is made.
Unlike marijuana, hemp seeds contain only traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for the mind-altering effects of marijuana.
Hemp milk has a slightly sweet, nutty taste and a thin, watery texture. It is best used as a replacement for lighter milk types such as skimmed milk.
A cup (240 ml) of unsweetened hemp milk contains 60-80 calories, 4.5-8 grams of fat, 2-3 grams of protein and 0-1 grams of carbohydrates.
Hemp milk contains a similar amount of fat as cow’s milk, but about half the calories and protein. It also contains significantly less carbohydrates.
It’s a great option for vegans and vegetarians, as a jar contains 2-3 grams of high quality, complete protein with all the essential amino acids.
Hemp milk is also a source of two essential fatty acids: the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid. Your body cannot make the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids itself, so you need to get them from food.
Finally, unsweetened hemp milk is very low in carbohydrates, making it a great option for those who want to reduce their carbohydrate intake. If this is a priority for you, avoid sweetened strains as they can contain up to 20 grams of carbohydrates per cup (240 ml).
Hemp milk has a thin, watery texture and a sweet and nutty taste. It is low in calories and contains little to no carbohydrates. Hemp milk is an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans as it is a source of high quality protein and two essential fatty acids.
9. Quinoa milk
Quinoa milk is made from water and quinoa, an edible seed that is commonly prepared and consumed as a cereal.
The whole quinoa grain is very nutritious, gluten-free and rich in high-quality protein.
While quinoa has become a very popular “superfood” in recent years, quinoa milk is relatively new to the market.
For this reason, it is slightly more expensive than other milk-free milk and can be a little more difficult to find on supermarket shelves.
Quinoa milk is slightly sweet and nutty and has a pronounced quinoa taste. It works best when poured on cereals and in warm porridge.
A cup (240 ml) contains 70 calories, 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates.
Quinoa milk contains a number of carbohydrates similar to cow’s milk, but less than half the calories. It also contains significantly less fat and protein.
It consists mainly of water and contains 5-10% quinoa. This means that most proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals are diluted from quinoa.
Compared to other non-dairy milk products, it has a fairly balanced nutritional profile. It is comparatively low in fat with moderate amounts of protein, calories and carbohydrates.
Quinoa milk is a good vegetable source of complete protein for vegetarians and vegans. If it is available at your local supermarket, it may be worth trying.
Quinoa milk has a distinctive taste and is slightly sweet and nutty. Compared to other non-dairy milk products, it contains a moderate number of calories, protein and carbohydrates. It is a good option for vegetarians and vegans as it contains high quality protein.
What should be considered when replacing milk?
Since there is a large selection of dairy-free dairy products on supermarket shelves, it can be difficult to know which one is best.
Here are a few important things to consider:
- Additional sugar: Sugar is often added to improve taste and texture. Stick with unsweetened varieties versus flavored varieties and try to avoid brands that list sugar as one of the first three ingredients.
- Calcium content: Cow’s milk is rich in calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and for the prevention of osteoporosis. Most non-dairy dairy products are enriched with it, so choose one that contains at least 120 mg calcium per 100 ml (3.4 ounces).
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal products and is essential for a healthy brain and immune system. People who limit or avoid animal products in their diet should choose milk that is fortified with B12.
- Cost: Milk replacement is often more expensive than cow’s milk. To save costs, try to make plant-based milk at home. A disadvantage of making your own milk, however, is that it is not enriched with calcium and vitamin B12.
- Additives: Some non-milk dairy products may contain additives such as carrageenan and vegetable gums to achieve a thick and smooth texture. While these additives aren’t necessarily unhealthy, some people prefer to avoid them.
- Dietary needs: Some people have allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients in vegetable milk, such as gluten, nuts and soy. Be sure to pay attention to the labels if you have an allergy or intolerance.
When choosing a cow’s milk alternative, there are a few things to consider, including nutritional content, added sugar, and additives. Reading food labels will help you understand what is in the milk.
Cow milk is a staple food for many people.
However, there are a number of reasons why you should or want to avoid cow’s milk, including allergies, ethical reasons, and concerns about possible health risks.
Fortunately, there are many great alternatives, including the nine in this list.
When choosing, make sure to stick to unsweetened varieties and avoid adding sugar. Also make sure that the milk substitute is enriched with calcium and vitamin B12.
There is no milk that is ideal for everyone. The taste, diet, and cost of these alternatives can vary widely, so it may take a while to find the best.