Is plant-based milk healthier than cow’s milk? Should people make the switch? If you drink milk, there's really no reason to switch to plant-based options. Milk is a good dietary source of essential vitamins and minerals. A serving of milk contains calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and many micronutrients needed in your diet. That said, there is no nutritional requirement that you have to drink milk or specifically eat dairy products. In the past, experts recommended eating dairy products to build bones and prevent fractures. As it turns out, there's not very strong evidence that drinking a lot of milk or eating dairy products has no real benefit in reducing your risk.
If you want to switch to plant-based dairy, or have a allergy to milk or lactose, you can get the same nutrients by choosing the right plant-based dairy. For further assurance, you may want to take a calcium supplement.
If you want to switch to plant-based dairy products, how should you choose a plant-based milk?
Nutritional-wise, the quality of plant-based milks varies greatly. Some contain essentially the same amounts of vitamins and minerals as milk; Others fall far short. For example, many almond milks have much less protein than cow's milk. If you're switching to plant-based milk, be sure to read labels and find products that contain plenty of protein, vitamin D, iron, and calcium. Ideally, aim for milk with at least 8 or 9 grams of protein per serving.
Some plant-based milks also have a big drawback: they don’t taste good.
Manufacturers try to solve this problem by pouring in sugar and other additives that you should avoid. So when you read labels, also look for a plant-based milk that's low in added sugar.
Ideally, encourage eating less than 30 to 45 grams of sugar per day (approximately 12 teaspoons). However, many experts recommend sticking to no more than 25 grams. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, you want to consume no more than 200 calories of sugar per day.
Are there other reasons to switch to plant-based milk alternatives?
Plant-based milk is better than cow's milk when it comes to the environment. Plant-based products are less taxing on the environment than animal-based products. So if you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, plant-based methods may be the way to go.
How about soy milk? Is there any reason to avoid it?
Worryingly, soy contains isoflavones (phytoestrogens similar to human estrogen), which may contribute to breast cancer and endocrine disorders. The main concern with soy is for people who are allergic to soy products. This is certainly something to avoid if you have allergies.
Are there other health reasons that may support switching?
Although higher dairy intake is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer, some studies have linked it to a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer and higher rates of ovarian cancer,< /span>But the evidence is not very sufficient. Until more information is available, there are no official recommendations based on the study results for people to eat more or less dairy. However, if you or a family member are at high risk for any of these diseases, you may want to discuss with your doctor whether your diet may affect your own likelihood of developing cancer.