December 2, 2023

Many people no longer drink cow’s milk. They are switching to substitute products based on soy, rice or almonds. Some simply cannot tolerate milk, others think the alternatives are healthier. The FOCUS online comparison shows how healthy the herbal alternatives are.

Whether soy, rice or almond milk: All vegetable drinks are cholesterol-free, purely vegetable and very low in fat. They contain more unsaturated fatty acids than regular milk. With the exception of soy and nut drinks, they have no allergenic potential, but they also contain significantly less protein. Antje Gahl from the German Nutrition Society (DGE) adds: “The nutritional quality of vegetable proteins is also lower than that of animal protein, due to the lower content of essential amino acids.”

The milk substitutes in comparison

Our overview shows what products are in:

Soy drink

Nutrients: If you replace milk with a drink based on soybeans, you have the most comparable alternative to cow’s milk. The proportions of protein, fats and calories are similar.

Calories: about 40-50 kcal / 100 ml

Sugar content: 2-4 g / 100 ml

Fat content: about 2 g / 100 ml

Proteins: 3-4 g / 100 ml

Suitable for Soy-based products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well as for those who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Unsuitable for whom? What speaks against soy milk is that it can cause allergies in sensitive people .

Rice drink

Nutrients: Rice drinks are gluten-free .

Calories: 48 kcal / 100 g

Sugar content: 6.7 g / 100 g

Fat content: 0.1 g / 100 g

Proteins: 0.1 g / 100 g

Suitable for Those who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease can, for example, eat their muesli with rice milk. In addition, products based on rice are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well as for those who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Unsuitable for whom? According to the expert, rice drinks are also unproblematic for allergy sufferers, as they are the lowest allergenic milk substitutes.

Almond drink

Nutrients: The almond variant of the milk alternative is very low in fat, but in contrast to cow’s milk contains hardly any protein. The exact composition differs depending on the manufacturer.

Calories: about 25 kcal / 100 ml (47 kcal / 100 g)

Sugar content: about 3 g / 100 ml

Fat content: about 1 g / 100 ml (3.5 g / 100 g)

Proteins: about 0.5 g / 100 ml (1.4 g / 100 g)

Suitable for Almond-based products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Almond milk is also a good alternative for those who want to eat lactose or gluten-free.

Unsuitable for whom? Almond drinks usually contain hardly any almonds, namely only two percent. But this milk alternative is still not recommended for almond and nut allergy sufferers.

Cover calcium needs without cow’s milk

Milk and dairy products are important for a balanced diet, says nutritionist Gahl. The body can also lack iodine, vitamins B2 and B12 if milk and milk products are not consumed.

If you still want alternatives to milk, you should make sure that calcium is added (120 mg / 100 g), which the body needs for bone structure. Alternatively, you can cover your calcium needs with other foods. Good nutrient suppliers are here:

  • Calcium-containing mineral waters
  • Almonds, hazelnuts
  • Kale
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • legumes

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