Closest substitute for milk: Cow’s milk is taken into account a staple in many people’s diets. It is consumed as a beverage, poured on cereal and added to smoothies, tea or coffee.
While it’s a popular alternative for many, some people can’t or select to not drink milk due to private preferences, dietary restrictions, allergic reactions or intolerances.
Fortunately, should you’re seeking to keep away from cow’s milk, there are lots of nondairy alternate options out there. This article lists 9 of the best substitutes for cow’s milk.
Why You Might Want a Substitute (Closest substitute for milk)
Cow’s milk boasts an spectacular nutrient profile. It’s rich in high-quality protein and vital vitamins and minerals, together with calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins.
In reality, 1 cup (240 ml) of whole milk gives 146 calories, 8 grams of fats, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbohydrates (1).
However, cow’s milk just isn’t an acceptable choice for everybody. There are a number of causes you may be trying for an different, together with:
- Milk allergy: 2–3% of children
under the age of three are allergic to cow’s milk. This may cause a range
of signs, together with rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and extreme anaphylaxis.
Around 80% of children outgrow this allergy by age 16 (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
- Lactose intolerance: An estimated
75% of the world’s population is intolerant to lactose, the sugar found in
milk. This condition occurs when people have a deficiency in lactase, the
enzyme that digests lactose (4Trusted Source).
- Dietary restrictions: Some people
select to exclude animal products from their diets for moral or health
causes. For instance, vegans exclude all products that come from animals,
including cow’s milk.
- Potential health
Some people select to keep away from cow’s milk due to considerations over potential
contaminants, together with antibiotics, pesticides and hormones (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
The excellent news is that there are lots of nondairy choices out there if you would like or have to keep away from cow’s milk. Read on for a couple of nice recommendations.
1. Soy Milk
Soy milk is made with both soybeans or soy protein isolate, and typically contains thickeners and vegetable oils to improve taste and consistency.
It sometimes has a mild and creamy taste. However, the taste can range between brands. It works best as an alternative for cow’s milk in savory dishes, with coffee or on high of cereal.
One cup (240 ml) of unsweetened soy milk contains 80–90 calories, 4–4.5 grams of fats, 7–9 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates (8, 9).
In phrases of nutrition, soy milk is an in depth nondairy substitute for cow’s milk. It contains an identical amount of protein, but round half the number of calories, fat and carbohydrates.
It is also one of the few plant-based sources of high-quality “complete” protein, which gives all of the important amino acids. These are the amino acids that can’t be produced by the body and should be obtained from the diet (10Trusted Source).
On the opposite hand, soy has change into one of the world’s most controversial foods, and people are sometimes involved over its results in the body.
This is mostly as a result of of the large quantities of isoflavones in soy. These can have an effect on estrogen receptors in the body and have an effect on the perform of hormones (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
While this subject is broadly debated, there isn’t a conclusive proof to counsel that reasonable quantities of soy or soy milk will trigger hurt in in any other case healthy adults (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Lastly, soy milk made from soybeans just isn’t beneficial for people with a FODMAP intolerance or who’re in the elimination section of the low-FODMAP diet.
FODMAPs are a kind of short-chain carbohydrate naturally current in some foods. They may cause digestive points such as gas and bloating.
However, soy milk made from soy protein isolate could be consumed as an different.
Summary Soy milk is made from
whole soybeans or soy protein isolate. It has a creamy, mild taste and is the
most related in nutrition to cow’s milk. Soy milk is commonly seen as
controversial, although ingesting soy milk in moderation is unlikely to cause
2. Almond Milk
Almond milk is made with both whole almonds or almond butter and water.
It has a light-weight texture and a barely sweet and nutty taste. It could be added to coffee and tea, combined in smoothies and used as an alternative for cow’s milk in desserts and baked items.
One cup (240 ml) of unsweetened almond milk contains 30–35 calories, 2.5 grams of fats, 1 gram of protein and 1–2 grams of carbohydrates (16, 17).
Compared to cow’s milk, it contains lower than 1 / 4 of the calories and lower than half the fats. It is also considerably lower in protein and carbohydrates.
It is one of the lowest-calorie nondairy milks out there and is a good choice for these wanting or needing to lower the number of calories they’re consuming.
What’s extra, almond milk is a pure supply of vitamin E, a gaggle of antioxidants that assist shield the body from disease-causing substances generally known as free radicals.
On the opposite hand, almond milk is a much much less concentrated supply of the useful nutrients found in whole almonds, together with protein, fiber and healthy fat.
This is as a result of almond milk is made up of mostly water. In reality, many brands contain solely 2% almonds. These are sometimes blanched with the skin eliminated, which enormously reduces the fiber, protein, vitamin and mineral content material.
To take advantage of of the nutrients and health advantages of almonds, select brands of almond milk that contain a better content material of almonds, round 7–15%.
Almonds also contain phytic acid, a substance that binds to iron, zinc and calcium to reduce their absorption in the body. This might considerably lower your body’s absorption of these nutrients from almond milk (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Summary Almond milk has a light-weight, sweet, nutty taste and is low in
calories, fats and carbohydrates. On the draw back, it’s low in protein and
contains phytic acid, a substance that limits the absorption of iron, zinc and
3. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is made from water and the white flesh of brown coconuts.
It is bought in cartons alongside milk and is a extra diluted model of the kind of coconut milk generally used in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines, which is normally bought in cans.
Coconut milk has a creamy texture and a sweet but delicate coconut taste. One cup (240 ml) contains 45 calories, 4 grams of fats, no protein and virtually no carbohydrates (20, 21).
Coconut milk contains one-third the calories of cow’s milk, half the fats and considerably much less protein and carbohydrates.
In reality, coconut milk has the bottom protein and carbohydrate content material of the nondairy milks. It is probably not the best choice for these with increased protein necessities, but it will swimsuit these seeking to reduce their carb intake.
What’s extra, round 90% of the calories from coconut milk come from saturated fats, together with a kind of saturated fats generally known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Some analysis means that MCTs might assist reduce urge for food, help with weight loss and improve blood cholesterol levels more than different fat (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
On the opposite hand, a latest overview of 21 studies found that coconut oil might elevate levels of whole and “bad” low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to a larger extent than unsaturated oils (26Trusted Source).
However, much of this analysis is based on poor-quality proof and there may be little or no analysis on the effects of coconut milk particularly. At the top of the day, consuming a reasonable amount of coconut milk as half of a healthy diet shouldn’t be a trigger for concern.
Lastly, it is suggested that people with a FODMAP intolerance, or those that are finishing the elimination section of the FODMAP diet, restrict coconut milk to a 1/2-cup (120-ml) portion at a time.
Summary Coconut milk has a
creamy, milk-like consistency and a sweet, coconut taste. It contains no
protein, little to no carbohydrates and is high in medium-chain triglycerides
(MCTs), a kind of saturated fats.
4. Oat Milk
In its easiest kind, oat milk is made from a combination of oats and water. Nevertheless, producers typically add additional ingredients such as gums, oils and salt to supply a fascinating taste and texture.
Oat milk is of course sweet and mild in taste. It can be utilized in cooking in the identical way as cow’s milk, and tastes nice with cereal or in smoothies.
One cup (240 ml) contains 140–170 calories, 4.5–5 grams of fats, 2.5–5 grams of protein and 19–29 grams of carbohydrates (27, 28).
Oat milk contains an identical number of calories to cow’s milk, as much as double the number of carbohydrates and about half the amount of protein and fats.
Interestingly, oat milk is high in whole fiber and beta-glucan, a kind of soluble fiber that types a thick gel because it passes through the gut.
The beta-glucan gel binds to cholesterol, reducing its absorption in the body. This helps lower cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol, the kind related to an increased risk of heart disease (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source).
One examine in males with high cholesterol found that consuming 25 ounces (750 ml) of oat milk each day for 5 weeks lowered whole cholesterol by 3% and LDL cholesterol by 5% (32Trusted Source).
What’s extra, analysis has proven that beta-glucan might assist increase emotions of fullness and lower blood sugar levels after a meal (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
Oat milk is also low-cost and easy to make at home.
Summary 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 may also help lower cholesterol
and blood sugar levels.
5. Rice Milk
Rice milk is made from milled white or brown rice and water. As with different nondairy milks, it typically contains thickeners to improve texture and taste.
Rice milk is the least allergenic of the nondairy milks. This makes it a protected choice for these with allergies or intolerances to dairy, gluten, soy or nuts.
Rice milk is mild in taste and naturally sweet in taste. It has a barely watery consistency and is nice to drink by itself in addition to in smoothies, in desserts and with oatmeal.
One cup (240 ml) of rice milk contains 130–140 calories, 2–3 grams of fats, 1 gram of protein and 27–38 grams of carbohydrates (36, 37).
Rice milk contains an identical number of calories to cow’s milk, but virtually double the carbohydrates. It also contains significantly much less protein and fats.
Of all of the nondairy milk alternate options on this listing, rice milk contains essentially the most carbohydrates — round three times as many because the others.
What’s extra, rice milk has a high glycemic index (GI) of 79–92, which suggests it’s absorbed rapidly in the gut and quickly raises blood sugar levels. For this purpose, it is probably not the best choice for people with diabetes.
Due to its low protein content material, rice milk might also not be the best choice for rising children, athletes and the aged. This is as a result of these populations have increased protein necessities.
Rice milk has also been proven to contain high levels of inorganic arsenic, a poisonous chemical found naturally in the surroundings (38Trusted Source).
Long-term publicity to high levels of inorganic arsenic has been related to an increased risk of various health issues, together with sure cancers and heart disease (39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people eat rice as half of a balanced diet that includes a spread of grains. Solely counting on rice and rice products just isn’t suggested, particularly for infants, toddlers and pregnant ladies (42Trusted Source).
For most people, ingesting rice milk shouldn’t be a trigger for concern. However, if rice occurs to make up a major half of your diet, then it might be useful to diversify your diet by eating a spread of grains, together with different nondairy milks.
Summary Rice milk is essentially the most hypoallergenic nondairy
milk. It is low in fats and protein but high in carbohydrates. Rice milk
contains high levels of inorganic arsenic, which can trigger some potential
health issues in those that eat rice as a most important food supply.
6. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is made from a combination of cashew nuts or cashew butter and water.
It is rich and creamy and has a sweet and delicate nutty taste. It’s nice for thickening smoothies, as a creamer in coffee and as an alternative for cow’s milk in desserts.
As with most nut-based milks, the nut pulp is strained from the milk. This means the fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals from the whole cashew are lost.
One cup (240 ml) of unsweetened cashew milk contains simply 25–50 calories, 2–4 grams of fats, 0–1 gram of protein and 1–2 grams of carbohydrates (43, 44).
Cashew milk contains fewer than one third of the calories of cow’s milk, half the fats and considerably much less protein and carbohydrates.
Due to its low protein content material, cashew milk is probably not the best choice for people with increased protein necessities.
It might be price switching to a higher-protein milk such as soy or oat if in case you have increased protein wants, or should you battle to fulfill your each day protein necessities.
However, with solely 25–50 calories per cup (240 ml), unsweetened cashew milk is a good, low-calorie choice for these seeking to reduce their total daily calorie intake.
The low carbohydrate and sugar content material also makes it an acceptable choice for people who want to watch their carb intakes, such as people with diabetes.
Lastly, cashew milk is one of the best milks to make at home.
Summary Cashew milk has a rich and creamy taste and is
low in calories, carbohydrates and sugar. On the draw back, it contains very
little protein, and is probably not the best choice for these with increased protein
7. Macadamia Milk
Macadamia milk is made mostly of water and about 3% macadamia nuts. It’s pretty new to the market, and most brands are made in Australia using Australian macadamias.
It has a richer, smoother and creamier taste than most nondairy milks, and tastes nice by itself or in coffee and smoothies.
One cup (240 ml) contains 50–55 calories, 4.5–5 grams of fats, 1–5 grams of protein and 1 gram of carbohydrates (45, 46).
Macadamia milk contains one third the calories and about half the fats of cow’s milk. It is also considerably lower in protein and carbohydrates.
It may be very low in calories, with solely 50–55 calories per cup (240 ml). This makes it an ideal choice for these trying to reduce their calorie intake.
The low carbohydrate content material also makes it an acceptable choice for people with diabetes or these seeking to reduce their carb intake.
What’s extra, macadamia milk is a good supply of healthy monounsaturated fats, with 3.8 grams per cup (240 ml).
Increasing your intake of monounsaturated fat might assist reduce blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, particularly if it replaces some saturated fats or carbohydrates in your diet (47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source).
Summary Macadamia milk is a relatively new milk to the market. It’s made
from macadamia nuts and has a rich, creamy taste. Macadamia milk is high in
monounsaturated fat and low in calories and carbohydrates.
8. Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. This is similar species used to make the drug hashish, also generally known as marijuana.
Unlike marijuana, hemp seeds contain solely hint quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical accountable for marijuana’s mind-altering results (51Trusted Source).
Hemp milk has a barely sweet, nutty taste and a skinny, watery texture. It works best as an alternative for lighter milks such as skim milk.
One cup (240 ml) of unsweetened hemp milk contains 60–80 calories, 4.5–8 grams of fats, 2–3 grams of protein and 0–1 gram of carbohydrates (52, 53).
Hemp milk contains an identical amount of fats to cow’s milk, but round half the calories and protein. It also contains considerably fewer carbohydrates.
It is an effective choice for vegans and vegetarians, since one glass gives 2–3 grams of high high quality, full protein, with all of the important amino acids.
What’s extra, hemp milk is a supply of two important fatty acids: the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid. Your body can not make omega-3s and omega-6s, so you could receive them from foods (54).
Lastly, unsweetened hemp milk may be very low in carbohydrates, making it an ideal choice for those that wish to reduce their carb intake. If it is a precedence for you, keep away from sweetened varieties as a result of they will contain as much as 20 grams of carbs per cup (240 ml) (55).
Summary Hemp milk has a skinny, watery texture and a
sweet and nutty taste. It is low in calories and contains little to no carbs.
Hemp milk is a good choice for vegetarians and vegans as a result of it’s a supply
of high-quality protein and two important fatty acids.
9. Quinoa Milk
Quinoa milk is made from water and quinoa, an edible seed that’s generally ready and consumed as a grain.
The whole quinoa grain may be very nutritious, gluten-free and rich in high-quality protein.
While quinoa has change into a really popular “superfood” over latest years, quinoa milk is pretty new to the market.
For this purpose, it’s barely costlier than different nondairy milks and is usually a little tougher to seek out on supermarket cabinets.
Quinoa milk is barely sweet and nutty and has a definite quinoa taste. It works best poured onto cereal and in heat porridge.
One cup (240 ml) contains 70 calories, 1 gram of fats, 2 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates (56).
Quinoa milk contains an identical number of carbohydrates to cow’s milk, but fewer than half the calories. It also contains considerably much less fats and protein.
It is made up of mostly water and contains 5–10% quinoa. This signifies that most of the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals from quinoa are diluted.
It has a reasonably well-balanced nutrition profile compared to different nondairy milks. It is relatively low in fats with reasonable quantities of protein, calories and carbs.
Quinoa milk is an effective plant-based supply of full protein for vegetarians and vegans. If it’s out there at your native supermarket, then it might be price trying.
Summary Quinoa milk has a definite taste and is
barely sweet and nutty. It contains a reasonable number of calories, protein
and carbs compared to different nondairy milks. It’s a great choice for vegetarians
and vegans because it contains high-quality protein.
What to Consider When Substituting
With a large range of nondairy milks out there on supermarket cabinets, it may be difficult to know which one is best for you.
Here are a couple of vital issues to contemplate:
- Added sugar: Sugar is commonly
added to boost taste and texture. Stick with unsweetened varieties over
flavored ones, and attempt to keep away from brands that listing sugar as one of the primary
- Calcium content material: Cow’s milk is
rich in calcium, which is significant for healthy bones and stopping osteoporosis.
Most nondairy milks are fortified with it, so select one which contains at
least 120 mg of calcium per 3.4 ounces (100 ml).
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is
naturally found in animal products and is important for a healthy brain
and immune system. People who restrict or keep away from animal products from their
diets ought to select milk that’s fortified with B12.
- Cost: Nondairy milks
are sometimes costlier than cow’s milk. To lower prices, attempt making
plant-based milk at home. However, one draw back of making your individual milk is
that it’ll not be fortified with calcium and vitamin B12.
- Additives: Some nondairy
milks might contain components such as carrageenan and vegetable gums to
obtain a thick and smooth texture. While these components aren’t
essentially unhealthy, some people desire to keep away from them.
- Dietary wants: Some people have
allergic reactions or intolerances to sure ingredients used in plant-based
milks, such as gluten, nuts and soy. Be certain to test labels if in case you have
an allergy or intolerance.
Summary There are some things to
think about when selecting a cow’s milk different, together with nutrient content material,
added sugars and components. Reading food labels will show you how to perceive what’s
in the milk you might be shopping for.
The Bottom Line
For many people, cow’s milk is a dietary staple.
However, there are a number of causes you could want or select to forgo cow’s milk, together with allergic reactions, moral causes and considerations over potential health dangers.
Fortunately, there are lots of nice alternate options out there, together with the 9 in this listing.
When making your alternative, make sure to keep on with unsweetened varieties and keep away from added sugars. In addition, be certain that your nondairy milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin B12.
There is nobody milk that’s splendid for everybody. The taste, nutrition and value of these alternate options can range significantly, so it would take a while to seek out the one which’s best for you. (Closest substitute for milk)