Top 3 Plant-Based Milk Picks for Best Nutrition 2023
Cow's milk vs. plant-based milk
Cow’s milk has ample competition in the dairy case, with an ever-growing array of ‘milks’ made from almonds, cashews, peas, oats, hemp and more. These plant-based alternatives make us feel like we’re doing something good for our bodies, but are they really any better? The answer is… complicated. Registered dietitian Molly Kimball gives us the rundown on top picks for cow’s and plant-based milk.
Cow's milk nutritional value for comparison
Per cup: 12 grams sugar; 8 grams protein. 50% more sugar than protein [lactose, naturally-occurring milk sugar]. Excellent source of vitamins A+D.
Plant-based nutritional value
Protein varies, 0-10 grams per cup (coconut and almond milk are among the lowest). Added sugar can be a drawback, with even ‘original’ varieties of many plant-based milks packing in ample added sugar.
Most plant-based milks are made from nuts, seeds or grains mixed with water and salt; many major brands also include thickeners and emulsifiers like guar gum or gellan gum.
3 best plant-based picks: Molly’s current favorites
1. Ripple Pea Protein Milk (original, unsweetened)
- Per cup: 80 calories, 0 carbohydrates, 0 sugar, 8 grams protein
- Ingredients include pea protein, sunflower oil, algal oil, vitamin/mineral blend, water, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, organic guar gum, gellan gum
2. Keto Mylk by Mooala
- Per cup: 70 calories, 7 grams fat, 0 carbohydrates, 0 sugar, 1 gram protein
- Ingredients include water, organic coconut cream, MCT oil, coconut oil, also small amounts of pea protein, calcium, vitamin D, gellan gum
3. MALK unsweetened almond milk
- Per cup: 70 calories, 6 grams fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 0 sugar, 2 grams protein
- Ingredients: water, organic almonds, Himalayan Pink Salt
3 of Molly’s Least-Favorite Milk Options:
- Oatmilk | high carb, also high sugar, with only low-to-moderate protein
- Lava Milk [made from pili nut] | high carb, high sugar, low protein
- Rice Milk | carb heavy, with minimal protein
THE BOTTOM LINE
The good news is that for those who wish – or need – to avoid cow’s milk for dietary, nutritional or environmental reasons, there is a milk alternative to suit nearly any taste preference, intolerance or sensitivity. The key is to check labels closely to find the milk alternative with the most nutrients you’re looking for without the stuff you don’t want.
To schedule a nutrition consult, whether virtually or in-person, contact us at email@example.com or call us at 985-898-7050.
Editor’s note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is she paid to recommend items.