How different plant-based milks measure up to cow's milk
ROANOKE, Va. – You see them when you go grocery shopping -- lots of milk options made with everything from nuts to oats.
Here's how milk alternatives stack up to cow's milk when it comes to taste and nutrition.
Sales of non-dairy milk, including almond, soy, coconut and oat milk are up 61% in the past few years, and the trend reaches beyond the lactose-intolerant and vegan crowd.
More than half of plant milk buyers in a Consumer Reports survey said they think it's healthier than cow's milk.
"Cow's milk is rich in protein and supplies much of the calcium in most people's diets, but when you replace it with plant milk, you may actually be missing out," said Ellen Klosz, Consumer Reports nutritionist.
If you're ready to replace milk from a cow with milk from a plant, consider starting with soy, which is closest to cow's milk nutritionally.
"Soy milk has about the same amount of protein, or more. And if it is fortified it can have similar vitamin and mineral content. But watch out for added sugars," said Klosz.
Consumer Reports says almond milk is the most popular plant milk. The top-rated had slight to moderate almond flavor, but CR says it has low protein content and poor protein quality.
The top oat milk has a slightly sweet oat-like taste. It has slightly less protein than soy or cow's milk.
Coconut milk generally has mild coconut flavor. It has little to no protein and is high in saturated fat.
Consumer Reports suggests taking a close look at the labels. A lot of plant milks contain added sugar and stabilizers so opt for one with the best nutritional profile and the fewest additives.
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