Switching To Nut Milk? Here's What You Need To Keep In Mind
Nut milk: A lot of commercial brands of nut-milk often add lots of sugar or artificial flavour to the packs in order to enhance taste and flavour which might cause harm to your health instead of benefitting it. Read here to know more about nut milks.
Nut milk: Almond milk is a protein-rich milk alternative
- Its better to make non-dairy milk at home rather than outsourcing it
- Soy milk is a healthy milk alternative
- Cow milk provides approximately 8-10 grams of protein per cup
There has been a recent rise in the concept of having a dairy-free diet. There are many reasons for it. The major one could be the prevalence of lactose intolerance and if studies are to be believed, approximately 65% of the human population is lactose intolerant. It is the inability to digest lactose sugar present in milk that may lead to unpleasant symptoms. Other reasons for making a switch to nut milk can be veganism or adapting new flavours and tastes.
Dairy milk has been consumed by the human race for centuries and it is a staple in many households. But lately, it has become a topic of discussion in the healthcare system although many pieces of research are not conclusive but the shift has started inclining towards nut-milk.
Nut milk: Whatever your reason may be to switch to nut-milk, make sure you abide by these tips and information
1. Be aware of the label
A lot of commercial brands of nut-milk often add lots of sugar or artificial flavour to the packs in order to enhance taste and flavour which might cause harm to your health instead of benefitting it. High sugar can impact your blood sugar levels, can give rise to fatigue and maybe a potential risk factor for heart disease and premature ageing. In addition, make sure to avoid buying any brands that contain carrageenan. Carrageenan is derived from seaweed and is used as an artificial stabiliser and thickening agent.
2. Take note of calcium intake
For dairy alternatives to have the same amount of calcium as milk, nut milk needs to have 100 milligrams of calcium added to it per 100 ml. A study conducted by Grain and Legumes Nutrition Council found out that one-third of nut milk brands do not label calcium as one of the ingredients. Therefore, many times, these packaged nut-milk need to be fortified with calcium especially in case of almond milk (as calcium is lost during processing). Dairy milk still holds the highest amount of calcium compared to nut-milk.
3. Acquired taste
Unsweetened soy-milk has a beany taste that your taste buds might not get adapted to. Hence, many brands people prefer adding unhealthy artificial flavours and tons of sugar to it.
4. Protein power
Cow milk provides approximately 8-10 grams of protein per cup, while almond milk offers 1 gram of protein per cup. Soy milk (although not precisely nut-milk) comes closer to dairy with 7-8 grams of protein per cup.
5. Added thickening agents
There is a reason why store-bought coconut milk doesn't solidify- it is because of the addition of artificial thickeners or artificial emulsifiers to it. If you are into drinking coconut milk, better to make it at home.
So which dairy-alternative can be regarded as best?
As per a study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology- the best source of non-dairy milk when compared to cow's milk in terms of overall nutritional balance is soy milk. However, it does contain small amounts of phytic acid that may hinder the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.
Tips to keep in mind:
- It's better to make non-dairy milk at home rather than buying it from the store.
- Do not only rely on nut milk for your daily intake of calcium and protein. Include other food sources too like sesame seeds, legumes, pulses, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains.
The bottom line
Skim milk is packed with many nutrients and just replacing it with nut-milk might not fulfil all the nutritional requirements. You must include a variety of healthy foods in the diet and when in doubt, consult a qualified health practitioner.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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