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Nutritionally-speaking, soy milk is best plant-based milk

Nutritionally-speaking, soy milk is best plant-based milkrnClosest to cow's milk in range of nutrients it offersrnDate:rnJanuary 29, 2018rnSource:rnMcGill UniversityrnSummary:rnA new study looks at the four most-commonly consumed types of milk beverages from plant sources around the world -- almond milk, soy milk, rice milk and coconut milk -- and compares their nutritional values with those of cow's milk. After cow's milk, which is still the most nutritious, soy milk comes out a clear winner. rnShare:rn rnFULL STORYrnrnrnCow's milk is compared with various plant-based milk.rnCredit: McGill UniversityrnrnrnHow healthy is your almond milk really? It may taste good and may not cause you any of the unpleasant reactions caused by cow's milk. But though plant-based milk beverages of this kind have been on the market for a couple of decades and are advertised as being healthy and wholesome for those who are lactose-intolerant, little research has been done to compare the benefits and drawbacks of the various kinds of plant-based milk. A new study from McGill University looks at the four most-commonly consumed types of milk beverages from plant sources around the world -- almond milk, soy milk, rice milk and coconut milk -- and compares their nutritional values with those of cow's milk. After cow's milk, which is still the most nutritious, soy milk comes out a clear winner.rnThe researchers compared the unsweetened versions of the various plant-based milks in all cases and the figures below are based on a 240 ml serving.rnSoy milk -- the most balanced nutritional profilernSoy milk is widely consumed for its health benefits linked to the anti-carcinogenic properties of phytonutrients present in the milk known as isoflavones.rnHas been a substitute for cow's milk for 4 decades.rnConcerns, however, are the 'beany flavor' and the presence of anti-nutrients (substances that reduce nutrient intake and digestion).rnRice milk -- sweet taste and relatively little nutritionrnLactose free and can act as an alternative for patients with allergy issues caused by soybeans and almonds.rnConcerns, apart from the high carbohydrate count, is that consumption of rice milk without proper care can result in malnutrition, especially in infants.rnCoconut milk -- no protein and few calories, but most of them from fatrnWidely consumed in Asia and South AmericarnConsumption can help reduce levels of harmful low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) that are associated with cardiovascular diseases.rnNutritional values are reduced if stored for over 2 months.rnAlmond milk -- need for complementary sources of food to provide essential nutrientsrnAlmonds have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that are considered helpful in weight loss and weight management. MUFA also helps in reduction of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).rnCow's milk benefits & drawbacksrnA wholesome, complete food, providing all major nutrients like fat, carbohydrates and proteins.rnCan help humans by providing a wide range of host-defence proteins because various beneficial anti-microbial effects are found in both human and bovine milks. (E.g., a study shows that in the case of infants, consumption of cow's milk has considerably reduced risk of fever and respiratory infections.)rnBut the presence of various pathogens like Salmonella spp and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in milk have been associated with disease outbreaks around the world.rnCow's milk allergy & lactose intolerancernOne of the most common allergies among infants and children affecting 2.2-3.5% of children (a greater percentage than those who are affected by peanuts and tree nut allergies). As many as 35 % of these infants outgrow being allergic to milk by the age of 5-6, and this may increase to 80% by age 16.rnLactose intolerance, due to the absence or deficiency of the enzyme lactase in the digestive tract, affects somewhere between 15-75 % of all adults depending on race, food habits and gut health.rnSome studies have suggested that 80 % of people of African origin and 100 % of those of Asian and Indigenous American origin are lactose intolerant.rnThe researchers add that more work will need to be done to understand the effects of various conventional and novel processing methods on the nutritional profile, flavour and texture of these alternative milks.rnrnStory Source:rnMaterials provided by McGill University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length