In recent years, plant-based milk substitutes have become popular, but how do they compare nutritionally to regular cow's milk? Over 200 choices were looked at by a research team from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Nutrition Coordinating Centre, which was directed by Assistant Professor Abigail Johnson.
Cow's milk is a prime source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. The study found that only a small fraction, 12%, of plant-based milk alternatives were on par with or exceeded the nutritional values of cow's milk. Johnson advises consumers to opt for alternatives enriched with calcium and vitamin D or consider other dietary sources of these vital nutrients.
The research assessed 233 plant-based milk alternatives, mainly derived from almonds, oats, or soy. A majority were fortified with calcium and vitamin D, but only 16% met or exceeded the protein content of cow's milk.
Johnson calls for appropriate product labeling and public dietary guidance to inform consumers about these nutritional differences. The research team is set to further study the nutritional aspects of plant-based milk alternatives, such as their fiber content, which is not found in cow's milk. Source : wisconsinagconnection