- The mineral composition of plant-based milk substitutes is being described in a new investigation.
- Pea-based beverages, among other things, have the highest levels of phosphorus, zinc, and selenium, according to a study.
- They also point out that soy-based goods contain the most magnesium.
- When choosing plant-based milk products, experts advise consumers to consider these substances as well as any sensitivities in the family.
Are you aware of the ingredients in your plant-based milk substitute?
You might not have all the information you need to make the healthiest decision for yourself and your family even if you read the nutrition label.
A recent nutritional examination of the mineral composition of plant-based milk products made from a single base ingredient, such as almond, cashew, coconut, hemp, oat, pea, rice, or soy, indicates as much.
At today’s annual conference of the American Chemical Society, the report was given. It has not yet been peer-reviewed or published.
The main problem that the study’s researchers focused on is the fact that plant-based milk substitutes are not obliged to list critical dairy milk ingredients and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium on the nutrition facts label.
85 substitutes for milk were examined in the analysis. Mineral content varies considerably between brands and among various plant-based milk product categories.
The following were the main conclusions the researchers reported:
- The highest concentrations of phosphorus, zinc, and selenium were found in pea-based beverages.
- The highest magnesium content was found in soy beverages.
- Only beverages made from pea and soy have higher concentrations of the four necessary minerals than cow’s milk.
- Pea-based beverages have phosphorus, zinc, and selenium concentrations that are around 50% greater.
- The main problem that the study’s researchers focused on is the fact that plant-based milk substitutes are not obliged to list critical dairy milk ingredients and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium on the nutrition facts label.
As the project’s primary scientist and a research chemist at the Food and Drug Administration, Benjamin Redan, Ph.D., noted, “If you’re attempting to meet the required dietary requirements for them, these plant-based milk replacements could be key sources of micronutrients.”
The researchers expressed their hope that their findings will enable customers to make knowledgeable dietary choices about non-dairy plant-based beverage items.
“It looks the same may be true for non-dairy plant-based milk,” says Lon Ben-Asher, MS, RD, LD/N, a nutritionist at Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida. “Just as there is a vast range in nutrient content in various food sources.” Due to their wide range of nutritional value, it is logical to assume that plant-based milk such as legumes, peas, and soy have a higher mineral content than others.
But having faith is not the same as being certain.
According to Ben-Asher, determining differences in nutrients and breakdown depending on mineral soil content depends on where and how these items are produced.
“In the end, there should be standardization in labeling regulations that every producer must follow to avoid disparities and have all products on an even playing field,” he added. “This allows customers to make the proper decision for themselves and feel secure in their choice.”
The owner of “Plant Based with Amy,” Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is a Stamford, Connecticut-based plant-based dietitian. She is not surprised that plant-based milk contains more nutrients than previously believed because the raw materials used to make these milk products, such as soy, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
A spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Amy Bragagnini, MS, RD, CSO, an oncology nutrition expert at Trinity Health Lacks Cancer Center in Michigan, told Healthline about transitioning from dairy to milk replacements comes up frequently in her line of work.
According to her, customers tell her they pick non-milk alternatives for a variety of reasons, such as environmental concerns, lactose intolerance issues, or a preference for the taste or flavor.
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN PLANT-BASED MILK PRODUCTS
Individual nutrition needs ultimately determine the best option.
So, in addition to the suggestions above, Bragagnini advises taking into account the crucial distinctions listed below while looking for plant-based milk.
Adults wanting to reduce weight may choose almond milk over dairy milk because it has fewer calories.
If someone has nut allergies, this is not a good alternative.
Similar to dairy milk, soy milk also includes all the necessary amino acids. Additionally, it has no cholesterol and little saturated fat.
Another frequent allergen that not everyone may tolerate is soy.
Cashew milk has a creamy flavor that some people might prefer over almond milk.
It also has a high vitamin E content, fewer calories, and works well with vegan diets. However, because cashew milk contains little protein, it could not be useful for satisfying one’s overall protein requirements.
If you have a dairy, nut, or soy allergy, rice milk is an acceptable substitute.
Rice milk may not be suitable for someone on a calorie-restricted diet, though, as it has a greater carbohydrate and calorie content.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLANT-BASED MILK ALTERNATIVE
Gorin advises considering the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list when selecting the best plant-based milk for you and your family.
You should select milk without added sugar if you wish to drink it every day, she advises.
The same advice is given by Bragagnini: “When selecting one of these goods, try to choose the non-sweetened version as it is crucial to reduce intake of products with a lot of added sugar.”
Ben-Asher concurs, noting that it’s critical to pick a food that’s low in sodium and bad fats.
As long as it has at least 5 grams of protein per serving, Gorin adds, “I also enjoy choosing one that is a decent source of protein.”
The following suggestions are provided by Ben-Asher for selecting the healthiest plant-based milk:
- sodium is less than or equal to Kcal in a serving when the ratio of sodium (mg) to Kcal is 1:1.
- No additional sweets or sugars in the first three to five ingredients.
- No additional sources of saturated fats or dietary cholesterol (i.e., no tropical oils, particularly those containing palm, palm kernel, or coconut oil; search for items free of sunflower/safflower, corn, or vegetable oils).
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