When I was a kid, milk choices were pretty much limited to skim, 2% or whole - chosen by how much fat you wanted in your milk. Several years later soy milk became popular, especially among those who are lactose intolerant since it is a plant-based milk. However, according to Business Week, soy milk only covers 35% of the plant-based milk industry. This can be attributed to the recent rise of rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and other plant/nut milks.
I became interested in this topic when I began to fall in love with making (and drinking) smoothies. Several recipes I find call for almond milk. I do use almond milk for my smoothies, but I was curious as to what the big fuss is about. Read on to see what I learned...
Almond milk is made from finely ground almonds mixed with water and sometimes sugar (some brands make both “sweetened” and “unsweetened” varieties). Like soy and rice milk, almond milk is mostly water by weight. Almond milk has a thin consistency that takes some getting used to, but many people prefer its mild, nutty taste and think it’s less chalky than other plant-based milks. Almond milk is a popular choice for individuals with milk and/or soy allergies, people who are lactose-intolerant, and vegetarians and vegans. Though it is a heart-healthy choice, almond milk contains only one gram of protein per cup, which is significantly less than cow or soy milk. Most brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, but you’ll need to check the nutrition facts panel to be sure. - Today.com
Traditional soy milk is made from pressed, mature soy beans mixed with water and typically some sugar or sweetener to mask the slightly bitter taste of the unsweetened soy milk. Soy is the most popular “milk” choice for individuals who are lactose-intolerant, follow a vegan or vegetarian diet that doesn’t include dairy, or have an allergy to cow’s and other mammalian milks. Soy milk is naturally low in saturated fat, and because it’s plant-based, it’s cholesterol free. It also offers up some nutrients that cow’s milk does not, including heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
Rice milk is a mixture of partially milled rice and water (flavored varieties are available as well). Like almond milk, it’s typically packaged in aseptic boxes and found on store shelves, but a few brands also make refrigerated products. Rice allergies are extremely rare, so rice milk is a fine choice for individuals who are allergic to other types of milk. It’s also another option for people who are lactose-intolerant and vegetarian or vegan.
After doing my research, I think I will stick to my almond milk.
What is your favorite kind of milk?
Would you consider a switch?