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Plant-based Milk Alternatives Lack Nutritional Equivalence To Cow’s Milk, University Of Minnesota Study Reveals

Trendy oat milk falls short on nutrients compared to dairy, study finds

Trendy oat milk contains fewer nutrients than the real thing from dairy cows, according to a new study.

Researchers found that the nutritional content of most milk alternatives doesn’t measure up to cow’s milk.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota compared cow’s milk with more than 200 plant-based alternatives on U.S. shelves in 2023, testing for calcium, vitamin D and protein.

The 233 alternatives were sourced from 23 manufacturers, and almost two-thirds of the products on sale were made from almonds, oats, or soy.

The experts discovered 170 were fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and that push them up the nutritional rankings, on par with dairy milk.

Some of the kinds of milk tested had zero grams of protein, and just 16 percent had a protein level greater or equal to the eight grams found in cow’s milk.

Soy and pea-based drinks were the most likely to score high for protein.

Last year, market research company Mintel announced one in three Brits drink plant-based milk, and almost a quarter of UK adults believe plant-based milk is better for them than that from cows.

Dr. Abigail Johnson, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said: “Our results provide evidence that many plant-based milk alternatives are not nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk.

Oat milk is poured into a glass. (posed scene) In the past, it was clear that “milk” meant cow’s milk. That’s different in Germany today. Plant-based milk alternatives made from oats, for example, are booming. Consumption of cow’s milk is falling. PHOTO BY SINA SCHULDT/GETTY IMAGES 

“Based on these findings, consumers should look for plant-based milk alternative products that list calcium and vitamin D as ingredients.

“They may also want to consider adding other sources of calcium and vitamin D to their diets.

“We know from our dietary assessments for nutrition studies that consumers are choosing more plant-based milk alternatives.

“This project aimed to increase the number of these milk alternatives available in the Nutrition Coordinating Center’s database of foods.

“Our findings point to a need to ensure that consumers are aware that many plant-based milk alternative products in the marketplace today are not nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk.

“Product labeling requirements and dietary guidance to the public are among the approaches that may be helpful in alerting and educating consumers.”

Overall, 76 percent of the oat products were fortified with calcium and vitamin D, 69 percent of the soy ones, and 66 percent of the almond-based alternatives.

The median protein content across the alternatives was two grams of per 240 milliliters of liquid, but that massively varied between zero grams and 12g, versus cow’s milk’s eight grams.

The findings were presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, Mass.

Now the researchers want to study other nutrients that divide modern kinds of milk, such as fiber.


Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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