Why Plant-Based Milks?
By Florencia Tagliavini, Nutritionist
For decades we have been bombarded with campaigns about how “milk does the body good”, especially because it’s the best source of calcium, necessary for growth and strong bones. But now many respected health institutions recommend reducing consumption of animal products while increasing plant-based foods (1-4). The prestigious Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has done much research regarding this and states that it’s not clear that we need as much calcium as is generally recommended and it’s also not clear that dairy products are really the best source of calcium for most people. While calcium and dairy can lower the risk of osteoporosis and colon cancer, high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer. Plus, dairy products can be high in saturated fat as well as retinol (vitamin A), which at high levels can paradoxically weaken bones (5-10). So, although more research is needed, this continues to be an ongoing debate and meanwhile consumption of plant-based milks are on the rise as a healthy alternative.
Plant-based milks are delicious and they address many nutritional, philosophical & culinary needs including:
- Dairy and lactose-free
- Lower in sugar than dairy milk (for diabetics or anyone looking to minimize sugar
in their diet)
- Cholesterol and hormone-free (for anyone with heart conditions or looking to
consume a heart-healthy diet)
- Humane & ecologically sensitive choice
- Diverse in flavor and nutrition depending on the type of nut & seed milk.
Plant-based milks tend to be lumped together but they are quite distinct in flavor and nutrition offering a myriad of choices depending on your preference. Although they are not comparable nutritionally to cow’s milk because most varieties don’t offer as much protein or calcium, they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. They can be a good alternative to use as a staple food and for similar culinary uses as dairy milk.
Homemade milk is as fresh as it gets! Commercial milks have a long list of not so healthy ingredients including oils and thickeners to make them thicker and creamier, stabilizers & emulsifiers to maintain consistency and prevent ingredients from separating, sweeteners, etc. These packaged milks also have a low ratio of solids to water, offering a lot less nutrients.
Choosing to make homemade milk with the Nutramilk is easy and fast, it’s chemical & preservative free. You can choose between the countless nuts and seeds to obtain rich or mild, sweet & savory flavors as well as the ratio you desire of solids to water, depending if you want a creamy consistency, nutrient dense or a low calorie beverage.
You can also choose to fortify with supplements according to your needs and and experiment with the many tasty recipes we offer.
1. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:1970-1980.
2. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat . World Health Organization. Oct 2015: http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/.
3. Recommendations for Cancer Prevention . American Institute of Cancer Research. http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your- cancer-risk/recommendations-for- cancer-prevention/recommendations_05_red_meat.html.
4. Semi-veggie diet effectively lowers heart disease, stroke risk. American Heart Association Meeting Report
Abstract 16. March 2015. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/semi-veggie-diet-effectively-lowers-heart-disease-stroke-risk.
5. Genkinger JM, Hunter DJ, Spiegelman D, et al. Dairy products and ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 12 cohort studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006; 15:364–72.
6. World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention of cancer: a global perspective. Washington DC: AICR, 2007.
7. Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Wolk A, et al. Calcium and fructose intake in relation to risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Res. 1998; 58:442–447.
8. Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Platz EA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. Risk factors for prostate cancer incidence and progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. International Journal of Cancer. 2007; 121:1571–78.
9. Owusu W, Willett WC, Feskanich D, Ascherio A, Spiegelman D, Colditz GA. Calcium intake and the incidence of forearm and hip fractures among men. J Nutr. 1997; 127:1782–87.
10. Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health. 1997; 87:992–97.