In a contest that pits all plant-based milks against each other and judges them for nutrition, soy milk comes in first. This news comes from researchers at McGill University, who looked at the four most-commonly consumed types of milk beverages from plant sources around the world – almond milk, soy milk, rice milk and coconut milk. The researchers cited pros and cons of each milk substitute.
Soy milk was found to have the most balanced nutritional profile, and to provide health benefits linked to the anti-carcinogenic properties of phytonutrients present in the milk known as isoflavones. On the con side, researchers cited the ‘beany flavor’ and the presence of anti-nutrients (substances that reduce nutrient intake and digestion).
Rice milk pros include the fact that it is lactose free and can act as an alternative for patients with allergy issues caused by soybeans and almonds. Cons are its high carbohydrate count, and the possibility that consumption of rice milk without proper care can result in malnutrition, especially in infants.
Coconut milk has no protein and few calories. Pros: Consumption can help reduce levels of harmful low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) that are associated with cardiovascular diseases. Cons: Nutritional values are reduced if stored for over 2 months.
Almond milk has a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that are considered helpful in weight loss and weight management. MUFA also helps in reduction of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol). No cons are cited.