Category • Alternative Milk

Is plant-based milk better for you than cow’s milk?

Jacob | May 24, 2023

So, you’re researching plant-based milks and want to know the answer to the following, is plant-based milk better for you than natural cow’s milk? In this blog piece we will be going over the most popular plant-based milks in the UK and see whether plant-based milk is in fact better for you than cow’s milk.

Almond milk

Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water and then straining that mixture to remove the remaining solids. Another way of creating almond milk is by adding water to almond butter.

Due to it being almond heavy, almond milk has a nutty and creamy texture, similar to cow’s milk. These two features make it a popular option for those who are intolerant or allergic to pure dairy.

There are several benefits to drinking almond milk and reasons why it is increasing in popularity. A benefit of almond milk is that its naturally full of nutrients including vitamin E, which is important for your blood vessels and immune system.

The dairy free alternative is also considerably lower in calories than natural cow’s milk. One cup of almond milk makes up around 39 calories, which results in half the calories in the same amount of cow’s milk. Almond milk also doesn’t raise blood sugar, which makes it much more suitable for diabetics.

Oat milk

The first part of the process in creating oat milk involves harvesting and transporting the oats to a manufacturing station. The picked oats are then mixed with water before being blended down to create a thick liquid.

The mixture will then be strained to remove any hard fibre parts. After the mixture has been strained, the final mixture is left as a smooth, thick liquid. A mild heat is then added to the liquid. This process ensures the oat milk itself will be safe for consumption, as well as increasing the shelf life for the final product.

Those who have tasted cow’s milk and oat milk will describe the flavour of oat milk as a natural milk taste with an oat finish. Compared to its plant-based milk competitors, oat milk is also a little thicker and naturally sweeter. Due to oat milk being made from natural oats it is lactose-free and does not include lactose or dairy.

All the saturated fats you would find in natural cow’s milk is removed from oat milk and replaced with unsaturated fats. This means it is considerably lower in terms of cholesterol than cow’s milk. Oat milk is also perfect if you’re looking to add protein to your diet. The drink contains 3g protein on average in each cup.

Soy milk

Soy milk is a high protein, iron-rich milky liquid produced from pressing ground, cooked soybeans. Creamy white soy milk resembles cow’s milk but in fact differs from the traditional dairy option in a number of ways. Not only is it higher in protein and iron content, but it is cholesterol-free, low in fat and sodium.

Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans in water overnight. The beans are then grinded, adding more water during the griding process. This mixture is then cooked and filtered to separate out the base ‘soy milk’ from the fibre.

Modern day processing includes using methods such as different cooking and grinding techniques to deactivate an enzyme which produces a ‘beany’ flavour in soy milk. This process is implemented due to most western palates not liking the beany flavour. Cow’s milk does have more calcium than soy milk naturally but, with the popularity of soy milk, more manufacturers are adding in calcium and nutrients, closer to cow’s milk standards. Fresh soy milk has a short shelf life and much like cow’s milk must be stored chilled like its dairy alternative.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is made by fresh coconut flesh and combining it with water, most of the time by hand. If little to no increase in water is added this process will create coconut cream. With more water added the process will create coconut milk. Both coconut milk and cow’s milk are high in saturated fat but coconut features half as many carbs as milk, meaning if you’re on a low carb diet, coconut milk would be the way to go. Coconut milk also features very little protein. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free, making it a great option for those who are lactose intolerant. If you’re thinking about your cholesterol levels when looking through this list, coconut milk will be a great benefit to you as it has none!

Is plant-based milk better for me than cow’s milk?

We’ve listed the plant-based milk alternatives and their strengths but are these alternative milks actually better for you and your diet compared to cow’s milk? Well, it all really depends on your specific diet and choice of alternative drinks. Cow’s milk will naturally give you a good amount of calcium and protein but does contain higher saturated fats than the majority of its dairy alternative options. If you are looking for dairy alternatives due to your allergies, or just want to try something different in your diet each of these alternative milk options have their strengths.
If you are thinking in terms of the environment and sustainability, then plant-based milk is the better option. With the process of land needed, feeding and looking after the cow, as well as the manufacturing stage, sourcing and creating cow’s milk isn’t great for the environment. The likes of oat milk are more naturally grown and sourced, as well as an easier process in terms of the final product.

How can I try plant based and cow’s milk drinks?

Do you want to try a plant-based milk alternative in your coffee whilst still having the option to have natural milk as well? We have just the option for you and your office team! Our coffee machines have the ability to a coffee with plant-based milk options, as well as a coffee with natural milk options. Fancy finding out more? Our team of friendly experts, with years of experience will be more than happy to help cater our machines for your office. If you need any help or advice on office coffee machines, simply get in touch with us.