Comparison of milk and vegetable drinks

Comparison of milk and vegetable drinks

Alternatives to cow’s milk

Cow’s milk is available in different percentages of fat : whole milk , semi-skim (2 percent, 1 percent), skim (fat-free), and lactose-free milk . For people with different dietary needs or allergies, there are also alternatives to cow’s milk on the market. They are vegetable drinks obtained from cereals or dried fruit . Among the most popular ones we find those made with almonds , oats , soy , rice and coconut .

Each type of milk has beneficial nutritional properties and contraindications , which vary according to a person’s diet, state of health, nutritional needs or personal taste preferences. For example, some people may be intolerant to vaccine protein and may need to choose a plant-based alternative. Those who need to increase their calorie and nutrient intake can opt for whole milk, which is a concentrated source of protein , fat and calories .

However, whole milk and vegetable coconut drink are high in fat and calories. Whole cow’s milk contains more calories and saturated fat  than any other milk except goat’s milk .

Values ​​for 200ml Calories Carbohydrates Sugars Fats Protein
Cow’s milk (whole) 150 12 g 12 g 8 g 8 g
Cow’s milk (1%) 110 12 g 12 g 2 g 8 g
Cow’s milk (skimmed) 80 12 g 12 g 0 g 8 g
Almond milk (unsweetened) 40 1 g 0 g 3 g 2 g
Soy milk (unsweetened) 80 4 g 1 g 4 g 7 g
Rice milk (unsweetened) 120 22 g 10 g 2 g 0 g
Coconut milk drink (unsweetened) 50 2 g 0 g 5 g 0 g

Cow’s milk: characteristics

Whole milk has the highest fat content of all types of milk.  One cup contains approximately:

  • 150 calories
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates in the form of lactose ( milk sugar )
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 8 grams of protein

None of the natural components of the milk are removed. Whole milk is high in natural protein, fat, and calcium . While whole milk has 150 calories in a cup, 1 percent low-fat milk has 110 calories, and low-fat milk has 80 calories. Nonfat milk is significantly lower in calories than whole milk. However, removing the fat reduces the amount of some nutrients in the milk, including vitamins E and K.

Lactose-free milk is processed to remove lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy products. Lactose-free milk is also a good source of protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals .


Milk is among the foods richest in selenium .

Milk helps fight osteoporosis, which can now be diagnosed with a new osteoporosis test.

Pros and cons

The pros of cow’s milk

  • Whole milk can provide essential proteins, vitamins and minerals .
  • Lactose-free versions are available for people who have a lactose intolerance .

The cons of cow’s milk

  • Whole milk is high in calories and fat.
  • Many people are lactose intolerant.
  • It involves ethical issues about modern dairy farming practices.

Almond vegetable drink

The almond vegetable drink is made from ground almonds and filtered water . It may also contain starches and thickeners to improve its texture and shelf life. It has a lower caloric intake than other milks, as long as it is unsweetened. It is also free from saturated fat  and is naturally lactose free.

One cup, of unsweetened almond drink has:

  • 30 to 60 calories
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates (sweetened varieties have more)
  • 3 grams of fat
  • 1 gram of protein

While almonds are a good source of protein, the drink isn’t, especially for calcium. However, many brands spike the almond drink with calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Pros and cons

The pros

  • It is low in calories .
  • It is typically fortified to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.
  • It is vegan and naturally lactose-free.

The cons

  • Not a good source of protein.
  • It may contain  carrageenan , which can cause digestive problems in some people.

Soy vegetable drink

The vegetable soy drink is made from soybeans and filtered water . Like other milk alternatives, it may contain thickeners to improve texture and shelf life.

One cup of unsweetened soy drink has:

  • about 80-100 calories
  • 4 grams of carbohydrates (sweetened varieties have more)
  • 4 grams of fat
  • 7 grams of protein

Because it is of plant origin, the soy drink is naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. It also does not contain lactose. Soybeans and soybean are a good source of protein, calcium (if fortified), and potassium.

Pros and cons

The pros

  • It is a good source of potassium and can be fortified with vitamins A, B-12 and D, as well as calcium.
  • It contains as much protein as cow’s milk, but has fewer calories than whole milk and about the same calories as skim milk.
  • Contains very little saturated fat .

The cons

  • Soy is a common allergen for both adults and children.

Rice vegetable drink

The vegetable rice drink is made from milled rice and water . Like other milk alternatives, it often contains additives to improve texture and stability. It’s a good choice for people with lactose intolerance or allergies to milk, soy or  nuts .

The rice drink contains the most carbohydrates per cup, providing approximately:

  • 120 calories
  • 22 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2 grams of fat
  • low protein (less than 1 gram)

While the rice drink may be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, it’s not a natural source of either, just like soy and almond drinks. Rice has also been shown to have higher levels of inorganic arsenic .


Pros and cons

The pros

  • It is the least allergenic of the milk alternatives .
  • It can be fortified to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.
  • It is naturally sweeter than other milk alternatives.

The cons

  • It’s high in carbohydrates, so it’s the least desirable choice for people with diabetes .
  • Not a good source of protein.

Coconut vegetable drink

The coconut drink is made from filtered water and cream of coconut , which is made from grated ripe coconut meat. It is referred to as a “coconut milk drink” which differs as a more diluted product than the type of coconut milk used in cooking, which is usually sold in cans. Like other plant-based milk alternatives, it often contains thickeners and other added ingredients.

Coconut drink contains more fat than other milk alternatives . Each unsweetened cup contains:

  • about 50 calories
  • 2 grams of carbohydrates
  • 5 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of protein

Coconut milk drink does not naturally contain calcium, vitamin A or vitamin D. However, it can be fortified with these nutrients.

Banana milk is also among the most popular vegetable milks .

Pros and cons

 The pros

  • It is safe for most people with nut allergies.
  • It can be fortified to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.

The cons

  • Not a good source of protein.
  • It may contain carrageenan, which can cause digestive problems in some people.


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