Oat milk might be having a moment, but it’s not the most nutritious milk alternative
Got soy milk?
With an overabundance of milk alternatives sprouting up at every coffee shop and supermarket, it’s hard to know which variety to add to your cup of caffeine or bowl of cereal.
According to Fortune, soy milk sales have fallen 57% from their peak of $1.2 billion in 2008, but that might change now that a new study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology conducted at McGill University suggests it’s actually the most nutritious milk alternative—second only to cow’s milk.
Registered dietitian nutritionist Whitney English Tabaie tells Moneyish, “Soy milk gets a bad rap due to outdated and disproven claims about soy and various health conditions. What we now know, indisputably, is that soy is not only not harmful to human health, but likely beneficial for preventing and treating chronic diseases such as breast and prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.”
The study compares the nutritional values of the four most commonly consumed types of milk beverages, almond, coconut, rice and soy, with that of cow’s milk. The findings reveal that soy is not only rich in protein but also offers isoflavones, which are anti-carcinogenic phytochemicals.
“Soy milk contains a wonderful macronutrient profile. One cup has about 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of unsaturated fat,” says English Tabaie. And, she feels so strongly about myth-busting the negative association with soy that she’s produced a three-part video series debunking the common claims that soy causes cancer, fertility issues, increased acne and hypothyroidism.
For Michelle Silva, drinking soy milk has made her the target of eye rolls when she orders a drink with soy in it. “I did some research and came to the conclusion that soy has been around for thousands of years and perhaps it’s not the plant itself that is the problem—it’s the processing and modification that makes it questionable. I drink organic, unsweetened, non-GMO soy milk in my coffee every day and I love its creamy texture,” says Silva.
According to Mintel, non-dairy milk sales in the United States have increased 61% since 2012 and reached over $2.1 billion in 2017 because of an increase in the growing number of vegans and those conscious of antibiotics and growth hormones often found in cow’s milk. Additionally, the introduction of oat, hemp, pecan, quinoa, hazelnut and flax milks are steering the global alternative milk industry towards sales of $10.9 billion by 2019, according to the Global Market for Milk Alternatives.
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