Plant-based beverages and plant-based milk are an important part of many plant-based diet plans. They are made using nuts, seeds, or grains, and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Even though they had been available for several years, they are getting renewed attention due to the rise in popularity of the vegan diet, especially among the younger generation.
Some of the common types of plant-based milk are soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, almond milk, rice milk, and cashew milk. They are usually made by blending nuts, seeds, or grains with water and extracting the milk from the mixture. Vegan or vegetarian food manufacturers also fortify them with vitamins and minerals as they have a lower nutritional profile than cow’s milk.
Listed below are the important points that you must keep in mind about plant-based milk:
- It can be highly processed.
- The nutritional profile of plant-based milk varies widely according to the nuts, seeds, or grains used for making it.
- Most plant-based milks are not organic.
- Readymade plant-based milk contains added preservatives and flavoring agents.
The Need For Plant-Based Beverages
People choose plant-based beverages for either medical or lifestyle reasons. Most people who are lactose intolerant use it in their diet or they avoid consuming cow’s milk. Apart from this, people who only consume plant-based food use this type of milk. Having said that, plant-based milk has fewer nutrients when compared to cow’s milk. Soy milk comes closest to dairy milk, and therefore it is most widely used in beverages.
Nutrients And Ingredients Added In Plant-Based Beverages
Most readymade plant-based milk is highly processed, and listed below are the common ingredients and nutrients in them:
- Tricalcium phosphate
- Potassium citrate
- Dipotassium phosphate
- Vitamin E acetate
- Vitamin E (D-alpha tocopherol)
- Calcium carbonate
- High oleic sunflower oil
- Vitamin A palmitate
- Vitamin B12
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Folic acid
- Zinc oxide
- Ergocalciferol (D2)
- Salt/Sea salt
- Magnesium phosphate
- Guar gum
- Xanthan gum
- Locust bean gum
- Sunflower lecithin
- Soy lecithin
- Natural flavors
- Natural colors
- Tapioca starch
- Coconut cream
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Sugar (cane syrup, cane sugar, or evaporated cane juice)
- Pea protein
- Rice protein
Problems With Plant-Based Beverages
One of the main issues with many readymade plant-based beverages is that they contain significant amounts of added sugar, and this is not good for health.
On a final note, the best way to have healthy plant-based milk is to make them at home as they will be free from synthetic ingredients.