Overwhelmed by the sheer number of milk alternatives available on the market? Browse our guide to the best non-dairy drinks, plus their pros and cons

Words Joy Montgomery

ALMOND MILK

PROS
– Good for your heart health.
With only 40 calories per serving, it’s great for those looking to increase healthy fats in their diet.
– Easy to make at home. While it might be the pricier alternative to cows milk, almond milk is super easy to make at home. All you need is a muslin cloth and food processor.

CONS
– Not safe for those with tree nut allergies.
Almond milk is lactose and gluten-free, however it is not safe for those who suffer a tree nut allergy.
– Watered-down formulas. Although almonds are rich in nutrients and good fats, many commercial options only contain 1 or 2% almonds.

OAT MILK

PROS
– Calcium-rich.
It may surprise you to know that oat milk contains more calcium that one serving of regular cow’s milk.
– Full of oat power. Oats help lower cholesterol levels and are a low glycemic index food, which provides long lasting energy.

CONS
– Not good for coeliacs
. Oat milks are not gluten free, so those with coeliacs disease should seek advice before drinking.
– Not always fortified. Not all oat milks are fortified with the vitamins found in regular cow’s milk, such as calcium.

COCONUT MILK

PROS
– Rich in a range of vitamins.
These include C, E, the B group, iron, selenium and magnesium.
– Creamy texture. It’s ideal for those wanting a richer flavour or a healthy alternative to use in puddings.

CONS
– Highest amount of saturated fat of any milk alternative.
It is high in calories, even the reduced fat versions.
– Can solidify and separate. Its consistency can make it difficult to use without heating up.

SOYA MILK

PROS
– Long heralded as a wonder-bean. The isoflavone compounds it contains (which mimic the female hormone oestrogen) are said to lower cholesterol, reduce menopausal symptoms, help bone density and even help prevent risks of some cancers.

CONS
– Contains hidden sugar.
Many commercial versions of soy milk contain high levels of added sugar – make sure you read the label before you buy!
– In their natural states are quite bitter. This means that, compared to other milk alternatives, it can sometimes be heavily processed making it a less natural alternative.

HEMP

PROS
– Contains zero sugar.
Unlike some of their sweetened sisters, hemp is a great addition to a healthy diet due to its lack of added sugar.
– Rich in omega-3. A serving of hemp milk provides 50% of or recommended daily intake of omega-3. This is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and reducing the risk of heart disease.

CONS
– Lower in protein.
Compared to soy, hemp milk contains less protein.
– More expensive. Due to being less readily available on the mainstream market, hemp, compared to other milk alternatives, can be more difficult to find and higher in price.

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