Throughout the world, there are more than 6 billion consumers of milk and milk products. Milk is a whitish liquid containing proteins, fats, lactose, and various vitamins and minerals that comes from a female mammal after she gives birth to her young. A Milk Substitute is a whitish liquid that contains proteins, fats, and other vitamins and minerals that takes the place of milk from a mammal.
A milk substitute can replace dairy milk in tea, coffee or a recipe. This overlaps with, but is distinct from, plant milk, which is used by those who want to avoid animal products for health or ethical reasons, including vegans, or because of taste preference.
Some milk substitutes are marketed to consumers as healthier than cow's milk, because lower in saturated fat and, if they are entirely free of animal products, cholesterol-free. When milk substitutes are lacking in vitamins or dietary minerals present in dairy milk (such as vitamin B12 or calcium), they are fortified.
We consume milk for the minerals, potassium, vitamins, strong bones, and the taste.
Dairy milk is required by the federal government to contain a certain amount of vitamins A & D. Unlike dairy milk, fortification of vitamins in milk substitutes are currently not required by federal law.
Below is a chart comparing nutrient values of milk alternative products to dairy milk. The alternative values highlighted in green show exact or similar values to dairy milk.
Why would an individual want to consume alternatives to cow’s milk? Substitution products for milk were created from consumer demands. They requested a healthier way of consuming the same nutrients in milk but without the added antibiotics, growth hormones, and painkillers. Most importantly it allows vegans and people alike who are lactose intolerant to consume a product that also has similar nutrient content and taste.
Soy Milk is possibly one of the most popular non-dairy milk product on the shelf. It s made from soybeans and it contains about the same amount of protein as dairy milk. Although its has twice as much sugar and saturated fats, it is a great source of calcium and vitamin D. Recommended brands: Silk and Soy Dream (Adams).
Almond Milk is produced from almonds by grinding both almonds and water then straining the pulp from the liquid. This procedure is easily
replicated at home. Almond milk’s nutrient value doesn't contain high amounts of saturated fat or calories. Recommended brands: Silk Pure Almond and Almond Breeze (Adams).
Rice Milk is mostly used for baking because of how sweet it is but if you have a nut or soy allergy it is perfect to drink a grain milk processed from rice. When fortified, this milk can be a great way to get calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D2. Recommended brand: Rice Dream (Adams).
Hemp Milk is made by grinding hemp seeds and water then strained to yield a nutty creamy flavored milk. Hemp milk is naturally rich in protein and amino acids. Recommended brand: Temp (Adams).
Coconut Milk is made from the mixing water to dissolve the fat present in the grated meat of a brown coconut. Its also a great source the vitamins; calcium, B12, and D. Recommended brand: So Delicious Coconut Milk (Adams).
Whey Protein is commonly taken to supplement resistance exercise and help build lean tissue mass. Whey protein supplementation along with resistance exercise can help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean tissue mass according to Medical News Today.
Medical News today states that Whey protein is a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content. Seniors, diabetics, athletes, bodybuilders, people who are on restricted diets can all benefit from the increasing whey intake. Health benefits toward taking Whey includes weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
There are three main types of Whey:
- Whey Protein Isolate
- Whey Protein Concentrate
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate
Whey protein is created when milk is left over and coagulates, it eventually turns into a 5% solution of lactose in water, loaded with minerals.This leftover by-product, called whey, makes up 20% of the protein in milk, the other 80% is called casein which is the curds that make cottage cheese.Then the liquid whey becomes separated from the casein and is filtered to remove the ingredients that aren't Whey. The final step is removing the water from the whey by turning it into a powder at a drying tower.The protein powder is then ready to be packaged and consumed. (Medical News Today)
There are many different forms of Whey protein such as dried whey, lactose reduced whey and liquid whey. Dried whey, being the most common, can consist of dairy whey, sweet dairy whey and whey powder. These all contain about 75% lactose.
Lactose is the major sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance occurs when an individual is deficient in the enzyme lactase; which breaks down the lactose in the intestine. Bloating, cramps, constipation, or diarrhea may result when an individual who is lactose intolerant consumes a dairy product. A variety of products are available which contain milk substitutes, so those foods are still able to be consumed by individuals with a lactose intolerance. Food products which have been manufactured with milk substitutes include milk, yogurt, whipped topping and ice cream.
A lactose-free food, such as non-dairy ice cream, requires a different process during manufacturing. For example, ice cream is made with a combination of milk products that contain lactose, but non-dairy ice cream is synthesized using hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut oil, palm kernel oil and soybean oil) along with emulsifier, protein, sweetener and water. Synthetic ice cream product has a similar flavour and texture to traditional dairy ice cream.
Breast milk substitutes are available for infants if breast feeding is not an option. Infant formulas made of cow’s milk can be a supplement to breast milk or as sole source of nutrition before solid food is introduced. It is vital that the formula is iron-fortified for optimal growth and health of the baby. In India, Nusobee, marketed by Nutricia, is a leading brand for lactose intolerance in infants. Those wishing to avoid animal products can use soy-based infant formula.
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