Milk substitute

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Coffee mate, used in coffee as a substitute for dairy cream or milk

A milk substitute is a liquid that replaces 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.

Lactose intolerance[edit]

Dairy-free ice cream

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.

Lactose-free manufacturing[edit]

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.[1]

Plant milk[edit]

Main article: Plant milk
Several brands of plant milk

Plant milks include almond milk, soy milk, peanut milk and coconut milk.

Infant formula[edit]

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.[2] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Doris E. Pitz. Lactose-Free Synthetic Ice Cream. United States Patent No: 2,643,90, February 17, 1987. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  2. ^ Feeding baby infant formula. Government of Alberta Health and Wellness. Retrieved November 8, 2011.