Differences between vegetal drink and milk

Is milk different from vegetable drinks?


Is vegetable drink better than milk?

Vegetable drinks and milk are different foods. A vegetable drink is a liquid similar in appearance to milk, which in many diets is used as a substitute for it.

Vegetable drinks are a source of calcium when they are enriched (some brands are not), although they lack protein and usually have enough sugar.

  • Vegetable drinks are a very interesting food to complete the nutritional needs of calcium in restrictive diets such as those of people with allergies to dairy products or nuts.

Nutritional deficits of vegetable drinks with respect to milk

oat drink with oat flakes

Photo of oat drink with oat flakes.

  • Proteins: Milk is a food rich in animal proteins of high biological value. When milk is replaced by vegetable drink, it must be ensured that the diet provides enough protein, especially when it comes to vegetarian diets and children.
  • Calcium: Only enriched vegetable drinks contain calcium. For example, a very common mistake is to think that almond milk contains calcium because almonds are rich in this mineral, since the almond drink is a processed food, it only contains calcium if it is enriched.
  • Vitamin B12: Enriched vegetable drinks are not foods equivalent to milk because they lack protein and vitamin B12. Other foods can provide protein in the diet, but the need to take vitamin B12 supplements should be considered if other foods of animal origin are not included in the diet, to avoid megaloblastic anemia.
  • Lactose: Lactose is not an essential nutrient, but some studies say that this sugar theoretically increases the absorption of calcium from milk, although there are discrepancies. See: Absorption of calcium in foods
  • Fats: Milk provides saturated fats, which are not considered essential for the body because the body can synthesize them from carbohydrates or other fats. However, milk from grass cows may contain essential fatty acids.
  • Vitamins A and D: These vitamins are found in fats of animal origin. There are many sources of vitamin A in the diet, for example orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkins, papaya, mango, peaches, …). However, in vegetarian diets or with low consumption of meat and fish, vitamin D must be obtained through the sun, and deficit is often generated by not spending much time outdoors, especially in winter. Vegetable drinks do not contain vitamin D.
  • Phytoestrogens: Vegetable drinks contain phytoestrogens, especially the one obtained from legumes such as soybeans. These components help to replace the hormonal deficit during the menopause and to reduce the associated symptoms (hot flushes, irritability, …)

Properties of vegetable drinks

You can check the properties of the vegetable drinks in the links:

Rice drink

Oatmeal drink

Soy drink

Hazelnut drink

Nutritional value of a handful of almonds and the drink of almonds with calcium. In addition to calcium there are other factors that influence the correct health of the bones. For strong bones are necessary proteins, minerals such as calcium and magnesium and antioxidants. Almonds (and foods rich in calcium) are more complete foods than products fortified only in calcium. Prepared by © Botanical-online.com

Is it recommended to substitute milk for vegetable drink?

In general, it is not necessary to drink a sweet, calcium-rich liquid to have strong bones. However, calcium-rich drinks help increase calcium intake in the diet when food is poor in vegetables, legumes, algae, seeds and nuts (foods rich in calcium).

Even if the diet is rich in calcium, the factors that decrease calcium (increased renal calcium elimination) must be taken into account, such as:

  • The excess of refined sugar
  • Foods with salt
  • Animal proteins.
  • In summary, vegetable drinks can be a good substitute for milk in terms of its calcium content (only when they are enriched in calcium), but it is always advisable to have naturally calcium-rich foods in the diet (not enriched ), such as almonds, broccoli, cauliflower or legumes, as well as physical exercise and a balanced diet.

How is a diet rich in calcium

Vegetable drinks and dairy products are good sources of calcium, but it is recommended to combine them with calcium-rich plant foods that are more complete nutritionally to meet the needs of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins in the diet.

  • What ensures correct bone health is a healthy diet that provides enough protein, calcium, in addition to other factors necessary for the fixation of calcium in the bone. The ideal is to consume different foods rich in calcium throughout the day, mainly vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.

punto rojo More information on vegetable drinks.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

12 May, 2021

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