My Patients Ask — How do plant-based milks taste?

My friends at ConsumerLab.com reviewed plant-based “milks” rated the taste of almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and other plant-based milks.

ConsumerLab focused mainly on unsweetened plant-based milks and although none of these was delicious, several were mild tasting and could be used as an alternative to milk, such as in cereal or in coffee, adding creamy texture and some whiteness.

The best-tasting product contained added sugar (created by conversion of carbs from one of its key ingredients).

ConsumerLab reported that their Top Picks were not only acceptable in taste but more nutritious than regular 1% milk.

All of the plant-based milks cost more than regular milk, but their Top Picks were in the middle range for cost.

Among the tested almond, soy, oat, coconut, hemp, macadamia, and cashew milks, see their Top Pick for Nutrition and their Top Pick for Taste.

Here are ConsumerLab’s picks within each category, why they chose them, and what they particularly liked or didn’t like in each category:

Top Picks for Nutrition: Ripple Unsweetened and Silk Organic Soy – Unsweet

Both of these provide about the same amount of protein that you’d expect from milk with 40% fewer calories and they taste fine, even in coffee.

They also provide key vitamins and minerals found in milk.

Silk hews closer to what’s in milk and Ripple tends to go a bit beyond.

For example, they each provide a good amount of calcium per cup: 300 mg in Silk Soy and whopping 440 mg in Ripple and each provides some vitamin D: 3 mcg in Silk (about the same as in milk) and 6 mcg in Ripple.

Each also provides a bit more than the daily requirement for vitamin B12, which is twice as much as milk.

Unlike Ripple, Silk offers a small amount of fiber — 2 grams per cup.

Silk Soy costs 62 cents per cup, while Ripple is a bit more expensive at 83 cents per cup, so they cost at least twice as much as regular milk but not as much as some of the more expensive plant-based milks that can cost over $1 per cup.

Top Pick for Taste: Oatly Oat-Milk The Original

Oatly had a nice, sweet, slightly oaty flavor, as well as being somewhat creamy, and went well in coffee.

Of course, it had an unfair advantage with regard to taste, as it was the only product in this review with added sugar (from converted starch in oats), giving it a sweeter taste, but also at least 50% more calories than other products, amounting to 120 per cup, just behind regular 1% milk at 130.

Nutritionally, Oatly has about half the protein of milk but about the same amount of calcium and vitamin B12.

Unlike milk, however, it has little saturated fat (0.5 gram) and provides a bit of fiber (2 grams).

It costs 69 cents per cup — so twice as expensive as milk but not particularly pricey for plant-based milks.

Note: If you have impaired kidney function, be aware that Oatly has a relatively high amount of phosphorus from phosphate additives.

I highly recommend ConsumerLab.com and have done so for a couple of decades.


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

 

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