Most Plant-Based Milk Are Poorer In Key Micronutrients Than Dairy

Most Plant-Based Milk Are Poorer In Key Micronutrients Than Dairy

According to studies presented this week at the American Chemical Society’s autumn meeting, vegan milk alternatives typically contain less than four essential micronutrients than cow’s milk. According to a recent study by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the amounts of zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium tend to range significantly among various plant-based milks, underscoring the demand for more comprehensive nutritional labeling.

According to research author Dr. Ben Redan, “Plant-based milk replacements have been gaining popularity, but little is known about the mineral composition of these products, especially in the US.” Although they may be voluntarily disclosed, these minerals are not usually needed to be listed on the Nutrition Facts label from a regulatory perspective.

Non-dairy milks, which are made from just one component such as almonds, oats, or rice, are regarded as a great substitute for cow’s milk for people who are allergic to or intolerant to dairy. As they produce fewer emissions than dairy farms, they are also seen as a more environmentally responsible option.

On the other hand, cow’s milk provides a significant source of some necessary nutrients that must be received through food and cannot be produced by the human body. For instance, selenium promotes thyroid function while also assisting in the protection of cells from harm or infection.

The immune system is supported by zinc, whereas magnesium is necessary for healthy muscle and nerve activity. Phosphorous, another essential nutrient, aids in the development, upkeep, and healing of all tissue types.

The concentrations of these micronutrients in milk substitutes manufactured from soy, pea, hemp, oat, almond, coconut, cashew, and rice were measured by the study’s authors using inductively coupled-mass spectrometry. For each type of drink, several different brands were examined, yielding a total of 85 samples.

Overall, soy milks had the highest level of magnesium, whereas pea-based beverages had around 50% more phosphorous, selenium, and zinc than cow’s milk. The four essential elements were present in lower concentrations in dairy than in all other varieties of vegan milk.

The authors of the study also note a considerable degree of diversity among brands of the same kind of beverage. For instance, the several pea-based milks studied had zinc levels that differed by as much as 53.8%.

A source of magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium, according to the researchers, can be found in some PBMAs (plant-based milk substitutes). They do, however, caution that “when considering their nutritional value, variances across PBMA types and potential variability within a PBMA type should be taken into account.”