With such a variety available, how do we know what the differences are, and which dairy-free product is right for us? Here, we’ve given you an overview of what different vegan milks can offer.
Created by soaking and blending whole oats with water, oat milk has a creamy texture with an unsurprisingly oaty taste. With lots of fibre, it’s often fortified with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin D, and riboflavin, helping to keep your skin and eyes healthy. A lot of the options available aren’t gluten-free, so if you do have a gluten intolerance, another dairy-free alternative might be a safer bet. For some more information on gluten, take a look at our What is Gluten? article.
Soya milk is made using soaked soyabeans that are ground into a liquid and then boiled to form milk. Soya protein provides all the essential amino acids, and it has been linked to lowering blood pressure and LDL levels (bad cholesterol). Give our Good Fats and Bad Fats article a read for more information. A soya allergy can be quite common, so many will have to choose another plant-milk product.
Lactose-free, earth-kind and vegan. A relatively new addition to the plant-based milk market, potato milk has started gaining popularity during summer 2021. Produced by a Swedish brand DUG, potato milk is one of the most-sustainable plant milks around.
Potato milk is rich in fibre, and is fortified with vitamins including D, B12 and folic acid, but more importantly, it's a great milk for those with allergies – it's free from the most common allergens (lactose, milk, soy, gluten and nuts).
Potato milk foams well, which makes it perfect for coffee-lovers – it works just as well in lattes and cappuccinos as it does in Huel! Its neutral, creamy, and subtly sweet taste, means it (mercifully) doesn't taste like potato at all.
Different to the tinned coconut milk used for cooking, drinkable coconut milk is made by blending grated coconut in hot water and separating the liquid. It’s a great twist for a sweeter tasting coffee, but coconut milk, unlike raw coconut, is lower in fat and contains fewer medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Find out more about MCTs in our Benefits of Medium-chain Triglycerides article.
One of the most-common nut milks on offer is almond milk. It’s made in a similar way to oat; the almonds are soaked and blended with water to create a nutty, creamy milk. Many are opting to make homemade almond milk too. It’s naturally high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which is involved in keeping our skin healthy and strengthening our immune response. For the healthiest option, make sure to pick up an unsweetened version as the sweetened can have a lot of added sugar.
Another cow’s milk replacement is cashew. Created by soaking deshelled cashew nuts in water, blending to a paste, and then straining to a subtle, nutty milk. It’s packed with even more vitamin E than you’ll find in almond milk and normally fewer calories. Much like the other options, a lot of the nutrients in the whole nut are diluted when made into milk, so like other plant-milks it will often be fortified with additional vitamins.
A great dairy milk alternative for people with nut allergies, rice milk is created by boiling brown or white rice, pressing through a mill, and then straining to a liquid. Prior to fortification, rice milk has one of the lowest nutritional values of the plant-milks. It also has the highest environmental impact of all the plant-milks, but this is still under half that of dairy.
Made from the seeds of the hemp plant, they’re blended with water to create a milk with a similar texture to cow’s milk. Hemp seeds are a good source of calcium, which as we know is great for bone and teeth health. Currently, it’s not as readily available as the other plant-milk varieties which makes it quite expensive, but it is gaining more popularity.
Forget petit pois, pea milk is produced using yellow split peas which are ground into flour. The protein and starch are separated, and the protein is blended with water to make the milk. The taste and texture are similar to other plant-milks. The pea milk is often fortified with vitamins such as calcium and potassium, a key electrolyte for the body. Compared to dairy milk, some pea milk manufacturers have been able to use 25% less water when producing the milk, making it better for the environment.
Whole hazelnuts are roasted, soaked and blended with water to create this nutty milk. With it’s sweet, rich taste, it’s great in baking or for giving your coffee an indulgent kick. Similar to hemp milk it’s high in calcium, and hazelnut milk is also high in folate. Hazelnut milk is sometimes recommended to pregnant women as folate can help to reduce the risk of central neural tube defects, like spina bifida, in unborn babies. Make sure to look out for the unsweetened options, as the sweetened and flavoured versions can nearly double the amount of sugar.
Similar to other nut-based milks, macadamia milk is made by blending nuts with water, salt and optional flavourings. It has a distinctly creamy thickness, with a subtle nutty after-taste. Think of it as a bit of a blank canvas for your Huel shakes and smoothies.
Macadamia milk is low on carbs, and is often fortified with vitamins A, D and B12, so it's a match made in heaven when combined with Huel. As far as allergens go, Macadamia milk is free from gluten and soy.
Unlike the name suggests, tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts. They’re a vegetable with a stripy coating; hence the name. Although, the milk is made in the same way as the nut milks - the tiger nut is soaked and then blended to a creamy milk. They’re naturally sweet and offer a nutty flavour, but without the worry for people with nut allergies. The whole tiger nut is naturally high in magnesium, great for energy, but make sure to choose the fortified milk as the nutrients will be diluted.
This chart compares nutritional values of plant-based milks. Please note that we used unsweetened varieties of milk products for this comparison where available.
|Plant milk[15-19]||Calories (kcal)||Carbs (g)||Fat (g)||Protein (g)||Sugar (g)|
We’ve tried to cover most popular and commercially available plant-based milks in this article, however there are many more that you may want to try making at home, such as pistachio milk, sesame seed milk, quinoa milk and even poppy milk!
There’s a huge range of plant-milks available to try, each with something different to offer. If you fancy using them in something other than your coffee, they taste great with our Huel Powder instead of water.
We have four favourite milks when it comes to coffee. Oat milk – tastes good, doesn’t curdle and froths well. Soy milk – neutral flavour, easy to froth, may curdle if not warmed. Potato milk – neutral, milk-like flavour and consistency, frosts well, needs shaking to prevent curdling.
Unsweetened almond milk is the option with the least calories, providing only 13 calories per 100 ml. That’s is followed by the coconut milk with 14 calories per 100ml.
Unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, macadamia nut milk, hemp milk and pea milk are all keto-friendly. However, ensure to check nutritional values as they may vary from brand to brand.
Lactose is a sugar naturally found in mammal’s milks. Plant based milk products are made from plants and therefore don’t have lactose in it. However, in case you are lactose intolerant, it is worth checking the ingredients of the products you are buying, just to be sure.
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