Vegan milk has gained immense popularity in the last few years as an increasing number of people are now turning to veganism. Additionally, plant-based milk has also been the preferred choice of people with lactose intolerance — the inability of a person to digest lactose, the principal sugar in milk — giving rise to several gastrointestinal symptoms.
As such, almond milk is one of the most popular choices for people on a vegan diet considering its various health benefits such as being low in calories, rich in vitamin D and bone-strengthening properties among others. It is also widely believed that almond milk and other vegan milk options are high in protein too. But, is it really true?
Busting this commonly-believed myth, nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi took to Instagram to emphasise that “not all vegan milk options are high in protein”.
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“I asked if almond milk is high in protein, and about 60 per cent of you replied yes. This is the general misconception around anything which is claimed to be healthy. Technically, there should be no comparison between wheat and vegan milk but I’m making this just to emphasise that all vegan milk options are not high in protein. There are many comparable vegan protein sources, even in the least expected places,” he wrote.
Rastogi shared that one wheat chappati (30g) has 3-3.5 grams of protein. In comparison, “almonds are higher in protein density by weight than wheat, but to get 3.5 grams of protein you need to consume about 13-16 almonds. Since most commercial almond milk only uses 4-5 per cent almonds, most have just 1 to 2 grams of protein per 200 millilitres.”
Oat milk is even lower in protein, the nutritionist added. “Oats are in the same category, as oats are grains themselves, just marginally better than wheat. For example, oat milk has only 1.4 grams per 200 millilitres.”
If protein is the priority, Rastogi terms soy milk as the best choice among all vegan milk options. “Soy, by virtue of being a legume, is much better, with most soy milk varieties giving around 3 grams of protein per 100 millilitres,” he said.
Explaining how it is made, he added, “Vegan milk is processed food created by blending nuts/grains with water and added additives to make it look like milk. So the benefits depend on the initial grain used and then their concentration, so always check the label, there can be more protein if they dilute less.”
“So if you are vegan or trying to eat more vegan options, always prefer to have nuts directly. If you do miss milk, then these options make total sense but try to get from local brands which are making fresh vegan milk options with no additives and sugar (and some with even lesser dilution),” the nutritionist concluded.