Which Plant-Based Beverages Have the Most Protein?

A new study tells us which plant-based milks have the most protein and other nutrients.

By Nancy Coulter-Parker

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As the number of plant-based beverages at retail stores grows, it’s hard to keep track of which have what it takes to replace the nutrient value of milk.

A recent study from McGill University examined the four most commonly consumed types of plant-based milks—almond, coconut, rice and soy—to see how their nutritional values compared to that of dairy milk. Which variety fared the best? Soy milk had the most balanced nutritional profile and was highest in protein, with 8 grams per cup. It’s also high in calcium and contains some healthy fats. Plus, according to the study, its health benefits are “linked to the anti-carcinogenic properties of phytonutrients present in milk known as isoflavones.”

How did other common plant-based beverages fare? Rice is an alternative for those with dairy and soy allergies, but it’s relatively low in protein and high in carbohydrates. Coconut has been shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol associated with cardiovascular disease, yet it has no protein and is high in saturated fats. Almond is also low in protein, just 1 gram per cup, compared with the 6 grams you would get eating a serving of almonds. Almonds do have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, thought to be helpful with weight loss and to keep bad cholesterol in check.

The study did not look at other nondairy milk varieties, such as those made with cashews, oats, hemp or peas.

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  3. It’s fascinating to see a study delving into the nutritional profiles of different plant-based milks. The findings about soy milk having the most balanced nutritional profile and being rich in protein are quite intriguing. It’s not only a viable option for those seeking a dairy alternative but also brings potential health benefits through isoflavones.

    I’ve personally been exploring plant-based options due to lactose intolerance, and this information on soy milk is encouraging. However, I wonder how other popular plant-based milks, like cashew, oat, hemp, or pea milk, would fare in a similar study. Have there been any studies comparing these varieties to dairy milk?

    Also, it’s interesting to note the trade-offs with other alternatives like almond, coconut, and rice milk. The almond milk’s low protein content compared to whole almonds is surprising, and the varying nutritional profiles make choosing the right alternative a nuanced decision.

    Looking forward to more research in this area and perhaps insights into the lesser-explored plant-based milk options!


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