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Vegetarian Journal Cover

Vegetarian Journal

Excerpts

Jan/Feb 1998
Volume XVII, Number 1




Vegetarian Journal's
Guide to Non-dairy "Milks"

By Reed Mangles, Ph.D., R.D.


Trying to cut down on or cut out dairy products? There are numerous alternatives available. You can choose milks made from soybeans, rice, oats, other grains, and almonds. These milks come in different flavors, including plain (unflavored), vanilla, chocolate, and carob. They can be nonfat or lowfat, sweetened or unsweetened. Many have vitamins and minerals added in order to provide some of the same nutrients found in cow's milk. Milks are commercially available in aseptic shelf-stable cartons, in the dairy case, and in powdered form.

Generally these products contain no animal-derived ingredients. Sovex does make a powder which contains casein (a milk protein), but they also produce a product which is labeled as caseinate-free and which does not contain animal products. Even beverages which contain added vitamins and minerals do not contain animal ingredients.

Many beverages are made with organic ingredients. Products which contain organic ingredients are identified in the table accompanying this article.


Calcium content of fortified plant milks
(ranked from highest to lowest; cow's milk included for 
 comparison purposes)

Product                                          Calcium
                                             (milligrams in 1 cup)
Better Than Milk? Caseinate Free: Light              500
Health Valley Fat Free Soy Moo                       400
Better Than Milk? Caseinate Free                     350
White Wave Silk and Rice Silk, Westsoy Plus,
  Pacific Lite, Pacific Ultra, Rice Dream Enriched   300
Cow's Milk                                           300
Westbrae Rice Beverage                               250
Pacific Fat Free, EdenSoy Extra,
  Westsoy Lowfat, Westsoy Nonfat                     200
Pacific Rice Beverage Fatfree and Lowfat,
  Pacific Multi-Grain Original                       150


Calories
Calorie content of regular soy beverages ranges from considerably less than whole cow's milk (which has 150 calories in 8 ounces) to slightly more. Rice beverages generally are lower in calories than whole cow's milk. The lowfat and fat-free beverages are usually pretty close to skim cow's milk in calories (86 calories in 8 ounces) but flavored lowfat milks (vanilla and chocolate) may be higher in calories because of the added sweetener.

Protein
Many beverages are lower in protein than cow's milk. This is not worrisome for those vegetarians whose diets contain other good protein sources. For those vegetarians who rely on plant-based milk for a significant portion of their daily protein needs or for those vegetarians who need some extra protein (growing children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and some athletes, for example), beverages which are higher in protein can be chosen. These include EdenSoy Extra, EdenBlend, Health Valley Fatfree Soy Moo, Westsoy Unsweetened, Westsoy Plus, Pacific Foods Ultra, and Vitasoy (all flavors except light versions). For those whose diets have generous amounts of protein from other sources and who want a beverage which does not supply extra protein, rice and nut milks are generally quite low in protein.

Fat
Whole cow's milk has a hefty 8 grams of fat per cup. Skim cow's milk has no fat. None of the milks we examined had as much fat as whole cow's milk. Most regular soy beverages have a fat content like lowfat (2%) cow's milk. Beverages labeled nonfat, lite, and lowfat, as well as rice-based beverages are lower in fat, ranging from 0 to 3 grams of fat per cup.

Vitamins and Minerals
Cow's milk is a significant source of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, and riboflavin. Many non-dairy beverage makers add these vitamins and minerals to their products to make them more closely resemble cow's milk. Other sources for these nutrients exist, but these beverages do represent options for those whose diets do not otherwise have enough of these vitamins and minerals.

While these products are popular with many adults and children, none should be used to replace breast milk or infant formulas. They are not suitable for use by infants as a main food since they do not resemble breast milk or infant formula in composition.

Each brand of non-dairy milk tastes different and each has its fans. If you're new to these products, try several, considering their nutrient profile and your needs, and see which ones suit you.


Vitamin B-12 content of fortified plant milks
(ranked from highest to lowest; cow's milk included for 
 comparison purposes)

Product                                         Vitamin B-12
                                              (micrograms in 1 cup)
White Wave Silk and Rice Silk, EdenSoy Extra           3.0
Cow's Milk                                             0.9
Better Than Milk? Caseinate Free: Plain and Lite       0.6


Vitamin D content of fortified plant milks
(ranked from highest to lowest; cow's milk included for 
 comparison purposes)

Product                                    Vitamin D
                                            (IU in 1 cup)
Pacific Rice Beverage Fatfree and Lowfat;
  Pacific Lite, Ultra, and Fatfree;
  White Wave Silk and Rice Silk                 120

Westsoy Plus, Lowfat, Nonfat;
  Westbrae Rice Beverage; Rice Dream Enriched;
  Health Valley Fat Free Soy Moo                100

Cow's Milk                                      100

EdenSoy Extra                                    40


Plant Milks
Products are listed alphabetically by type. 
Products containing some organic ingredients are italicized.

Beverage                   Calories  Protein   Fat      Added Vitamins & 
                             (per 8oz) (gm/8oz) (gm/8oz)  Minerals*
Soy-based Beverages:
EdenSoy Extra:
  Original                           130      10     4         A, D, E, B12, Ca, Thia
  Vanilla                            150       6     3         A, D, E, B12, Ca, Thia
EnerG Soy Quik                        50       6     2.5       Thia
Health Valley Fat Free
  Soy Moo                            110       7     0         D, Ca
Pacific Foods:
  Plain                              100       4     3         Ir
  Vanilla                            120       4     3         Ir
  Lite Plain                         100       4     2.5       A, D, Ca, Ribo
  Lite Vanilla                       110       4     2.5       A, D, Ca, Ribo
  Ultra Plain                        160       6     5         A, D, Ca, Ir, Ribo
  Ultra Vanilla                      170       6     5         A, D, Ca, Ir, Ribo
  Fat Free Plain                      70       3     0         A, D, Ca
  Fat Free Vanilla                    90       3     0         A, D, Ca
Sovex Better Than Milk?:
  Caseinate Free, Plain, powder form 100       2     2.5       B12, Ca
  Caseinate Free, Plain, liquid form  86       2     2         B12, Ca
  Caseinate Free, Plain, Light        80       2     0.5       B12, Ca
  Caseinate Free, Chocolate           98       1     2         B12, Ca
  Caseinate Free, Carob              114       2     2         B12, Ca
Sovex Solait                         100       5     3         Ca
Vitasoy:
  Creamy Original                    160       9     7
  Vanilla Delight                    190       7     6
  Rich Cocoa                         210       8     6
  Light Original                      90       4     2
  Light Vanilla                      110       4     2
Westbrae Lite:
  Plain                              100       3     2
  Vanilla                            120       3     2.5
  Chocolate                          150       3     2.5
Westsoy Unsweetened                   80       7     4     
Westsoy Original                     140       5     5
Westsoy Plus:
  Plain                              130       6     4         A, D, Ca, Ir, Ribo, Thia
  Vanilla                            150       6     4         A, D, Ca, Ir, Ribo, Thia
Westsoy Low Fat:
  Plain                               90       4     2         A, D, Ca
Westsoy Nonfat
  Plain, Vanilla                      80       3     0         A, D, Ca
White Wave Silk:
  Plain                               80       4     2.5       A, D, B12, Ca, Ribo
  Chocolate                          100       4     2.5       A, D, B12, Ca, Ribo

Rice-Based Beverages:
Amazake Light Almond                 110       2     2
Pacific Fat Free:
  Plain                               60       1     0         A, D, Ca
  Vanilla                             70       1     0         A, D, Ca
  Cocoa                               80       2     0         A, D, Ca
Pacific Lowfat:
  Plain                               70       1     1.5       A, D, Ca
  Vanilla                             80       1     1.5       A, D, Ca
  Cocoa                              170       3     2         A, D, Ca, Ir
Rice Dream:
  Original                           120       1     2
  Vanilla                            130       1     2
  Carob                              150       1     2.5
Rice Dream Enriched:
  Original                           120       1     2         A, D, Ca
  Vanilla                            130       1     2         A, D, Ca
  Chocolate                          170       1     3         A, D, Ca
Sovex Rice Moo:
  Original                            84       1     0
  Vanilla                             80       1     0
Westbrae Rice Beverage:
  Plain, Vanilla                     120       1     3         A, D, Ca, Ribo
 White Wave Rice Silk                 90       2     2.5       A, D, B12, Ca, Ribo

Miscellaneous Beverages:
EdenBlend (soy/rice)                 120       7     3
EnerG Nut Quick                      110       4     9
Mill Milk Oat Drink:
  Vanilla                            110       2     2.5
Pacific Multi-Grain
  Original                           150       3     2         Ca
Pacific Naturally Almond:
  Original                            70       2     2.5
  Vanilla                             90       2     2.5
Pacific Naturally Oat:
  Original                           110       4     1.5
  Vanilla                            130       4     1.5

Whole Cow's Milk                     150       8     8.2       A, D, B12, Ca, Ribo
Skim Cow's Milk                       86       8.4   0.4       A, D, B12, Ca, Ribo

*Indicates vitamins and minerals which are present at a level 10% or 
 higher than the Daily Value; A=vitamin A; D=vitamin D; E=vitamin E; 
 B12=vitamin B-12; Ca=calcium; Ir=iron; Ribo=riboflavin; Thia=thiamin


The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone wanting to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

This article was converted to HTML by Stephanie Schueler



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