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  • If you go to the store in search of milk,

  • there are a dizzying number of products to choose from.

  • There's dairy milk, but also plant-based products.

  • To turn a plant into something resembling milk,

  • it must be either soaked, drained, rinsed, and milled into a thick paste,

  • or dried, and milled into flour.

  • The plant paste or flour is then fortified with vitamins and minerals,

  • flavoured, and diluted with water.

  • The result is a barrage of options

  • that share many of the qualities of animal milk.

  • So which milk is actually best for you?

  • Let's dive into some of the most popular milks:

  • dairy, almond, soy, or oat?

  • A 250 ml glass of cow's milk contains 8 grams of protein,

  • 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 to 8 grams of fat

  • depending on if it's skim, reduced fat, or whole.

  • That's approximately 15% the daily protein an average adult needs,

  • roughly 10% the carbohydrates and 2 to 15% the fat.

  • Most plant-based milks have less carbohydrates than dairy milk.

  • They also have less fat, but more of what's often calledgood fats.”

  • Meanwhile, the healthy nutrients vitamin D and calcium found in dairy milk

  • don't occur naturally in most plant-based milks.

  • Looking more closely at our plant-based milks,

  • both almond and oat are low in protein compared to dairy.

  • But while almond milk has the least nutrients of the four,

  • oat milk is full of beta-glucans, a healthy type of fibre.

  • It also has a lot of carbohydrates compared to other plant milks

  • sometimes as much as dairy milk.

  • Soy milk, meanwhile, has as much protein as cow's milk

  • and is also a great source of potassium.

  • Soybeans contain isoflavone,

  • which people used to think might trigger hormonal imbalances

  • by mimicking the function of estrogen.

  • But ultimately, soy milk contains very small amounts of isoflavones,

  • which have a much weaker effect on our bodies than estrogen.

  • Depending on individual circumstances,

  • one of these milks may be the clear winner:

  • if you're lactose intolerant, then the plant-based milks pull ahead,

  • while if you're allergic to nuts, almond milk is out.

  • For people who don't have access to a wide and varied diet,

  • dairy milk can be the most efficient way to get these nutrients.

  • But all else being equal, any one of these four milks

  • is nutritious enough to be part of a balanced diet.

  • That's why for many people, the milk that's best for you

  • is actually the milk that's best for the planet.

  • So which uses the fewest resources and produces the least pollution?

  • It takes almost 4 square kilometers to produce just one glass of cow's milk,

  • land use that drives deforestation and habitat destruction.

  • Most of that is land the cows live on, and some is used to grow their feed.

  • Many cows eat soy beans and oats.

  • It takes much less land to grow the oats or soybeans for milk

  • than it does to feed a dairy cow

  • only about a quarter square kilometer per glass.

  • Almond milk has similar land use.

  • But where that land is also matters

  • soybean farms are a major driver of deforestation,

  • while oat and almond farms aren't.

  • Making milk uses water every step of the way,

  • but it's the farming stage where big differences emerge.

  • Dairy milk uses the most waterabout 120 liters per glass,

  • mostly to water cows and grow their food.

  • Almonds take second place, at more than 70 liters of water per glass.

  • Most of that water is used to grow almond trees,

  • which take years of watering before they start producing almonds.

  • The trees must be watered consistently, or they die,

  • while many other crops can be left fallow and still produce later.

  • All told, soy and oats require less water to grow:

  • only about 5 to 10 liters per glass of milk.

  • Milk production generates some greenhouse gas emissions

  • about 0.1 to 0.2 kilograms per glass for the plant-based milks.

  • But for dairy milk, the cows themselves also produce emissions

  • by burping and farting out large quantities of the gas methane.

  • Overall, each glass of dairy milk

  • contributes over half a kilogram of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • So while depending on your dietary needs,

  • any one of these milks may be a good fit, in terms of the health of our planet

  • there's a strong case for choosing plant-based milks,

  • particularly oat or soy milk.

If you go to the store in search of milk,

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B2 milk dairy plant based plant almond oat

Which type of milk is best for you? - Jonathan J. O’Sullivan & Grace E. Cunningham

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/23
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