Is plant-based milk really better for your health?

Oats, almonds, rice, soy, hazelnuts… In the kingdom of plant-based drinks – since June 14, 2017, the name “plant-based milk” has been banned with the exception of almond and coconut-based products – we no longer count the alternatives to traditional cow's milk. Low in fat (and therefore easier to digest) and rich in minerals, plant-based drinks are becoming a delicacy for those who are allergic and intolerant to lactose, as well as fans of veganism. 16% of French people consume them regularly according to a Statista Consumer Insights study from March 2023. “In reality, plant-based drinks contain practically only water, to which we add a little thickener, sugar and, depending on, a little almond powder, rice, or oats, explains Ève Le Vaillant, nutritionist. It does not have at all the same nutritional composition as animal milk, which has much more protein (3 to 4 g per 100 ml, compared to 2.8 in the best case for a vegetable drink), but also calcium and vitamin D. It would therefore be in your best interest, as long as you digest it well, to drink cow's milk.

Those who seek to consume foods that are as minimally processed as possible should also be wary. “The existence of “gluten-free” oat milk means that it was necessary to go through numerous processing processes to get rid of the gluten,” continues the nutrition specialist. The same goes for the almond, which is shelled, toasted, reduced to powder then rehydrated, losing in the process many of its nutritional virtues.” For fans of plant-based drinks who want to keep their habits, biochemist Jessie Inchauspé recommends “favoring nut-based milks, without sugar. And above all, look carefully at the ingredients. Look for an almond milk whose ingredients are almonds and water, and nothing else.” Others, like Zoé, chose to abandon them. This editor-in-chief returned to semi-skimmed, fresh cow's milk six months ago: “I had read that animal milk would make me bloated, give me spots and hormonal problems, but none of that 'appeared. And I found real pleasure in drinking my latte. »

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