We obtain milk from a variety of ingredients, but which one of them is the most helpful for us?
Milk can be animal-based as well as plant-based; and vegetarians and certain people may prefer the latter over the former. However, a recent study has noted that milk which is obtained from plant products varies in terms of nutrition and it recommended that kids should be given more of cow's milk, unless there is any medical reason.
Cow's milk is healthy, as it contains a decent amount of proteins and almost a third of the recommended amount of calcium, besides vitamins A, B12 and D, and potassium.
Plant-based Milk - Less Nutritious:
Milk obtained from plant products is much less nutritious in comparison to that of the cow. According to a blog, except soy milk, no other plant-based milk (cashew, coconut and almond) is a good source of protein in unfortified form.
Soy milk though matches the cow's milk in terms of protein content, it does not match cow's milk in terms of calcium, unless artificially enriched. Organic soy milk also contains some amount of fat, which is not there in skimmed milk.
Milk obtained from cashew nuts and almonds though is rich in calcium, it is hardly utilised eventually as the processing sees most of the nutrients getting destroyed.
Coconut milk, on the other hand, is considered the least nutritious of all because it has a little or no protein and a very small amount of calcium.
Artificial Value Addition Doesn't Make The Plant-based
To improve the nutritional value of these plant-based milk varieties, a lot of manufacturers add artificial values to them; however, those added nutrients cannot be properly absorbed by the body like the natural content. Scientists have expressed doubt in the same.
Another advantage of the cow's milk is that it contains lactose and casein that better the absorption of calcium and in turn lead to the absorption of vitamin D. This coordination among the natural ingredients makes the animal milk much more superior when compared to the plant-based variety.
In terms of the vitamin also, plant-based milk trails the animal milk by far. Vitamin D content in plant milk is very low compared to cow's milk.
Additives - Not Good For Children:
Additives are mixed with plant-based milk a lot of times to make it more tasty; and these additives can lead to digestive problems and allergies. Plant-based milk should thus not be given to infants and children.
But, this is not to say that cow's milk is immune from artificial ingredients. Sugar and other sweeteners can be added to full-fat cow's milk as well as in case of plant-based milk.