What’s Plant-Based Milk All About?

The shelves are heaving with soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, pea and rice milk… what happened to good old-fashioned milk, right? 

Welcome to plant-based or alternative milks. As more people switch to these substitutes, cow’s milk is left in the dust. For some people, it’s due to an allergy to lactose in cow’s milk. Lactose is a sugar in dairy products and some cannot digest it, making it necessary to switch to a lactose-free variant.

Other common reasons for switching: 

  • A vegan diet or lifestyle
  • Concerns about inflammation
  • Crohn’s and colitis or inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Concerns over antibiotics, pesticides or hormones
  • Ethical and environmental concerns

Protein, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins are all found naturally in cow's milk. Cow’s milk is also frequently fortified with vitamins A and D. Not all plant-based milks are fortified with these nutrients.

If you’re allergic to or intolerant of milk or have other reasons for avoiding dairy, plant-based milk can be a healthy substitute for you. These beverages can also form part of a healthy diet, provided you read the nutrition label and ensure you're getting all the same vital nutrients you would typically get from “real” milk.


What’s your milk choice? 

Dairy milk contains calcium, a crucial micronutrient that is essential for maintaining strong bones, especially in kids and teenagers. It can be a bit challenging getting the recommended daily amounts of calcium and protein from plant-based milk. For this reason, you’d have to combine milk with other dairy-free sources of calcium like almonds, baked beans or soybeans.

With cow’s milk, you need to be aware of its high salt content, especially if you have high blood pressure. The upside to both types of milk is that calcium and Vitamin D can be added to both to make them more nutrient-dense.

Also, good to know for those watching their weight, plant milks are usually lower in saturated fat and calories. 

If you prefer plant-based milk alternatives, look for one that’s fortified. Avoid rice drinks if you have children under the age of five as these may contain high levels of arsenic.



Determine the reason for your decision to drink plant-based milk and make sure you’re still getting your necessary vitamins every day. Remember that all long-life milks will have additives and preservatives to ensure its long-term use, so as always, read the food labels carefully.


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.