Your Complete Guide to Plant-based Milk
For those of you who doesn’t have any idea what plant-based milk is, they are beverages made from grains, nuts, seeds and/or legumes, they look similar to the ordinary cow’s milk but are totally dairy-free. With the growing appetite for plant-based milk in Hong Kong, there are plenty of choices of plant-based milk now even in supermarkets. A few years ago, the Hong Kong plant milk market was still largely dominated by soy milk, but demands for other options such as oat, almond, rice and quinoa milk are on the rise. It’s definitely great news to those who are lactose-intolerant and vegans. So which kind of plant milk is the best for you? What are their nutrition values? Here are the answers!  

Plant Milk versus Cow's Milk

  Plant milks outcompete cow’s milk in many aspects. First, they are lactose-free and cholesterol-free because lactose (a type of sugar) and cholesterol are found in animal products only. Drinking plant milk will not cause lactose intolerance symptoms nor increase of bad cholesterol level in blood so they are healthier than cow’s milk. Plus, production of plant drinks requires less water and land to yield the same amount of cow’s milk, and it releases less greenhouse gases, making these drinks more eco-friendly. Besides, the whole process of plant milk production does not involve animal suffering and no hormones nor antibiotics is needed to boost the production yield.    

Which plant milk should I pick?

 No matter what your preference for the ordinary milk (light or creamy; plain, sweet or flavoured; enriched with nutrients or not) and your usage (making smoothies or coffee, adding into breakfast cereal or other culinary recipes) are, there must be a choice of plant-based substitute for you. Confused about the characteristics of different commercial plant drinks? No worries. We help you sort them out.

Comparison of Plant-based milk - almond, soy, oat, rice, quinoa

*Nutrient contents, taste and texture of the drink may vary depending on the product’s composition.

Do you know: Is there a difference between plant "milks" and plant drinks?

In principle, the term “milk” may not be suitable to describe these beverages because milk should be produced from mammary glands in animals as stated in the European Union law. Therefore, in European countries, plant-based beverages that imitate milk are only allowed to be described as plant drinks (e.g. oat drinks and soy drinks instead of oat milk and soy milk respectively). However, most people, especially non-vegetarian, would feel comfortable with the name “plant milk” because of similarity in appearance so many plant drinks in the market are commercialized as plant “milks”.


Plant Milks FAQ

  Q: I’ve heard that drinking milk causes acne, so will my skin condition improve if I switch to plant milk? 
A: Proteins in cow’s milk are mainly whey and casein. Digestion of these two proteins will stimulate our body to release insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which will then increase the production of male steroid hormones, resulting in active sebum production and acne problems. While whey and casein are proteins found in animal foods only, plant milk becomes a better choice for people with blemish-prone and sensitive skin.  
Q: Can plant milks provide the nutrients I need? How much plant milk should I drink daily? 
A: Plant milk is often fortified with calcium. Some products are even enriched with vitamins A, D, B2 and B12 to boost the nutritional value. When choosing plant milk, always aim for products that contain at least 100mg of calcium per 100ml of plant milk. Adults are recommended to drink 2 cups (250ml per cup) of plant milk daily.   Thanks to the advanced food technology, plant milks are often enriched with nutrients to make them as nutritious as cow’s milk.
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