Tom Robbins, author of “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” once said, “You should never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans.” A 1960s point of view, perhaps. The 2020s point of view is that you shouldn’t hesitate to trade cow’s milk in for a glass of soy, oat or almond milk. Is that a smart trade?
Almond milk contains no saturated fat and 2 grams mono- and polyunsaturated fats in an 8-ounce glass. Whole milk delivers 7.37 grams of fat, with 4.23 grams of saturated fat. Unsweetened almond milk also contains just 30 calories, in contrast to whole milk’s 136 calories, and serves up 1 gram of protein (whole milk has 8 grams), 1 gram carbs, 450 milligrams calcium, 160 milligrams potassium, 150 micrograms vitamin A and 200 IU of vitamin D.
Oat milk delivers 120 calories, 5 grams of fat (0.5 grams is sat fat), 3 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbs per 8-ounce serving, and 2 to 3 grams of fiber, although nutrition label info varies from brand to brand.
Soy milk’s popularity has plummeted because of news that its estrogen-like molecules can raise the risk of breast cancer. The Cleveland Clinic says there’s no evidence that’s so. A serving of soy milk contains 131 calories, 4.3 grams fat with 0.5 grams sat fat, 15 grams carbs, 8 grams protein and whatever added vitamins the manufacturer wants to put in; the USDA’s evaluation says it offers no A or D.
The bottom line: Always opt for unsweetened alternative milks, whichever you choose. And experiment with newer options, like pea, pecan, walnut and cashew milk.