Nut milks are linked to iodine deficiency, but there remain benefits worth pouring over.
Now a bonafide health and fitness fad, non-dairy milks — think almond and cashew — have been found to give consumers an iodine deficiency, according to a new study.
What’s more, the World Health Organisation considers an iodine deficiency as the ‘world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause of brain damage’, so are Instagram kudos from plant-based milk really worth the hassle? Here, we pour over your options
Milk from… hemp
Aside from the eco-kudos of drinking ‘milk’ made from one of the earth’s most sustainable crops, each serving of hemp deals out all nine essential amino acids as well as a truckload of omega fats. Great for the heart, brain and, of course, joints. Pour, pour, pass.
How to use it: Thick and creamy, use hemp milk to charge up your porridge with a mental boost. It’ll clear any morning brain haze.
Milk from… soya
Packing more muscle-building protein per calorie than any other non-dairy option on offer, soya pulls ahead of the herd thanks to its minimal saturated fat content and complete absence of artery-clogging cholesterol – unlike good ol’ dairy, which delivers both. All gains, no pains.
How to use it: While some plant milks will separate in tea or coffee, soy’s full-bodied consistency makes for a zero-curdle cuppa.
Milk from… almonds
With fewer than half the calories of skimmed milk, just 10% of the carbs and 98% less sugar, almond milk delivers a steady stream of energy, keeping blood sugar stable and fat storage to a minimum. All of which goes some way to explaining how this milk built its kale-like following.
How to use it: The mild, nutty taste and low calorie profile makes it an ideal base for smoothies, or for a less gruel-like bowl of oats.
Milk from… rice
Sure, it’s pretty low on the protein front, but the carbs in rice milk are very easy to digest. With twice the amount contained in dairy milk, rice is the perfect post-workout concoction to restock your glycogen stores and speed protein from your diet on its way to your hungry muscles.
How to use it: Pour a serving into your gym-bag protein shaker. The carbs will max out your recuperation after a hard session.
Milk from… coconut
Starbucks’ plant-based favourite is comparable with dairy in terms of its protein and carb count, but cracks the competition with eight-times more fat in the form of heart-healthy MCTs. Half of that is lauric acid – a proven metabolism booster with protective antibacterial properties.
How to use it: Grande fat burners can pour some into a pre-gym espresso for an electrolyte-loaded latte. Foam art optional.
Check your dairy
It’s not all or nothing. Skim a little off the top to look and feel a whole lot better
Bone up wisely: A BMJ study linked a high milk intake with increased risk of hip fractures. Get your calcium from other sources such as nuts, beans and leafy greens, too.
No moo friends: “About 75% of the world’s population can’t digest dairy properly,” says Dr Mark Hyman, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. That whey shake might not be making it to your muscles in full.
Spot reduction: A heavy milk habit has been correlated with acne by the Harvard School of Public Health. Low- fat drinkers were the most likely to have regular breakouts.