MYLK is a term used for a white substance extracted from plant sources, such as almonds, cashews, soya, coconuts, etc.
Despite the considerable advantages with the consumption of cow milk, there are various disadvantages associated with it. To start off, the presence of various pathogens in milk has been associated to cause widespread disease outbreaks around the world. Also, cow milk allergy is one the most common allergies among infants and children.
Other issues widely associated with the consumption of cow milk, in both males and females, are lactose intolerance, and cancer. The main source of the lactose carbohydrate in our body is human and cow milk. The intolerance is due to the absence of the enzyme, lactase, in the digestive tract.
Therefore, other factors, like the presence of cholesterol and vegetarianism, have pushed people and the food industry to look for healthier alternatives.
The food industry has addressed these demands by introducing various milk beverages which are promoted as alternatives coming from plant sources. These alternatives, also called ‘non-dairy alternatives,’ mainly include soy, almond, rice, cashew and coconut milk. Some other sources have also been used to produce these milks, but in minor quantities, like hemp, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, flax, and oats.
Plant based alternative milks
Almond milk: Almond beverages have been consumed for a long time due to their flavor and taste. Recently, almond milk has become one of the most popular plant based alternative milks. The various health benefits involved in the consumption of almonds, are also one of the major factors that helped boost the consumer demand for it. Almonds have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), that are helpful in weight loss and weight management. Almonds also act as a vital source of various nutrients including proteins, fiber, vitamin E and manganese.
Soy milk: Soy is a unique dietary source which is very rich in proteins and fat. These seeds contain up to 35–45% protein and 20% fat, acting as an important source of protein especially for vegetarians. Soy milk is also widely consumed for its health benefits, primarily attributed to the presence of isoflavones, which are linked to exhibit anti-cancer properties.
Coconut milk: It has a unique nutritional composition. Various researchers have found undeniable evidence that the consumption of coconut milk can increase the HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels, which help in reducing the harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein).
The incline of plant-based milk alternatives and decline of bovine milk is concerning from a public health perspective, yet, individuals and families could be using plant-based milk alternatives as total and complete nutritional replacements to bovine milk, with no other modification to their diet to make up for nutritional losses.