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Vegetable drinks


A few years ago the breakfast of most of the Spanish population had a couple of common elements: coffee and milk. Well, it is clear that competitors have come out in the form of a multitude of drinks

A few years ago the breakfast of most of the Spanish population had a couple of common elements: coffee and milk. Well, it is clear that competitors have come out in the form of a multitude of plant-based drinks that we drink instead of milk as part of our breakfasts, snacks, etc.



  • They cannot be called “vegetable milks” since it is a vegetable product and not obtained from the milking of mammalian females.
  • They are neither better nor worse than milk, if not different, due to nutritional composition. That is why we must be clear about what role they play in our diet when choosing them.
  • In case of following a vegetarian or vegan diet they are a good option.


Do vegetable drinks give us the same as milk?

There are currently such a variety of beverages on the market that the answer is this: it depends. Soy drinks do not provide the same as almond or rice drinks. There are calcium-enriched soy drinks that can actually be very nutritionally similar to cow’s milk, while there are also, for example, rice drinks that are very different in composition to milk. Therefore, to choose well, it is convenient to read the labels and know how to interpret them clearly.

Why take them?

We must be clear about what function these drinks occupy in our diet: if we drink them on time because we like to vary, if they are our alternative to milk because we suffer from lactose intolerance or allergy to cow’s milk proteins, if it is because we are We are vegans or we eat a vegetarian diet in which we do not include milk … Depending on our case, we will take into account one or other considerations.

What to look for?

It depends on the case: for example, if we eat a vegetarian diet we are especially interested in being products enriched in calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. If we drink these drinks in a punctual way within an omnivorous diet, it does not matter if they are supplemented or not in B12. If we suffer from several allergies we have to pay special attention to the list of ingredients to check that they do not contain any possible allergens that affect us. If, for example, we choose them as a healthy option to control weight and we drink a vegetable drink with enough added sugars, which there are, we are totally wrong, unless we take it as a post-sport recuperator, then a certain amount sugar is not bad for us, depending on the case.

So are they better or worse?

Neither better nor worse, different . We have already seen that we will be interested in some or other characteristics depending on each case. We can find advantages and disadvantages compared to cow’s milk if we want to put it like this.

• They are very useful in the treatment of allergies and food intolerances such as intolerance tolactose or allergy to cow’s milk protein.
• They do not contain cholesterol and their lipid profile is more unsaturated than that of cow’s milk, so we can consider it more heart-healthy.
• They represent a good option if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

• They generally contain similar amounts of calcium as cow’s milk, due to their original composition or because they are supplemented, but the bioavailability of calcium in general may be lower than in milk. It is recommended that they are supplemented.
• Vegetable drinks with a significant amount of added sugars should be avoided as the effect of simple sugars on health is showing increasing evidence of being a key element in the development of health problems such as overweight and obesity, from childhood.



These beverages are often mistakenly called “plant milks.” This nomenclature is not correct because according to the Spanish food code we can only call the secretion that we obtain from the milking of mammalian females milk, and not a vegetable product.

How to take them?

Vegetable drinks have the same culinary applications as cow’s milk, their flavor varies and logically the result is different but we can use them as drinks themselves, to make creams, purees, sauces, pastries, ice creams, crepes, shakes, etc. They are usually sold in brick and, once opened, we must keep it refrigerated for a maximum of 3-4 days before consuming it.

What options we have?

Increasingly, soy drinks have been added to oatmeal, rice, almond … and currently there is a wide range of vegetable drinks, and although we must check labels to check their composition, we can find nutritionally interesting options. In reality, there are notable differences between the composition between beverages of the same food depending on whether sugars have been added or not, whether it is enriched in vitamins and / or minerals or not, etc. Therefore, we must always check the labeling before choosing a product. In this case we discuss the main types of vegetable drinks that we can find in the market and we put an example of each with its ingredients and nutrients (these may vary depending on the brand).

The ingredients can be water, soybeans (13.5%) and sea salt. Thus providing us with 36 Kcal per 100 g, 1.8 g of fat, 0.3 g of saturated fat, 1 g of carbohydrates, 0.6 g of sugars, 0.5 g of fiber and 3.6 g of protein.

The ingredients of a non-enriched oatmeal drink can be as simple as water and oats (15%), in this case it will provide us with 46 Kcal per 100 g, 0.8 g of fats (0.3 g monounsaturated, 0 , 3 polyunsaturated and 0.2 g saturated), 8.1 g of carbohydrates, of which 5.4 g are sugars, 1.4 g of proteins and 0.4 g of fiber, among others.

A rice drink can have the following list of ingredients: water, rice (18%), starch, emulsifier and salt. Providing 75 Kcal per 100 g, 0.5 g of fat (0.05 g of saturated fat), 18.8 g of carbohydrates, among which we find 5.6 g of sugars, 0.1 g of dietary fiber and 0 , 5 g of protein. There are also simpler ones with lower nutritional calorie content.

It is usually more sugary, so its consumption is good after doing an intense and long-lasting sport after which it will be convenient to replace sugars at the muscular level. This one that we have chosen to analyze contains water, almonds (2%), tricalcium orthophosphate, sea salt, stabilizers, emulsifiers and vitamins. Nutritional composition: 13 Kcal per 100 g; 0.4 g of protein; 1.1 g of fat; 0.1 g of sugars, and 0.4 g of fiber.

An example of the composition of a hazelnut drink is the following: water, sugar, hazelnuts (2.5%), tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, stabilizers, emulsifier and vitamins (B2, B12, E and D). It contains 29Kcal per 100g, 1.6g of fat (0.2g saturated), 3.2g of sugars, 0.3g of fiber, 0.4g of protein, 120mg of calcium, etc.

The ingredients of the coconut drink can be: water, “coconut milk” (5.3%) -coconut cream and water-, rice (3.3%), tricalcium phosphate, stabilizers, sea salt, vitamins and aromas. Provides 20 Kcal per 100 g, 0.9 g of saturated fat, 2.7 g of carbohydrates (1.9 g sugars), 0.1 g of protein, 120 mg of calcium, etc.



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