Dairy products, including milk, supply the bulk of the calcium people get in their diets, and when you replace it with plant milk, you may be missing out.”
That quote came directly from Consumer Reports nutritionist Ellen Klosz. The scientist pulled back the veil on plant-based milk imposters and even went on to say, “many people are confused about the plant milks’ nutritional profile.” There is a rather easy remedy — the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could completely eliminate consumer confusion by enforcing its own labeling standards for milk.
In carrying out its study, Consumer Reports evaluated 35 plant-based beverages — almond, coconut, oat, and soy —for both nutrition and taste. “Few of the drinks we tested match cow’s milk for nutrition,” wrote Rachel Meltzer Warren in the publication dedicated to unbiased product testing and investigative journalism.
The Consumer Reports team pointed out that these beverages were filled with additives . . . primarily added sugar . . . to add taste appeal. That was the least of the concerns, as many of the “want-to-be” products also were fortified with tricalcium phosphate and disodium phosphate.
These two additives deliver calcium and phosphorus to the plant beverages and also act as a stabilizer to help keep the ingredients swirling in suspension. In attempting to deliver calcium and phosphorus like true milk from mammals, these two additives create human health setbacks such as kidney disease, heart disease, and bone loss.
If that didn’t raise enough concern, some plant-based milk mimickers have gum added as a stabilizer. The nutritionists noted these chemically processed products may cause abdominal pain.
Plant-based beverages tend to hang their hat on the fact that they’re more environmentally friendly. A case can be made that soy and oat products may use less water. However, it actually takes more water to bring almond beverages to the marketplace than cow’s milk.
That’s rather ironic because “almond milk” is the sales leader among all the nut juices. And those almond beverages didn’t deliver on nutrition either, explained Consumer Reports. The authors wrote, “None in our tests earn a score higher than Good for nutrition, mainly because of low protein content and poor protein quality.”
Consumer Reports reminds all of us that consumers are confused about the milk imposters created from plants. It’s time that FDA helps clear the confusion and restores crystal-clear vision for all consumers. Label true milk as milk.