There are so many different types of milks out there, from oat milk to rice milk to soy milk! While all of them may be work well if you have lactose intolerance or if you're on a vegan diet, each has their own unique benefits.
Some plant-based milks might actually be better for people who need to control their blood glucose levels more than others. For example:
- Soy milk is the healthiest alternative milk, due to its low sugar and high protein content
- Nut milks like unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk and peanut milk are in-between
- Rice milk and oat milk may raise blood sugar levels due to high carbohydrate content
Here are some guidelines on how to choose the best plnat-based milks for blood sugar from Dr. Achyuthan Eswar, BNYS, Lifestyle Physician & Co-founder, Sampoorna Ahara.
Which is the best alternative to cow’s dairy products?
When it come to choosing the best alternative to cow’s milk, there are several types of milk made from plants, like almond, hemp, flaxseed, oat, rice, soy, and coconut milk.
What matters first and foremost is that you're using unsweetened dairy products that don't contain any additives or sweeteners. For example, the healthiest way to drink almond milk is to stock up on almond butter and simply dilute it with water.
While a clean ingredients list should be the first thing to consider, you may also find different benefits and disadvantages based on your choice of plant-based dairy alternatives. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there.
For example, if you're lactose intolerant, you might try almond or coconut milks instead. Or, if you'd rather avoid soy, you could opt for hemp or flaxseed. In addition, some people swear by the health benefits of cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts. And finally, if you're not keen on nuts, you could go for a plant-based alternative such as soymilk. Whatever type of dairy you decide to include, make sure it's one that you'll enjoy!
Soy Milk and other legume-based milks
If you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to plant-based milks, then soy milk is the clear winner.
It has less fat content and calories than regular milk, but still provides an excellent source of calcium and protein. For example, soy milk has 3.3 grams of protein per 100ml!
Plus, it's easy to digest and can help lower cholesterol levels, which is great for heart health.
Most important, because soy does not contain as much fat as nuts or as much starch as grains, it does not lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Unsweetened Almond Milk, Cashew Milk and other Nut Milks
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, magnesium and fiber. They also provide good amounts of monounsaturated fats and are free from cholesterol.
In fact, almonds are considered to be one of the top sources of healthy fats. Almonds are also rich in antioxidants, including Vitamin C, folate, manganese, copper and zinc.
However, they do have a higher calorie count compared to other nut milks. So, if you're looking for something light and refreshing, then this is probably not the best option for you.
Oat Milk and Other Grain-Based Milks
Oats are loaded with nutrients and fibre. They are also gluten-free and highly nutritious. Oats are also a good source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins A, D, K and E.
They are also low in saturated fats and cholesterol. However, oats do contain more carbohydrates than other grain-based milks.
Oat milk and rice milk may lead to a spike in blood glucose levels. Because of this, we don't recommend them for people with diabetes.
So, if you're looking to stabilise your blood sugar levels, then this is probably the best option for you!
Hemp Milk and Other Seed-Based Milks
Hemp milk is made from sprouted seeds. It contains all essential amino acids and is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Hemp milk is also very versatile. You can use it as a base for smoothies, soups, salads and desserts. Plus, it's packed with minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium.
You can also try other seed-based milks like sesame milk and flax milk.
Carbs vs Fat - Which Type of Milk is Better for Reducing Diabetes Risk?
Saturated fat deposits in muscle cells and liver cells is responsible for the oxidative stress that causes insulin resistance.
Replacing dairy milk with any plant-based milks can help you reduce saturated fat intake and minimise insulin resistance.
Among plant-based milks, avoiding coconut milk can help you reduce saturated fat further.
Also, avoiding rice milk and oat milk can help avoid rapid absorption of sugars into the blood, minimising spikes of blood sugar levels.
Milk is a staple food for many people around the world. Because dairy milk is being increasingly associated with diabetes, heart disease, and parkinson's disease, it may be time to find milk alternatives to keep you healthy.
Soya milk is the healthiest non-dairy milk, along with other legume-based milks like moong milk and pea milk.
Nut milks come are the second healthiest milk substitutes and can even help reduce risk of diabetes and risk of heart disease.
Grain-based milks like oat milk and rice milk come in last, because their sugar content gets digested and absorbed quicker than the other plant-based milks.
- Looking to include more plant-based milks in your diet? Make them in a jiffy with our smooth nut butters. All you have to do in add water and mix them - use a hand blender, mixie of even a spoon and that's it! You've got fresh plant-based milk. They are sugar/jaggery-free, oil-free, salt-free and preservatives-free too. Get Sampoorna Ahara's nut butter bundle here
- Get flavoured milks made with plant-based milks door delivered. Enjoy delicious flavoured milks that are sugar/jaggery-free and completely vegan now!
- Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar to understand more about specific lifestyle changes and how you can adopt them
- Subscribe to our 100% whole food plant based Diabetes meal plan, designed to help prevent and better manage diabetes from the comfort of your home - Bengaluru only
- Stock up on delicious and diabetic-friendly sweets and snacks that are sugar/jaggery-free, oil-free, maida-free and plant-based - Available Pan-India