5 Dairy-Free Alternatives to Cow’s Milk for Vegans and Lactose Intolerant People

Vegans and individuals with lactose intolerance both avoid cow’s milk due to dietary restrictions or intolerances.

5 Cow's Milk Alternatives Vegans & Lactose Intolerants Must Try
5 Cow's Milk Alternatives Vegans & Lactose Intolerants Must Try

Milk is widely regarded as one of the healthiest beverages, recommended for both children and adults due to its numerous health benefits. Cow’s milk, in particular, is rich in protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients, making it a popular choice. However, many individuals struggle to digest it, primarily due to lactose intolerance, an inability to digest the sugar lactose found in milk. Those who experience lactose intolerance often suffer from gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming cow’s milk. Additionally, vegans, who avoid animal-derived products, including milk, constitute another group unable to drink cow’s milk. Fortunately, there are alternatives available in the market tailored to meet their nutritional needs.

Substitutes for cow’s milk

Substitutes for cow's milk

Here are some cow’s milk alternatives recommended by Harvard Health that you can try:

1. Milk with lactose removed

Lactose-free milk is specifically designed for individuals intolerant to lactose. Various brands offer this type of milk in the market. The lactose in cow’s milk is removed by adding an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down lactose into easily digestible sugars. This process makes lactose-free milk a suitable alternative for those with lactose intolerance.

2. Ultra-Filtered Milk

This is a different type of milk suitable for those with lactose intolerance. In this process, cow’s milk undergoes thorough filtration to eliminate lactose and extra sugars. As a result, the remaining product retains significant levels of calcium and protein.

3. Nut Milk

Nut Milk

This serves as a great alternative for both lactose intolerant individuals and vegans. Nut milk is crafted from various nuts like almonds, walnuts, and more. Despite being pricier, it’s devoid of lactose and doesn’t involve animal sourcing. Nut milk is also beneficial for weight management as it’s low in calories. While it does contain fats, they’re of the unsaturated variety, beneficial for health. However, it lacks in protein and calcium content.

4. Soy Milk

For those unable to consume lactose and adhering to a vegan lifestyle, soy milk presents itself as an excellent alternative. It’s prepared by extracting liquid from soybeans soaked in water. Its nutritional profile closely resembles that of cow’s milk, minus the lactose, and it boasts high protein content. However, it does contain oligosaccharides, a type of sugar that some individuals may find challenging to digest.

5. Grain and Seed Milk

This alternative milk option caters to vegans and those with lactose intolerance, crafted from grains and seeds like oats, rice, and quinoa. It boasts high carbohydrate and sugar content, nearly double that of other milk substitutes, making it unsuitable for individuals with diabetes or prediabetes. Nonetheless, it serves as a viable alternative to cow’s milk for others. However, it lacks in both calcium and protein. While milk offers valuable nutrition, opt for low-fat versions to avoid the saturated fat found in full-fat varieties. If cow’s milk isn’t an option for you, explore the array of alternatives available.