Are alternative milks healthier than cow or buffalo milk? Let’s find out

There has been a lot of discourse around plant-based milks, but is it healthier than cow or buffalo milk? It’s time to find out!

plant milk
Plant-based milks are low in calories. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Geetika Sachdev Published on: 24 March 2022, 21:17 pm IST
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You may have a love-hate relationship with milk, but you can’t ignore it. There are some people who can’t do without the creamy cow or buffalo milk, while others prefer going for plant-based varieties for various reasons — it could be anything from allergies or intolerance, to bloating and skin complaints. There are also some people who choose these nut or vegan milks for their health benefits. But here’s the big question — are they healthier than cow or buffalo milk?

This is exactly what Dr Siddhant Bhargava has covered in his recent Instagram post. Whatever nut milk you pick — almond, cashew, walnut, or oat — these are much lower in calories; yes, only 30-40 calories in one cup. On the other hand, cow’s milk has upwards of 100 calories and contains high amounts of proteins and fat, apart from being laden with carbs and sugars. But they also contain nutrients like vitamin B12, iodine, and magnesium, which is important for bone development and muscle function. Plus, there’s also whey and casein, which is believed to lower blood pressure levels.


These are much lower in quantity, in the case of plant-based milks.

“When it comes to nutrition, cow’s and buffalo milk are better. But in case you are using a small amount, as a mixer or modulator, you could go for plant-based milk that has both less calories and sugar.” he adds.

Between cow milk vs plant milk – what should you opt for?

In recent times, there have been growing concerns around cow’s milk and how they are being injected with hormones. Cows are milked when they are pregnant, which means their estrogen levels increase 20-fold. A study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses has linked these estrogen levels to breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers. There are some studies that also claim that excess consumption of milk can cause an increased risk of heart disease.

plant based milk vs cow milk
Choose your glass of milk properly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

This tilts the scales in favour of plant-based milks, but there’s something you must keep in mind. The recommended adult intake of milk is 1000 mg, which is around 3 servings of dairy. One can get their fill with plant milks, but make sure you choose the ones that are fortified with calcium.

Also, read: You should NEVER have milk with these 5 foods

Moreover, if you are lactose-intolerant, this is the option that will work best for you. A study conducted by the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California, compared the symptoms of people with lactose intolerance when they drank plant-based milk, and the results were so much better than regular milk.

Lastly, choose plant-based milks that are unsweetened, since some of them could use added sugars.

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About the Author
Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.

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