Milk and Vegetable Beverages – How to Make Your Choice?

February 15, 2018 , , ,

This article was submitted by our partner, the Fondation québécoise de la maladie cœliaque (FQMC). It was written by a dietitian to help those on a gluten-free diet. However, the information is relevant to everyone!

Milk as a nutritional beverage is no longer the only available choice in grocery stores. Whatever the reason why a person may choose to consume milk, a gluten-free vegetable drink or alternate between them, the important thing is to do it in an enlightened way!

Gluten-Free Meal Plans from SOSCuisine

To know

Enriched soy beverage, original or unsweetened
  • Nutritional value closest to milk
  • Protein: 6 g per 250 ml (1 cup)
  • A little more fiber (2 g) than milk (0 g) per 250 ml (1 cup)
Enriched soy beverage, flavored (ex: chocolate, strawberry)
  • Same characteristics as the original version
  • More added sugars (up to double the amount contained naturally in milk)
Coconut beverage
  • More fats
  • Protein content almost zero
Almond beverage, enriched
  • Very little protein (about 1g per 250 ml (1 cup))
  • The fats present are unsaturated, important for health
Rice beverage
  • More rich in carbohydrates (sugars) than milk, even in its original version
  • Generally easy to digest
Nut beverage (cashews, almonds and hazelnuts, etc.)
  • Similar to almond drink
Hemp beverage
  • A little omega-3 (a fat essential to health)
  • Few proteins
Cow’s milk
  • 9 g protein per 250 ml (1 cup)
  • Natural source of calcium and other vitamins such as B12
Cow’s milk, lactose-free
  • Similar to regular milk
  • Up to 12 g of protein per 250 ml (1 cup)
Homemade beverage, made from nuts or seeds (ex: almonds)
  • Nutritional value close to that of the plants used
  • No enrichment of vitamins and minerals, unlike the commercial version

“ENRICHMENT: A MUST in choosing a vegetable beverage”

Most vegetable beverages are enriched to obtain the maximum number of nutrients and thus get closer to the nutritional value of milk. A notice on the label indicates that the vegetable drink has been enriched and the added nutrients are found on the ingredient list. They are usually calcium, zinc and vitamins A, D and B complex (including cobalamin or B12, and riboflavin or B2- according to the brand). These nutrients should also be monitored at the time of a diagnosis of celiac disease (checking for nutritional deficiencies) and thereafter (to ensure sufficient intake while eating gluten-free). Some brands are enriched with a greater variety of B-complex vitamins than others (ex thiamine or B1, pyridoxine or B6, niacin or B3 and pantothenic acid or B5).

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Coeliaque Quebec
Coeliaque Quebec is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in regard to diseases induced by gluten. Its mission is to ensure that a gluten-free life is simpler and safer. Marie-Eve Deschênes, RD, has been a dietitian at Coeliaque Quebec since 2008 and member of the College of Dieticians of Quebec.

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