Delicious Dairy Alternatives Perfect When Dieting

by Marixie Ann Obsioma, MT, undergrad MD on January 5, 2022
Last updated on April 19, 2022

Many people are switching to dairy substitutes for a variety of reasons, including improved health and lower environmental impact. When it comes to giving up dairy, one of the most difficult challenges is figuring out how to replace common dairy products.

Delicious Dairy Alternatives Perfect When Dieting

We offer a guide to the best dairy substitutes in this article, from alternatives to milk to coffee or cereal to butter replacement in a favorite recipe.

Alternatives to Milk

While many people still prefer a glass of cow’s milk to drink or add to their favorite recipes, non dairy alternatives are becoming increasingly popular. Fortunately, both store-bought and handmade solutions are available.

A cup of whole milk has about 149 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat in it. Calcium and potassium are among the nutrients and minerals found in it. Many suppliers supplement their milk with vitamin D.

Similarly, certain plant-based milks are quite nutritious, and several producers offer calcium and vitamin D-fortified varieties.

Cow’s milk can be replaced with the following healthy alternatives:

Almond milk

Almond milk is a popular milk alternative because it is easy to make, cheap to buy, and many find it delicious.

A cup of almond milk contains approximately 39 calories, 1 g of protein, and 2.5 g of fat.

Almond milk does not have the strong flavor that some other plant-based milks may have, so it may be a good transition milk for many people to try

Soy milk

Some doctors may recommend soy milk to those who are lactose intolerant or trying to lose weight.

One cup of one of the most popular brands of soy milk includes 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, and only 80 calories, making it nearly as protein-dense as whole milk.

For those who are unfamiliar with soy milk, it may have an unusual flavor. It does, however, exist in sweetened and unsweetened varieties, allowing people to experiment with new flavors.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk has a naturally high fatty content, which helps it mimic the texture of cow’s milk.

A cup of fortified coconut milk, on the other hand, has 74 calories and 5 grams of fat, but just about 1 gram of protein.

Coconut milk is popular in coffee because of its creamy smoothness. A thick and creamy hot cocoa can also be made by mixing cocoa powder with heated coconut milk.

Rice milk

Rice milk has a sweeter flavor than other dairy substitutes. It is also more watery than other choices, but it comes in a variety of flavors and can be used as a milk substitute in cereal.

A cup of rice milk has about 113 calories, less than 1 gram of protein, and slightly more than 2 gram of fat.

Other possibilities

The alternatives to cow’s milk listed above are the most popular. Alternatives to dairy-free milk include:

  • oat milk
  • hemp milk
  • flax milk
  • cashew milk
  • tiger nut milk

Butter Alternatives

Although plant-based margarine is widely accessible, some people prefer natural alternatives. These are some of them:

  • Coconut oil: In most recipes, coconut oil can be used in place of butter. To balance out the sweeter coconut flavor, some people advocate heating the oil and adding a pinch of salt.
  • Olive oil: When substituting olive oil for butter, it’s better to use it for sautéing or caramelizing meals rather than baking.
  • Avocados: Avocados can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. A ripe avocado may be the perfect butter substitute for baking, depending on the recipe. The avocado flavor fades over time, leaving mainly a creamy, fatty texture, which is ideal for baking.
  • Bananas: A ripe banana can also be used in place of butter in sweet dishes. Be cautious that the banana flavor may alter the taste of the treat.

Alternatives to Cheese

There are a variety of cheese substitutes available, including:

Soft cheese

It’s simple to imitate the texture of soft cheese. There are various plant-based soft cream cheese options available, most of which are manufactured with soy or coconut milk.

It’s just as simple to prepare these soft cheeses at home. Many people prefer the tangy cream cheese flavor that comes from soaking cashew nuts overnight and mixing them with a little nut milk and lemon juice.

To make a dairy-free nacho cheese, people can mix soft silken tofu with salt and seasonings. If you add chives and fried onions to the mix, it becomes a simple vegan onion dip.

In a sandwich, thin slices of smoked tofu can also be used in place of provolone cheese.

Hard cheese

Hard cheese’s salty-sour flavor can be tough to duplicate at home, but health food stores have a variety of store-bought cheese alternatives.

Hard tofu crumbled and baked with salt and truffle oil can be used as a topping for spaghetti or other meals that call for hard cheeses.

Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor and is fortified with critical vitamins by various producers.

Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to a variety of foods, such as cheesy garlic bread and spaghetti sauce.

Alternatives to Yogurt

Milk, lactic acid, and bacteria combine to make dairy yogurt. For dairy substitutes, the procedure is the same. Many store-bought options employ cultured soy, but others, such as coconut milk, use other bases.

Alternatively, people can buy a yogurt-making kit and make their own dairy-free yogurt. They can re-use the live bacterial culture to make new batches several times.

Alternatives to Ice Cream

There are a plethora of dairy-free ice cream options available. Nut milks, such as those made from coconuts, almonds, or cashews, are commonly used. Fruit-based sorbets without dairy are also available.

A basic vanilla ice cream can also be made at home by blending frozen bananas, vanilla, and a tiny amount of plant-based milk.

Going Dairy-free Has A Lot of Health Benefits!

Dairy milk is high in protein and a good source of calcium in the diet. Many other plant-based foods contain these nutrients, but anyone switching to a plant-based diet should be sure they are getting enough of them on a daily basis.

Going dairy-free may also have certain health benefits, including:

1. Avoiding lactose intolerance symptoms

When people stop eating dairy, their bodies naturally stop manufacturing lactase, an enzyme that breaks down the lactose sugar in milk.

According to one study, up to 75% of the global population is lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance manifests itself in the following ways:

  • bloating
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea or loose stools
  • gas
  • stomach rumbling

Switching to alternatives can assist persons who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy products avoid symptoms and maintain a healthy digestive system.

Some people are allergic to cow’s milk, which can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. Anyone who is allergic to milk should avoid all dairy products.

Hormones and steroids should be avoided.

Some people avoid dairy products because they are concerned about impurities in milk, such as steroids or hormones.

According to a 2015 study, even little quantities of hormones and steroids in milk appear to pass on to the individual who consumes it, potentially causing undesired side effects. More research on the subject is needed, according to the experts.

2. Lowering the risk of cancer

According to a 2017 study, vegans who do not consume any animal products, including dairy, had a lower risk of cancer.

Vegans also forgo meat and eggs, so it’s possible that this isn’t related to a lack of dairy in their diet.

3. Dealing with ethical issues

For ethical grounds, some diets or diet regimens may seek to remove all dairy products.

Vegans and certain vegetarians may forgo dairy products because they are concerned about the dairy industry’s influence on the environment or on the animals used in its production.

Consider the Following:

It’s critical to recognize that just because something is plant-based does not mean it’s healthy.

People should carefully read the labels on dairy replacements to see if there are any extra ingredients or other factors that could make the product less healthy. The following are some things to be careful of:

  • added sugars
  • added starch
  • thickeners, such as carrageenan
  • added flavoring
  • preservatives
  • lack of nutrients and minerals
  • lack of protein

While many items can mimic the flavor of a cuisine or replace a dairy product in baking, it is important to ensure that a person’s nutritional demands are met.

Almond Milk Has Seven Advantages

In the United States, almond milk is the most popular plant milk.

It is high in various beneficial elements, however it is watered down and lacks the majority of the fiber found in whole almonds.

While its health effects have not been extensively researched in controlled studies, certain of its components have been well investigated.

This article discusses the health benefits of almond milk.

What is Almond Milk, Exactly?

Almond milk is created by mixing almonds with water and filtering off the solids. You may also prepare it by mixing almond butter with water.

It has a nutty flavor and a creamy texture that is similar to ordinary milk. As a result, it’s a favorite choice among vegans and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy.

Almond milk is commonly found in the health food department of most stores. It’s also quite simple to prepare at home.

Commercial almond milk is available in a variety of flavors and brands. It’s advisable to buy almond milk that doesn’t have any added sugar for health reasons.

Most brands are also vitamin, mineral, or protein-fortified. If you don’t eat dairy, calcium-enriched goods may be beneficial.

Whole almonds have been linked to a range of health advantages in controlled trials, however many of these may not apply to almond milk.

This is because almond milk is normally made from blanched (skinless) almonds, and the liquid is strained. This removes the majority of the fiber as well as a substantial amount of the antioxidants in the almonds.

Almond milk is also thinned out. It contains a fraction of the nutrients found in whole almonds.

The amount of nutrients in almond milk is determined by the number of almonds used, the amount of additional water, and whether or not it contains added vitamins and minerals.

Many online recipes, for example, suggest creating 2 cups of almond milk from 1 cup (143 g) of almonds, although commercial almond milk is likely to be much more diluted.

Benefits

The following are the seven most important health advantages of drinking almond milk.

1. It is a healthy food.

Although almond milk does not compare to cow’s milk in terms of nutrition, enhanced products get close.

They usually contain extra vitamin D, calcium, and protein, making them nutritionally comparable to ordinary milk.

Almond milk, on the other hand, is naturally high in various vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.

The table below compares the levels of a few nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in a cup of enriched commercial almond milk versus a cup of low-fat cow’s milk, as well as suggested daily values (DV).

Almond milk Cow’s milk
Calories 39.3 102
Protein 1.05 g 8.22 g
Fat 2.52 g 2.37 g
Carbohydrates 3.43 g 12.2 g
Vitamin E over 100% DV 0% DV
Calcium 37% DV 23% DV
Potassium 4% DV 8% DV
Magnesium 4% DV 6% DV
Riboflavin 2% DV 35% DV
Phosphorus 2% DV 19% DV

Some minerals in almond milk are not absorbed as well as they are in milk. This is mainly due to the presence of phytic acid, an antinutrient that inhibits iron, zinc, and magnesium absorption.

Almond milk is not acceptable as a milk substitute for infants since it is deficient in several nutrients.

Bottom line: Almond milk is naturally high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.

2. It has a low calorie count.

Commercial almond milk is a low-calorie beverage, despite the fact that almonds contain 50 percent fat and are heavy in calories.

This implies you may consume a large amount of it without gaining weight. It also has a high nutritional value in relation to its calorie content.

Almond milk is made by diluting it with water to get a fat content equivalent to that of low-fat milk, which is roughly 1% fat.

A cup of almond milk has 39 calories, which is half as many as a cup of skim milk.

However, not all almond milks are created equal. Depending on how many almonds are in each cup, homemade almond milk and select brands may have a substantially higher calorie count.

Furthermore, some products have added sugar, which people should avoid if they want to get the most out of their health.

Bottom line: Almond milk prepared in a factory may have less calories than skim milk. However, this may not apply to all brands, so read the nutrition labels carefully.

3. Unsweetened almond milk has no effect on blood sugar levels.

Many almond milks on the market have a lot of sugar added to them.

Sugar-free almond milk, on the other hand, is a low-carb beverage with fewer than 2% carbs in 1 cup, or 3.43 g carbs.

Low-fat cow’s milk, on the other hand, has a carb content of 5%, or 12 g per cup.

In comparison to its glucose level, almond milk is also heavy in fat and protein. As a result, it does not induce a surge in blood sugar levels, making it acceptable for diabetics and those on a low-carb diet.

However, study the ingredient lists carefully and choose items that are as natural as possible.

Bottom line: Almond milk is a low-carb beverage that is ideal for those on a low-carb diet or who need to keep their blood sugar levels in check.

4. It is lactose-free.

Almond milk is a fantastic alternative for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk because it includes no cow’s milk or other animal ingredients.

Many people are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t entirely digest it. Undigested lactose goes down to the colon, where it is fermented by the indigenous bacteria, causing excessive gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms.

Because almond milk is dairy-free, it contains no lactose, making it a good milk substitute for lactose-intolerant persons.

Bottom line: Almond milk is a dairy-free substitute for vegans and anyone with lactose intolerance or milk allergy because it is an imitation milk that contains no dairy.

5. Almond milk with added nutrients may help to strengthen your bones.

Calcium is found in the highest concentration in dairy products. Almonds, on the other hand, are a poor provider of this vitamin.

Calcium is commonly added to almond milk to make it more akin to genuine milk. Depending on the type and brand of commercial almond milk, a cup may provide 37 percent or more of your daily needs.

A cup of cow’s milk, on the other hand, may contain up to 23 percent of your daily calcium need, depending on the type and brand.

As a result, fortified almond milk is a good source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy, such as vegans and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk.

Calcium is necessary for the formation and maintenance of bones. As a result, consuming enough calcium lowers the risk of osteoporosis, a disorder marked by weak bones and fractures.

Bottom line: Almond milk is frequently fortified with calcium, making it a good source of the mineral. Those who do not consume dairy products may minimize their risk of osteoporosis by drinking enhanced almond milk on a regular basis.

6. It has the potential to lower the risk of heart disease.

Regular eating of nuts has been related to a lower risk of heart disease in observational studies. This is mainly due to their high content of beneficial fats.

Almond milk contains 1% oil by weight, with 90% of that being unsaturated.

Almond oil’s major fatty acid, oleic acid, has been associated to positive changes in blood lipids in studies.

In one study, healthy adults who ate 66 grams of almonds or almond oil every day for six weeks saw their levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol drop by 6% and their triglyceride levels drop by 14%. It also increased their “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein, by 6%.

These positive alterations in blood lipid profiles have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Although fat accounts for around half of the calories in almond milk, it is a low-fat product that is unlikely to have a substantial impact on your blood lipid profile.

Many of the health advantages of almonds are attributed to vitamin E, as well as bioactive plant chemicals such as polyphenols, according to nutritionists. These substances are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which are beneficial to heart health.

Bottom line: Almond milk is strong in vitamin E and includes healthy fats, so it’s a good choice. It may be beneficial to your heart if you drink it on a regular basis.

7. Vitamin D is abundant in enriched almond milk.

Vitamin D deficiency affects a large number of people. Brittle bones, tiredness, and weak muscles are more likely as a result of this.

In the human diet, there are few good sources of vitamin D. As a result, adding vitamin D to particular foods is a typical public-health practice. This is especially true with dairy products.

Almond milk, like ordinary milk, is frequently fortified with vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in each product varies. One cup of almond milk, for example, may contain 2.62 micrograms, or 13% of your daily value. Similar amounts can be found in a cup of vitamin-fortified cow’s milk.

As a result, fortified almond milk is a good source of vitamin D that, if consumed frequently, can help prevent insufficiency.

Bottom line: Almond milk is frequently fortified with vitamin D, and drinking it on a regular basis may help avoid vitamin D insufficiency.

Summary

There are a variety of dairy alternatives available currently, perhaps more than ever before. While store-bought equivalents are available, some homemade alternatives may be just as tasty and include less additives.

Some of the dairy substitutes are accessible to buy online:

  • Shop for almond milk.
  • Shop for soy milk.
  • Shop for coconut milk.
  • Shop for rice milk.
  • Shop for nutritional yeast.

References

PhentermineDoctors has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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