Research shows imitation dairy lacks nutrition compared to real dairy

A recent study shows plant-based alternatives for milk are far less nutritious than real dairy milk.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center say the nutritional content of plant-based milk alternatives is not well documented, leaving gaps in the understanding about how the products provide nutrients important for growth. 

The researchers found 69% of the plant-based alternatives were fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which brought those nutrient levels close to dairy milk but very few of the alternatives could match the protein levels of real dairy milk.  Researchers also found the protein levels were not consistent and had a large variability range. 

The testing involved 237 alternative beverages available in the U.S. from 23 manufacturers, including 79 almond beverages, 63 oat beverages, and 29 soy beverages.  Only 38 of the 237 had eight grams of protein per 240 milliliters, with soy and pea-based beverages likely to have more protein.

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