What are plant-based drinks worth?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Oat juice, almond juice, hazelnut juice, soy juice or even walnut juice, you have already heard of them, you perhaps even drink them regularly…

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

But, are these plant-based drinks really beneficial for our health?

What is a plant-based drink?

In the large family of plant-based drinks (note, the term “milk” has been banned in Europe to describe these plant-based juices since 2017), we can find some made from almond, soy, rice, or even hazelnut. .

Each drink has its specificity:

  • Oat juice is rich in fiber and therefore excellent for fighting constipation.
  • almond juice contains many vitamins, iron, proteins, fiber.
  • Hazelnut juice is rich in magnesium, calcium and iron.
  • Walnut juice is ideal for cases of diarrhea.

We can also cite quinoa juice, chestnut juice, tigernut juice which is a herbaceous plant, and spelled juice which is an old variety of wheat. There are many!

There are more and more consumers of this type of drink because they seek to avoid cow’s milk out of conviction or for real intolerance problems.

We drink it as we would a classic glass of milk, but also to make sauces, purees, cakes, etc.BUT be careful, plant-based drinks contain much less calcium than cow’s milk!

My advice : Prefer vegetable juices “enriched” with calcium, it is written on the packaging.

boisson végétale

So what’s the difference with milk?

The name milk is normally reserved for products that come from animals: cows, goats.

Drinks made from plants should therefore not be confused with animal milk.

Moreover, their compositions are very different and these vegetable drinks should absolutely not be given to infants under one year old instead of milk because they do not cover their nutritional needs.

What are the benefits of these plant-based drinks?

These drinks have several interests:

  1. They are often rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  2. They are very useful if you cannot tolerate certain components of milk such as lactose or casein.
  3. Also useful if you need to limit your intake of cholesterol and animal fats (bad fats).
  4. They are easy to digest. But you should know that each plant-based drink has its own particularities.

For example, soy juice, widely used, has a composition close to that of milk in terms of proteins and lipids but it does not contain lactose and no cholesterol. It also provides isoflavones which promote hormonal balance.

Coconut juice is very rich in iron, potassium and phosphorus. It also provides many trace elements such as manganese, copper, selenium, zinc. But be careful, it has a disadvantage: it is extremely rich in lipids, you must avoid consuming them if you want to take care of your figure.

Another juice is quite interesting: rice juice because it is rich in slow sugars, so it is useful for providing energy.

Attention: If you eat a lot of them, be careful of weight gain because they often contain added sugar!

Also be careful for people with diabetes! So be sure to read the labeling because there are some without added sugar.

Furthermore, I would like to highlight the presence of thickening agents such as carrageenan which can cause, in high doses, inflammatory problems such as arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome…

To conclude, I would say that it is always better to vary what you consume. So, integrating plant-based drinks into your diet, even when drinking milk, is a good idea.

Can you prepare these plant-based drinks yourself?

It’s a very good idea to prepare them yourself and much cheaper!

Plus, you know what you’re putting in it.

It’s very simple: just use oilseeds or seeds of organic origin, which are left to soak for several hours before mixing them with mineral water.

For those in a hurry, there are also plant-based drink machines that allow you to prepare your own drink in record time.

The classic recipe: soak raw, unpeeled organic almonds in mineral water overnight, mix everything in a blender and filter. Optionally add a date, vanilla or agave syrup to the grinder bowl for a more delicious touch.

Another, quicker option: buy a jar of almond puree (you can keep it in a cool place for months), mix a tablespoon with lukewarm water, that’s it! Notice to amateurs: almond and chocolate go very well together.

To sum up :

  • Plant juices are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and are very digestible
  • Plant juices do not contain lactose, casein, cholesterol or bad fats.
  • Prefer vegetable juices with “no added sugar” and “enriched with calcium”
  • Each vegetable juice has its specificity
  • Not recommended for children under 1 year old