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Top 5 Milk Replacements

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
    • The fat in cow’s milk contains a cell-healthy odd-chain saturated fatty acid called C15:0 (aka pentadecanoic acid).
    • While C15:0 can benefit your health, many people are choosing to move away from dairy and toward plant-based milk replacements like oat milk, soy milk, cashew milk, almond milk, and rice milk, none of which contain C15:0.
    • Fatty15 is a once daily C15:0 supplement you can take to help support your cells’ health while still enjoying milk replacements.*

Authored by: Eric Venn-Watson, MD

Is this the year you decided to go to a plant-based diet? Maybe you just really don’t like the taste of cow’s milk. If so, you may find yourself browsing the “alternative milk” options at your local market. The options for cow’s milk replacement are numerous, and increasing in popularity on a seemingly daily basis. 

What happened to good, old-fashioned cow’s milk? 

For starters, whole, full-fat cow’s milk got the boot from our diets when the government published dietary guidelines in the late 1970’s recommending us all to avoid saturated fats to save our hearts. 

Those guidelines are why a lot of us grew up drinking skim or 2% milk. 

The problem is, we not only eliminated bad fats, we eliminated good fats, too. As it turns out, not all saturated fats are bad. In fact, science shows that some fat, especially an odd-chain saturated fatty acid (also called pentadecanoic acid, or C15:0) is actually beneficial… but back to milk.

Whole fat cow’s milk contains trace levels of C15:0, but it also includes a lot more of even-chain saturated fatty acids, which have been linked to negative health markers, so getting the good stuff (C15:0) from whole cow’s milk may not be your best option. 

Additionally, there are other reasons why you may not want to consume cow’s milk. Much of the commercially produced cow’s milk available in store coolers is heavily processed (yes, even the whole milk). There is also concern about the naturally occurring hormones in milk, and the effects they have on our bodies. 

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What is a Milk Replacement?

A milk replacement is a non-dairy liquid, usually white or off white in color, that has a similar texture as cow’s milk and offers a mild taste. It can usually be substituted for cow’s milk in cooking, baking, and drinking. 

Milk replacements are often grain or nut-based, and are sometimes fortified to add vitamins and minerals you would find in fortified cow’s milk. 

Top 5 Milk Replacements

You’ve definitely got options, but here are five milk replacements that you can consider if you are going dairy free. 

Oat Milk

Arguably the most “up and coming” milk alternative, oat milk is a great option for people who have dietary allergies. Oat milk contains no lactose, gluten, soy, or nuts, making it virtually allergen-free. There is a small caveat: your oat milk must be certified gluten free to ensure it actually is in fact gluten free. 

Oat milk is made by soaking whole oats in water, and then blending them into a liquid. The liquid is then strained to remove the solid food particles, and the resulting liquid becomes oat milk. 

Oat milk isn’t high in protein, but it is rich in fiber and B vitamins and considered a hearty-healthy option. Opt for unsweetened oat milk, as sweetened options contain unneeded added sugar.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is the original milk alternative and the closest in taste and texture to cow’s milk. Soy milk is produced by blending soybeans with water. Soy milk contains about 4 grams of fat per cup, of which less than one gram is saturated. Because it is plant based, it is (like other milk replacements) cholesterol free. 

It’s worth mentioning that there is a possible issue of the safety of soy. Soy contains isoflavones, which may interfere with estrogen receptors, making it particularly problematic for consumption by women. Soy milk is still a viable milk replacement, but it’s best to know this information before you make the switch.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is made by soaking cashews until they are soft, and then blending them with water. Cashew milk is loaded with vitamins and minerals, and higher in protein than many other alternative milks. 

Cashew milk contains high levels of potassium and magnesium, which have been shown to be beneficial in supporting heart health. Cashew milk also contains antioxidants which could be beneficial in promoting eye health. Cashew milk has a particularly strong flavor, and doesn’t taste very similar to cow’s milk. If you’re looking for a true cow’s milk flavor replacement, this one may not be right for you. 

Almond Milk

Almond milk is the most popular milk alternative currently available, likely because it was originally viewed as the first true, viable alternative soy milk. Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water. The resulting mixture can be thick and creamy, or thin, depending on the brand. The flavor is very mild, making it a good alternative in taste and texture to cow’s milk. 

Almond milk doesn’t contain as many vitamins and nutrients that whole milk does. However, it also doesn’t contain unhealthy fat or cholesterol. It is rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Many commercially produced almond milks contain carrageenan, a seaweed-derived preservative that can have negative health impacts. Check the label before you purchase as there are brands that are carrageenan-free.

Rice Milk

Rounding out our list is rice milk, made from milled rice and water. This is also another great milk replacement for people who have dietary allergies, as it also contains no lactose, nuts, soy, or gluten. However, it doesn’t really contain much of anything

In fact, most all commercially produced rice milk will be fortified to add in vitamins and nutrients. Additionally, rice milk is high in carbohydrates. If you are insulin resistant or have diabetes, this isn’t a good milk alternative for you.  Lastly, there is concern about the arsenic content of rice products, including rice milk. Because rice is grown in flooded fields, it easily absorbs chemicals in the surrounding soil and rocks, like pesticides and fertilizers. Rice milk is still considered safe for consumption, but it’s something worth noting and considering if you plan to use it. 

What About C15:0?

We’ve covered some great milk replacements, but there’s still the problem of getting enough C15:0 back into our diets. 

Because C15:0 is a trace fatty acid found mostly in whole dairy products, the best way to get your daily allotment if you use milk replacements is to use a supplement.*† You can get the amount of cell-healthy C15:0 you need every day in an easy-to-swallow, once a day capsule with fatty15. Fatty15 contains pure, powdered C15:0, and nothing else. It’s a great way to get the healthy fat you want, without the unhealthy fat you certainly don’t need. 

You can feel good choosing fatty15, too because it’s a vegan-friendly product that is sustainable, right down to the refillable glass bottle and bamboo cap. 

Fatty15 can help you recharge your health at the cellular level.*† Fatty15 fortifies your cell’s membranes, keeping them resilient and strong, instead of fragile and weak. The result? Your cells maintain proper function longer, which equates to:*†

  • More balanced immunity;
  • Supported heart health;
  • Healthy metabolism; and
  • Increased liver and red blood cell health.

Avoiding whole milk can be a healthful decision, but it comes at a price; you likely won’t be able to get enough C15:0 in your diet. 

Taking fatty15 is an easy solution for maintaining cellular health while switching to an alternative milk.* In addition to a better diet, proper exercise, and a healthy lifestyle, fatty15 can dramatically improve your health and give your cells a fighting chance, so what are you waiting for?

See what fatty15 can do for your health here










Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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