Plant-milks milk alternatives to dairy

Yvonne O'Halloran

“But where do you get your protein?” – remains the dreaded question for vegans. Despite there being numerous ways that vegans can source protein from plants, the doubt over a vegan diet being nutritiously adequate, continues to prevail.

A recent paper suggests that milks made from pulses will be the likely favourites when it comes to matching the nutritional value of dairy milk as a source of protein and much more.

Whilst soy-based products already exist as a popular protein packed alternative, as one of the 14 major allergens, it is not an  accessible choice for many.  Soy production is only suited to specific climates and can spark controversy due to the use of genetically modified varieties.

High protein pea milk is already on the market, but milk made from other pulses like chickpeas, lentils, and fava beans, might be the future of plant-based alternatives to dairy.

Most pulses contain lower ratios of protein than soybeans and higher amounts of starch. Pulses are also fairly well-known for containing molecules that trigger IBS symptoms and other unpleasantries from anti-nutrients. As a result, processes that can extract high levels of protein and other favourable nutrients, whilst removing unwanted components are necessary to develop further.

As for sustainability, food trends often trigger exploitative means of agricultural production. In  order to capitalise on the craze, companies will  strip natural ecosystems and release carbon from the soil at alarming rates  to meet and encourage the  growing demand. This is why it is so important that we select a range of plant-based alternatives to foster diversity on the market. We also need to carefully consider the appropriate geographic location for growing any crop-type in harmony with natural ecosystems, as well as taking into account the energy consumption of processing, storing and transporting these new  products.

Article written by Aisling Geraghty- United States

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