Plant-based drinks don’t measure up to milk’s nutrition or value

Plant-based drinks don’t measure up to milk’s nutrition or value

Plant-based drinks don’t measure as much as milk’s vitamin or worth: New analysis revealed in peer-reviewed journal Foods has discovered milk to be probably the most reasonably priced method to tackle dietary gaps within the Australian food regimen.

The analysis, co-funded by Dairy Australia, has fed into the event of a Nutrient Rich Food Index (NRF-ai), which ranks meals based mostly on dietary composition.

All forms of milk, together with flavoured milk, scored higher nutritionally on the Index than fortified and unfortified oat drinks.

With many Australians not consuming sufficient ranges of vital vitamins, reminiscent of calcium and zinc, the Index has the potential to assist Australians make higher knowledgeable selections for good well being.

  • More vitamin for shopper greenback

The Index scores frequent Australian meals based on their nutrient density and can be utilized to check the dietary worth of meals that is perhaps thought of substitutes in pursuit of a food regimen that’s more healthy, extra reasonably priced, or higher for the surroundings.

Milk, together with common and lowered fats, was discovered to supply the best dietary worth per greenback spent when in comparison with each fortified and unfortified plant-based drinks.

This makes milk the reasonably priced selection when addressing gaps in important vitamins typically lacking within the diets of Australian adults, together with calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc and vitamin A.

Consumer surveys have recommended that many individuals go for plant-based drinks as a result of they consider them to be more healthy than dairy2.

The Index, and the peer-reviewed analysis on which it’s based mostly, instantly problem this notion.

Melissa Cameron, Human Health and Nutrition Policy Manager at Dairy Australia, says, “This analysis exhibits that shopper meals selections matter and that swapping milk for plant-based drinks might go away Australians lacking out vitamins which are vital for good well being and wellbeing.

“All meals fluctuate of their nutrient composition, and dietary trade-offs must be thought of if shoppers are wanting to decide on sure meals, or change their diets for no matter motive, whether or not this be for monetary, environmental or well being causes.

“This analysis offers a nutrient profiling instrument particular to Australian’s dietary and vitamin wants, and my hope is that it offers better steerage for well being practitioners and shoppers to make sure they know the meals and vitamins important for good well being.”

  • Wholistic method to sustainability

Dietitian and vitamin scientist, Dr Joanna McMillan, additionally cautions shoppers in opposition to swapping sure meals for others which they consider to be extra environmentally sustainable with out taking a wholistic view.

“Every meals has a distinct nutrient composition and, as this new Index demonstrates, swapping meals can have unintended dietary penalties and additional scale back the consumption of under-consumed vitamins.

“More Australians are selecting plant-based diets in an effort to eat extra sustainably. However, if milk – and cheese and yoghurt – consuming events are changed by much less nutrient dense choices reminiscent of oat drinks and different plant-based merchandise, these vitamins should be made up for elsewhere within the food regimen. Evidence means that doesn’t occur.

“Analysing the environmental impression of particular person meals solely tells a part of the story – sustainability must be thought of within the context of full dietary patterns, with sustainable meals programs constructed which are reasonably priced, culturally related and designed with the native context in thoughts.”


Research was co-funded by Dairy Australia and CSIRO. Dairy Australia had no affect over the research design, knowledge assortment, interpretation of outcomes, manuscript evaluation, or publishing choices.

1 Ridoutt, B. (2021). An Alternative Nutrient Rich Food Index (NRF-ai) Incorporating Prevalence of Inadequate and Excessive Nutrient Intake. Foods, 10, 3156.

2 Lewers Research. Dairy Australia Trust Tracker 2020. Base: Reasons amongst those that purchase different ‘milks’ n=535. Attitudes entire of market n=1260. Weighting: Nationally consultant and market weight.

3 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, 2011-2012.

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