You are probably familiar with famous tagline, “Got Milk?” along with images of celebrities sporting milk mustaches and espousing the health benefits of cow’s milk. Today, however, milk alternatives are increasing in popularity as cow’s milk has been linked to negative health effects in portions of the population.1 Many people develop a deficiency of the enzyme lactase that is needed to digest sugars found in cow’s dairy. Without the ability to properly digest cow dairy, they may experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea and persistent abdominal pain. The pasteurization process further destroys important digestive enzymes needed to properly digest milk. For these reasons, cow dairy is a prominent food sensitivity for many people, even if they do not experience a true allergenic response.
As a result, a considerable number of non-dairy milk alternatives have emerged on the market. Milk alternatives are made from a variety of plant sources such as nuts, seeds and grains, and each variety has a unique nutritional profile, flavor, color, and texture as well as other properties such as its ability to combine with other liquids or be used in baking. People who wish to stop using dairy milk may substitute from a range of plant-based options as well as milk from other animals such as goats.