"Alternative 'milk' beverages are all lactose and cholesterol free. Alternative milks are not actually defined as milk by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidelines," Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement.
"The USDA alerts consumers that calcium-fortified foods and beverages such as soy milk may provide calcium, but may not provide the other nutrients found in milk and milk products."
Goat's milk has a similar nutritional profile to cow's milk, but goat's milk contains more calcium, as well as higher levels of vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium and niacin.
Nut milks can be made from almost any type of nuts, but almond milk is probably the most well-known, but almond milk does not have as strong a nutritional profile and is often vitamin enriched.
Coconut milk is a sweet, milky white beverage derived from the meat of a mature coconut and supplies great source of iron, magnesium, manganese, copper and potassium, Lempert said.
Seed milks are made from hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Hemp milk from the hemp plant is gaining popularity because of its strong nutritional profile.
Grains like oats, rye, spelt, quinoa and rice can also be used to produce milk. An example is rice milk, which is typically made from brown rice.
Soy milk, made from soybeans, is one of the most popular milk alternatives.
The U.S. Food and Drug said, "25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."
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