Is Your Plant Milk Making You Fat?

Oh my…There are so many milk alternatives to choose from. Today’s article looks at some of the more popular varieties.

So which is the best one to use?
And this is where it becomes complicated.

What is meant by ‘best’?

Besides a nice taste and not curdling in our coffee, what do we actually look for in our plant milk?

If your focus is weight management then choosing one option over another might make you gain weight. Or at least hinder your weight loss.
Some of them really pack on the calories. So much so that by the end of the month, without even having any fun, BOOM, one can gain 1/2 to 1 pound.

And if you keep using the unhelpful plant milk, after a year you might wonder how weight management could have gone so terribly wrong.

Well, it could be that the culprit was quietly lurking in your fridge: the sneaky high-calorie dairy milk alternative.

I will explain more below.

But some of us are more interested in the environmental impact of milk alternatives.

For instance, in the past, many focused on almond milk production requiring too much water. If that was you, then probably by now you had time to look at the new ‘bigger picture’ figures.

In 2019 ProVeg published the environmental impact of 4 milk alternatives. And almond milk came up as a star, although they did not take into consideration the plight of bees, which is mentioned over here. 

ProVeg is a leading international food awareness organisation “working to transform the global food system by replacing animal products with sustainable, humane, just, and healthy alternatives.”

After collecting data, they showed that for 1L of cow’s milk, producers use 628L of water. Whereas for 1L of almond milk they use only 371L of water.

When compared to the other options, it does use more water than rice, oat or soya milk…
But when one looks at global greenhouse gas emissions, almond milk created the lowest emissions.

And global greenhouse gas emissions are where a lot of the world’s focus is right now. Therefore if you are interested in the health of the planet, then you cannot outright dismiss almond milk anymore.

But what about the health of our bodies?

In this article, I chose to look at some unsweetened milk alternatives in the UK that don’t curdle in our beverages.
NOTE: products will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, therefore consumers should compare on-pack nutrition information.


Are you looking for milk alternatives with the lowest calories?
Then depending on the brand, here in the UK unsweetened almond milk is the best choice.

Alpro and Almond Breeze have just 13 calories per 100mls. The next lowest one I found is Alpro unsweetened coconut with only 14 cal per 100mls. However, it still contains saturated fats. Some of us need to avoid those.

Oat milk tends to have the highest amount of calories. Especially if they have added oils in them. [Please look at their nutrition labels]
I even found an Alpro oat for baristas that has 61 calories per 100mls. It has 4 times as many calories per mouthful as unsweetened almond milk.

If you were to add oat milk to all your beverages, your cooking, your morning cereal and a protein smoothie, you can easily consume 450 to 610 calories just by using high-calorie oat milk.

Remember that for weight loss we are very happy when we can create a 350 to 500-calorie deficit each day. But by using oat milk all day long, one can easily destroy that deficit without even noticing it.


If you are looking for the lowest carb content, choose unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk. They have Zero!

Usually, unsweetened rice milk has the highest amount, followed by oat milk.
Makes sense: both are grains and they have a high carb content.


How about the lowest fat content? Almond and rice milk offer the same low-fat amount of 1g in 100mls.
Watch out for any barista ranges because to froth them up, they generally add oil. And oil can push the calories too high.


Other than those made with soya beans or pea protein, most dairy alternatives are simply not a good source of protein.  Best to forget to use those as a source.
At around 3.3g of protein per 100mls, soy milk comes close to the protein content of dairy milk.
Even the pea protein m*lk  that I tested had only around 2g in 100mls.

So we have done calories [almond wins, second place is rice]
Carbs [almond, soy and coconut win, rice and oat lose]
Lowest in fat [rice, almond and Alpro unsweetened coconut are the winners]
Protein [soy is the clear winner, with pea m*lk trailing behind and the rest aren’t worth mentioning.

What else do we need to know before we decide on a milk alternative?

NOTE: Generally rice milk is not recommended because rice takes up more arsenic from the environment than any other cereal crop.
However, depending on the variety and how it’s grown the levels will vary from eye-popping high to just OMG 😮.

Long-term consumption of inorganic arsenic is linked to various health concerns and increases the risk of chronic diseases. And rice that’s grown organically takes up both organic arsenic from soil and inorganic arsenic the same way conventional rice does. Especially brown rice.

ProVeg report: “United Kingdom Food Standards Agency examined 60 samples of rice drinks for arsenic levels and found low levels of concentrations in all samples. As such, the agency advises against feeding infants and small children rice milk but, for all other consumers, consuming rice milk is safe” it said…
No matter what they said, personally, I avoid it.

So perhaps rice milk should not be considered as the main plant m*lk option. Especially not for kids.


If you buy enriched milk alternatives, they have added some calcium to be in line with dairy milk…Namely 120mg per 100mls.

Vitamins and minerals?

Check the labels and see if your favourite brand has added vitamins and minerals. Although if they do, usually they are in very modest amounts.

When you see Vit D being added, it is usually Vit D2 which isn’t a terrific option. Our body prefers vegan Vit D3 which I cover by using a daily 2000 IU supplement

And that’s about it on milk alternatives.
I’m curious to read which ones you use and why you chose them.

Let me know in the Facebook group over here 



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments