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I will not go around the bush: vegetable drinks resemble cow's milk like an egg like a chestnut. Of course, they can be a good resource for people with intolerances, allergies or for those who for different reasons want to reduce or avoid the consumption of food of animal origin. Even for those who simply like the taste! Everything has to be in the world.

However, from the nutritional point of view, soy, almond, oatmeal or birdseed have nothing to do with cow's milk, so in no case can we say that they are equivalent or superior foods as many believe.

Vegetable milks or vegetable drinks?

To start, it is important to call them by name. We talk about vegetable drinks and not about vegetable milks because, according to the Codex Alimentarius , we can only call what comes out of the udder of a mammal. The exception is almond milk, which is allowed to continue calling it milk because of what "all life we ​​have called it that." Sentimental reasons that arise in the BOE from time to time.

Vegetable drinks: a matter of quantity and quality

The universe of vegetable drinks is wide and among them there are also big differences in the quantity and quality of the protagonists. Regarding the quantity, what if I tell you that there are almond drinks with only 2% almonds? When one drinks a glass of these drinks, the ridiculousness of four grams of almonds is taken to the body. The rest of the ingredients are water, sugar, emulsifiers and aromas. In short, it is as if we crushed an almond or two, put them in a glass of water with sugar and other additives ... and inside! This would be an example of a label with a small amount of almond:

Ingredients: water, sugar, almond (2%), tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, stabilizers (garrofín gum, gellan gum), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), vitamins (rivoflavin [B2], B12, E, D).

If we pay attention to quality, there are large differences depending on the type of vegetable protein. Soy is a complete protein, with all the essential amino acids . Rice or oat protein is deficient in lysine, an essential amino acid. Therefore, the protein quality of soybeans is higher than that of other vegetable drinks.

Is drinking cow's milk essential?

At this point, one might think that drinking cow's milk is mandatory. In fact, something like that has been told to us since childhood. That one had to drink "half a liter a day" or else we would burn in hell for not getting enough calcium for our body. Neither. Cow's milk is just one more food. It is true that milk is a good source of calcium but we can also find it in other dairy products such as cheese or yogurt . And of course in non-dairy foods such as fish (sardines, anchovies, salmon, sole), seafood (shrimp, octopus, mussel, cockle, clam), vegetables and legumes (cabbage, broccoli, watercress, chickpea, white beans) or even enriching dishes with spices, nuts and seeds.

What is the best vegetable drink in the supermarket?

If you opt for vegetable drinks, these are some clues to choose the options that are nutritionally more interesting.

1. It only has two ingredients: water and cereal or legume in turn. Example, ingredients: water, oatmeal (14%).

2. It has a percentage of cereals, legumes, nuts or seeds greater than 10%. Those with 2% are aguachirri .

3. Does not contain added sugars. Be careful because sometimes instead of sugar, fructose is added, which is cousin sister. Although they do not carry added sugar, it is normal to include salt or various aromas.

4. If you are looking for protein quality, remember that that of the soy drink is superior to that of the oat / almond / rice drink.

Conclusion: vegetable drinks yes or no?

Yes for those people who do not want or can drink cow's milk but because of their traditional habit do not want to do without this resource. As a point, if you are lactose intolerant, another option is to start with lactose-free milks: the taste is similar to cow's milk and nutritionally it is a more complete drink.

Now, if you only consume vegetable drinks because they are a trend thinking that they are nutritionally superior to cow's milk, you should know that you are paying dearly for agüita with 2-14% of vegetables and at the same time losing other interesting nutrients from milk.


Consultas: papel@elmundo.es and @Papel_EM

  • Why have the drug ranitidine been recalled? Ranitidine is a very popular drug to treat ulcer or gastroesophageal reflux. This week the alarms have been raised because the Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS) has ordered the withdrawal of all batches of ranitidine tablets. The withdrawal has also been made at European and international level. The reason is that it has detected the presence of a compound called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NMDA) that is considered a probable carcinogen in humans based on animal studies. It should be clarified that it is not a toxic or defective active substance but a compound formed in the manufacturing process. This compound is also present in some food products that are cured or smoked, such as salmon, bacon or cheese. Do not panic! The AEMPS clarifies that the drugs are withdrawn by mere precaution and calls for tranquility: if you have taken this medication there is no evidence that you will experience side effects.
  • What do I do if I am taking ranitidine right now? The recommendation is not to interrupt the treatment (the risk of abandoning the treatment is greater than continuing to take it) and consult with the doctor about possible alternatives. Omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole or famotidine sound like possible candidates.

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