Food and Diet

Got alt-milk? How plant-based alternatives compare

Story highlights

  • Plant-based "milks" are enjoyed by those who can't tolerate or choose not to consume cow's milk
  • Soy milk is the best nutrition alternative for replacing cow's milk

(CNN)In the nutritional world, the benefits of cow's milk are well-known: It's a good source of several important nutrients, including protein, calcium and vitamin D, and an important staple for children.

But despite its winning nutrient profile, cow's milk doesn't always have a place within one's diet. Take vegans, who avoid food from all animals, or people who have an allergy to milk protein. Or the large percentage of individuals who have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar in milk, and prefer something other than dairy milks that may be more easily digested.
Non-dairy milks, including soy, almond, rice and coconut milk, are juices from nuts, seeds, grains and legumes that are often fortified with vitamins and minerals in an attempt to deliver the equivalent nutrient profile and sometimes taste