13 Jul 2020

Got Mylk – New Study Shows Lack of Calcium & Other Nutrients in Plant Milks

A pioneering new study ” Got Mylk? The Emerging Role of Australian Plant-Based Milk Alternatives as A Cow’s Milk Substitute”  analysed dairy alternatives sold at all major Australian grocery retailers from Nov. 2019 to January 2020. The study  published in the journal Nutrients has recommended that consumers need to think carefully when choosing a plant alternative to cow’s milk.

Key takeaways:

  • Almost 60% of products were fortified, but only 1/3 contained similar calcium content to cow’s milk.
  • Products were also lacking in vitamin A, B12, protein, zinc and iodine, when compared with cow’s milk. 
  • Key demographics are adolescents from 12 – 18 & females over 50 years old. With these groups shown to have “special physiological demands” , including bone health, which are met with a dairy-rich diet.

The study also mentioned that:

“Indiscriminate substitutions might reduce intakes of protein and micronutrients, particularly vitamin A, B2,B12, iodine and zinc, and lead to reductions of more than 50% of the estimated average requirements for protein, zinc and calcium”.

In order to fulfil calcium RDI requirements in plant milks, manufacturers have the option of limestone-derived ingredients, commonly labelled as calcium carbonate or tri-calcium phosphate,  which due to their dense, rock origin are difficult for the body to break down and utilise. Aquamin (below) is a plant-based alternative that provides calcium, magnesium and a range of other trace elements that are easier for the body to digest and use in support of bone health. This seaweed material also has a proven higher bioavailability when compared with limestone.

When making an informed decision on a dairy alternative, look on the ingredients list for “plant derived calcium” “seaweed calcium” 0r “Aquamin”.

Deltagen supplies Aquamin to Australian manufacturers of milk & dairy alternatives. Contact us if you wish to find out more.

A piece of Aquamin seaweed.

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