Does Almond Milk Deserve the Name “milk”?
The dairy industry has struggled for years to remove the word “milk” from similar almond milk cartons. Non-dairy milk producers, meanwhile, say being able to name their product whatever they like is a free speech issue . Now it looks like the FDA is planning to side with the cow milkers .
Either way makes sense, but it also seems like a silly fight. On the one hand, the FDA commissioner correctly pointed out that almonds are not lactate . On the other hand, no one thought it was.
Milk has long been used to describe a whitish fluid that does not necessarily come from the mammary glands. The white liquid made from coconuts – you know the one sold in cans and tastes great in Thai curry – is called coconut milk. Milk thistle that oozes white juice is called milk thistle . So why not almond milk, soy milk, oat milk?
(The grocery store now has a coconut-based drink that sits next to soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk, and is also called “coconut milk,” which is very confusing.)
But non-dairy milk is often used in cooking instead of milk. We put them on cereal or coffee. Certain types of non-dairy milk are fortified with calcium and are often recommended as a replacement for dairy milk. In deference to the ongoing controversy, when the government does so here , it refers to the drink as “soy milk (soy drink).”
However, in terms of nutrition, they are not alike . Dairy milk contains more calories than any plant-based milk and much more protein than most. Just as rice cauliflower is not the same as rice and zucchini is not the same as pasta, plant-based milk is a great food, but not a nutrient substitute for their namesake.