An overview on nutritional aspects of plant-based beverages used as substitutes for cow’s milk

Isabel Fructuoso, Bernardo Romão, Heesup Han, António Raposo, Antonio Ariza-Montes, Renata Puppin Zandonadi, Luis Araya-Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The presence of milk in meals and products consumed daily is common and at the same time the adoption of a milk-free diet increases due to milk allergy, lactose intolerance, vegan diets, and others. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for plant-based beverages, which present variable and, sometimes, unknown nutritional characteristics. This study sought to com-pare the nutritional aspects of plant-based beverages used as substitutes for cow’s milk described in scientific studies. Therefore, we used a review of the scientific literature on PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Patents, Embase, and ScienceDirect databases. The in-clusion criteria were scientific studies referring to plant-based beverage used as an alternative to cow’s milk; published in the English language; present data on the serving size, ingredients, and nutritional composition, containing at least data on energy and macronutrients of plant-based bev-erages. Ingredients and data on energy, macronutrients, and, if available, dietary fiber and some micronutrients of plant-based beverages were collected. Data were obtained from 122 beverages of 22 different matrices, with soy being the most used (27.87%, n = 34). The variation in the amount of nutrients found was 6–183 Kcal/100 mL for energy value; 0.00–22.29 g/100 mL for carbohydrate; 0.06–12.43 g/100 mL for protein; 0.00–19.00 g/100 mL for lipid; 0.00–4.40 g/100 mL for dietary fiber; 0.00–1252.94 mg/100 mL for calcium; 0.04–1.40 mg/100 mL for iron; 0.84–10,178.60 mg/100 mL for magnesium; 0.00–343.43 mg/100 mL for sodium. Salt was the most commonly found added ingredient in plant-based beverages. Some beverages have reached certain amounts of cow’s milk nutrients. However, studies have pointed out differences in their qualities/types. Thus, attention is needed when replacing milk with these alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2650
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Added ingredients
  • Dietary fiber
  • Energy
  • Macronutri-ents
  • Micronutrients
  • Nutritional compositional
  • Plant-based beverage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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