One that is majorly trending right now is pistachio milk; Google searches for it are up a whopping 133 percent. I can tell you first hand that it is one of the best tasting options out there but of course, taste alone is not why many turn to alternative milks. Many want to fill their fridge with the most nutrient-rich option available. After all, you are probably paying extra for your dairy-free milk—it's only natural to expect that it's providing you with a selection of health benefits in return. So, how does pistachio milk stand out from the rest?
- Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, New York-based registered dietitian
The key pistachio milk benefits, according to a registered dietitian
Nutrition expert Melissa Rifkin, RD, keeps a close eye on the vegan milk trends and has been noticing a rise in popularity surrounding pistachio milk, too. In her opinion, it is another good option for people who do not drink cow's milk. "It's great for those following a plant-based diet, or who prefer to avoid dairy milk out of personal or dietary preferences," she says.
In terms of how it stacks up nutritionally compared with the other options on the market (So. Many. Alt Milks.), she says pistachio milk definitely has its perks, but there are also nutrients where it comes up short compared to some of the others. "The benefits of pistachio milk are as follows: You get a few grams of fiber as well as healthy fats from the nuts," Rifkin says. "Since pistachio nuts also have protein, you get a few grams of that per serving as well."
One serving of Tache pistachio milk ($8), for example, has 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of total fat. To compare, a serving of Oatly oat milk ($5) has 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and .5 grams of fats. As you can see, the two milks are similar, except for pistachio milk coming out ahead in the healthy fats department. What about compared to almond you ask? One serving of the mainstay vegan milk from Blue Diamond Almonds ($2) has 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of protein, and 2.5 grams of total fat. Again, very similar to pistachio milk except for the fats.
There is one alternative milk that has pistachio beat, however, when it comes to nutrient-density: Soy milk. This alt comes out ahead in every category with 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and 4.5 grams of total fats per serving.
Watch the video below to see more ways alternative milks compare to each other nutritionally:
Of course, taste matters immensely, so it's important to find a milk alternative that you like the taste of—and if you don't love any of the above, cow's milk is always an option (unless you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, of course). A cup of 2-percent cow's milk has 8 grams of protein, plus 31 percent of your RDA for calcium and 18 percent of your RDA for vitamin D.
Whatever alt-milk you're into, Rifkin says it's very important to read the nutrition panel and go for one that's low in added sugar. Many brands add it to sweeten up the taste. "Also, because pistachio milk is lower in protein and calcium than dairy milk, make sure you are getting adequate calcium and protein elsewhere in your diet to ensure a proper balance of nutrients," she says.
TL; DR: While pistachio milk isn't exactly the pinnacle of nutrient density, it offers similar health benefits—a small amount of fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat—compared most other alt-milks save for soy. Just keep an eye on the amount of added sugars in your pistachio milk of choice.
And hey, who says you need to just have one milk in the fridge anyway? With so many to choose from, there's no need to limit yourself. You might as well milk the plant-based movement for all it's worth!
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