Health Advice



Are plant-based "milks" delivering the nutrition you need?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Legendary comic Lewis Black once said, "There is no such thing as soy milk. It is soy juice." And, author Dean Koontz ("Kaleidoscope") declared, "I do not permit ... obscenities such as soy milk at my table." People get stirred up about soy, as well as almond, cashew, hemp, oat, pea and rice milks, but they provide a good alternative to anyone who is lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy -- and they're mostly saturated-fat-free.

Until now, however, there wasn't much info on their mineral content. Recent research presented at the American Chemical Society meeting analyzed magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium content of plant-based milk alternatives. Researchers highlighted these minerals because they aren't required to be listed on the "Nutrition Facts" label and are components of dairy milk -- which traditionally has been many Americans' main source for them. The researchers also called attention to the fact that plant milks can be low in protein, calcium, iodine and B12 -- additional nutrients found in dairy milk.

What they found was that pea-based drinks had the most phosphorus, zinc and selenium; soy drinks averaged the highest amounts of magnesium. And, of all the samples analyzed, only pea- and soy-based drinks had higher levels of those four essential minerals than cow's milk, with pea-based drinks containing about 50% higher levels of phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

So, if you consume plant milks, consider the benefits of soy and pea milk, take half a multivitamin containing both vitamins and minerals twice a day, and make sure to get enough plant-based and lean protein.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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