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I normally buy soy milk because I prefer the taste and consistency, and also because it's a good source of protein. But I noticed that some other non-dairy milks such as coconut milk seem to have very little protein content. Does that make them a bad substitute for cow's milk?

Which plant-based (non-dairy) milks have the highest protein content? What are the lowest?

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Soy milk is the only common plant-based milk with a protein content comparable to dairy milk, which has a protein content of up to 3.4g per 100ml (the lowest fat cow's milk sold has the highest proportion of protein). Nic also found that pea milk has a similarly high protein content, around 3.3g per 100ml, but this may not be as widely available as other plant milks.

Here is a table based on data from various sources (because products vary), partly on the tables on One Green Planet and sources as linked in the table.

Milk Approximate protein in 100ml (g)
Soy 3.0
Hemp 1.2
Oat 1.0
Almond1 0.4
Coconut 0.1
Rice 0.1

1 Other nut milks have comparable content.

Does that make them a bad substitute for cow's milk?

In terms of protein, you could say that about most plant milks have significantly less protein than cow's milk, but you can easily get plenty of protein from other sources.

Plant milks are also low in calcium and B2 unless they have been fortified (which is common).

Plant milks do provide various vitamins, minerals and beneficial fats (not saturates like cow's milk) and quantities of fibre, and have different flavours, textures and culinary properties which make them suitable for various purposes (other than providing protein)!

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    Looks like pea milk has about the same protein content as soy milk!
    – Nic
    May 13 '18 at 22:11
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Naturally, soy milk has the highest protein besides pea milk. Common soy milks: enter image description here

^ Data compiled from Wisconsin (US) nutrition labels in 2020.

enter image description here

^ MyFitnessPal data from a blog, assumed per cup.

There are also plant milks which seem to be emboldened with protein powder for 10 g per cup: enter image description here

enter image description here


One can also really ramp up their milk's protein with an immersion blender or regular blender by mixing plant-based protein powder to 27 g of protein in 2.5 cups or about 11 g per cup. You could pack even more protein than that, but it will eventually reach saturation.

enter image description here

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