What are the best choices of plant based milk in Australia?
When defining the best plant milk in Australia for weight loss, you might immediately think of opting for the lowest calorie plant based milk.
What else could there be to it, right?
It’s the old calories in, calories out equation. Just make sure that you put in the equivalent or less than you burn in exercise.
But I’ve never been able to make that calorie counting thing work. It’s usually a) a pain in the arse to measure everything and write it down, and b) the number of daily calories is so restrictive that I constantly feel deprived.
That’s why I don’t use that approach. But for those of you who still do, I will cover how many calories are in various plant based milk brands in Australia.
It could be an illuminating exercise.
The whole food plant based diet approach to weight loss
If you’re curious about what approach I take to weight loss, it’s a whole food plant based diet.
A whole food plant based diet upsets the apple cart on the calorie counting front.
Instead of counting calories, you consider calorie density, which measures how many calories are in a set weight of a food substance.
This method gives you more of an overview of how dense in calories food is, and therefore whether it’s a good idea to eat a lot, some, little or none of it according to your health and weight goals.
Furthermore, on a whole food plant based diet, the deal is to eat less fat and more carbohydrates.
As fat is fattening, and carbs (as long as they are non-refined) are pretty harmless, really.
So, if we are to take an approach much like Dr. McDougall does in his McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss, we aim to minimise fat and sugar consumption (refined carb).
Therefore, these will be my guiding principles as I discuss various brands of plant based milk in Australia.
Plant based milk in Australia via calories in / calories out
So, for those who don’t trust my assurances that individual calorie counts aren’t as important as calorie density, I’m going to run through the numbers of calories in different types of plant based milk in Australia.
I will choose one brand of plant based milk in Australia, and then compare the different kinds of milk across their range.
This way, I may eliminate any bias between brands – i.e., those brands that always seem to add more sugar, more preservatives, more fat.
The brand I’m choosing is Pureharvest because I have a healthy respect for their products, and they are usually some of the least processed and more natural options out there.
Pureharvest Organic Almond (Milk) Original
1 cup (1 serve) = 99 calories
While we’re here, now if we look at the nutritional label, we can see that the total fat in 250mL is 5.0g, and the sugars are 4.0g.
If you want to know more about the ingredients in almond milk, you can read my previous article called What are the Healthiest Almond Milks for Vegans & Vegetarians in Australia?
Okay, so, moving on.
Next is Pureharvest Aussie Dream Rice Milk Organic Enriched
1 cup (1 serve) = 137 calories
Now let’s check out the fats – 2.6g in 250mL. And the sugars? 7.1g in one serving.
I know that Dr. Dougall has recommended his clients use rice milk over other kinds of plant milk before, so I’m wondering if the low fat levels in rice milk compensate for the relatively high sugars?
Interesting. Let’s continue.
Pureharvest Organic Oat (Milk) Unsweetened
1 cup (1 serve) = 121 calories
What are the fats in oat milk? 3.3g for 250mL. Still quite low. The sugars are pretty high at 8.8g in 250mL.
Pureharvest Organic Soy (Milk) Unsweetened
1 cup (1 serve) = 121 calories
8.5g of total fat in 250mL. 2.0g of sugar in 1 serve (250 mL).
The soy milk shows quite a jump in fat levels, which is why regular soy milk may not be the best choice for a whole food plant based diet for weight loss.
Pureharvest Gluten Free Organic Coco Quench Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 cup (1 serve) = 145 calories
6.8 grams of total fat per 250mL and 9.5g of sugar in the same amount of coconut milk.
Pureharvest Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 cup (1 serve) = 77 calories
4.25g of fat in 250mL and 4g of sugars.
What conclusions am I reaching?
The above is a confusing lot of results. Plant based milks in Australia made by Pureharvest range quite dramatically in the amount of fats, sugars, and calories they contain.
It just depends on what you prioritise. If you are on a low-fat diet, perhaps that is your preference, and so you choose rice milk because it’s low in fat.
But, if high sugars worry you, you might choose unsweetened almond milk with a slightly higher fat content and lower sugar levels.
If you are looking at things from a calorie counting point of view (which I don’t recommend), you might also choose the unsweetened almond milk or just the original almond milk because they are lower in calories.
If you’re using plant based milk in Australia a lot in your meals, it pays to know not only which milks are best but which are less helpful for working towards your health or weight loss goals.
Coconut milk, for example, has a considerable amount of fat and sugar in it and would be better reserved for inclusion in the odd curry rather than being used on your daily porridge breakfast.
It’s not about demonising any particular foods here; it’s just about knowing how often to include them in your diet so that you can get the results you want.
That’s the conservative answer.
But here’s the truth you don’t want to know
So, while I was writing this article, I started asking questions online about the best plant based milk in Australia (or anywhere really) for weight loss, and the answer is quite shocking.
The lowest calorie plant based milk was not what more experienced whole food plant based vegans recommended to me.
@thriving_on_starch said it plain and simple; I found plant milk stalled my weight loss.
There is no lowest calorie plant based milk that is best for weight loss, because, as you can see from the above analysis, each plant based milk in Australia contains medium to high levels of either fat or sugar.
By definition, they are therefore hardly a weight loss food.
The truth of the matter is that if you want to lose weight, use water instead of plant milk where possible.
That’s right, in your porridge, in your coffee, even in your smoothies.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but one that might help you (and me) lose a few pounds.
It’s secrets like this that you only find out from people who’ve been living a whole food plant based lifestyle for years and years.
Many thanks to @thriving_on_starch for their honesty and shared experience.
So, what do I take from this article?
Ultimately, the truth is that plant based milk – even the lowest calorie plant based milk – may stall your weight loss.
But weight loss is such an individual thing.
What might be a problem for one person might not be for someone else.
But having said that, if you are “eating healthily” yet still not losing weight, take a look at your intake of plant milk.
It could be the tweak that helps you meet your weight loss goals.
That’s worth a go, surely?
Yours in health and broccoli,
P.S. Looking for a certain topic or recipe in particular? Use the search function on my website to see if I’ve blogged about it.
P.P.S. Also, while you’re here, you can follow my wfpb weight loss journey in excruciating detail – ie, meal by meal, on Instagram.