Study analyses mineral content in plant-based beverages

Pea-based drinks contain the most phosphorus, selenium and zinc

Plant-based milk alternatives are an attractive option for people with allergies or intolerances, or who prefer a dairy-free diet. However, because some essential minerals are required to be included on the Nutrition Facts label only under certain circumstances, consumers might not know if they are meeting their dietary needs. Now, researchers have analysed plant-based beverages and found variability in mineral content by type and brand. They report that pea-based drinks had the most phosphorus, selenium and zinc, while soy milks had the most magnesium overall.

The researchers in the US analysed a selection of locally available plant-based beverages that were sold under a variety of brand names. Each product was made from a single base ingredient, such as almond, cashew, coconut, hemp, oat, pea, rice or soy. A technique called inductively coupled-mass spectrometry quantified the minerals present in a total of 85 samples. Using statistical analyses, the team found that the mineral content varied significantly across different product types- for example, soy-based versus almond-based drinks and even between brands of the same type of product. 

The researchers hope that their data about essential minerals will help consumers make informed dietary decisions about non-dairy plant-based drink products.

Image credit- shutterstock

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