Animal-based milks and plant-based milks: Nutritional and environmental impacts


  • Gülçin Şatır Suleyman Demirel University


Consumption of plant-based milk in the world has improved in recent decades, with significant implications for both human nutrition and global health. This paper will discuss the environmental issues and global benefits of significantly reducing or eliminating animal-based milks from our diet. Furthermore, it outlines the therapeutic benefits of a plant-based diet in managing chronic diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. The focus of this study is global perspective and consumption of animal and plant based milks. All the data regarding the health and environmental impacts of animal-based milk and plant-based milk, as well as their nutritional components were evaluated. Many plant-based milks are fortified to fit nutritional profile comparable to animal-based milk. Depending on the main components, there are notable differences, particularly in protein, zinc, and potassium content. Plant-based milks were generally associated with lower environmental impacts (greenhouse gas emissions, water use, land) than animal-based milks, with significant exception of the higher water footprint of plant-based milk. A plant-based diet (vegetarian and vegan) protects against a number of common chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer. A plant-based diet rich in fiber and phytochemicals not only prevents disease but also has a substantial impact on gut microbiota. When appropriately planned, a plant-based diet (consisting of minimally processed foods) could be nutritionally adequate. Vegetarians especially vegans, should have a well-balanced diet and use fortified foods and/or supplements regularly. Calcium, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 should all be prioritized. It is critical to promote plant-based milk with adequate protein and micronutrients and a lower ecological carbon footprint due to the safety and potential health implications of their long-term and more frequent intake of plant-based milk.



How to Cite

Şatır, G. (2023). Animal-based milks and plant-based milks: Nutritional and environmental impacts. 3rd International Congress of the Turkish Journal of Agriculture - Food Science and Technology, Malatya, Türkiye, 261–261. from