- Potato milk is the newest plant-based milk option to hit the market.
- You can make your own potato milk with a simple recipe or find it in supermarkets across the United Kingdom.
- Dietitians say it’s similar nutritionally to other plant-based milk alternatives.
It seems like every day there’s a new plant-based milk promising to be the creamiest, dreamiest, dairy-free alternative for your coffee or cereal. Just this week, potato milk, the newest member of the plant-based milk family, has exploded all over the internet. But, we have some questions. Mainly: what is potato milk? And is it healthy?
The side-dish favorite that’s often mashed, roasted, boiled, or fried, is now adding milk to its repertoire. Just this week the Swedish-based brand DUG launched the market’s very first potato milk in 220 United Kingdom supermarkets, according to The Guardian. The supermarket’s 2022 Food and Drink Report listed potato milk as an up-and-coming trend, following in the footsteps of soy, almond, pea, and oat milk that have been on the rise.
But before you roll your eyes, there may be some good to the potato milk craze. One of the greatest draws to using potatoes for plant-based milk is potatoes are remarkably sustainable compared to soybeans, almonds, oats, and dairy milk. Potatoes can be cultivated anywhere, they don’t need much in the way of special growing accomodations, they’re twice as land efficient compared to oats, they have a very low carbon footprint (75% lower compared to dairy milk), and use 56 times less water compared to almonds, according to the DUG website.
What is potato milk, exactly?
If you’re looking for store-bought potato milk, you can find the DUG potato milk on Amazon, but it is not yet available to ship to the United States. So, we’ll have to wait to know exactly what it tastes like.
For now, the DUG website describes potato milk as “deliciously creamy, makes perfect foam in coffee, works just like any other milk, and just so happens to be the most sustainable alternative on the market.”
The DUG potato milk is an emulsion of potatoes and rapeseed oil (another name for canola oil), which bind the milk together and create a creamy drink that won’t separate, according to the DUG website.
DUG launched with three varieties of potato milk, including DUG Original, DUG Barista, and DUG Unsweetened, all of which are free of animal products, lactose, gluten, soy, and nuts. The unsweetened version’s ingredient list features water, potato, rapeseed oil, pea protein, acidity regulator (di- and mono-sodium phosphate), calcium carbonate, emulsifiers (sunflower lecithin), natural flavor, and vitamins (D, riboflavin, B12, folic acid).
Some homemade versions, like this one from the blog The Green Creator, say to blend boiled, peeled potatoes with water and flavorings (like maple syrup and vanilla), straining the liquid, and using the remaining liquid as potato milk. But DIY-ing the plant-based milk leaves some holes nutritionally, according to experts.
“The one major challenge with homemade plant-based milk is that they lack fortification of other nutrients like other store-bought cow’s milk and plant-based milk contain,” warns Catherine Perez, M.D., R.D., vegan registered dietitian and owner of Plant-Based RD blog. It’s important to get your vitamins from other food or supplements, she says, as nutrients like calcium and vitamin D can be harder to get.
Potato milk nutrition
The nutritional value of homemade potato milk will depend on the flavorings you add, like any sugars, says Keri Gans, R.D.N., nutritionist, author of The Small Change Diet, and host of The Keri Report podcast. But, for 100 ML (about a half cup) of unsweetened DUG potato milk:
- Calories: 39 calories
- Total fat: 3 g
- Saturated fat: 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.3 g
- Fiber: 0.1 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
- Sodium: 0.11 g
- Calcium: 120 mg
- Vitamin D: 0.75 μg
- Riboflavin: 0.21 mg
- Vitamin B12: 0.38 μg
The DUG website boasts potatoes carry a ton of antioxidants—so much so it’s comparable to blueberries and blackberries. Additionally, they claim potatoes carry protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates, including ⅓ of your daily requirements of vitamin C in 100 grams of potatoes.
Perez says that plant-based milk varies from brand to brand, so it’s always best to compare the nutrition facts on the label of your usual go-to’s when deciding if something is meeting your nutritional needs. Based on the DUG’s nutritional information, Perez says potato milk is providing a good amount of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, which is an especially important nutrient for vegans and vegetarians. And, potato milk is low in saturated fat compared to some coconut-based milk and is an allergy-friendly option (DUG’s is nut-free).
But most plant-based milk options, other than soy milk, have very little protein. This is less important if you’re just adding a splash of milk to your coffee, but if you’re using milk as a source of protein, like in cereal or a smoothie, the grams will matter, Gans says. But the basic DIY recipe or the unsweetened version of the milk is “on par nutritionally with a lot of other plant-based milk,” she notes.
Ultimately, it’s very low in calories and carbohydrates like many other plant-based options are, says Abby Langer, R.D., a Toronto-based registered dietitian and author of Good Food, Bad Diet. But for the milk with the best nutritional value, Langer recommends cow’s milk, unless you’re avoiding it for specific health or ethical reasons. “It’s really a better source of nutrition than any plant-based milk on the market,” she says.
Though all of the dietitians we spoke to agree that there isn’t much of a nutritional benefit when comparing spud milk to other plant-based options, Perez says she’s looking forward to seeing how potato milk sells.
“The response, I believe, will be more enthusiastic for those looking for a dairy-free option that is also allergy-friendly,” Perez says. “So, I believe the interest is there. Plus, it’s something new that might also provide a different taste and mouth-feel compared to some of the other plant-based milk currently available.”
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