Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Have you heard of banana milk?

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Image by Newtown Graffiti on flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Have you heard of banana milk? Apparently it’s poised to be the next plant-based milk alternative. Except it’s not milk. It’s juice.

Maybe banana blended with water is tasty and maybe it makes a great stand-in for actual milk in a latte. I’d be willing to give it a try. But let’s be honest here, it’s banana juice. Nutritionally (and probably favour-wise) there is pretty much no resemblance between a banana blended into water and a glass of cow’s milk.

Of course, banana milk, like almond milk (or any other plant-based milk alternative) sounds a heck of a lot catchier than banana juice or banana water. Unless it’s being fortified like crazy, calling it milk is misleading and could lead to nutrient deficiencies.

When you think of milk you probably think of nutrients like protein, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin D. Calling banana juice “milk” evokes the false perception that this water and banana mixture is also a good source of these nutrients.

According to a recipe I found online for banana milk one serving contains one banana, one cup of water, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. Based on this, and assuming use of a medium banana, the nutrition profile would be: 0.4 grams of fat, 1.2 mg sodium (plus that coming from the pinch of salt maybe about 140 mg), 422.4 mg potassium, 3.1 g fibre, 14 g sugar, 1.3 g protein, 20% DV of vitamin B6, and 7% DV of magnesium. Compare that to the nutrient profile of a cup of 2% milk: 5 grams of fat, 100 mg sodium, 0 g fibre, 12 g sugar, 8 g protein, 29% DV calcium, 26% DV vitamin D, 27% DV riboflavin, and 19% DV vitamin B12. Both have nutritional value but the nutrient profiles for a banana and a glass of milk are also quite different.

Go on and enjoy your banana lattes and whatever other banana juice concoctions you like┬ábut don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s the same as drinking a glass of milk. It’s not, it’s the same as eating a banana and drinking a glass of water.