Violet and caramel tones, a touch of cheese, sweat and metal – this is how Peter Eisner describes the scent of lupine flour. "The overall impression of the 25 most important flavors clearly goes in the direction of freshly cut grass." Eisner is neither a perfumer nor a star chef, but an engineer and deputy head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging. Since 2005 he has been working with his team to exorcise the lupine's flavors. Because the seeds of the pretty, white or purple flowering plant are the basis for a tasteless as possible emulsion: a vegan milk substitute.
Eisner is considered an expert in animal-free dairy products. He knows how to brew an acceptable drink from lupine seeds, soybeans, oat or rice grains. Usually, this is mixed with meal or flour with water, optionally boiled or fermented, strained and homogenized. "But that's not enough, because many plants also absorb bitter substances," says Eisner. "We had to wash them first with plenty of water." But then the lupine drink framed like cow's milk, which is why the Fraunhofer experts added stabilizers and emulsifiers. Now the "milk" did not foam up anymore. When this seemed solved, the product became viscous and unappetizingly gray. Meanwhile, the problems have been solved, and subjects could hardly distinguish the drink in the test from cow milk. In 2014, Eisner and two colleagues received the German Future Prize for the Lupine idea.
Plant drinks contain little protein – with the exception of soymilk
Between soy, almond, rice and oat drinks lupines still loll in the niche, but also in Germany increases the sales of vegan goods. In the twelve months to the end of August 2018, he was in Germany, according to data portal Statista at 1.1 billion euros. Soya, oats, rice or almonds have a significant share in this, even though they are no longer marketable in the EU as "milk". Anyone who does not tolerate lactose, who wants to live health-conscious, animal-friendly or environmentally friendly, attacks. But do the products keep what consumers expect from them?
Almond milk_15.40Nutritional value is about how much protein the drinks deliver. Only the soy-based drinks can keep up with the original from the cow: they contain around three grams per 100 milliliters. Lupine comes to about two, almond and oat milk to less than a gram. Rice milk contains 0.1 grams of virtually no protein, but also hardly any allergens. Legumes such as soya and lupine can be dangerous for peanut and birch pollen allergy sufferers, almond drinks for patients who can not tolerate nuts.
In terms of taste, hardly any beverage can conceal its origin: soy milk tastes like bean, almond milk is nutty, oat milk is grainy and sweet, because enzymes from oat grains break up starch into sugar during fermentation – which explains the similarly high sugar content compared to cow's milk.
Are the plant drinks healthier?
In 2018, the Stiftung Warentest examined 15 soy drinks: they provided as much protein as whole milk and also significantly more valuable omega-3 fatty acids, but virtually no calcium. Some manufacturers therefore use the mineral subsequently. Surprisingly, five soy drinks failed as a result of the test: one was germinated, four loaded with nickel or chlorine compounds. At the beginning of 2019, a comparison of the magazine Öko-Test especially praised oat drinks in particular: neither pesticides nor heavy metals were detectable in them.
Hirschhausen Teaser Issue 3Ob Plant drinks are healthier than milk, can not be satisfactorily clarified. It is true that based on cell, animal and human studies that vegetable proteins from legumes or nuts, the life of our cells and thus our longer rather than animal proteins. But even the basic question of how healthy cow's milk actually is, splits science. Agriculture and industry have played their part in this: they not only tirelessly emphasize the intrinsic values of milk, they also sponsor a large part of the research.
That makes a rating almost impossible: Are milk lovers really slimmer than non-drinkers? How significant are the evidence that they rarely have a heart attack or diabetes? Do children grow faster if they drink milk daily? In 2017, the industry reacted to a large and, after all, independent study of 100,000 Swedes: Milk drinkers had a mortality risk increased by 32 percent during the survey period. But again, the cause is unclear. Experts advise therefore not to drink cow or plant "milk" gallons.
Better prove the environmental effects. As a general rule, those who consume fewer animals will lose their ecobalance. Oxford University researchers evaluated data from nearly 40,000 farms around the world for 40 agricultural products. In the production of meat, milk and even eggs, therefore, significantly more greenhouse gases were emitted than in the cultivation of cereals, legumes or nuts. One liter of cow's milk corresponds to a greenhouse effect of three kilos of carbon dioxide, one liter of soy milk causes only one-third of that. On the other hand, the climate balance of rice is moderate, because large amounts of methane and nitrous oxide escape from the flooded fields. Oat is much better off – and similar to lupine often comes from regional cultivation.
There are also differences in terms of water consumption: "Globally, the water footprint of soymilk is definitely much smaller than that of cow's milk," explains Arjen Hoekstra, who studies the environmental footprint of food at the Water Center of the Twente University in the Netherlands. According to his data, one liter of soy milk consumes 297 liters of water, 62 percent of which is solely for growing the beans. There is little data available for other plant drinks, but the water balance of the raw materials suggests that their production consumes significantly less water than dairy cattle.
The water footprint of soy milk is smaller than that of cow and almond milk
Except for almond milk. In dry growing areas such as California and Spain, the great thirst of almond trees is already causing problems. For a manufacturer Hoekstra calculated a need of dizzying 917 liters of water per liter of almond milk – almost as much as cow's milk: The average global cow devours 1050 liters of feed and potions for a liter of milk, in Germany, according to a study by the TU Berlin at least to be 400 liters.
Even soybeans have no flawless environmental record: every year 35 million tons of them are imported into the EU, especially for animal feed. The share of genetically modified goods worldwide is about 80 percent. Especially in Brazil, jungle is often cleared for cultivation. After all, a sample of the consumer center Hamburg showed that many soy drink producers apparently their raw materials from Italy, France or China – according to their own statements, to avoid rain forest destruction and genetically modified goods. However, one of Öko-Test's labs reported genetically modified beans in several soy drinks in 2019 – even in organic produce.
Feeding vegan and GMO-free at the same time seems almost an illusion: added vitamins, flavors and other additives in soy and other drinks are often made using genetically modified microbes. This is also allowed for Bioware, as long as a substance is no longer GMO-free on the market.
The best way to cut off plant drinks in animal welfare, because every milk production takes the death of animals in purchase: For a cow in the year is 7000 liters, they calve as often as possible. Even at organic farms, the young are quickly separated from their mothers after birth to fatten them for meat production.
If you want to reduce your milk consumption for environmental reasons, you can do this the quickest way with less hard cheese and butter: 13 to 18 liters of milk per kilo are needed to make them.
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