Do you have trouble digesting regular milk? Many people do. In most cases, it’s due to the natural sugar in dairy called “lactose.” Though most infants can digest this sugar just fine, as we get older, we lose some of our ability to do so.
If you notice after drinking a glass of milk that you suffer from bloating, gas, nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea, you may be “lactose intolerant.” This means your body doesn’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase to break down lactose. During normal digestion, lactase breaks lactose down into two simple sugars—glucose and galactose. These are then absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal lining.
Without enough lactase, the lactose remains intact as it goes through your small intestine, surviving to the colon. Once it gets there, normal bacteria in the colon interact with it, causing uncomfortable symptoms.
Lactose intolerance isn’t dangerous and doesn’t typically lead to other complications, but it can be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. You’re more at risk for the condition if you are of African, Asian, Hispanic, or American Indian descent—studies have found that these individuals often lack the genetic makeup needed to digest lactose easily in adulthood.
Obviously if drinking milk makes you uncomfortable, you’re going to look for alternatives. Soy milk is one of the most popular. There are others available—including almond, rice, and oat milk—but soy milk is the most nutritionally similar to low-fat cow’s milk, and remains one of the best plant-based options.
We recently reviewed dozens of different soy milk brands, looking at factors like taste, amount of added sugar, ingredients, and cost. We also checked to see if the milks were made from “whole” soybeans rather than an industrially created alternative like soy protein isolate, as the best nutrition comes from whole soybeans. All of these top-rated soy milks can be purchased online at Amazon.
We’ve identified Sunrich Naturals Organic Soy Milk as our top pick. It’s made from whole organic soybeans and is packed with nutrition, yet it still tastes great.
The 5 Top-Rated Soy Milks
|Best Soy Milk Overall
|Sunrich Naturals Organic Soy Milk
|Best Organic Soy Milk
|Westsoy Unsweetened Plain Soy Milk
|Best Budget Soy Milk
|Silk Soy Milk, Plain
|Best Chocolate Soy Milk
|Silk Chocolate Soy Milk
|Best Powdered Soy Milk
|NOW Real Food Organic Soy Milk Powder
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.
Best Soy Milk Overall: Sunrich Naturals Organic Soy Milk
For our overall top pick, we looked for a healthy, nutritious soy milk with enough flavor and sweetness to please everyone in the family. Sunrich Naturals Organic Soy Milk fits the bill perfectly. It’s made from whole organic soybeans, with a little sugar and natural vanilla flavor so it will please even the pickiest eater.
Soy milk is naturally high in protein and low in fat, so you can enjoy a glass of this for a snack or put it on your cereal in the morning to help keep you satisfied all the way through until lunchtime. It’s a natural source of potassium, which is needed for healthy muscles, nerves, and blood pressure, and qualifies as a low-carb food, in case you’re on a low-carb diet. You’ll get some vitamin B12 as well, which is critical for cell metabolism and nerve function.
Sunrich fortifies this soy milk product with the additional nutrients you’d expect from milk, including calcium, vitamin D—all this for only 110 calories per serving. Reviewers are quick to praise the great taste.
Sunrich Naturals Organic Soy Milk Key Features:
- Made with whole organic soybeans
- Tastes great
- Fortified with vitamin D, calcium, and riboflavin
- Complete dairy-milk alternative
Best Organic Soy Milk: Westsoy Unsweetened Plain Soy Milk
For all the purists out there, Westsoy Unsweetened Plain Soy Milk delivers, which is why we chose it as our runner-up pick. It’s USDA-certified organic and Non-GMO Project certified, so you know you’re getting only the natural stuff here. Look at the ingredient list and you won’t find any added sugars, flavors, or preservatives—it’s simply filtered water and whole organic soybeans.
As long as you’re used to the flavor of soybeans, you’ll enjoy the smooth, creamy taste complete with nine grams of protein per serving and a low level of saturated fat. Westsoy is also certified by the American Heart Association because of that low-fat, low-cholesterol content. If you miss the sweet taste of other soy milks, you can always add in a little of your own sugar or stevia—you’re likely to add less than manufacturers usually do, which will maintain your healthy approach.
Enjoy this product by the glassful, over your cereal, or in your favorite recipe. Many reviewers note that they use it to make yogurt. They also like that the product contains just whole soybeans and water—no extra, unwanted ingredients.
Westsoy Unsweetened Plain Soy Milk Key Features:
- USDA-certified organic and non-GMO
- Simply made with filtered water and whole organic soybeans
- High in protein and low in fat
- Works well by the glassful, over cereal, or in recipes
- One of the few truly natural options
Best Budget Soy Milk: Silk Soy Milk, Plain
If you and your family regularly drink soy milk, choose Silk Soy Milk, Plain. It’s the bestselling soy milk brand and for good reason—most people love the taste, plus the price is reasonable. Silk adds a little cane sugar to sweeten the deal, along with a bit of sea salt and natural flavor, then fortifies it with the vitamins you’d expect to get in cow’s milk. The manufacturer goes a little further to give you 50 percent more calcium, making this a great alternative for promoting healthy muscles and bones.
You also get 8 grams of protein per serving, and as with all soy milk, it’s low in fat and cholesterol. Silk takes the extra step of making sure this product is Non-GMO Project certified and uses soybeans grown in the U.S. only. You won’t find any extra additives like carrageenan or artificial colors, though they do add some gellan gum for a creamy texture.
This product is not organic, so if you’re looking for that, choose one of our other options here. Reviewers comment on the great taste and note that it’s perfect in tea and coffee and works well for vegan diets.
Silk Soy Milk, Plain Key Features:
- Good quality soy milk at a reasonable price
- Tastes great
- Non-GMO Project certified
- Made from soybeans grown in the USA
- Provides 50 percent more calcium than cow’s milk
Best Chocolate Soy Milk: Silk Chocolate Soy Milk
Sometimes those chocolate cravings come on and there’s not a lot you can do about them but cave in. You don’t have to choose a nutrition-free cookie or candy bar, however. Instead, reach for Silk Chocolate Soy Milk. Silk makes this product from filtered water, soybeans, sugar, and a little sea salt, then adds in some cocoa for that chocolate flavor you’re craving. With 8 grams of protein, it’s a healthier choice than other chocolate items you may choose, plus it will be more likely to keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Silk fortifies this option with the same nutrients you’d find in its plain option, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and riboflavin. One serving provides only 6 percent of your total daily fat allowance and no cholesterol. There are a few more carbohydrates because of the added sugar, but you still get only 25 grams, which is about 9 percent of the recommended daily intake.
If you are avoiding sugar, you may want to choose a piece of dark chocolate to satisfy your craving instead. This does have a lot of added sugar, but as long as you use it for only the occasional treat, you’ll still be better off with soy milk than with a piece of cake or a brownie. This product is also Non-GMO Project certified and contains no artificial colors or flavors.
Silk Chocolate Soy Milk Key Features:
- Satisfying and delicious
- Provides 8 grams of protein
- Fortified with calcium and vitamin D
- A much better snacking alternative compared to cookies and candy
- Non-GMO certified
Best Powdered Soy Milk: NOW Real Food Organic Soy Milk Powder
The problem with most milk products is they don’t stay fresh for long. What if you want to take your soy milk with you camping? Or what if you’re stocking your emergency preparedness shelves and need a milk alternative?
In these cases, choose NOW Real Food Organic Soy Milk Powder. The only ingredient here? Simple and pure organic soy milk powder. Simply blend 4 tablespoons of the powder with 8 ounces of water and voila, you have your soy milk beverage. It’s made from non-GMO soybeans and is a good source of high-quality vegetable protein. It’s only 90 calories per serving and is low in fat with zero cholesterol.
If you’re cutting back on sugar, you’ll love this product—it has no added sugars. That’s right, 0 grams. There are some natural sugars, but these occur in the soybeans themselves and total only 1 gram per serving. The manufacturer doesn’t fortify the milk, so it contains only the nutrients that are naturally present in soybeans, including small amounts of calcium and potassium. If you have to get by for a while with this milk, you may want to make sure you’re getting your calcium and vitamin D from another source.
NOW boasts of being family-owned and operated, and is committed to producing wholesome foods for a healthy lifestyle. Reviewers say that the product works great as a coffee creamer, in recipes to make yogurt and cheese, as a protein powder for smoothies, and as a non-dairy alternative when traveling.
NOW Real Food Organic Soy Milk Powder Key Features:
- Made from organic soymilk with nothing else added
- Good source of protein
- Shelf-stable and easy-to-use—just add water
- Great for smoothies, as a coffee creamer, and in yogurt and cheese recipes
- Perfect for traveling
As you can see, you have several options when it comes to soy milk, so there’s no reason to suffer from lactose-induced digestive upset. If you’re looking for other healthy options, check out our Best Liver Supplements and Best Collagen Supplements.