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This Surprising Fruit is the New Milk Alternative

First we told you about banana flour, now, coming to a supermarket near you: banana milk.

We know what you're thinking: How the heck do they get milk out of a banana?! Well, the short answer is: they don't. Commercial producers of the banana smoothie-esque product do so by combining banana puree with water, soymilk, sugar, oat flour and cold-pressed flax seeds. The mixture is then fortified with a host of vitamins. Just one cup of Bananawave Bananamilk has a host of omega-3s, 25 percent of the day's vitamins D and B12, 50 percent of the daily-recommended vitamin E and 30 percent of the day's bone-building calcium, which is about what you'd find in cup of traditional milk.

But where banana milk really differs from the cow's variety is in the calorie, protein and sugar count. While a cup of 1% has 102 calories, 8 grams of muscle-building protein and 12 grams of naturally occurring sugar, Bananawave Bananamilk has about 50 additional calories, half the protein and six additional grams of the sweet stuff. It's also loaded with carrageenan, a thickening agent derived from seaweed that can cause ulcers, inflammation and other gastrointestinal problems in those with sensitive bellies.

If you want to get in on the banana milk trend, we suggest making your own at home instead of the buying the store-bought variety. While homemade versions don't have the same alphabet of fortified vitamins, they are much lower in calories and free of stomach-irritating additives. We love this recipe by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist-turned blogger McKel Hill. It's made without any added sugar and comes in right around the 100-calorie mark. Not to mention, it takes a mere two minutes to make.

Interested in learning more about milk and milk alternatives? Check out our shopping guide.

Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh