Is Almond Milk Healthy? Here’s What You Need to Know
From health reasons to ethical considerations to taste preferences, non-dairy milks like almond milk have rapidly increased in popularity in recent years. But is almond milk a healthy option? Let’s look at the nutrition in almond milk and how it compares to cow’s milk.
Almond Milk Nutrition
Unlike cow’s milk, there isn’t one set method to make almond milk. Most almond milk will contain a mixture of almonds, of course, plus water and maybe some emulsifiers or nutrients. Some almond milk will have many more of the nut than others — certain brands contain only two or three almonds per carton!
On average, one cup of unsweetened almond milk from popular storebought brands like Almond Breeze will contain 40 calories, 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbohydrates. However, some brands of almond milk contain more almonds, boosting the healthy fat content up to 11 grams with 5 grams of plant-based protein.
Almond Milk Vs. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk will provide more protein than almond milk, even in brands that use a lot of almonds. One cup of cow’s milk contains 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbohydrates, with varying fat content. Cow’s milk also contains natural calcium, at about 25% of your daily needs per cup, and can be fortified with vitamin D. Almond milk, on the other hand, does not naturally contain a lot of vitamins and minerals (except vitamin E), but is often fortified with calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
Not All Almond Milk is Alike
As mentioned, almond milk can vary widely depending on which brand you consume. Some almond milk can contain added sugar (to the tune of 12 grams of added sugar, the equivalent of 3 teaspoons per cup). To create that creamy texture, almond milk can also contain gums or preservatives that some people are opposed to.
The Bottom Line
Almond milk is generally a healthy option, as it can be low in calories and sugar. However, not all almond milk is created equal. Be sure to choose unsweetened versions and check the ingredient list — many people like brands with recognizable ingredients, such as simply almonds and filtered water.