Almond Milk. Is It Worth Going Nuts For?

What are the health benefits of drinking almond milk

Last week Tom Philpott of Mother Jones wrote a piece titled Lay Off The Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters. Boy-oh-boy did that post get some heat. He quickly responded with a follow up post Boy, Hipsters Sure Are Defensive About Their Almond Milk. It seems that some people are pretty defensive when it comes to their plant-based milk of choice. And maybe for good reason. What’s wrong with good ol’ almond milk anyway? If not almond milk, than what?

What Is Wrong With Almond Milk?

The organic-kefir loving author of the above mentioned post outlines a few reasons why he is not almond milk’s biggest fan. Here is a summary;

  • Water usage – It takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond. In California, where 80% of the world’s almonds are produced, the worst drought on record is happening. The main ingredient in almond milk is filtered-water; watering down the already water intensive almonds with even more water doesn’t seem environmentally sane,
  • Vitamins and minerals – Much of the vitamins including calcium and vitamin E come from an added ‘vitamin and mineral blend’. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is also not much different from popping a multivitamin,
  • Carrageenan – Some almond milk may contain this seaweed derivative commonly used as a stabilizer in beverages. Academic scientists have raised concerns that it might cause gastrointestinal inflammation,
  • Low in protein – Almond milk offers a mere 1g of protein per glass.
Which Milk Alternative To Drink

Pretty Girl Enjoying Almonds On The Beach, Raft Cove, Vancouver Island

What Are The Benefits of Almond Milk

For whatever reason, almond milk is a favourite amongst many people (including hipsters). Why not? It is no secret that we should be wary of the dairy industry. Myths surrounding soy milk have already done their damage, and for many plant-milk drinkers there is no going back. And let’s face it, drinking rice milk is like drinking sugar water. Maybe the next logical choice in the line of plant-milks is in fact almond milk. Here are some good reasons to back up your almond milk choice;

  • Taste – It has a delicious nutty flavour and goes well in smoothies,
  • Good for the waist line – It is lower in sugar and overall calories than most other milk alternatives,
  • Blood Glucose Control – It has a low Glycemic Index (GI) so is suitable for diabetics or those with insulin resistance,
  • Lactose Free- It is lactose free and therefore suitable for those that cannot tolerate the sugar in dairy milk,
  • Homemade – Almond milk is simple to make at home.

Which Milk Alternative Should You Be Drinking?

As much as I love kefir, I would prefer not to add it to my porridge. The questions remains, which milk alternative should you be using? See my post Milk Alternatives – Finding The Best One For You for a little more insight into the different types of milk alternatives including their pros and cons. If you tend to avoid dairy in general I would suggest reading Maximising Calcium For Bone Health On A Dairy Free Diet to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of this bone building mineral in your diet. Which ever milk you choose, make sure your choice won’t create a deficit in any important vitamins and minerals. Talk to your health professional, or send me a message with your questions or concerns.

About Rachel

7 Responses to “Almond Milk. Is It Worth Going Nuts For?”

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  1. sam says:

    Another great post. So happy you mention carrageenan. I am an almond milk lover but am continually frustrated by how frequently carrageenan is used in store-bought almond milk – it really does make my stomach hurt and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why I was in pain. Now off to check out the other posts you suggest!

  2. Tawnya Faust says:

    Love the pros and cons in this post :) I am an almond milk drinker because I have IBD and dairy bothers my stomach, but when you say that Almond milk could cause inflammation it makes me wonder. I’m definitely going to be doing a bit more research now.

    Stopping by from the Blogher FB thread!

  3. Becky Smith says:

    Interesting to see several sides of this issue. I certainly hadn’t realized how much water it takes to produce a single almond. Learning a lot here on your blog!


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