For as long as I can remember I’ve always preferred dairy-free milk. Long before ‘dairy-free’ and ‘veganism’ was even a thing, my mum was making her own soy milk and racketing on about the benefits of cutting down on our dairy intake. Years later, the health and fitness world has finally caught up with what my very wise mother was going on about all of those years ago, with more people now opting to go dairy-free and choosing plant-based milk.
While soy milk has been available in supermarkets for years, recent years have seen the rapid expansion of the ‘lifestyle milk’ section at the supermarket and there are now dozens of options when it comes to choosing a dairy-free milk. Almond milk is one dairy-free milk that has recently become popular, with health nuts singing the praises of the world’s favourite new dairy-free product.
But what actually is the deal with almond milk? Is it even healthy? According to Dr. Andrew Weil, almond milk has both benefits and downfalls. “Almond milk is becoming increasingly popular as a reasonable alternative to cow’s milk or soy milk,'” Dr. Weil says. “However, almond milk doesn’t provide enough protein to be direct substitute for those products.”
While a glass of regular cow’s milk contains around eight grams of protein, the same amount of almond milk only contains one gram of protein. Additionally, almond milk does not contain any natural calcium, but supermarket brands are generally full of added vitamins and minerals that are not always good for you. Dr. Weil also advises that people check the packaging of almond milk carefully before buying as some brands contain added preservatives.
While this all sounds pretty grim, there are a number of health benefits of almond milk, including being far lower in calories than cow’s milk (one fifth the calories) and being sugar-free (providing you buy the right brands). If you want to drink dairy-free milk but are worried about the added nasties that are often in store varieties, making your own almond milk could be a good option.
So the verdict? Almond milk is probably a good option if you are trying to lose weight by cutting down on your calorie intake, but just remember that if you are drinking almond milk regularly be sure to watch your protein intake closely and make sure that you are getting enough protein from other sources. If you are a vegan or vegetarian and already struggle to get enough protein, a high protein dairy-free milk such as soy milk may be better suited to your needs.