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Nutrition

Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

Is Almond Milk Better than Regular Milk?

MOOOve over, cow! Although almond milk has been around since the Middle Ages, the plant-based milk became a hot topic in the health world only a few years ago. The question is, all-in-all, is almond milk healthy?

Is Almond Milk Better than Regular Milk?


MOOOve over, cow! Although almond milk has been around since the Middle Ages, the plant-based milk became a hot topic in the health world only a few years ago. Production of almond milk begins with, well, almonds. Almonds and water are ground together in a blender, the almond pulp is strained, and oftentimes fortified with additional calcium and vitamins A, E, and D. The product also might contain added sugars and sweeteners. Almond milk can ultimately end up in your favorite milk glass, cereal bowls, smoothies, and baked products.

All-in-all, is almond milk healthy?

Almond milk can have a spot in the refrigerator. For individuals living with lactose intolerance, almond milk would be a beneficial alternative. In contrast, those who deal with almond or nut allergies should resort to cow's milk or other varieties. Since almond milk is typically low in calories and sugar, its use could be ideal if weight loss is desired. It is also important to note sweetened almond milks can more than double the calorie and sugar content compared to its unsweetened or light counterpart.

Although cow's milk contains 12 grams of the natural sugar lactose, the addition of chocolate syrup has the ability to rack up its sugar content. Individuals at risk for heart disease or watching cholesterol levels could benefit from almond milk, as it is free of cholesterol and saturated fat unlike regular, cow's milk.

Almond milk also contains small amounts of unsaturated fats, which have the ability to maintain or improve cholesterol levels. When it comes to children choosing milk, those aged 12 to 24 months benefit from whole, regular milk. The full and dietary fats contribute to normal growth and brain development.

Unless fortified, almond milk is not a great source of calcium. With calcium and vitamin D playing a huge role in the prevention of osteoporosis or bone loss, checking the nutrition label on almond milk would be beneficial. Almond milk does not provide a significant amount of protein. One cup of regular milk surpasses the protein content that almond milk minimally contains. Ultimately, the nutrition label should be utilized to help guide and determine what milk suits individual nutrient needs.

References:

Daly A. Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetics. American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association.

Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on December 30, 2015. Updated on January 13, 2016.

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