If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
One way to do this is by making smart choices when it comes to what you eat and drink.
While cow’s milk is a popular beverage choice, it may not be the best option for those with diabetes due to its high carbohydrate content.
Enter almond milk, a low-carb alternative that has been gaining popularity in recent years.
But can diabetics drink unsweetened almond milk?
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and considerations of drinking almond milk for those with diabetes.
Can Diabetics Drink Unsweetened Almond Milk?
The short answer is yes, diabetics can drink unsweetened almond milk. In fact, it may even be a better choice than cow’s milk for those with diabetes.
Unsweetened almond milk has a lower sugar and carbohydrate content compared to dairy milk, which can help diabetic patients control their blood sugar levels. Several studies have linked eating tree nuts, including almonds, with improved blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
In a 2011 study involving 20 people with type 2 diabetes, participants who ate 60 grams of almonds daily experienced lower levels of fasting insulin and fasting blood sugar than those who ate a control diet. Almonds may also be beneficial for prediabetes, a condition in which a person’s blood sugar levels are abnormally high but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with prediabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The results of a 2010 study indicate that an almond-enriched diet may improve insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels in people with prediabetes.
Unsweetened almond milk is lower in both carbohydrates and sugars than dairy milk. A cup of unsweetened almond milk contains only 3.2 grams of carbohydrates and 1.98 grams of sugars, while a cup of low-fat cow’s milk contains 13 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of sugars. However, it is essential to check the nutrition label of almond milk as many brands contain added sugars.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Unsweetened Almond Milk For Diabetics
Unsweetened almond milk is an excellent source of nutrients for people with diabetes. It is low in calories and carbohydrates, making it an ideal choice for blood sugar stabilization. A cup of unsweetened almond milk contains only 30-40 calories, which is significantly lower than the 80-100 calories found in a cup of low-fat dairy milk.
Almond milk is also rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Unsweetened almond milk is also fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin A, which are essential for bone health and immune function.
Another benefit of unsweetened almond milk is its low glycemic index (GI). The GI measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI can cause blood sugar spikes, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. Unsweetened almond milk has a low GI, which means it causes a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
Unsweetened almond milk is also a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, which is a common complication of diabetes.
How Unsweetened Almond Milk Affects Blood Sugar Levels
Unsweetened almond milk has a low glycemic index, meaning it is less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels compared to other types of milk, including cow’s milk. The glycemic index of almond milk varies depending on the brand and the amount of sugar added.
While almond milk is low in carbohydrates, it is also relatively low in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These nutrients all play an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your diet includes adequate amounts of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to prevent blood sugar spikes when consuming almond milk.
It is recommended to opt for unsweetened almond milk as the best choice for avoiding glucose spikes. One glass of unsweetened almond milk contains only 1-2 grams of carbohydrates, making it a great choice for people with type 2 diabetes due to its low carbohydrate content. However, it is important to read the nutrition label carefully and avoid brands that are flavored and sweetened as they may contain added sugars that can increase blood sugar levels.
Choosing The Right Type Of Unsweetened Almond Milk For Diabetics
When choosing unsweetened almond milk for diabetics, it’s important to look for brands that do not contain added sugars. Many commercial brands of almond milk contain added sugars, which can increase blood sugar levels and negate the benefits of drinking almond milk.
It’s also important to choose almond milk that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D, as these nutrients are essential for maintaining bone health. Additionally, look for almond milk that is enriched with vitamin E and polyphenols, which can help support heart health.
When comparing different brands of unsweetened almond milk, pay attention to the number of calories and carbohydrates per serving. Some brands may have more calories or carbohydrates than others, which can impact blood sugar levels.
Incorporating Unsweetened Almond Milk Into A Diabetes-Friendly Diet
If you are looking to incorporate unsweetened almond milk into your diabetes-friendly diet, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it is important to choose an unsweetened variety of almond milk to avoid added sugars. Additionally, it is crucial to monitor your overall intake of carbohydrates as even unsweetened almond milk contains some carbs.
Here are some tips for incorporating unsweetened almond milk into your diabetes-friendly diet:
1. Use it in place of dairy milk in recipes: Unsweetened almond milk can be used in place of dairy milk in many recipes, including smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods. Just keep in mind that the texture and taste may be slightly different.
2. Add it to coffee or tea: Unsweetened almond milk can be a great addition to your morning cup of coffee or tea. It adds a creamy texture without the added sugars found in flavored creamers.
3. Use it as a base for low-carb smoothies: Unsweetened almond milk can be a great base for low-carb smoothies. Combine it with frozen berries, spinach, and a scoop of protein powder for a nutritious and filling breakfast.
4. Enjoy it on its own: Unsweetened almond milk can be enjoyed on its own as a low-carb and low-calorie beverage option.
Remember to always check the nutrition label when purchasing almond milk and choose an unsweetened variety with no added sugars. With these tips, you can easily incorporate unsweetened almond milk into your diabetes-friendly diet while enjoying its many health benefits.
Other Low-Carb Milk Alternatives For Diabetics To Consider
Aside from unsweetened almond milk, there are other low-carb milk alternatives that diabetics can consider.
Flax milk is a popular option for those looking for a low-carb and heart-healthy alternative to cow’s milk. A cup of unsweetened flax milk contains only 1.02 grams of carbohydrates, making it an ideal choice for people with diabetes. Flaxseed milk also contains no lactose or cholesterol, which is beneficial for those with allergies or intolerances to these components.
Oat milk is another popular choice for individuals looking for a healthy and low-carb alternative to cow’s milk. It is high in fiber and low in calories, making it a great option for weight management. A cup of oat milk contains only 12 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of sugars, making it a suitable choice for diabetics.
Coconut milk is another dairy-free option that is low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats. It has a creamy texture and can be used in baking or as a drink on its own. A cup of unsweetened coconut milk contains only 2 grams of carbohydrates and 0 grams of sugars, making it an excellent choice for people with diabetes.
When choosing a low-carb milk alternative, it is essential to check the nutrition label for added sugars or other additives that may affect blood sugar levels. Consulting with a doctor or registered dietitian/nutritionist can also help determine the best options for individual needs and preferences.