Are you considering switching to almond milk but worried about its impact on your height?
There has been a lot of buzz around a recent study that suggests children who drink non-dairy milk alternatives, like almond milk, may grow less and measure shorter than those who consume cow’s milk.
But before you make any drastic changes to your diet, it’s important to understand the full picture.
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind the study and whether or not almond milk can truly affect your height.
So, let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction!
Does Almond Milk Make You Taller?
The short answer is no, almond milk does not make you taller. While the study mentioned above found a correlation between non-dairy milk consumption and shorter height in children, it did not establish causation.
It’s important to note that cow’s milk offers a wider range of nutrients needed for bone health and muscle growth, including calcium and protein. Almond milk, on the other hand, is low in calories and protein.
However, this doesn’t mean that almond milk is not a healthy addition to your diet. It delivers health benefits such as being lactose-free, low in calories, and high in vitamin E.
It’s also worth noting that height is largely determined by genetics and environmental factors such as nutrition and exercise. While milk can contribute to bone health and growth, it’s not the only factor at play.
The Study: What Does It Say?
The study mentioned above, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2017, found that children who consumed non-dairy milk alternatives like almond milk grew less and measured shorter than those who drank cow’s milk. For every cup of non-dairy milk a child drank, they grew 0.4 centimeters (0.15 inches) less in height than average for a child’s age. However, the study did not establish causation between non-dairy milk consumption and shorter height, only a correlation.
Further analysis showed that the decreased growth was dependent upon the amount of non-cow’s milk that the child drank, and that children who drank alternative milks also drank less than those who drank cow’s milk. This could be due to the fact that alternative milks have less calories and protein than cow’s milk, as well as fewer vitamins and minerals.
While these findings may at first cause alarm, it’s important to consider the limitations of the study and the fact that height is largely determined by genetics and environmental factors such as nutrition and exercise. Milk can contribute to bone health and growth, but it’s not the only factor at play. It’s also worth noting that almond milk has its own health benefits, such as being lactose-free, low in calories, and high in vitamin E.
Understanding Height And Growth
Height and growth are complex processes that are influenced by a variety of factors. Genetics play a major role in determining how tall a person will be, but environmental factors such as nutrition, exercise, and overall health can also impact growth.
During childhood and adolescence, bones grow longer and stronger, which contributes to height. Adequate nutrition is essential for this process, as bones require nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein to grow properly.
Calcium is particularly important for bone health, as it helps to form and maintain strong bones. Cow’s milk is a good source of calcium, which is why it’s often recommended for children who are still growing. Protein is also important for growth, as it helps to build and repair tissues in the body.
While almond milk may not be as beneficial for growth as cow’s milk due to its lower protein and calcium content, it can still be a healthy addition to one’s diet. It’s important to remember that a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods is key for optimal growth and development.
In addition to nutrition, regular exercise can also contribute to height and growth. Weight-bearing activities such as running, jumping, and weightlifting can help to strengthen bones and promote healthy growth.
Nutritional Comparison: Cow’s Milk Vs. Almond Milk
When it comes to a nutritional comparison between cow’s milk and almond milk, there are some key differences to consider. One cup of whole cow’s milk contains 146 calories, 8 grams of protein, 7.81 grams of fat, 11.4 grams of carbohydrates, and a range of vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, potassium, and vitamin A.
In comparison, almond milk is much lower in calories and protein. Homemade almond milk or almond milk made with just almonds, water, and salt is extremely low calorie. However, store-bought almond milk may contain added sugars and other ingredients. On average, one cup of unsweetened almond milk contains around 30-40 calories and 1 gram of protein.
While cow’s milk offers a wider range of nutrients needed for bone health and muscle growth, almond milk can be a good alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or prefer a plant-based option. It’s also a good source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
However, it’s important to note that almond milk should not be relied upon as the sole source of nutrition for children or adults. It’s always best to have a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Does Almond Milk Really Stunt Growth?
The idea that almond milk stunts growth is not entirely accurate. While the study mentioned above found a correlation between non-dairy milk consumption and shorter height in children, it did not establish causation.
It’s important to note that almond milk does not contain as much protein as cow’s milk, which is crucial for muscle growth and development. Additionally, plant-based milk does not stimulate insulin-like growth factor production, a key nutrient in cow’s milk for reducing the risk of fracture.
However, if your child is allergic to cow’s milk or your family chooses to drink milk alternatives for various reasons, almond milk can still be a healthy addition to their diet. It contains vitamin E, which is important for healthy skin and eyes, and is also lactose-free and low in calories.
It’s important to ensure that your child is getting enough nutrients for proper growth and development, so it’s recommended to discuss with your pediatrician how to adjust their diet accordingly. Additionally, focusing on a balanced diet with a variety of nutrient-rich foods is key for overall health and growth.
How To Incorporate Almond Milk Into Your Diet
If you’re looking to add almond milk to your diet, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to choose a high-quality brand that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. This will help ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need for bone health.
When using almond milk in recipes, it can be substituted for cow’s milk in equal amounts. However, it’s important to note that almond milk has a thinner consistency than cow’s milk, so it may not work as well in recipes that require a thicker texture.
You can also use almond milk as a dairy-free alternative in your morning cereal or smoothie. It can also be used as a base for homemade nut milk or added to coffee for a creamy, non-dairy option.
Final Verdict: Should You Drink Almond Milk?
If you’re looking for a dairy-free milk alternative, almond milk can be a healthy choice. It’s low in calories, high in vitamin E, and lactose-free. However, if you’re looking for a milk alternative that is high in protein and calcium, cow’s milk or fortified soy milk may be a better option.
It’s important to choose unsweetened almond milk to avoid added sugars, which can be harmful to your heart health. While almond milk does have some drawbacks, such as being low in protein and lacking the same nutrients as cow’s milk, it can still be a healthy addition to your diet.
Ultimately, the decision to drink almond milk or not depends on your personal dietary needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a low-calorie, lactose-free option with some added health benefits, almond milk may be a good choice for you.