Is Almond Milk Worse For The Environment Than Regular Milk?

What is the origin of almond milk? Perhaps unsurprisingly, California produces 80 percent of the world’s commercial almonds, with 1034.10 thousand metric tonnes produced in 2018/2019. Almond crops constitute about 1% of the entire land area of Eldorado state, or 11% of its irrigated agriculture, according to the CDFA.

As is customary (as is the case with palm oil, coffee, and avocados), a strong demand for a commodity leads to the establishment of a monoculture in order to increase crop profitability. Monocultures are rarely beneficial, regardless of where they occur or which species they contain. In the short term, they are economically appealing since they allow for large-scale production that can feed a large number of people. However, in the medium- to long-term, it means decreased ecosystem tolerance to diseases and soil depletion as the ground’s nutritional diversity is depleted.

In fact, almond nuts have a bigger water footprint than other types of milk because intense almond cultures require a lot of water. According to studies, almond milk consumes about 20 times the amount of water as dairy milk (though the latter performs worse on GHG emissions). In fact, according to a recent research, one California almond has a total water impact of 3.2 gallons (128L). Finally, the high concentration of thirsty nuts contributes to the severe drought conditions that plague California’s Central Valley. In this light, the manufacturing of almond milk can be regarded as damaging to the environment.

Almond Milk

Almond milk emits less environmental gases and requires less land than dairy milk, but it is notorious for its high water consumption. Almond milk uses the most water of any of the dairy alternatives: a single glass of almond milk requires 130 liters of water.

About 80% of the almonds used in milk in the United States are grown in California, however due to the hot temperature, the almonds’ high water consumption puts a lot of stress on the dry, desert soil, especially during the frequent heatwaves and fires that ravage the state.

What role do bees play in this? All those almond trees need to be pollinated! The burden of the bees increases as the almond industry expands. Every spring, about 70% of commercial bees in the United States are enlisted to pollinate almonds. It’s believed that one-third of the bees died last year as a result of the stresses of this growth mismatch.

If you’re trying to figure out if almond milk or oat milk is better for you, look at the ingredients on the label. Both employ oils and other chemicals to give them a smooth milk-like feel.

Coconut Milk

Coconut sounds like a refreshing drink, and it appears to be something a caveman (or woman) would like. Heartwarming, romantic, and with a lovely tree to call home! However, the story is one of sweatshop conditions in poor countries, where pickers are paid less than a dollar per day.

Farmers are taking shortcuts and even forcing monkeys into inhumane labor techniques to meet worldwide demand for coconuts, according to a PETA report that reveals how the animals are attached to poles and forced to mount trees to shake loose the coconuts (an animal abuse story that has garnered international attention). “The coconut is an awful tragedy,” Isaac Emery, a food sustainability consultant, says. Cooking with coconut oil is a luxury, but it was brought to market under tough circumstances.

Meanwhile, the rainforest is being cleared to make way for these rows and rows of trees, which contribute very little to the planet’s biodiversity. According to a New York Times study, rainforests in Indonesia were clearcut at a rate of three acres per minute between 2007 and 2014 to make room for coconut palm palms. Choose Fair Trade certified coconut products to avoid supporting unsustainable methods.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is recognized for being a less expensive option than its nut milk counterparts. However, when compared to other vegan milks, rice provides nothing in the way of nutrition or environmental benefits. Rice absorbs water and emits more greenhouse gases than any other plant species, according to an Oxford research. Furthermore, the swampy paddies leak methane into the atmosphere, as well as allowing germs to flourish and be released into the sky. When it comes to water pollution, rice is one of the worst offenders.

Hazelnut Milk

The chocolate lover’s dream, the innocuous hazelnut, is on the rise. Hazelnuts, like all nuts, grow on trees, and all treesindeed, all plantsuse the energy of sunlight. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water from the ground, then release oxygen into the atmosphere (photosynthesis!). As a result, hazelnuts are better for the environment than almonds since they are pollinated by the wind rather than bees. Hazelnuts are native to wetter climates, such as the Pacific Northwest, where water is more abundant than in parched California.

Hemp Milk and Flax Milk

Hemp and flax haven’t received the same attention as oat and almond, but they deserve greater recognition for requiring less water, producing high-protein milk, and having a high fiber content. Because they’re grown in such small quantities, they’re referred to as “niche crops.” Seeds, on the whole, are easier to grow than nuts and provide more healthful fats, minerals, and nutrients per ounce.

Soy Milk

Soy is the winner in terms of both sustainability and protein content. And, after years of being misinterpreted as a plant-based phytoestrogen that women avoided because they feared it would increase their risk of breast cancer, new research shows that the opposite is true: that when taken in moderation, soy appears to have some preventive effect. Recent research has indicated that a moderate intake of soy is healthy and may even help regulate hormones.

Soybeans are farmed in huge amounts around the world to feed livestock for meat and dairy production, which is the biggest environmental disadvantage of soy milk. To make room for soy plantations, large areas of rainforest in the Amazon have been destroyed. To get around this, simply do some research and read the label to identify soy milk manufactured from organic soybeans cultivated in the United States or Canada.

Oat Milk

No one could have predicted the love affair that would ensue when the latest Swedish invasion, in the guise of Oatly, arrived in the United States many years ago. Oat milk is strong in protein and tastes much like genuine milk. Growing oats has a modest environmental impact, at least for the time being. Oats are good for both your health and the environment. Also regarded as a low-input crop, oats provide crop diversity, minimize soil erosion, and help reduce the risk of plant diseases when planted in rotation. The magnificent oat is a hero grain in its own right.

Oat milk sales in the United States increased from $4.4 million in 2017 to $29 million in 2019, putting it ahead of almond milk as the fastest-growing non-dairy milk. Oats may become more of a commodity in the future. But, for the time being, there are enough oats to keep us on Oatly for many years.

Oats are typically farmed in mass-produced industrial agribusinesses, where farmers spray them with Monstanto’s glyphosate-based pesticide Roundup before harvesting. As you may be aware, Roundup has been linked to cancer in a number of high-profile cases in which jurors awarded large sums to plaintiffs. Farmers are still aware of the well-publicized occurrences, but they continue to use the chemical because of its effectiveness. Bayer, which purchased Monsanto in 2018, is disputing the active chemical in Roundup, glyphosate, causing cancer in people.

So, how much glyphosate is actually in your bowl of oats or your oat milk latte? Glyphosate was identified in all of the goods tested that used conventionally produced oats, as well as one-third of items manufactured with organic oats, according to a recent study by the Environmental Working Group. The popular Oatly brand oat milk firm, on the other hand, claims that its oats are glyphosate-free.

Pistachio Milk

Pistachio milk, a latecomer to the party, is having a moment in the spotlight. That’s because the rich tiny nuts produce a convincing milk-like flow that goes well with coffee and froths up like real cream in lattes. Tache and Elmhurst both make pistachio milk, which we tasted.

Pistachios are popular not only because they are high in protein and fiber (6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per ounce), but also because they include micronutrients and critical vitamins and minerals such as calcium and zinc, making this nut milk well worth the 92 calories per cup.

If you’re looking for the most environmentally friendly non-dairy milk, you should know that pistachios use half the amount of water as almonds and are on level with oats in terms of water use.

Pea Milk

Pea protein milk uses less water than other milk alternatives and emits fewer greenhouse gases than the majority of non-dairy milks. One explanation is that peas use 85 percent less water to grow than almonds, and they can use nitrogen from the air to form plant cells, requiring less fertilizer than other plants, which has a high carbon footprint. “Peas are significantly better on a water and carbon basis,” said Adam Lowry, inventor of Ripple Pea Milk.

Due to its minimal water requirements and the fact that it requires less fertilizer than any other non-dairy milk alternative, pea milk may be one of the most sustainable solutions for your non-dairy milk selections.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is the most similar to almond milk in taste and consistency, with one major difference: cashew milk is made with far less water than almond milk. Cashews, on the other hand, are not water-sparing: they require more water to grow than seeds or legumes. Overall, cashew milk is a sustainable option because it requires less area to cultivate the plants, especially when compared to other plant-based milks. Cashews’ demise is due to the mistreatment of cashew pickers. Some people boycott cashews because of the poor working conditions, which include the usage of labor camps in some locations where cashews are farmed and processed for milk.

Macadamia Milk

Macadamia milk uses far less water than almond or dairy milk to develop and create. However, countries where macadamia nuts are regularly grown, such as Australia, Hawaii, and other tropical regions, have been dealing with severe water shortages and other climate-related challenges. As long as pesticides are not utilized, macadamia nuts are considered moderately sustainable since they cause less environmental impact to air, water, land, soil, and forests. If possible, purchase organic and non-GMO Macadamia Milk.

Sesame Milk

Sesame milk is a new plant milk on the market that you may not have heard of but is a terrific alternative if you’re looking for a sustainable option. This non-dairy milk replacement made from sesame seeds may be the most environmentally friendly non-dairy milk on the market.

One of the few sesame milk brands currently on the market, Hope and Sesame, claims that its alternative milk uses 95 percent less water than almond milk and 75 percent less water than oat milk. Drought-tolerant, self-pollinating, naturally pest-resistant, and hardy, sesame plants are native to Africa and India. Pesticides and herbicides aren’t needed for them to thrive.

Sesame milk consumes only 12 liters of water per liter of milk, compared to 28 liters of water for one liter of soymilk, 28 liters for each liter of oat milk, and 371 liters of water for each liter of almond milk. All are superior to cow’s milk, which necessitates the use of 628 liters of water to make one liter of milk.

Which type of milk is the most environmentally friendly?

Cow’s milk is far worse for the environment than any of the non-dairy milks. They consume less land, less water, and emit less greenhouse emissions. Because almond trees store a lot of CO2 as they develop, almond milk has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions. However, of all the vegan milks, it uses the most water to make. Soy milk consumes the least amount of water and emits the fewest pollutants.

What makes almond milk such a bad choice for the environment?

The Mic Network reports that “Almond milk, the ever-popular soy-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly milk alternative now found in chic eateries and coffee shops everywhere, is destroying the earth.”

According to a Fortune Magazine article, almond milk has grown in popularity as a dairy-free alternative for vegans and lactose-intolerant coffee drinkers alike in recent years, becoming more popular than other non-dairy milks. The market for almond milk grew by 250 percent between 2010 and 2015.

When compared to dairy milk, many consumers choose almond milk since it has a lower carbon footprint. However, almond milk has a negative impact on the environment in other ways, which may surprise you. The main concerns with almond milk production are water use and pesticide use, both of which may have long-term environmental consequences in drought-stricken California, which produces more than 80% of the world’s almonds.

Commercial almond farming in California necessitates irrigation with ground and surface water diverted from the state’s aqueduct system. According to a New York Times report, it takes around 15 gallons of water to produce 16 almonds, making almonds one of the state’s most water-intensive crops. Almond milk’s reputation as a healthy alternative has been questioned by critics who argue that the nutritional benefits do not outweigh the amounts of water required to cultivate almonds.

Given that California produces more than two billion almonds, it’s simple to see why the amount of water diverted for this purpose is significant enough to be concerning. And, because many almonds are cultivated on land that has been converted from natural areas or farms cultivating low-water crops to fulfill the expanding demand for almonds, the increased irrigation needs have been significant.

Forbes reports that “Almond farms have been established on 23,000 acres of natural land. 16,000 acres of the area had previously been categorized as wetlands. In addition, some agricultural land has been turned to almonds from lower-water crops.”

Because the ground in the San Joaquin Valley, where most almonds are grown, is already sinking due to groundwater depletion, the additional wells farmers are digging to irrigate new orchards could have long-term consequences for California and its residents who rely on groundwater for drinking water.

Pesticide use in commercial almond production has been known to contaminate already scarce water supplies and contribute to the toxification of drinking water for people in California’s farming areas, exacerbating the problem. The USDA Pesticide Data Program has identified residues of nine distinct pesticides on almonds, five of which are hazardous to honey bees, according to the Pesticide Action Network, creating another another environmental threat.

A final point to consider is that certain store-bought almond milk brands contain carrageenan, a stabilizer and thickening chemical that has been linked to gastric issues.

According to the California Almond Board, the almond industry is working to promote sustainable water usage and boost water efficiency, so there are some solutions in the works. And, while just a few million almonds are currently certified organic, more farmers are opting to go this route, resulting in a rise in certified organic almond products on the market.

  • Think about your possibilities. You might alternate between several non-dairy milks, as each has its own set of perks and drawbacks. Goat and sheep milk are nutrient-dense and less allergic alternatives to cow’s milk.
  • Make your own version. If almond milk is a must-have in your life, try making it at home with organic almonds. At the very least, you’ll be able to manage how much water is used in the milk-making process, resulting in a purer product.
  • Purchase organically certified products. Pesticides aren’t used in certified organic almond milk, and there’s often less water used as well. When shopping, pick this option. Inquire if the caf uses certified organic products, and if not, propose they do so.
  • Carrageenan-containing brands should be avoided. When purchasing almond milk, read the label carefully and avoid types that contain carrageenan.

Which substitute milk is the most environmentally friendly?

Rice milk has never been a favorite of mine, primarily because it lacks flavor and nutrition. Rice milk is also one of the biggest offenders for greenhouse gas emissions, producing more than any other plant milk analyzed, as well as being a water hog, according to the Oxford study. Those lovely rice paddies are alive with methane-producing bacteria and are frequently badly polluted with fertilizers.

Rice milk, on the other hand, is readily available and inexpensive, and it has a lower environmental impact than dairy. Choose organic types that are produced in a sustainable manner to reduce the harmful effects of rice milk.

Is almond milk more environmentally friendly than cow’s milk?

Milk is a basic food in many cultures throughout the world. However, dairy can significantly add to our food’s greenhouse gas emissions. It accounts for just over a quarter of the carbon footprint in normal EU diets, and up to one-third in some cases. 1

As people become more aware of this, they are turning to plant-based alternatives. Non-dairy milks are currently consumed by one-quarter of adults in the United Kingdom, according to polls (although not always exclusively). It’s much more popular among younger people, with one-third of 16 to 23-year-olds choosing it. 2

Soy, oat, almond, rice, and coconut milk are among the ‘plant-based’ milk replacements now available. This begs two questions: are plant-based milks truly better for the environment, and which is the best?

We compare milks on a number of environmental criteria in this graph, including land use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and eutrophication, or the pollution of ecosystems with excess nutrients. These are measured in milliliters of milk. 3 I discuss some of the differences in nutritional content of different milks at the end of this post, which are crucial to consider in particular groups.

Across all criteria, cow’s milk has a significantly bigger impact than plant-based alternatives. It produces three times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, consumes ten times the amount of land, utilizes two to twenty times the amount of freshwater, and results in significantly greater levels of eutrophication.

Switching to plant-based alternatives is a fantastic option if you want to lessen your diet’s environmental impact.

Which vegan milk is the best? It all depends on the impact we’re most concerned with. Almond milk emits less greenhouse gases and takes up less land than soy milk, but it requires more water and contributes to eutrophication.

Although all of the options have a smaller environmental impact than dairy, there is no obvious winner across the board.

Are almonds good for the environment?

Despite the fact that nuts have a lower carbon footprint than animal-based products, not all nuts are created equal in terms of sustainability.

Groundnuts, legumes (such as peanuts), and tree nuts (such as macadamia nuts) all require distinct cultivation techniques. Because trees absorb carbon from the environment, tree nut cultivation produces fewer GHG emissions per 100g protein.

Because almonds require a lot of water to mature, they are typically regarded as being less environmentally friendly. Each almond requires a gallon (4.6 litres) of water to manufacture. California produces 82 percent of the world’s almonds, and with the state still suffering from droughts, you can imagine where the finger of blame is pointed.

Almond cultivation has the potential to destabilize ecosystems and put a pressure on bee populations. Intensive pollination operations may cause bees to be hurt or killed during cross-country transit, which can spread diseases and illnesses to adjacent colonies.

Is this, however, a reason to avoid almonds? At the end of the day, almond cultivation has a substantially lesser environmental impact than beef production. In addition, efforts are being made to limit the amount of water used in almond production. Drip irrigation systems, which give plants with smaller, targeted amounts of water, have been introduced by many almond producers in California.

Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and brazil nuts, on the other hand, are excellent examples of sustainable food production because they require little water and maintenance. Brazil nuts are also good for the jungle and help to prevent deforestation.

Each of these nuts uses 2kg CO2eq to create 1kg, which is the equivalent of a car traveling 5 kilometers, according to Healabel. Almonds, on the other hand, have a higher carbon footprint, requiring 3.56 kilograms of CO2 equivalent to produce 1 kilogram. Walnuts and pistachios have the smallest carbon footprints, emitting 0.76kg CO2eq and 1.1kg CO2eq per kilogram of product, respectively.

But, according to Climate Smart Macadamia Agroforestry (CSMA), a technique pioneered by HIMACUL farmers with the direction of The Neno Macadamia Trust, macadamia nuts have the potential to have a substantially lower level of GHG emissions (NMT).

What is the healthiest milk?

Hemp milk is prepared from crushed, soaked hemp seeds that are free of the psychotropic ingredient found in Cannabis sativa plants.

Protein and omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats are abundant in the seeds. As a result, hemp milk has a somewhat higher concentration of these nutrients than other plant milks.

Although hemp milk is almost carb-free, some brands include sweets, which raise the carb count. Make sure to read the ingredient label and get hemp or any other plant milk that hasn’t been sweetened.

On the ingredient label, sugar may be described as brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, or cane sugar.

The seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant are used to make hemp milk. While the drink isn’t psychotropic, it does include more healthful fats and protein than other plant milks.

Is it true that dairy is detrimental for the environment?

The production of milk takes place all over the world. Population growth, rising affluence, urbanization, and westernization of cuisines in nations like China and India are all driving up global demand for dairy. With the rising demand for dairy, natural resources such as freshwater and soil are under increasing strain. In several countries, WWF collaborates with dairy farmers, industry groups, and other stakeholders to conserve and safeguard natural resources and ecosystems.

Approximately 270 million dairy cows are tended by millions of farmers around the world to generate milk. Milk production has a variety of environmental consequences, the magnitude of which is determined by dairy farmers’ and feed growers’ activities.

Dairy cows and their dung contribute to climate change by emitting greenhouse gases. Manure and fertilizer management can have a negative impact on local water resources. Furthermore, unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can result in the extinction of ecologically significant places such as grasslands, marshes, and forests.

WWF envisions a worldwide market where all dairy is produced in the most environmentally friendly way possible. WWF intends to transform the milk production industry by working with dairy farmers, co-ops, businesses, and others to promote the use of sustainable practices.

Is it healthier to drink soy or almond milk?

Both are relatively healthy choices for any omnivorous or plant-based diet. Soy milk has a few more calories, but it also has a lot more protein and antioxidants. Although some people prefer the taste of almond milk, soy milk has a much creamier and richer texture.

Q. Is it healthy to drink almond milk every day?

A. Almond milk is healthy for your body. Drinking a glass of this delicious beverage every day will assist you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One of the most important advantages of drinking almond milk on a daily basis is that it strengthens your immune system and makes it easier to fight infections and disorders.

Q. Is almond milk healthier than milk?

A. Almond milk has a lower carbohydrate content than regular milk, despite having a higher fat content. As a result, because of its low calorie content, almond milk is usually the best choice for dieters. With only 40kCal calories per cup, dairy milk contains nearly double the number of calories as unsweetened almond milk.

Q. Is almond milk good for weight loss?

A. Of course. Your weight-loss journey will be aided with almond milk. It’s because of the low calorie count. Almond milk is a popular weight-loss food that can assist you in a variety of ways. It also has a good amount of protein and is low in fat. As a result, it’s good for weight loss.

Q. Are there any side effects of almond milk?

A. Of course. Almond milk may have some negative consequences. These adverse effects, on the other hand, are exclusively caused by overconsumption and nut allergies. Nut allergies, thyroid problems, excessive blood sugar, skin responses, and stomach problems are all possible side effects.

Q. Is almond milk good for the skin?

A. Of course. Almond milk is beneficial to the skin since it is high in moisture. As a result, the skin is rejuvenated and refreshed, remaining smooth, plump, and hydrated. It also has a lot of antioxidants, which assist to keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay.

Q. Which is healthier, almond or oat milk?

In terms of nutrition, almond milk is somewhat superior to oat milk. Almond milk, for example, is high in vitamin E, which is healthy for your skin and immune system.

Q. Can I drink almond milk at night?

A. Almond milk is a sleep-inducing alternative to the conventional bedtime treatment, and it may be a good choice. Additionally, it raises serotonin levels, which can aid in better sleep.

Q. When should I drink almond milk?

A. Almond milk can be consumed in the morning or at night. It is entirely up to you when you want it. To gain the health benefits, though, it is recommended to have it first thing in the morning.

Q. Can you warm up almond milk?

A. At room temperature, almond milk provides all of its benefits. Low to moderate temperatures can be used to heat or warm it. It’s not a good idea to heat almond milk to a high temperature because it reduces its nutritious value.

Q. What kind of milk is good for PCOS?

A. Women with PCOS are more likely to develop insulin resistance, and dairy consumption can raise insulin levels. As a result, seek for unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk (unsweetened), hemp milk (unsweetened), flax milk (unsweetened), cashew milk (unsweetened), pea milk (unsweetened), and other healthy choices.