Almond milk is a plant-based milk that is dairy- and cholesterol-free. It’s produced by combining almonds and water in a blender, straining the liquid, and adding vitamins and minerals. It’s lactose-free and suitable for vegans and lactose-intolerant people. Calcium and vitamins A, D, and E are frequently added to nut milk.
Sweeteners like stevia, cane sugar, dates, maple syrup, or honey have been added to sweetened almond milk. Sweetened almond milk is available in vanilla and chocolate flavors. To extend its shelf life, it may contain stabilizers and preservatives. the
Almond milk is sold at supermarkets and marketplaces, but it can also be made at home.
Why is almond milk healthier?
Almond milk’s vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help to deliver essential health benefits:
Magnesium is abundant in almond milk. This mineral is one of your body’s four most common minerals. It is a required component of over 300 key enzyme processes. Magnesium is particularly crucial for blood sugar regulation and energy utilization in the body.
Because almond milk is not made from animals, it does not contain lactose. As a result, lactose intolerance sufferers can use it as an alternative. Almond milk can be substituted for cow milk in any recipe that calls for it.
Unsweetened almond milk has fewer sugars and carbs than animal milk. It contains 50 to 80 percent fewer calories than dairy milk while maintaining a similar level of flavor. As a result, it is classified as a low-glycemic-index food. Almond milk is less likely to trigger blood sugar increases as a result of this.
Calcium is added to the majority of commercial almond milk brands. Calcium is essential for bone health since it makes up the majority of the hard structures in bones. Calcium maintains your bones strong and can aid in the fight against osteoporosis.
Almond milk is high in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been shown to benefit the brain. Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to a lower risk of cognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease in studies. In severe cases of Alzheimer’s Disease, it has also been found to halt the progression of the disease.
Antioxidants are necessary for minimizing free radical damage. These chemicals have the potential to damage surrounding cells, resulting in everything from aging signs to cancer. The minerals and antioxidants in almond milk can help your body better control free radicals.
What dairy-free almond milks are there?
First and foremost, what does lactose-free imply? Lactose is a sugar found in milk that consists of two molecules: glucose and galactose. It can be found in cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, and goat’s milk. Lactase, an enzyme found in our small intestine, is required for our bodies to break down lactose and make it easier to digest. Unfortunately, this enzyme is lacking in up to 65 percent of the world’s population! (1). You may experience digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, or diarrhea if you lack the lactose enzyme. When a product indicates it’s lactose-free, it usually means it’s still a dairy product (i.e. cow’s milk), but it’s been treated with the lactase enzyme. Milk, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, and butter are examples of lactose-free dairy products.
Dairy-free simply means that the product is dairy-free! There is no milk or milk products from cows, sheep, or goats in this product. A dairy-free diet allows a person to consume other animal products (such as poultry, beef, or fish) while avoiding dairy-based milk products. Plants such as almonds, cashews, seeds (flax or hemp), legumes (soy or pea), fruit (coconut), and oats are commonly used to make dairy-free goods. They can include goods that are comparable to lactose-free milk but are prepared without the dairy.
There are a variety of reasons to eat a lactose-free or dairy-free diet, but let’s start with the nutritional differences.
Lactose-free milk is nutritionally equivalent to conventional cow’s milk, but without the lactase enzyme.
Lactose-free milk is high in protein, calcium, and other minerals in one cup. It’s also high in minerals like phosphorus (which is vital for bone and tooth health) and B vitamins (energy production). Because there are so many dairy-free goods on the market, we’ll compare the most popular and widely used: almond milk. Although dairy-free almond milk is high in calcium, the majority of it has been added to the product. It’s also low in calories and fat, making it a good choice for weight loss and cardiovascular diets. It is, however, quite poor in protein and not nutritionally balanced.
The next item on the menu is lactose-free cream cheese! Lactose-Free Cream Cheese from Green Valley Creamery is simple and creamy. Cultured cream, salt, lactase, and live & active cultures are the only four components. There are dairy-free cream cheeses available, such as this one made with almond milk. It has more than twice as many components as lactose-free cream cheese. The nutritional value of the two is nearly identical, but the flavor is not. When compared to dairy free cream cheese, which uses various gums to provide texture, the fat from lactose free cream cheese has a better mouth feel.
Lactose-free dairy and dairy-free yogurts are two more popular products consumed on a regular basis by many people. Many people consume yogurt for its probiotic properties, calcium, and/or high protein content. Green Valley Creamery’s Lactose Free Organic Plain Lowfat Yogurt vs. Silk’s Plain Almondmilk Dairy Free Alternative are compared nutritionally below.
While both yogurts have probiotics (in the form of live active cultures), the lactose-free yogurt has twice as much calcium as the almond milk yogurt. Lactose-free yogurt also has more protein than its dairy-free counterpart.
Various medical issues and dietary restrictions may necessitate a lactose-free or dairy-free diet. It’s critical to examine your entire nutritional demands, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each individual’s option.
Due to a shortage of the enzyme lactase, around 65 percent of the world’s population is affected. Lactose intolerance can produce digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea, therefore it’s best to stick to lactose-free dairy products that include the enzyme lactase.
A Low FODMAP diet is not dairy-free, but it does have a very low lactose content. While some cheeses with reduced lactose content may be accepted, lactose-free dairy products may cause confusion. Milk, yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, and sour cream are examples (2).
The lactase enzyme is produced in the small intestine, which is where Crohn’s disease and Celiac’s disease occur. If you’ve just been diagnosed with Celiac disease, you might find that you can’t handle lactose for a while until your small intestine heals. A lactose-free diet has been found to help people with Crohn’s disease control their symptoms (3)
Any surgery that removes a portion of the intestines may result in temporary lactose intolerance. This could be due to a decrease in lactase production in your small intestine as a result of your illness/surgery, or because a portion of your small intestine was removed.
You may suffer digestive problems as a result of chemo or radiation therapy, which may limit your capacity to metabolize lactose. As a result, a lactose-free diet is required. Choosing lactose-free goods such as cottage cheese, yogurt, or milk is one method to still receive enough calories and protein.
Vegans eat this way for a variety of reasons, including health and ethical concerns. Vegans do not consume any animal products (including dairy).
Vegetarian diets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ovo-vegetarians, for example, are vegetarians who avoid dairy and meat but eat eggs.
Fruits, vegetables, animal protein (chicken, beef, or fish), nuts, and seeds are all part of the Paleo and Whole30 diet plans. They stay away from whole grains and dairy.
Lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy. When someone has a milk protein allergy, their immune system reacts to dairy and dairy products in an unnatural way. A milk protein allergy can cause digestive problems, as well as rashes, asthma, and anaphylaxis.
Because of their beliefs, certain civilizations or faiths avoid all dairy products. Seventh-day Adventists, who adopt a vegan diet, are one such group.
A lactose-free diet has both advantages and disadvantages. In comparison to a dairy-free diet, it allows for less restriction in your total diet and may allow you to acquire more protein and calcium. Lactose-free dairy is easier to digest, particularly if you suffer from lactose intolerance or another digestive problem. It’s also a better option for people who have other food sensitivities (nut, seed or legumes). The most significant disadvantage of a lactose-free diet is that it is not suitable for people who have milk protein allergies or who have other dietary limitations owing to cultural or religious convictions.
A dairy-free diet has both nutritional and cultural advantages. It may provide more plant diversity in terms of nutrition. Dairy-free cultures and faiths currently have more possibilities than ever before in terms of dairy-free alternatives. The disadvantages of going dairy-free include the fact that, depending on the sort of dairy-free food you pick, it may be more difficult to achieve your nutritional needs. When compared to lactose-free alternatives, dairy-free products typically have fewer protein, calories, and/or calcium. If you have a variety of allergies, going dairy-free isn’t the best option (like nuts, soy or seeds). Unfortunately, some dairy-free goods are still manufactured in facilities that also process dairy, putting dairy-allergic people at danger. Those with Celiac disease should avoid Oat milk-based products since there is a potential of gluten contamination. Finally, dairy-free goods’ consistency can be difficult to match that of lactose-free dairy. Brands may then strive to make the product more pleasant by adding extra fat, sugar, or gums.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the distinctions between lactose-free and dairy-free diets. When it comes to lactose-free or dairy-free foods, it’s crucial to consider your individual circumstances. This includes your nutritional requirements and/or goals, as well as any digestive concerns you may have, as well as your likes and dislikes!
Liz McMahon, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition, is the author of this article. Her specialty is IBS and the Low FODMAP diet, and she runs a virtual nutrition consulting firm that focuses on gut health.
Lactose intolerance is a condition that can be caused by a number of factors, according to MedlinePlus Genetics. (August 18th, 2020). https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/lactose-intolerance/#frequency (accessed May 5, 2021).
What kind of milk isn’t dairy?
Plant-based milk replacements include almond, soy, rice, and coconut “milk.” They’re becoming more widely available in retailers all around the country. Other cow’s milk substitutes, such as goat milk or oat milk, may be a better fit for certain people.
Almond milk has only 1 gram of protein per cup (240 ml), compared to 8 and 7 grams in cow’s and soy milk, respectively (16, 17).
Protein is required for a variety of body processes, including muscular growth, skin and bone construction, and the generation of enzymes and hormones (18, 19, 20).
Beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and hemp seeds are among the high-protein dairy-free and plant-based foods.
If you don’t mind eating animal products, eggs, fish, poultry, and beef are all good sources of protein (21).
Unsuitable for infants
Cow’s or plant-based milks should not be given to children under the age of one year because they can inhibit iron absorption. Until 46 months of age, breastfeed or use infant formula exclusively until solid meals can be introduced (22).
Offer water as a nutritious beverage option in addition to breast milk or formula at 6 months of age. Cow’s milk can be given to your infant’s diet after the age of one (22).
Plant-based drinks, with the exception of soy milk, are inherently low in protein, fat, calories, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin D, and calcium. These nutrients are necessary for development and growth (23, 24).
Almond milk has only 39 calories per cup, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein (240 ml). This is insufficient for a developing infant (5, 24).
Continue to breastfeed or see your doctor for the best nondairy formula if you don’t want your kid to swallow cow’s milk (23).
May contain additives
Sugar, salt, gums, tastes, and lecithin and carrageenan can all be included in processed almond milk (types of emulsifiers).
Texture and consistency are achieved by the use of emulsifiers and gums. Unless ingested in really large quantities, they are harmless (25).
Despite this, a test-tube study indicated that carrageenan, which is often used as an emulsifier in almond milk and is generally considered harmless, may disturb intestinal health. Before any judgments can be drawn, however, further thorough research is required (26).
Despite these issues, many companies avoid using this ingredient entirely.
Furthermore, many flavored and sweetened almond milks include a lot of sugar. Sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, tooth problems, and other chronic illnesses (13, 14, 27).
Almond milk is low in protein, lipids, and nutrients necessary for an infant’s growth and development. Furthermore, many processed kinds contain sugar, salt, flavors, gums, and carrageenan, among other things.
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.
What’s the difference between lactose-free milk and almond milk?
LACTAID lactose-free milk is created from 100 percent real dairy, but without the lactose, so it retains all of the natural vitamins and nutrients. The majority of almond milk comprises only 2% actual almonds; the rest is made up of water, sugar, and chemicals.
What is a vegan diet?
Veganism is a lifestyle choice as well as a diet. Vegans try to stay away from products that use or exploit animals to the best of their abilities.
Plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains make up a vegan diet. Meat, fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, and many other animal-derived products, such as honey, are not allowed.
Veganism can be chosen for a variety of reasons, including environmental, animal welfare, personal health, and ethical issues.
Vegans avoid consumer products that include animal-derived substances or have been tested on animals. Cosmetics, apparel, and personal care products are among them.
What is a dairy-free diet?
A dairy-free diet eliminates all dairy products from the diet. Milk from any animal is included in this category, as well as any products manufactured from it, such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream.
However, persons who follow this eating pattern are allowed to eat meat, fish, shellfish, and eggs.
Dairy-free diets are widely selected for health reasons, such as a cow’s milk allergy or lactose intolerance (a disease in which your body is unable to digest the milk sugar lactose, resulting in diarrhea and flatulence after consuming dairy) (1, 2).
Vegan diets forbid the use of any animal-derived products, including dairy, eggs, meat, and fish. Dairy-free diets don’t allow you to eat dairy, but they may enable you to eat other animal products. Dairy-free food is not always vegan, and vegan cuisine is not always dairy-free.
Swaps to Make When Eating Dairy-Free
If you’re wondering if there are any dairy-free calcium alternatives or good milk substitutes, be assured that there are plenty! Dairy-free options include coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and oat milk. If you’re concerned about calcium, Soy, Almond, and Rice Milk are very high in calcium.
Switching from conventional milk to non-dairy milk is one of the simplest adjustments you can make today! Here’s a link to Almond Milk and Coconut Milk, two of my favorites. You can make your own non-dairy milk if you’re feeling adventurous: try my 5-minute Homemade Oat Milk Recipe.
If you’re concerned about getting adequate calcium, include more leafy greens in your diet, such as kale, spinach, and collard greens.
Nowadays, there are so many fantastic plant-based dairy options! You’ll never have to miss out on your favorites again because a delicious dairy-free option is almost always available.
You may test a few dairy-free alternatives on your dairy-free journey until you find your favourite. To make it easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite yogurt, cheese, and butter.
Violife Cheese Slices (Cheddar, Parmesan, Cream, and Smoked Provolone are just a few of the delicious selections!)
Of course, you can still eat things like creamy spaghetti and decadent sweets if you want to. I adore using cashew cream as a heavy cream alternative. With just three ingredients, you can manufacture your own cashew cream. When you’re wanting a creamy pasta meal, try my Cashew Cream Recipe or Cashew Cream Veggie Pasta.
If you have a nut allergy, coconut cream can be used as a heavy cream substitute; it’s another one of my favorites! Coconut cream can be used in a variety of ways. From Creamy Shrimp Linguine to Vegan Pumpkin No-Bake Cheesecake, I’ve used it in a variety of meals.
If you want to add a cheese flavor to your dishes, nutritional yeast is a good option. Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that has been deactivated and can be used in cooking. It has a nutty, slightly cheesy flavor and can be used in sauces, baking, and other dishes. It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, and fat-free, too! Here’s where you can find the nutritional yeast I use: Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes from Anthony’s.
Dairy-free living can be difficult at first, but it becomes simpler if you focus on all the things you CAN eat. Of course, the list of things you can eat depends on your particular diet and preferences, but here are all the dairy-free items you can eat:
Become a label aficionado! It’s not unexpected that dairy is sometimes disguised as something else on the label with names that most people don’t recognize. Casein derivatives, lactose, and whey are common words to look for. While the FDA is attempting to ensure that plant-based goods are properly labeled, it’s wise to do your homework and double-check the label. Check out this page for a more comprehensive list.
When eating out, it’s especially vital to ask the server if the dish contains dairy. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the chef for clarification. You’d be amazed how many dishes that appear to be dairy-free actually include dairy. It’s usually preferable to ask and double-check, and you can always call ahead to speak with the chef or staff about menu alternatives.
Pro tip: Eat at restaurants where everything is prepared in-house. Some restaurants frequently employ prepared products, however this means they have less control over the ingredients used in their dishes. The greatest option is always farm-to-table.
Allow yourself 30 days without dairy to see how your body reacts and any changes that occur. Try your hardest not to give in to any desires. The initial two weeks will be the most difficult (depending on how much dairy you currently consume). It will be so much easier to eat dairy-free after the first 30 days!
Limit your temptations to make this change easy for yourself. One of the first things you should do is go through your refrigerator and pantry and toss away any dairy products. Make sure any snacks or prepackaged items you buy don’t include dairy by reading the labels. It will be easy to stay away from dairy products if you don’t have any in your kitchen.
This approach will be much easier if you plan ahead of time. Make a meal plan and go grocery shopping with it in mind. Healthy snacks and food selections should be kept in your refrigerator and pantry. If I need a quick snack, I find that keeping nuts, fruits, and light snacks like hummus on hand helps me avoid giving in to any dairy cravings.
If you’re looking for something to eat, start here! On my website, I offer a lot of dairy-free recipes. You may find them here and add them to your grocery list!
Which non-dairy milk is the cheapest?
Soy was shown to offer the most balanced nutritional profile of all the plant-based milk replacements in a 2018 study. Silk’s version offers 80 calories per cup, four grams of fat, seven grams of protein, and three grams of carbs, making it similar in protein and fat to a glass of 2 percent milk. Silk also adds gellan gum to thicken its soy milk and fortifies it with vitamins A, D2, and B12.
Soy milk is the cheapest of the plant-based optionsa half-gallon costs anywhere from $1 to $3and the easiest to get in any grocery store because it’s been around the longest. The main disadvantage is that soy milk is heat sensitive and will curdle at high temperatures. As a result, almond milk has become a popular milk substitute in coffee shops.
Do eggs count as dairy?
Dairy foods comprise products made from the milk of mammals such as cows and goats (1).
It basically refers to milk and any milk-based cuisine, such as cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt.
Birds such as chickens, ducks, and quail, on the other hand, lay eggs. Birds do not make milk because they are not mammals.
While eggs are commonly seen in the dairy section and are frequently grouped with dairy products, they are not dairy products.