Almond milk is dairy-free by nature, making it acceptable for vegans and anyone with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance ( 4 ). If you’re allergic to tree nuts, however, you should avoid it. Almond milk is a plant-based dairy product.
Is there any dairy in unsweetened almond milk?
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.
Is there any dairy-free almond milk?
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).
Is almond milk suitable for people who are lactose intolerant?
Some minerals in almond milk are not absorbed as well as they are in milk. This is mainly due to the presence of phytic acid, an antinutrient that inhibits iron, zinc, and magnesium absorption (4, 5, 6).
Almond milk is not acceptable as a milk substitute for infants since it is deficient in several nutrients.
Almond milk is naturally high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.
It is low in calories
Despite the fact that almonds are high in fat and calories, commercial almond milk is a low-calorie beverage (1, 2).
This implies you may consume a large amount of it without gaining weight. It also has a high nutritional value in relation to its calorie content.
Almond milk is made by diluting it with water to get a fat content equivalent to that of low-fat milk, which is roughly 1% fat.
A cup of almond milk has 39 calories, which is half as many as a cup of skim milk.
However, not all almond milks are created equal. Depending on how many almonds are in each cup, homemade almond milk and select brands may have a substantially higher calorie count.
Furthermore, some products have added sugar, which people should avoid if they want to get the most out of their health.
Bottom line: Almond milk prepared in a factory may have less calories than skim milk. However, this may not apply to all brands, so read the nutrition labels carefully.
Unsweetened almond milk doesn’t raise blood sugar
Sugar-free almond milk, on the other hand, is a low-carb beverage with fewer than 2% carbs in 1 cup, or 3.43 g of carbs (2).
Low-fat cow’s milk, on the other hand, has a carb content of 5%, or 12 g per cup (3).
In comparison to its glucose level, almond milk is also heavy in fat and protein. As a result, it does not induce a surge in blood sugar levels, making it acceptable for diabetics and those on a low-carb diet.
However, study the ingredient lists carefully and choose items that are as natural as possible.
Bottom line: Almond milk is a low-carb beverage that is ideal for those on a low-carb diet or who need to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
It is dairy-free
Almond milk is a fantastic alternative for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk because it includes no cow’s milk or other animal ingredients.
Many people are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t entirely digest it. Undigested lactose goes down to the colon, where it is fermented by the indigenous bacteria, causing excessive gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Because almond milk is dairy-free, it contains no lactose, making it a good milk substitute for lactose-intolerant persons.
Bottom line: Almond milk is a dairy-free substitute for vegans and anyone with lactose intolerance or milk allergy because it is an imitation milk that contains no dairy.
Enriched almond milk may strengthen your bones
Calcium is found in the highest concentration in dairy products. Almonds, on the other hand, are a poor provider of this vitamin.
Calcium is commonly added to almond milk to make it more akin to genuine milk. Depending on the type and brand of commercial almond milk, a cup may provide 37 percent or more of your daily need.
A cup of cow’s milk, on the other hand, may contain up to 23 percent of your daily calcium need, depending on the type and brand.
As a result, fortified almond milk is a good source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy, such as vegans and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk.
Calcium is necessary for the formation and maintenance of bones. As a result, consuming enough calcium lowers the risk of osteoporosis, a disorder marked by weak bones and fractures (7).
Bottom line: Almond milk is frequently fortified with calcium, making it a good source of the mineral. Those who do not consume dairy products may minimize their risk of osteoporosis by drinking enhanced almond milk on a regular basis.
It may reduce the risk of heart disease
Regular eating of nuts has been related to a lower risk of heart disease in observational studies. This is mainly due to their high content of beneficial fats (8).
Almond oil’s major fatty acid, oleic acid, has been associated to positive changes in blood lipids in studies (9).
In one study, healthy adults who consumed 66 grams of almonds or almond oil daily for six weeks saw their levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, drop “Cholesterol was lowered by 6%, and triglycerides were reduced by 14%. It also improved their HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol “It’s a wonderful thing,” cholesterol by 6% (10).
These positive alterations in blood lipid profiles have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease (11).
Although fat accounts for around half of the calories in almond milk, it is a low-fat product that is unlikely to have a substantial impact on your blood lipid profile.
Many of the health advantages of almonds are attributed to vitamin E, as well as bioactive plant chemicals such as polyphenols, according to nutritionists. These substances are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which are beneficial to heart health (12).
Almond milk is strong in vitamin E and includes healthy fats, so it’s a good choice. It may be beneficial to your heart if you drink it on a regular basis.
Enriched almond milk is high in vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency affects a large number of people. Brittle bones, tiredness, and weak muscles are more likely as a result of this (13).
In the human diet, there are few good sources of vitamin D. As a result, adding vitamin D to particular foods is a typical public-health practice. This is especially true with dairy products.
Almond milk, like ordinary milk, is frequently fortified with vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in each product varies. One cup of almond milk, for example, may contain 2.62 micrograms, or 13% of your daily value. A cup of vitamin-fortified cow’s milk has a same amount of vitamins (2).
As a result, fortified almond milk is a good source of vitamin D that, if consumed frequently, can help prevent insufficiency.
Bottom line: Almond milk is frequently fortified with vitamin D, and drinking it on a regular basis may help avoid vitamin D insufficiency.
Is Silk almond milk unsweetened dairy-free?
Silk almondmilk is a versatile ingredient that can be consumed, blended, or used in recipes. It’s dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, carrageenan-free, and free of artificial flavors and colors. If you’re watching your calories, we have Unsweet choices that are only 30 calories per serving.
Why should you avoid drinking almond milk?
Milk is a nutrient-dense, vitamin-rich liquid with a creamy texture. Who doesn’t enjoy a splash of milk in their morning coffee, over their cereal, or in their cooking?
The difficulty with regular cow’s milk (even lactose-free) is that it comes from a source loaded with antibiotics and hormones to mass manufacture and enhance profits unless you buy organic. Many people are unable to digest lactose (the sugar present in milk), hence milk replacements are being used to augment this popular beverage.
Alternative “milk” has grown increasingly popular as a substitute for traditional cow’s milk due to ethical concerns and digestive issues.
This is where almond milk comes in. Almond milk sales are surging, exceeding all other types of milk and reaching billions of dollars. Almond milk is a superior milk since it is prepared from almonds, which are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats and have a low sugar content. So, what’s the big deal about this nut milk?
The Issue with Almond Milk
Almond milk companies are breaking corners to create huge amounts at low costs because it takes a lot of almonds to make almond milk. Pull out your container of almond milk from the refrigerator. Your preferred brand’s certifications, such as kosher, gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO, may be prominently shown on their carton. You would think that because of the labelling, this is a “healthy” drink… but you’d be wrong.
Read the ingredients list on the back of your carton. Almonds and water should be all that’s needed to make almond milk. The following ingredients are likely to appear on your nutrition label:
What’s the deal with all these additions if almond milk only takes two ingredients?
Almonds are used sparingly in store-bought almond milk, with just around 2% of it being manufactured with genuine almonds. To make it appear creamy, it is watered down with fillers and thickeners like carrageenan.
Disturbing Ingredients You Need to Avoid
Carrageenan, a thickening and beverage stabilizer derived from red algae, is used by many brands and has been linked to gastrointestinal irritation and cancer. Carrageenan could be to blame if your almond milk isn’t agreeing with you.
Another noxious component is vitamin A palmitate. It’s a synthetic vitamin that’s been linked to an increased risk of cancer, as well as allergic reactions, hair loss, liver toxicity, and eye and mouth issues.
The few almonds that almond milk makers do utilize are almost certainly not sprouted. Natural enzyme inhibitors in almonds allow them to survive after they fall from the tree and land on the ground, waiting for water to become available “I’m alive.” Moisture permits enzymes to be released, allowing the nut to come to life and become edible “It sprung.”
A sprouted almond is easier to digest, releases nutrients more easily, and allows the human body to absorb them more effectively. Unfortunately, 99 percent of almond milk producers omit this crucial step.
Almond milk lacks protein (compare 1 gram per serving of almond milk to 8 grams per serving of genuine almonds), often contains additional sugars, and has little to no fiber per serving, in addition to bypassing critical processes and adding thickeners and stabilizers.
While there are many dairy alternatives available, it’s vital to do your research and understand what you’re eating. But don’t worry, this story isn’t entirely depressing. There is a method to eat and sip your almond milk! It’s possible to make your own!
With a little research, you can empower yourself to make better decisions and improve your health. Best wishes for your well health!
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.
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.
Is lactose intolerance the same as a dairy allergy?
Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy are not the same thing, even though they both necessitate the elimination of dairy products from your diet and share certain symptoms. Lactose intolerance is a digestive condition, while dairy allergy is an immune system disease.