Almond milk and other dairy alternatives have become mainstream, with grocery sections dedicated to them, and they’re becoming more common in restaurants as well.
You’re paying for convenience with packaged almond milk, but be mindful that you’re not necessarily paying for a lot of almonds. You might be surprised to learn that just roughly 2% of prominent brands contain genuine nuts. This means that many popular almond-milk products are primarily made up of water and additives, with only a few almonds thrown in for good measure. So, if you buy almond milk in the hopes of reaping the nutritious benefits of almonds, you may not be getting as much as you believe.
A lawsuit is now pending against two almond milk manufacturers, Blue Diamond and Silk, alleging that the packaging of these products misleads consumers into believing they contain many more almonds than the 2% they actually do. Because manufacturers are not obligated to publish the amount of almonds on packaging, it is hard to compare different brands’ percentages.
Some of the other additives in packaged almond milk are maybe more worrying than the quantity of almonds in the goods. There’s a good reason to be hesitant about including them in your diet.
Is almond milk primarily made up of water?
What’s the deal with almond milk? To be honest, the name sounds like pure almonds that have been squeezed into a liquid, but almond milk is basically water (but the cartons are around $6 for those playing at home). Every box, according to Austin, has barely a handful of almonds.
Is almond milk hydrating in the same way that water is?
Almond milk is primarily made up of water. Almonds provide some nutrients, but not quite as much as you may think. Even so, the water content is beneficial since it keeps you hydrated.
This hydrating impact will be strongest if you consume a substantial amount of almond milk, such as a glass or utilizing it as a component in shakes or smoothies.
Almond milk in coffee, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as potent. Coffee is primarily made up of water.
Is almond milk made entirely of almonds?
Large almond milk producers, it appears, don’t want people to know exactly how much almond is in their product. “Multiple almond growers and processors contacted by Business Insider declined to share specifics on the ratio of almonds to other ingredients in their almond milk, outside of claiming the recipe is generally uniform ‘across the board,” Business Insider reported in April. If that’s the case, it highlights two important things. To begin with, almost all almond milks contain only 2% almonds. Second, almond milk manufacturers would prefer that we, the consumers, were unaware of this.
Is almond milk just water and almonds?
Almond milk is created from ground almonds and water, but depending on the variety, it may also contain other components.
The majority of people buy it ready-made, but it’s very simple to prepare at home.
Almonds and water are blended together, then filtered to remove the pulp. This results in a silky liquid (3).
Thickeners, preservatives, and flavorings are commonly added to commercial almond milks to improve flavor, texture, and shelf life.
Almond milk is dairy-free by nature, making it acceptable for vegans and anyone with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance (4).
Almond milk is a plant-based beverage produced with water and strained almonds. It is dairy- and lactose-free by nature, making it a wonderful choice for individuals who avoid dairy.
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 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 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.
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 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 grown in massive quantities around the world to feed livestock for meat and dairy production, which is the primary environmental disadvantage of soy milk. To make way for soy farms, large swaths of rainforest in the Amazon have been burned. To get around this, simply do some research and read the label to find soy milk made from organic soybeans grown in the United States or Canada.
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, a latecomer to the party, is having a moment in the spotlight. That’s because the rich little nuts produce a convincing milk-like pour 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 par with oats in terms of water use.
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 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 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 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.
Is unsweetened almond milk considered water?
That figure assumes you obtain roughly 20% of your fluid from meals, which means that anything you drink, including milk, juice, soft drinks, and even coffee and tea, counts toward hydration.
Who says almond milk isn’t good for you?
Allergies to milk are number five. If consumed in excess, almond milk might cause negative effects in people who are lactose intolerant. Such people may experience adverse reactions after ingesting almond milk, thus they should avoid it entirely.
Is it preferable to drink oat or almond milk?
If you have a nut allergy or wish to enhance your vitamin B12 and riboflavin intake, oat milk is the preferable choice. If you’re trying to lose weight, almond milk is the way to go because it’s low in calories and fat. For additional information, go to Insider’s Health Reference library.
Which nut milk is the most nutritious?
There are many ways to assess the nutritional value of foods, and each of the nut milks listed above meets different nutrient requirements.
Almond milk and cashew milk, on the other hand, have the best overall nutritional profile.
One cup of each delivers approximately 25 to 50 percent of your daily calcium and 25 percent of your daily vitamin D in an extraordinarily low-calorie package. Both are high in vitamin E, with cashew milk providing 50% of the daily value and almond milk providing 20%.
Despite the fact that both cashew and almond milk are low in protein, many health experts believe that Americans consume enough of this macro in their diet. So, for the most part, cutting back on protein in nut milk shouldn’t be an issue.
Another nut milk, on the other hand, might be preferable for you if you have special dietary needs, such as more protein or higher-than-average calories.
And, unfortunately, if you’re allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, you’ll have to avoid all nut milks. Instead, use soy, coconut, or hemp milk.
How much water does milk contain?
The liquid produced by mammary glands in mammals, including humans, is known as milk. Infants prefer breast milk because it is well tolerated while their digestive tracts develop and mature. If tolerated well, dairy milk can be offered at a later age. Cows, goats, buffalo, and sheep are popular providers of dairy milk, though it can come from any mammal. This section will concentrate on cow’s milk and briefly touch on non-dairy plant milk alternatives.
Water makes up about 87 percent of whole cow’s milk. Protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals make up the remaining 13%. Lower fat variations are made using different processing techniques: “reduced fat” includes 2% milkfat, “lowfat” contains 1% milkfat, and “nonfat” or “skim” contains virtually no milkfat. Dairy milk contains hormones such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), estrogens, and progestins since cows are frequently pregnant while being milked. To boost milk output, some cows are given extra hormones.
Milk and Health
Milk research frequently yields contradictory results. The wide diversity of nutritional properties in milk, as well as how milk intake is monitored, may be some of the reasons, as evidenced by the following factors:
- The amount of milk considered “high” or “low” varies depending on the demographic investigated. Japanese people, for example, consume less than half of the milk consumed in Western countries.
- Is there a variety of milk classes included, or is it simply one type? Is it better to eat whole, reduced-fat, fat-free, or organic foods?
- Depending on the breed and diet of the cows, the composition of milk (fat, protein from various amino acids) may differ.
- Are other dietary aspects taken into account, such as whether the participants consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, or a lot of processed meat or refined carbohydrates, which can skew the genuine health benefits of milk?
- Distinct dairy foods, such as cheese and yogurt, may have different health impacts than milk.