Are you a fan of almond milk? Do you buy it for its nutritional benefits, or simply because it’s a tasty alternative to dairy milk?
Either way, you might be surprised to learn that the percentage of actual almonds in many popular brands is shockingly low. In fact, some top brands contain only about 2% actual nuts, with the rest being water and additives.
This means that if you’re buying almond milk hoping to reap the nutritional benefits of almonds, you might not be getting as much benefit as you think. But that’s not the only concern when it comes to packaged almond milk.
There are also questions about the amount of water used to produce it, and whether we should be using so much water to make a non-essential beverage.
In this article, we’ll explore the percentage of water in almond milk, as well as some of the other concerns surrounding this popular dairy alternative.
So grab a glass of your favorite milk (almond or otherwise), and let’s dive in!
What Percentage Of Almond Milk Is Water?
As mentioned earlier, many popular brands of almond milk contain only about 2% actual almonds, with the rest being water and additives. This means that for every glass of almond milk you drink, you’re consuming mostly water.
While this might not be a concern for some, it’s important to note that water is a precious resource, and using it to produce a non-essential beverage like almond milk might not be the most sustainable choice.
In fact, it takes about 23 gallons of water to produce just one glass of almond milk. This is because almonds require a lot of water to grow, and then more water is needed to turn them into milk.
So while almond milk might be a tasty alternative to dairy milk, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of producing it.
The Shocking Percentage Of Actual Almonds In Popular Brands
It might come as a surprise to many that some of the top brands of almond milk contain only about 2% actual almonds. This means that for every carton of almond milk you buy, you’re paying for mostly water and additives, rather than the nutritional benefits of almonds.
The low percentage of almonds in these popular brands has even led to a lawsuit against manufacturers like Blue Diamond and Silk, who are accused of misleading consumers into assuming a much greater percentage of almonds than the 2% they actually contain.
Manufacturers aren’t currently required to list the percentage of almonds on packaging, making it impossible to know the percentages of various brands. This lack of transparency can be concerning, especially for those who are buying almond milk hoping to reap the nutritional benefits of almonds.
Moreover, the environmental impact of producing almond milk with such a low percentage of actual almonds is significant. As mentioned earlier, it takes a lot of water to grow almonds and then turn them into milk. So, when most of what you’re buying is water, it’s important to consider whether it’s worth the environmental cost.
This is why making homemade almond milk is a more sustainable and cost-effective option. With homemade almond milk, you can ensure that you’re getting more actual almonds in your drink, and you can also control the amount of water used in the process.
The Concerns About Water Usage In Almond Milk Production
One of the main concerns about almond milk production is its high water usage. Studies have shown that it takes around 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond, and it takes approximately two pounds of almonds to make one gallon of milk. This means that producing almond milk requires a significant amount of water.
Moreover, most almonds used for almond milk production are grown in California, where water scarcity is a major issue due to the hot and dry climate. This has raised concerns about the sustainability of almond milk production.
In comparison to cow’s milk, almond milk has a smaller carbon footprint but a larger water footprint. A study showed that producing 48 oz of whole cow’s milk requires an average of 307 liters of freshwater, while producing the same amount of unsweetened almond milk requires 175 liters of freshwater.
Another issue with almond milk production is the byproduct left behind. To produce almond milk, manufacturers are left with an almond pulp byproduct that is rich in nutrients and fibers but difficult to reuse in other products.
The Nutritional Benefits (and Limitations) Of Almond Milk
Almond milk is a popular choice for those seeking a dairy-free alternative, but it’s important to understand its nutritional benefits and limitations.
One of the benefits of almond milk is its low calorie count. With only 39 calories per cup, it’s a great option for those watching their weight. Almond milk is also a natural source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical damage. Some varieties are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are important nutrients for bone health.
However, almond milk is low in protein, with only 1 gram per cup. This means that it might not be the best choice for those looking to increase their protein intake. Additionally, homemade versions of almond milk are not a good source of calcium and vitamin D.
Another limitation of almond milk is its lack of nutrients compared to dairy milk. It doesn’t contain any protein, calcium or vitamin D, which are essential nutrients found in dairy products. This means that if you’re drinking almond milk instead of dairy milk, you might be missing out on important nutrients.
It’s also important to note that many popular brands of almond milk contain only a small percentage of actual almonds, with the rest being water and additives. This means that if you’re drinking almond milk for its nutritional benefits, you might not be getting as much benefit as you think.
Alternatives To Packaged Almond Milk: Making Your Own At Home
The good news is that making your own almond milk at home is not only more sustainable, but also healthier and more delicious. Homemade almond milk recipes typically call for 1 cup of almonds to 2 to 4 cups of filtered water, resulting in about 10 to 20% almonds in the final product. This is a stark contrast to the 2% found in most store-bought versions.
When you make almond milk at home, you have control over the ingredients and can avoid additives like sweeteners and thickeners. Plus, homemade almond milk is creamier and thicker than the store-bought variety because it contains more almonds.
Making your own almond milk is surprisingly easy and affordable. All you need are almonds, water, and a blender. Simply soak the almonds overnight or for at least 6 hours, drain and rinse them, blend them with fresh water, and strain through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. You can also add flavorings like vanilla extract or sweeteners like dates for a customized taste.
By making your own almond milk, you not only reduce your environmental impact but also reap the health benefits of almonds. Almonds are a great source of protein, healthy plant fats, Vitamin B3, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and flavonoids. They have been correlated to a reduction in heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
So next time you’re craving almond milk, consider making your own at home for a tastier, healthier, and more sustainable option.
Conclusion: Is Almond Milk Worth It?
When it comes to the question of whether almond milk is worth it, there are a few things to consider. On the one hand, almond milk is a low-calorie and nutritious alternative to dairy milk. It contains vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin D, making it a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
However, on the other hand, almond milk is a water-intensive product that requires a lot of resources to produce. It takes over 100 gallons of water to produce just one cup of almonds, and even more water is needed to turn them into milk. This is a concern in areas where water is scarce or where droughts are common.
Additionally, most store-bought almond milks contain only a small percentage of actual almonds, with the rest being water and additives. This means that for every glass of almond milk you drink, you’re consuming mostly water.
So, is almond milk worth it? It ultimately depends on your personal values and priorities. If you prioritize taste and nutrition over environmental impact, then almond milk might be a good choice for you. However, if you’re concerned about water usage and sustainability, then you might want to consider other alternatives or limit your consumption of almond milk. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.