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.
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.
Is almond milk more harmful than dairy 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.
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 almond milk harmful to your health?
But which milk is the most environmentally friendly? It depends on whatever metric is most important to you: water, land usage, greenhouse gas emissions, or the sum of all climate-change elements. Continue reading to find out whether your favorite milk is an environmental hero or a zero.
We all know how bad dairy is for the environment. For one thing, cows belch and pass gas, adding methane to our atmosphere, which, according to a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) assessment, is at its highest level in human history.)
According to a study from the University of Oxford, any plant-based milk is better than cow’s milk, including almond milk (because almond trees are thirsty plants). A single glass of dairy milk emits nearly three times the amount of greenhouse gases and consumes nine times the amount of land as a glass of plant-based milk.
So, which vegan milk is the best? It depends on what you want to accomplish: Reduced water consumption, reduced land use, reduced CO2 emissions, and other factors. Almond milk has the lowest overall greenhouse gas emissions because it requires almond trees, which, like all plants and trees, remove CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. Almond trees, on the other hand, are exceedingly thirsty and require a lot of water to produce all those tiny nuts. Soy milk made the old-fashioned way consumes the least amount of water and emits the fewest pollutants. As a result, you could argue that soy, which has always been a hero, is the winner.
Each type of plant-based milk has its own set of environmental implications to consider. Here’s everything you need to know about your favorite cereal companion, milk or smoothie booster, or straight-up sip.
What kind of milk is the healthiest to drink?
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 almond milk a pro-inflammatory beverage?
Dairy promotes intestinal inflammation in a large portion of the population. Milk has a tendency of inflaming the intestines and making you feel bloated, even if you don’t notice it on the outside. Assuming you don’t have a nut allergy, almond milk will not cause you to become inflamed. It has a calming effect on the intestines and, in most situations, has no detrimental effects on the digestive system.
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.
It is nutritious
Although almond milk does not compare to cow’s milk in terms of nutrition, enhanced products get close.
They usually contain extra vitamin D, calcium, and protein, making them nutritionally comparable to ordinary milk.
Almond milk, on the other hand, is naturally high in various vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.
The table below compares the amounts of a few nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in a cup of enriched commercial almond milk versus a cup of low-fat cow’s milk, as well as some daily values (DV) (2, 3).
Why is almond milk good for you?
Vitamin E, an important antioxidant, is abundant in almond milk. Vitamin E can aid in the prevention of significant health problems such as stroke, heart disease, and even cancer.
Enriched almond milk, depending on the brand, can also be a good source of:
Some critical nutrients found in other types of milk, such as vitamin D and protein, are not naturally present in almond milk. Many almond milk manufacturers sweeten it with sugar.
Look for unsweetened almond milk that has been fortified with elements like phosphorous, which helps with energy levels and bone health, and vitamin D to obtain the maximum nutritional benefit.
Is almond milk causing you to pass gas?
Milk is an excellent source of calcium and should be included in your daily diet. Many people, however, suffer from lactose intolerance, which causes digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, which is why they avoid milk and milk products. The challenge is, how will lactose intolerant persons achieve their calcium requirements? Almond milk is a fantastic alternative for lactose intolerant persons. The nutrient-dense, low-calorie beverage also provides a slew of health advantages. You can easily and hygienically create almond milk at home with the KENT Turbo Grinder and Blender. The site goes into great length on the five advantages of drinking almond milk.
One of the advantages of drinking almond milk is that it contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, making it a wonderful alternative to milk for individuals who don’t like it. Almond milk is strong in good fats including omega fatty acids, which assist to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
Calcium is necessary to keep your bones healthy. If you are lactose intolerant, though, you can switch to almond milk, which provides 30% calcium. Furthermore, consuming almond milk can help to reduce the incidence of arthritis and osteoporosis. The best aspect is that almond milk may be used to make a variety of smoothies as well as tea.
Almond milk is a natural source of vitamin E, which is why it can help you keep your skin looking young. Antioxidant components in the drink can help to reduce inflammation and give your skin a healthy glow. Almond milk can also help to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
It’s difficult to drink milk without sugar if you’re diabetic. Almond milk contains just the perfect quantity of carbohydrates for the body to convert to healthy sugar, which is then converted into energy. Almond milk can also help you maintain your overall heart health by replacing dairy milk.
Almonds are high in fiber, which is beneficial to digestive health. Almond milk can help you avoid constipation and other intestinal disorders while also keeping your digestive system healthy.
Almond milk is a delicious, healthy, and lactose-intolerant-friendly alternative. Almond milk is a great drink since it is low in calories and abundant in calcium, vitamin E, and vitamin D. Instead of buying pre-made almond milk, bring home a KENT Turbo Grinder and Blender to enjoy nutritious and fresh almond milk with a long list of health benefits.