Are you a fan of almond milk but find yourself experiencing stomach troubles after drinking it?
You’re not alone. While almond milk has become a popular dairy-free alternative, it’s not always easy on the digestive system.
The culprit? Additives like carrageenan, which can cause gastrointestinal distress.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why almond milk may be hurting your stomach and what you can do about it.
So, grab a glass of water and let’s dive in!
Why Does Almond Milk Hurt My Stomach?
Almond milk has quickly become a staple in many households, especially as people continue to turn to dairy-free, plant-based alternatives in place of traditional cow’s milk. In fact, almond milk happens to be the most popular non-dairy milk due, in part, to its pleasant texture and subtly nutty flavor. And that’s no surprise, considering it’s not only super versatile and tasty, but also low in calories, carbs, and fat.
Despite all of the beverage’s health benefits, though, it had a few drawbacks. Experts say that one of the most common side effects of drinking almond milk is stomach troubles—and an additive called carrageenan is likely to blame.
Carrageenan is an ingredient extracted from red seaweed that’s often used in a wide range of processed foods as a thickening agent. Even though carrageenan sounds natural and is technically derived from a plant-based source, that doesn’t indicate that it’s healthy to consume regularly. Unfortunately, this particular type of carbohydrate also happens to be indigestible.
According to the FDA, carrageenan is generally recognized as safe—which explains why it’s an approved additive in the United States. That said, some studies have found that carrageenan may disrupt gut health by causing intestinal inflammation and other potential negative side effects. Other research pinpoints a possible link between carrageenan and digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease, as well as poor blood sugar control.
While some studies refute these findings, those who have a sensitive stomach may still have issues tolerating the additive. That means taking a peek at the ingredients list on any foods you buy or looking for a “carrageenan-free” label.
What Is Almond Milk And Why Is It Popular?
Almond milk is a non-dairy milk alternative that has gained immense popularity in recent years. It is made by blending almonds with water and then straining the mixture to remove any solids. The result is a creamy, nutty flavored milk that is low in calories, carbs, and fat.
Almond milk is an excellent choice for people who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. It is also a popular choice for those who follow a vegan or plant-based diet. In addition to being a great alternative to cow’s milk, almond milk is also incredibly versatile. It can be used in smoothies, coffee, tea, and even in baking recipes.
However, despite its many benefits, some people may experience stomach troubles after drinking almond milk. This is often due to the additives included in commercial almond milk products. Carrageenan, in particular, is an additive that can cause gastrointestinal distress for some people.
Despite this potential drawback, almond milk remains a popular choice for many people looking for a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk. There are also carrageenan-free options available for those who are sensitive to this ingredient.
The Role Of Carrageenan In Almond Milk
Carrageenan is often added to almond milk and other non-dairy milk products as a thickening agent. While it may help improve the texture and consistency of the beverage, it can also cause digestive issues for some people. Carrageenan is an indigestible carbohydrate that can lead to inflammation in the gut and other negative side effects.
While the FDA considers carrageenan to be generally safe, some studies have found that it may contribute to digestive problems like inflammatory bowel disease and poor blood sugar control. In fact, some experts suggest that carrageenan may be one of the main culprits behind the stomach troubles that people experience after drinking almond milk.
If you have a sensitive stomach or a digestive disorder like IBS or ulcerative colitis, it may be wise to avoid any products made with carrageenan. Additionally, those who experience stomach pains after drinking almond milk should consider checking the ingredients list for carrageenan or looking for a “carrageenan-free” label. While the jury is still out on whether carrageenan is truly harmful, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.
Other Additives To Watch Out For In Almond Milk
While carrageenan is the most well-known additive in almond milk that can cause stomach issues, there are other additives to watch out for as well. Many commercial almond milks contain additional ingredients such as sugar, salt, gum, lecithin, and flavors. These additives can also cause gastrointestinal distress and other negative side effects.
For example, sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. Salt, on the other hand, can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems if consumed in large quantities. Gum and lecithin are often added to improve texture and consistency, but they can also cause digestive issues in some people.
To avoid these potential side effects, it’s important to read the ingredients list on any almond milk products you buy and opt for brands that use minimal additives or are labeled as “additive-free.” Making your own almond milk at home is another option to ensure that you know exactly what’s going into your beverage. By being mindful of these additives, you can enjoy the benefits of almond milk without experiencing any negative side effects.
How To Choose Almond Milk That Won’t Hurt Your Stomach
If you’re experiencing stomach troubles after drinking almond milk, it could be due to the carrageenan additive. To avoid this issue, it’s essential to choose almond milk that doesn’t contain this ingredient. Here are some tips on how to choose almond milk that won’t hurt your stomach:
1. Check the ingredients list: The first step in choosing almond milk is to read the label carefully. Look for almond milk brands that don’t contain carrageenan. Some brands use alternative thickeners like locust bean gum or gellan gum, which are less likely to cause digestive issues.
2. Opt for unsweetened varieties: Some commercial brands of almond milk contain added sugar, which can also cause stomach upset. Choose unsweetened varieties instead.
3. Choose organic: Organic almond milk is free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals that can cause digestive issues.
4. Make your own: The best way to ensure that your almond milk is free from additives is to make it yourself. All you need is almonds, water, and a blender. Homemade almond milk is fresh, delicious, and easy to make.
5. Consider other plant-based milk alternatives: If you’re still having trouble with almond milk, consider trying other plant-based milk alternatives like soy, oat, or rice milk.
Alternatives To Almond Milk For Those With Sensitive Stomachs
If you’re one of the many people who experience stomach troubles after drinking almond milk, don’t worry – there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. Here are some non-dairy milk options that may be easier on your stomach:
1. Rice Milk: Made from milled rice and water, rice milk is a great option for those with sensitive stomachs. It’s low in fat and calories and has a mild, sweet taste.
2. Hemp Milk: Made from hemp seeds and water, hemp milk is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It has a nutty flavor and creamy texture.
3. Oat Milk: Made from oats and water, oat milk is a good source of fiber and beta-glucans, which may help lower cholesterol levels. It has a mild, slightly sweet taste.
4. Coconut Milk: Made from the flesh of mature coconuts and water, coconut milk is high in saturated fat but also contains lauric acid, which may have antimicrobial properties. It has a rich, creamy texture and a slightly sweet taste.
5. Soy Milk: Made from soybeans and water, soy milk is a good source of protein and calcium. It has a mild, slightly nutty taste.
When choosing non-dairy milk alternatives, be sure to read the ingredients list carefully to avoid any additives or ingredients that may upset your stomach. And remember, everyone’s body is different – what works for one person may not work for another. Experiment with different options until you find one that works best for you.