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.
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).
Almond milk vs. cow milk: what’s the difference and which one is healthier?
Are you perplexed by the various milk options? You’re not the only one who feels this way. With the surge in popularity of plant-based diets, demand and interest for almond milk has skyrocketed, while demand for cow’s milk has dwindled in recent years. Is almond milk, on the other hand, a good option? Which is the healthier option? Here’s how almond milk compares to cow milk in terms of nutrition.
What’s the difference between almond milk and cow milk?
Despite the fact that they have the same name, almond milk and cow milk are very different in nature. Almond milk is an imitation milk made by blending water with almonds and straining the mixture to remove the solids and create a liquid. Cow’s milk is a nutrient-rich liquid produced by the mammary glands of dairy cattle, while almond milk is an imitation milk made by blending water with almonds and straining the mixture to remove the solids and create a liquid. Whole milk, 2 percent milk, 1 percent milk, skim milk, and lactose-free milk are all available in cow’s milk, whereas almond milk comes in unsweetened, sweetened, and flavoured versions. Cow’s milk and dairy products have long been popular in numerous cultures, but almond milk and other plant-based milks have only lately become popular in Western culture as alternatives for people who can’t or don’t want to drink cow’s milk for health reasons or for personal reasons.
Almond Milk vs. Cow Milk Nutrition
Almond milk has a low calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat content, whereas cow’s milk has a moderate calorie content, but is high in protein, lipids, and carbohydrates. Here’s how 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk compares to cow milk. (1)(2)
- CALORIES: A 1-cup serving of unsweetened almond milk comprises 40 calories, compared to 122 calories in a 1-cup serving of 2 percent cow milk, making almond milk the lower-calorie option. The difference in calories between almond milk and cow’s milk is owing to almond milk’s lack of protein, carbs, and fat, as it is mostly water. However, compared to 2 percent cow’s milk, 1 percent milk and 0 percent milk contain 102 and 83 calories, respectively, making them lower-calorie options.
- ALMOND MILK CONTAINS VERY LITTLE PROTEIN: Cow’s milk is a natural source of high-quality protein, whereas almond milk contains very little. A 1-cup serving of 2% cow milk has 8.1 grams of protein, while a 1-cup serving of unsweetened almond milk has 1.0 grams. Cow’s milk also includes all nine essential amino acids, with casein protein accounting for about 80% of the protein and whey protein accounting for the remaining 20%. (3) Both casein and whey protein have been proven to contain bioactive peptides, which offer a variety of health benefits, including improved immunological function, higher mineral absorption, lower blood pressure, and the growth and maintenance of muscle tissue. (4)(5)(6)
- FAT: Although almonds are a rich source of healthful fat, just a small amount of the fat makes it into the beverage. A 1-cup amount of unsweetened almond milk has 3.0 grams of fat, compared to 4.8 grams of fat in a 1-cup serving of 2 percent cow milk. Although almond milk contains some fat from almonds, it also has added vegetable oils that contribute to its fat content, albeit the amount varies by brand. Cow’s milk comes in a variety of fat levels, including 3.25 percent, 2 percent, 1 percent, and 0 percent, so the specific fat amount will differ depending on the format. Cow’s milk fat is composed of roughly 65 percent saturated fat, 30% monounsaturated fat, and 5% polyunsaturated fatty acids. (7)
- COW’S MILK CONTAINS CARBOHYDRATES: Cow’s milk is a natural supply of carbohydrates, specifically simple carbohydrates in the form of sugar, primarily lactose with trace amounts of monosaccharides and oligosaccharides. (8) A cup of 2 percent cow milk contains 12.3 grams of carbs, whereas a cup of unsweetened almond milk contains only 2.0 grams.
- FIBRE: Neither almond nor cow milk contain a significant amount of fiber. A 1-cup portion of 2 percent cow milk has 0.0 grams of fiber, while a 1-cup serving of unsweetened almond milk has 1.0 grams; however, the fiber content of almond milk varies by brand.
- SUGAR: Lactose, a natural sugar found in cow’s milk, is a source of natural sugars. A 1-cup serving of 2 percent cow milk has 12.3 grams of sugar, compared to 0.4 grams in a 1-cup serving of unsweetened almond milk. While unsweetened almond milk contains very little natural sugar, sweetened and flavoured almond milk generally contains a higher amount of added sugar.
- VITAMINS AND MINERALS: Cow’s milk contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and selenium are all present in a 1-cup serving of 2 percent milk. (2) The loss of fat in 1% and 0% milk reduces the content of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are typically fortified as a result. Almond milk, on the other hand, is mostly made of water and hence has very few vitamins and minerals. The majority of almond milk brands are vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium fortified.
Cow’s milk is a complete food containing solely milk. Cow’s milk does not contain any additions or preservatives, despite the fact that some varieties of milk contain added vitamins and minerals. Almond milk, on the other hand, is a minimally processed food because almonds do not grow in liquid form, require processing, and contain additives such as preservatives, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. Although homemade almond milk is made by soaking and blending almonds with water, straining the mixture to remove the solids until only the liquid remains, store-bought almond milk frequently contains additives like gellan gum, sunflower lecithin, locust bean gum, ascorbic acid, and/or natural flavor. (10)(11)(12)
Cow’s milk is one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods. It’s a good supply of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, as well as a decent balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Almond milk, on the other hand, includes a relatively little amount of all macronutrients due to the fact that its principal ingredient is water, and most of the micronutrients in almond milk are fortified.
Allergies and Intolerances
Cow’s milk is one of the most common allergens in children, with 2-3 percent of children under the age of 5 in the United States allergic to dairy milk. (13) As a result, non-dairy beverages like almond milk have supplanted traditional dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese. While some people have a milk allergy, which is an immune system reaction to the proteins in dairy that causes a variety of symptoms, others have lactose intolerance, which is a bodily reaction to the natural sugar (lactose) found in milk caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase, which is required to break down lactose, but does not involve the immune system. (14) Lactose-free cow’s milk and dairy products are commonly accessible for persons with lactose sensitivity. Cow’s milk may be a preferable option for those who are allergic to almonds or tree nuts.
Calories and Weight Loss
Due to the fact that almond milk is mostly water, it has fewer calories than cow’s milk, which is high in naturally occurring carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. Almond milk may be a lower-calorie option for cow’s milk for those looking to lose weight or cut calories. Alternatively, calorie-reduction might be aided by consuming 0% or 1% cow’s milk and dairy products. That said, if total calorie intake is regulated and consumption supports a calorie deficit, whole milk and 2 percent milk can help you achieve your weight-loss goals. (15) Cow’s milk, especially the higher fat ones, may be a more efficient approach to increase calorie consumption for those seeking to gain weight.
Overall, there are advantages and disadvantages to both almond milk and cow milk, depending on the individual’s diet, health goals, nutritional needs, and personal preferences.
So, almond milk vs. cow milk: which one is healthier?
Cow’s milk is one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods and one of the first superfoods. Cow milk is an excellent nutritious choice because it has a natural balance of carbohydrates, protein, and lipids, as well as over 15 necessary components. Almond milk is a viable plant-based alternative for individuals who cannot or do not want to eat cow’s milk. Almond milk contains less protein, fat, carbs, and micronutrients than cow’s milk, owing to the fact that water is the predominant constituent.
The Bottom Line
Cow’s milk and almond milk are fundamentally different foods, despite the fact that they are frequently compared. Cow’s milk is a natural source of carbs, protein, lipids, vitamins, and minerals, whereas almond milk is a fortified water-based substitute for individuals who can’t eat dairy. If you’re going to drink almond milk, check the labels carefully and choose variants with little added sugar and natural components.
Is it safe to drink almond milk on a daily basis?
Almond milk has become a popular dairy-free alternative for those who wish to avoid dairy or simply want to sip their coffee with something that tastes as good as or better than standard options. A cup of almond milk contains roughly 30 calories, but the same amount of skim milk contains around 86 calories (via Forbes).
According to Healthline, almond milk has a number of advantages, including the fact that many store-bought almond milk kinds are fortified with nutrients like vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin D. When choosing an almond milk to replace regular milk, look for ones that don’t have a lot of sugar, though a splash of sweetened almond milk in your coffee can act as a lovely sweetener and cream all in one. Almond milk is a wonderful choice because it can easily substitute dairy and is, for the most part, readily available. In fact, because it’s low in sugar, it’s been linked to health benefits like maybe helping you fight cancer and keeping your glucose levels in line (via SFGate).
Is almond milk the healthiest type of milk?
Almond milk is a vegan product. It can help you improve your plant-based food intake, which may help maintain your heart healthy.
Some people advocate for plant-based diets because they may help to lower the risk of cardiometabolic disorders like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes (47).
In a study conducted in New Zealand, 65 adults were divided into two groups. The intervention group ate a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet, while the control group ate their regular diet (48).
When compared to the control group, the whole-food, plant-based group demonstrated a reduction in total cholesterol and a decrease in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) after 12 weeks (48).
HbA1c is a protein that attaches to red blood cells. HbA1c measures give you an idea of how well your blood sugar is controlled over the course of a few months (49).
Lowering your HbA1c and cholesterol levels can reduce your risk of heart disease (50).
Almond milk is a dairy-free, vegan beverage that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Fortified variants of fortified milk can be a rich source of vitamins A, D, and E, as well as calcium, and are a diverse healthy option to dairy milk.
What is the healthiest milk?
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.
Does almond milk cause weight gain?
Sweetened almond milk provides certain health benefits, but there are a few things to remember:
Protein content is low. The protein content of sweetened almond milk is lower than that of soy milk or cow’s milk. Each 8-ounce serving contains 1 gram of protein. If you switch to almond milk, be sure you’re receiving adequate protein from other sources.
Calorie content is higher. Sweetened almond milk is higher in sugar and calories than unsweetened almond milk. Drinking too much sweetened almond milk (or other sweetened beverage) can make you gain weight.
Not suited for children under the age of three. Protein levels in sweetened almond milk are minimal. It is not suggested for babies under the age of one year.
Almond milk that has not been sweetened is healthier than almond milk that has been sweetened. Enjoy sweetened almond milk in moderation if you desire it.
Is almond milk a better weight-loss option?
Almond milk is the most popular plant milk substitute, and it’s a no-brainer for vegans and lactose intolerant folks. According to Kristin Kirkpatrick, registered dietitian and manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, it also comes with a bonus. Almond milk has half the calories of cow’s milk, making it a smart choice for those attempting to reduce weight. It also has no cholesterol because it is not derived from animals.
Despite the fact that it can be used in place of cow’s milk in smoothies, oatmeal, and cereal, it is not a nutritional clone of milk.
“Almond milk, unlike dairy and soy milk, is naturally low in protein,” explains Alicia Romano, a registered dietitian at Tufts Medical Center’s Frances Stern Nutrition Center. While a glass of cow or soy milk contains 8 grams of protein, an almond milk glass contains only one gram. That may sound unusual, given that almonds are small ovals of protein, with 6 grams per ounce. However, “The “milk” form is largely water, and the majority of the nutrient-dense almonds are squeezed out. Unless it’s fortified, you won’t get nearly as much calcium.
According to Dr. Julie Lemale, a researcher at Hpital Trousseau in France, almond milk isn’t for everyone. In a study published last year, she found that replacing milk with alternative milk beverages, such as almond milk, in infants under the age of one year could lead to nutritional shortages and growth issues.
Almond milk, on the other hand, is a safe bet if you’re not a baby. If you enjoy the non-sugary version, you may have discovered your ideal non-dairy cereal match.
Is it true that almond milk can make your breasts bigger?
We assess the claim that consuming two cups of almond milk per day will improve a woman’s breast size as FALSE since it is based on nutritional claims that have not been proven in the scientific literature. While almond milk does contain phytoestrogen, it has a minor effect on the body when compared to estrogen produced naturally. Furthermore, the phytoestrogens in almond milk belong to a type of phytoestrogens that has extremely modest effects.
Which milk is the most effective for weight loss?
For most people, cow’s milk is the ideal option because it provides a good source of protein and calcium.
Switch to reduced-fat or skim milk if you’re attempting to lose weight.
Lactose intolerant people should choose lactose-free milk.
Soy milk is recommended for those who have a cow’s milk protein allergy or who eat a vegan or plant-based diet because it contains the majority of the nutrients found in cow’s milk.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential in all types of milk, so pick calcium- and vitamin D-fortified versions whenever possible.
Why Lite n’ Easy?
Ashleigh Jones is a Registered Dietitian with over 10 years of experience in hospitals, corporate health, private practice, and the food sector. She is a published researcher who has worked in a variety of fields, including genetics, multiple sclerosis, and sports nutrition. Ashleigh is an expert in endocrine problems, having a special focus in weight loss, pituitary and thyroid disorders, and diabetes management. Ashleigh is passionate about encouraging healthy habits, particularly among busy people, and she provides simple and long-term nutrition solutions.
What’s the big deal about almond milk?
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.