Why Not 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.

Lacks protein

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.

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 really good for you?

Almond milk is one of the most popular and readily available plant-based milks currently available (vegan). It’s nutritious, healthful, and packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. It is also cholesterol-free and contains extremely little calories and sugars.

Almond milk is regarded to be healthier than cow’s milk in general. While both contain a variety of nutrients and vitamins, the main difference is that almond milk has fewer calories than regular dairy milk.

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.

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 and a cup of low-fat cow’s milk, as well as some daily values (DV) (2, 3).

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.

What are some of the disadvantages of drinking almond milk?

Almond milk has the following side effects:

  • Having stomach issues. If you ingest an excessive amount of important nutrients and minerals from almonds, you may experience digestive disorders such as nausea, stomach discomfort, dysentery, and bowel troubles.

Calories

Almond milk provides 17 calories per 100 grams, which is significantly less than coconut milk. Coconut milk has a higher calorie content, ranging from 154 to 230 calories per 100 grams, depending on how thick the milk is. Milk with more fat and calories is thicker.

Fat

The overall fat content of almond milk is 1.04 grams, with no saturated fat, 0.625 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 0.208 grams of polyunsaturated fat.

With a total of 21.33 grams of fat, coconut milk comprises 18.91 grams of saturated fat, 0.901 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 0.233 grams of polyunsaturated fat, making it much higher in fat content. However, these figures are for thick coconut milk from the initial pressing; subsequent pressings are thinner and lower in calories, but the calorific value remains higher than almond milk.

Carbs

When it comes to carbs, almond milk and coconut milk are nearly equal. 6.67 grams of carbs are included in almond milk. 5.54 grams of carbs are included in coconut milk.

Other Nutrients

When compared to coconut milk, almondmilk has substantially more calcium (188 mg) and potassium (220 mg), but it also has a lot more sodium (63 g).

When compared to almond milk, coconut milk has a lot less sodium (13 mg), but it also has a lot less calcium (16 mg) and potassium (50 mg).

Almond milk vs cow milk: which is better?

The fat and salt content are nearly comparable, and while cow’s milk contains somewhat more protein, it’s not enough to make a significant difference in your diet. Almond milk is somewhat healthier than cow’s milk and is good for lactose-intolerant persons. It also contains vitamin D, which cow’s milk does not.