Almond Milk: Health Or Hype?

Alternative milk products are getting a ton of hype throughout the blogosphere, in the grocery store, and in the media recently. I have to be honest; I think soy milk tastes like plastic, have never attempted rice milk, and only recently gave almond milk a whirl. Why; because I’m just not a big beverage drinker. The act of chewing brings me more pleasure and so I’m even lax about drinking tea or smoothies ( I know I know…sinful). Water is my preferred choice.

On that note, I still occasionally enjoy an ice cold glass of milk, but it’s not always the easiest on my digestive system. After reading several sites about how delicious and healthy almond milk is, I had to give it a try.

 I chose SILK Pure Almond Unsweetened brand because without any other knowledge, I could see it was extremely low in calories per serving and contained ZERO artificial or regular sugars. Upon further inspection, I also loved that it contained 45% of our calcium needs, 25% of our vitamin D needs, and had a fairly easy to read ingredient list. The purchase was made.

REVIEW:

Taste: A fairly taste-less beverage with a subtle hint of almondy chocolate that I can’t really explain. I felt it to be a beverage much like milk or coffee in that it is an acquired taste; the more you drink it, the more you enjoy it. Definitely much better than soy milk!! A-

Texture: With a slightly thicker texture than milk, I actually really enjoyed the consistency and think it would probably work excellent in smoothies (for those smoothie lovers). A+

Ingredients: All natural almond milk (filtered water and almonds), Calcium carbonate, sea salt, Natural Flavor (check out my post about natural flavors on Andrew Wilder’s site!), locust bean gum, gellan gum, sunflower lecithin, d-Alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E), Zinc gluconate, Vitamin A palmitate, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D2. A-

  • Locust Bean Gum: extracted from the seeds of the carob tree, is a vegetable gum used as a thickening agent.
  • Gellan Gum:  “a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by Sphingomonas elodea, a bacterium” the Google definition, used as a gelling agent.
  • Sunflower lecithin: Alternative to soy lecithin is the only lecithin that can be obtained raw and chemical free, used as an emulsifying agent. Want more information about the benefits of sunflower lecithin over soy lecithin? 
  • Calcium Carbonate: Alkaline based form of calcium, better absorption if consumed after meals because it requires extra stomach acid for the best absorption. Contains more elemental calcium than calcium citrate, which means more calcium is getting absorbed per serving than other kinds of calcium.

Nutrition: With only 35 calories per cup, 2.5 grams of healthy fats, and 0 grams of sugars, almond milk is an excellent selection for those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies, diabetes, or those looking to lose weight. On the flip side, with only 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of fiber, it’s not the ideal choice for a snack, let alone post-workout, unless you follow it up with a good source of protein and carbohydrates. B+

Overall, I think that the SILK Pure Almond Unsweetened is a great dairy alternative! I would highly recommend this beverage to those who may struggle with digestive disorders or those who do not believe in consuming dairy, especially since it is such an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin D!

Things to be Cautious Of When Choosing Almond Milk

  1.  SUGAR: Although almond milk does not contain sugar naturally, many manufacturers will add loads of sugar (20 + grams) in order to enhance the flavor. Be cautious and check the sugar content before making your purchase! Unsweetened brands are best!
  2. GOITROGENIC FOOD: Almonds are a goitrogenic food, like soy, cabbage, broccoli, and flax, which contain chemicals that block the intake of iodine, causing your thyroid to expand and possibly form a goiter when consumed in large quantities. Not to make goitrogenic foods sound harmful because they are healthy and beneficial; however, use particular caution if you have low thyroid function. It is probably best to consume low quantities of goitrogenic foods and avoid almond milk if that is the case. If you have a normal functioning thyroid, moderate daily consumption is safe.
  3. NOT FOR BABIES: Working with children and infants on a daily basis, I hear about Mother’s substituting alternative milks to feed their babies. Breast milk and formula are not comparable to almond milk, cow’s milk, soy milk, etc. Studies from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition have even demonstrated autoimmune thyroid disease in babies who drink almond milk. Why? Goitrogenic chemicals naturally found in almonds contain concentrations that are much too high for infants. Breast milk is best!!

I had some comments from readers on my facebook fan page (ARE YOU A FAN YET? HELP ME GET TO 1000 FANS!), who liked drinking the vanilla Almond Breeze. I would definitely also recommend this variety. Check out the nutrition and ingredient list here!

I hope this post gave you a better perspective on almond milk and encouraged you to try some! I really enjoyed it! Health or Hype?? HEALTH!!!

 

Question: Have you ever tried Almond Milk? If so, what is your favorite brand? What is your opinion on almond milk?

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35 comments to Almond Milk: Health Or Hype?

  • [...] Many love almond milk while others deem it too good to be true, but most people are somewhere in the middle. [...]

  • Jack Jensen

    I didn’t read all of the comments. I was looking for a statement from the product provider regarding whether ALMOND Breeze is genetically modified or not. Is it???
    Thanks

  • I recently came back from a fitness camp. At the camp we drink Almond Breeze almond milk. I really liked it and it tasted good. I just wish there was more protein in it. But I am trying to lose weight so I am going to continue to drink it.

  • Great post I really enjoyed reading the pros and cons of almond milk. I drink almond milk with my smoothies on a regular basis and never thought about the Goitrogenic factor. I had no idea there was a Vanilla almond milk choice I guess I know what to put on my shopping list.

  • Jeanne

    Don’t buy Almond Breeze almond milk. I love almond milk, but recently did much research on it. Alot of Non dairy milks(soy,rice,etc.) including almond have the chemical carrageenan in them. It comes from red seaweed. It is an INFLAMMATORY. It is given to animals to cause inflamation then the pharmaceuticals use their anti-inflammatory drugs on the animals to see if the drug removes the inflammation. That’s why I came to this site to see if gellan gum had any similar effects. I think I will resort to making my own almond milk which is very easy to do. There are tons of recipes on the internet to make almond milk.

  • Kay

    Hello, I found your page by searching for Gellan Gum, and looking for information in how it is different from other gums used. I purchased the Silk Pure Almond Milk Original Formula in a 3 pack at Costco for $7.50 which is very price competitive for my area as these are half gallon containers. The shelf life on the package I purchased is for about 60 days. I have a Vitamix and generally make my own in small batches every couple of days. I do not add sugar to my own. The Silk Pure Almond Original contains 7 grams of sugar per 8 ounces. Because I do not eat processed sugars in general this was a small concern, but I over looked it. It’s much less than the 29 grams which most people consume in even the better small yogurt cups from Stonyfield or Fage. I can say that this is by far the best tasting off the shelf Almond milk I’ve every tried and I’ve tried just about every brand at Whole Foods and other health food stores – Almond Breeze, Pacific, etc. I don’t really plan to drink it, but will use it on cereal and backing/cooking. I was interested in your comments about protein and believe mixing a protein powder would make it a better recover drink (A lot of research has been done on recovery drinks/post workout and there is evidence that chocolate milk is just as good). The problem is cows milk is full of fat and hormones and even antibiotics I choose not to consume. I really appreciate how you took the time to break out and explain the ingredients. Now I’m off to read more about Gellan. Thanks.

  • gulnaz

    can someone suggest a brand that does almond milk in sachets.please

  • glory199

    Does anyone know why Almond milk (Silk) has so little protein? 1oz of Almonds has 6g protein. A 1/2 gallon has 8 servings and 1g protein per serving. So, there is a little more than 1oz in the entire 1/2 gallon??? What’s the deal?

  • Cat

    Thanks for all the great info on Almond milk, Ive been drinking it for a few months, I’m hooked. I will now try the unsweetened, didn’t know about the sugar thing. Even my cats love almond milk!

  • Nicarol

    I used to buy almond milk, and thought it was pretty good. I then started making my own almond milk, which was so much better. I got lazy and decided to buy it again, and thought it was terrible (compared to homemade). After forcing myself to drink the carton I already bought, I tried rice milk. It taste very good; the closest to cow’s milk, but has very little nutritional value (especially compared to almond milk). Bottom line, I guess I will have to go back to making my own almond milk.

  • Just tried almond milk. I like it, but not in cereal. Much too thick for cereal. Great for drinking, though.

  • We don’t use much dairy in our household, so I’m wondering: When you say you wouldn’t recommend this for babies, would that apply to a fully breastfed toddler who only gets almond milk in his oatmeal, or do you mean you wouldn’t recommend it as a substitute for milk as a drink for smaller babies (instead of milk or formula?)

    Thanks!

  • I’m glad that you were happy with your almond milk experiment. My husband and I keep both almond and rice milk in the house. He prefers rice milk on his cereal. I use almond for most things such as baking, a dairy substitute in recipes, smoothies, and on cereal. I generally buy what’s on sale or cheapest wherever I am…unsweetened and usually unflavored.

    As for the protein issue, I don’t drink glasses of almond milk as a snack or beverage. To be honest, I find the idea of guzzling milk-like products to be an unnecessary habit instilled in us as kids. I drink water with lemon generally. That all said, I really don’t feel that milk-like products need to have protein. We generally consume too much animal protein, so why does it matter if it’s in the ‘milk’ you’re drinking? If I’m drinking it, it’s in a smoothie with protein powder. Problem solved.

  • I’m glad that you liked the almond milk!! I used to drink a lot of soy, but didn’t really love the taste — and gave it up as soon as I discovered Almond Breeze. I try to always buy the unsweetened varieties because I’ve seen that manufacturers add a lot of sugar to some kinds. I actually prefer drinking it over regular milk and think it tastes great in oatmeal!

  • I love almond milk in my morning oatmeal! So delish. I use the unsweetened vanilla almond breeze.

  • I drink almond milk because I don’t do well with dairy. While I don’t think I’ve ever had a straight glass of it for the sake of refreshment, it’s a great substitute in smoothies and even baking!

  • Great post! I’ve always wondered how healthy Almond milk–I like almond breeze for sure. I’m with you on soy milk–blech–although, I like chocolate soy milk :)

  • I am not a huge milk drinker (well, never) and so I’ve used the unsweetened almond milk for years, it is SO good with cereal and in oatmeal, smoothies, etc.!

  • Kristin Stadler

    The Unsweetened Almond Milk from Almond Breeze is a really great option for me especially since it is gluten free. If I want to have a nice dessert I put the chocolate almond milk with some honey chex (also gluten free). It sounds disgusting but it’s actually really good. I just wish Almond Milk had more calcium in it. I used to drink Soy Milk but I heard a lot of soy is not good for you so I stopped drinking it plus I like the taste of Almond Milk better. NEVER try the rice milk. It is disgusting. It tastes like you are drinking Uncle Ben’s rice. It is watery and gross.

  • What an informative post! I like almond milk, but due to the low protein I don’t drink it as often as regular milk. I always choose Unsweetened Plain or Chocolate Almond Breeze. Thank you for sharing…I’m sorry I’ve been a bit absent these last few days…we are just dealing with so much with baby Ryan. Have a beautiful weekend!

  • I love Almond Milk, whether it’s added to protein shakes or with cereal or alone. I’ve become progressively more lactose-intolerant and the Almond Milk alternative is my go-to choice. Soy milk is great and can be even tastier than milk but usually that will be with added sugar as you mention, plus- you have to be wary of the genetically modified soy in this country. There are a couple solid brands that are GMO free but I still keep soy to a minimum. I get unsweetened almond milk and use it with protein shakes mostly. To me it’s like a better tasting skim milk and only 40 calories. Total win.

  • thanks so much for the review! i haven’t tried almond milk, but now you’ve got me curious. i just use 1% for my cereal and soy milk for my coffee. (maybe you just haven’t found the right TYPE of soy milk?? :) )

  • Almond milk is pretty much the ONLY milk I drink! I love it. I don’t do dairy and I’ve always found soy to be a bit.. I don’t know. Not to my liking. My favorite kind of almond milk is the Unsweetened Almond Breeze.

  • Great post. You didn’t mention one thing though, there is very little protein in almond milk, as compared to other milks. I find that very strange actually. I mean, almonds are high in protein, so why is the milk so low?? Weird. I do almond milk and soy milk, switch back and forth. Works for me! And yes, unsweetened always.

  • i’ve tried almond milk before, i’m not a huge fan. i can not drink milk or do many dairy products ..except yogurt and keifer for some reason…but anyway…i do not like almond milk…so i went with goat’s milk…it’s super easy for me to digest..and i feel better about drinking it than almond milk.

  • This was a great post. I really love almond milk so it was interesting to learn more about it. Almond Breeze is my #1 choice by far though.

  • I’ve never tried almond milk but my boyfriend’s mom is lactose intolerant so I’ll definitely recommend this to her!

  • Meg

    Thanks for doing this post! I appreciate how informative and in depth it was. I just recently switched from soy milk to almond milk and was surprised by a much more subtle taste. I’ve been buying unsweetened almond breeze and it’s great!

  • That sugar tip is great! I didn’t know there was Unsweetened Vanilla – I’ve got to check that out! I’ve heard a lot of bloggers mention that they make their own as well. I’m a bit intimidated by that notion because I don’t know if I have the patience for it;)

  • I love your signs to lookout for, sugar is a major one. I had no idea how loaded some of the varieties were.

  • I love Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk, especially in my oatmeal- I think it makes it creamier than regular milk!

  • i like almond milk, but i don’t like how there is less protein than moo moo milk. i think it tastes great in cereal. i definitely get the unsweetened kind bc of all the sugar in the vanilla/chocolate. crazy!

  • Really good information here and great timing too! I’ve been having trouble with cow’s milk and sinus issues lately and have been trying to use more almond milk. All this information is really helpful!

  • That’s such a comprehensive review – thank you! I haven’t tried almond milk yet, but I’m keen to get some more calcium in my diet, while not being particularly keen on cow’s milk. I’m wary of consuming too much soy, so this sounds like a great alternative.

  • Great post on Almond Milk!! Thanks for breaking down all the nutrients!!! If I don’t make it myself (when I do I KNOW it’s the least processed)-I choose Unsweetened Plain Almond Breeze or Unsweetened Vanilla!!!

    Have a great day!

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