Is Almond Milk Better Than Cow Milk? Mystery Revealed



Martin Alvarez

Martin Alvarez
Nutritionist/Dietitian Professional Guide

Updated on 3/29/2023

In the United States, the plant milk that is consumed the most frequently is almond milk.

Compared to whole almonds, it is lacking in most of the fiber, and it is significantly watered down, despite the fact that it is abundant in a number of beneficial nutrients.

Some of its components have been the subject of in-depth investigation, despite the fact that researchers have not directly tested this impact on people's health in controlled trials.

The nutritional value of almond milk will be discussed in this article.

What Is Almond Milk?

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

A healthy alternative to cow's milk is almond milk, which comes from ground almonds.

In order to produce almond milk, first almonds and water are blended together, and then the blended product is strained to eliminate the solids. Almond butter combined with water is another method for producing it.

It has a pleasing and slightly nutty flavor, and its consistency is creamy, much like conventional milk. Because of this, it is a common choice among people who adhere to a vegan diet as well as those who cannot consume dairy because of an allergy or intolerance to it.

You can purchase almond milk in the health food department of most supermarkets, which is typically in all of them. Additionally, it is quite simple to prepare at home.

Almond milk sold in stores can be found under a number of different brand names and taste profiles. When thinking about your health, it is important to select almond milk that does not have any additional sugar added to it.

The majority of brands additionally include additional nutrients like vitamins, minerals, or protein. If you do not consume dairy products, you may find it beneficial to choose foods and drinks that have an increased calcium content.

It has been shown in controlled trials that whole almonds are associated with a number of health advantages; however, it is possible that many of these benefits may not apply to almond milk.

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

This is due to the fact that almond milk is often produced by manufacturers using blanched, skinless almonds, after which the liquid is strained. This eliminates the vast majority of the almonds' dietary fiber and a significant amount of their antioxidants.

In addition, almond milk is typically rather watery. When compared to whole almonds, this is a source of nutrients that is considerably less concentrated.

The number of almonds used in the production of almond milk, the amount of water added to it, and the presence or absence of added vitamins and minerals all play a role in determining the nutrient density of the finished product.

For instance, many recipes found online propose creating 2 cups of almond milk from 1 cup (143 grams [g]) of almonds, although commercial almond milk may be far more watered down than the homemade version (1Trusted Source).


Almond Milk

Almond Milk

The consumption of almond milk is associated with a number of positive health effects, seven in all.

1. It's Good For Your Health

Even though almond milk is not even close to being as nutritious as cow's milk, products that have been enhanced come very close.

They usually contain extra vitamin D, calcium, and protein, which causes them to have a nutritional profile comparable to ordinary milk.

Almond milk, on the other hand, is naturally abundant in a number of different vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.

The following table provides a comparison of the amounts of various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that may be found in one cup of enriched commercial almond milk and one cup of low-fat cow's milk. The table also provides some daily values (DV) for reference (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

 Almond MilkCow Milk
Calories 39.3 102
Protein  1.05 g8.22 g
Fat  2.52 g2.37 g
Carbohydrates 3.43 g 12.2 g
Vitamin E over 100% DV0% DV
Calcium37% DV23% DV
Potassium 4% DV8% DV
Magnesium 4% DV6% DV
Riboflavin 2% DV35% DV
Phosphorus2% DV19% DV

The body does not absorb all of the minerals that are present in almond milk nearly as well as it does the minerals that are present in milk. This is due, in part, to the presence of phytic acid in almonds, which is an antinutrient that hinders the body's ability to absorb iron, zinc, and magnesium (4, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

Because almond milk is so deficient in a wide variety of nutrients, it should not be given to newborns in place of regular milk.

In a nutshell, almond milk naturally has a high concentration of many different vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E.

2. It Has A Low-calorie Content

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Commercial almond milk is a low-calorie beverage, despite the fact that almonds have 50% fat and are a good source of calories.

This indicates that you can consume a large amount of it without worrying about putting on weight as a result of doing so. It also contains a high proportion of certain nutrients compared to the number of calories it contains.

In order to create a product with a fat concentration comparable to that of low-fat milk, which has approximately 1% fat, manufacturers of almond milk dilute the product with water.

Only 39 calories are contained in one cup of almond milk, which is less than half the number of calories found in one cup of skim milk.

However, not all brands of almond milk are created equal. Depending on how many almonds are packed into one cup of almond milk, both homemade almond milk and some commercial varieties could have a significantly higher calorie count.

In addition, some products have added sugar, which is something individuals should avoid doing whenever possible for the sake of their health.

In conclusion, it's possible that a glass of almond milk prepared in a factory has even fewer calories than a glass of skim milk. Having said that, it is possible that this does not apply to all brands; therefore, it is important to examine the nutrient labels.

3. Unsweetened Almond Milk Doesn't Boost Blood Sugar

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

The majority of almond milks now available on the market contain a significant amount of added sugar.

On the other hand, sugar-free almond milk is a low-carb beverage because it has fewer than 2% carbohydrates, which comes out to 3.43 grams of carbs per cup.

In comparison, one cup of low-fat cow's milk has a total of 12 grams of carbohydrates, or 5% of the milk's total carbohydrate content.

In comparison to the number of carbohydrates, it contains, almond milk has a relatively high proportion of fat and protein. Because it does not induce a surge in blood sugar levels, it is appropriate for persons attempting to control their blood sugar levels with a low-carb diet and those with diabetes.

Having said that, study the ingredient lists and choose items that are as unadulterated as possible.

In conclusion, because almond milk is low in carbohydrates, it is an excellent selection for individuals following a low-carb diet and those who need to closely monitor their blood sugar levels.

4. It Doesn't Include Any Dairy

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Because it does not include any cow's milk or any other items derived from animals, almond milk is an excellent choice for individuals who adhere to a vegan diet as well as those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk.

Lactose, the sugar found in milk, is difficult for many people to digest because they are lactose intolerant. Lactose that these individuals' digestive systems have not broken down makes its way to the colon, where the indigenous bacteria ferment it. This fermentation process results in an abundance of gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other associated discomforts.

Due to the absence of lactose and the fact that almond milk does not include any dairy products, it can be used as a substitute for milk by individuals who are lactose intolerant.

The bottom line is that almond milk is imitation milk that does not include any dairy at all. Because of this, it is a popular milk replacement for vegans and persons who suffer from lactose intolerance or are allergic to milk.

5. Drinking Enriched Almond Milk May Help Your Bones Stay Healthy

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Calcium can be found in the highest concentrations in foods obtained from dairy sources. On the other hand, Almonds are not a very good provider of this vitamin.

Calcium is frequently added during the manufacturing process of almond milk in order to give it a consistency more akin to that of traditional milk. For example, depending on the type and brand, one cup of commercial almond milk may provide you with 37% or even more of your recommended daily intake of almonds.

In comparison, the calcium content in a cup of cow's milk may contain approximately 23% of your daily need, depending on the type and brand. However, the calcium content in goat's milk may provide approximately 0% of your daily need.

Because of this, enriched almond milk is a good source of calcium for people who don't consume dairy products, such as vegans and people who are sensitive to lactose or allergic to milk. Almond milk is also an excellent calcium source for people who use dairy products.

The formation and upkeep of healthy bones both require calcium in significant amounts. Because of this, getting the recommended daily amount of calcium can help lower one's risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that is linked to brittle bones and broken bones (7Trusted Source).

In a nutshell, almond milk is typically fortified with calcium during the manufacturing process, which makes it a good resource for the mineral. People who don't consume dairy products regularly may have a lower chance of developing osteoporosis if they drink enhanced almond milk regularly.

6. It May Lower The Chance Of Developing Cardiovascular Disease

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Studies that use observational methods have found a correlation between frequent consumption of nuts and a lower risk of developing heart disease. This is due, in part, to the fact that they contain a lot of fats that are good for you.

The oil content of almond milk is 1% by weight, and around 90% of it is unsaturated.

Researchers have discovered a connection between oleic acid, the primary fatty acid found in almond oil, and favorable changes in blood lipids.

According to the findings of one study conducted on healthy adults over the course of six weeks, those who consumed 66 grams of almonds or almond oil on a daily basis saw a reduction of 6% in their levels of low-density lipoprotein, also known as "bad" cholesterol, and 14% in their levels of triglycerides. Additionally, it led to a 6% rise in the individuals' high-density lipoprotein, also known as the "good" cholesterol.

These favorable shifts in the blood lipid profile are connected with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Even though around half of the calories in almond milk come from fat, the product as a whole is considered to have a low-fat content and is not likely to have a major effect on the lipid profile of the blood.

Almonds are thought to owe many of their positive health effects to the presence of vitamin E and other bioactive plant chemicals such as polyphenols and other plant-based bioactive compounds. These substances contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics, both of which are beneficial to the health of the heart.

In a nutshell, almond milk has a high concentration of vitamin E and is packed with heart-healthy lipids. It's possible that doing so on a frequent basis will be beneficial to your heart.

7. Almond Milk With Added Vitamin D Is Abundant In The Body

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Vitamin D levels in a lot of people are either low or inadequate. This increases the likelihood of broken bones, muscle fatigue, and muscle weakness (13Trusted Source).

There are not many dietary sources of vitamin D that are considered to be of high quality. Because of this, one of the more prevalent approaches to improving public health is adding vitamin D to meals, and this is especially true for items made with milk.

In many cases, almond milk also has added vitamin D, just like conventional milk does. The amount of vitamin D included in each product is different. As an illustration, one cup of almond milk may have 2.62 micrograms, which corresponds to 13% of your daily value. Comparable quantities can be found in one cup of vitamin-fortified cow's milk (2Trusted Source).

Because of this, enhanced almond milk is a beneficial source of vitamin D that, if consumed on a consistent basis, can help avoid vitamin D insufficiency.

The bottom line is that almond milk is frequently fortified with vitamin D, and regular use of almond milk may be helpful in warding against vitamin D insufficiency.

How To Make It

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

On the other hand, it is not difficult at all to prepare at home. A food processor, some water, and a cup's worth of almonds are all you need to make this. It is possible to make purchases of blenders and almonds over the internet.

First, peel off the surface layer. To accomplish this, you will need to soak the almonds in water for eight to twelve hours or overnight. The almond skin will become more pliable after being soaked, making it much simpler to remove after the nuts have been rinsed.

After that, place the almonds in a blender along with four cups of water, and process until the mixture is completely smooth. Last but not least, remove the particles from the mixture by straining it through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.

The following are some recipes that are good for you:

  • Almond milk in its purest form
  • Vanilla almond milk
  • Milk made from almonds and strawberries

In a nutshell, almond milk is one of the most widely consumed plant milk, and you can find it sold in the majority of grocery stores. In addition to that, it is simple to prepare at home.

The Proper Way To Utilize Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Just like ordinary milk, almond milk is highly flexible. You can use it in place of milk in a variety of ways, some of which are listed below:

Alternatively, you might use it in place of conventional milk in your cereal.

  • Include it in your cup of tea or coffee.
  • Blend it into various smoothies.
  • Create a rice pudding or ice cream containing no dairy products.
  • Make use of it in different kinds of soups, sauces, and salad dressings.
  • In a wide variety of baked goods, you can substitute it for milk.

Almond milk should not be consumed in large quantities by individuals who have a history of developing kidney stones. This is due to the high levels of calcium oxalate that are often found in almond milk that has been prepared at home.

Carrageenan is a thickening that certain manufacturers of commercial almond milk products add to their goods. This has caused worry for some consumers. However, the vast majority of scientists agree that the kind and concentration of carrageenan utilized in food products are completely safe.

In conclusion, almond milk is an excellent alternative to conventional milk. On the other hand, those who are prone to developing kidney stones should steer clear of consuming it in excessive amounts.


Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a fantastic alternative to dairy milk for vegans and those individuals who cannot consume dairy due to an allergy or intolerance to the protein found in dairy products.

Almond milk is a fantastic supplement to a healthy diet because it naturally contains a significant amount of a number of key elements.