I came across an article written by Tom Philpott of Mother Jones titled Lay Off The Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters. Boy-oh-boy did that post get some heat. He quickly responded with a follow-up post Boy, Hipsters Sure Are Defensive About Their Almond Milk. It seems that some people are pretty defensive when it comes to their plant-based milk of choice. And maybe for good reason. What could be wrong with good old almond milk anyway? If not almond milk, then what?
What Is Wrong With Almond Milk?
The organic-kefir loving author of the above-mentioned post outlines a few reasons why he is not almond milk’s biggest fan. Here is a summary;
- Water usage – It takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond. In California, where 80% of the world’s almonds are produced, the worst drought on record was happening (at the time of the post). The main ingredient in almond milk is filtered-water; watering down the already water intensive almonds with even more water doesn’t seem environmentally sane,
- Vitamins and minerals – Much of the vitamins including calcium and vitamin E come from an added ‘vitamin and mineral blend’. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is also not much different from popping a multivitamin,
- Carrageenan – Some almond milk may contain this seaweed derivative commonly used as a stabilizer in beverages. Academic scientists have raised concerns that it might cause gastrointestinal inflammation,
- Low in protein – Almond milk offers a mere 1g of protein per glass.
What Are The Benefits of Almond Milk
For whatever reason, almond milk is a favourite amongst many people (including hipsters). Why not? It is no secret that the dairy industry has been misguiding consumers. Myths surrounding soy milk have already done their damage and for many plant-milk drinkers, there is no going back. And let’s face it, drinking rice milk is like drinking sugar water. Maybe the next logical choice in the line of plant-milks is, in fact, almond milk. Here are some good reasons to back up your almond milk choice;
- Taste – It has a delicious nutty flavour and goes well with smoothies,
- Good for the waistline – It is lower in sugar and overall calories than most other milk alternatives,
- Blood glucose control – It has a low Glycemic Index (GI) so is suitable for diabetics or those with insulin resistance,
- Lactose-Free- This dairy-free alternative is suitable for those that cannot tolerate the sugar in dairy milk,
- Homemade – Almond milk can be to make at home, and homemade is always more nutritious.
Which Milk Alternative Is The Healthiest?
As much as I love kefir, I would prefer not to add it to my porridge. The questions remains, which milk alternative should you be using? See my post Milk Alternatives – Finding The Best One For You for a little more insight into the different types of milk alternatives including their pros and cons. If you tend to avoid dairy in general I would suggest reading Maximising Calcium For Bone Health On A Dairy Free Diet to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of this bone-building mineral in your diet. Whichever milk you choose, make sure your choice won’t create a deficit in any important vitamins and minerals. Talk to your health professional, or send me a message with your questions or concerns.
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.