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Is Almond Milk Good for Weight Loss?

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Almond milk is among the most popular lactose and dairy-free alternative milks.
  • Almond milk contains slightly more calcium, vitamin D and E than cow milk.
  • The monounsaturated fat in almond milk is helpful for weight management.

Almond milk is one of the most popular plant-based alternative milks in the United States. Experts estimate that over two-thirds of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, and almond milk was created for this group. Half of individuals allergic to cow milk are also sensitive to soy milk, making almond milk a popular choice. 

Almond milk is slightly lower in calories than cow milk but contains similar vitamins and minerals. The main drawback is its lower protein content than cow milk, which some people count on to meet their protein needs. You can also try lower-fat cow milk (1% or skim milk) to aid in weight management while maintaining the protein from cow milk.

Almond milk is dairy-free, lactose-free, gluten-free, and soy-free, but not almond-free for those with nut allergies. Its mild and pleasant flavor makes it a suitable substitute for most recipes. 

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What is Almond Milk?

Almond milk is made by soaking almonds in water. Next, the almond skins are removed, and the almonds are blended finely with the water. The white liquid is filtered to remove any solids, leaving you with a nutty milky-white beverage. You can make almond milk at home or purchase it at the store. 

For commercial almond milk, the liquid is then homogenized (a process that prevents separation of the parts of the milk) and pasteurized to increase shelf life and prevent bacteria from growing. Some commercial almond milk companies add sugar, vitamins or minerals, and flavors (vanilla or chocolate) to increase appeal. Unsweetened almond milk is readily available in most grocery stores. 

Is Almond Milk Good for Weight Management?

Almond milk can be good for weight management along with lower-fat cow milk (skim or 1%). They provide similar nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. 

The fat in almond milk is monounsaturated fat which is helpful for weight management and weight maintenance. Research among 162 adults from five countries suggests that a moderately high carbohydrate diet paired with monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fats results in greater fat burning, increased satiety, reduced body fat, and improved insulin response. 

Nourish can connect you with a registered dietitian specializing in weight management. If you need help with sustainable weight loss, consider booking a virtual appointment today

Nutritional Value of Almond Milk

Almond milk is slightly lower in calories, carbohydrates, and protein than dairy milk. Cow's milk contains filling protein which can contribute to weight management goals as well. Almond milk manufacturers generally add calcium, vitamin D and A to match or exceed the amounts of those nutrients found in dairy milk.  Both options are healthful options. Almond milk is a great choice for people with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy.

Vitamin E is naturally present in almonds and almond milk. Sometimes manufacturers fortify with additional vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fight inflammation within the body and prevent disease.

Benefits of Almond Milk

Many health benefits of almond milk have boosted the popularity in recent years. 

Fat content from monounsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats help with weight management and lowering cholesterol reducing risks for heart disease

Swapping saturated fat for monounsaturated fats may help with fat loss, staying full between meals, and improving the insulin response, helping regulate blood sugar levels. 

Good source of vitamin E.

Vitamin E is considered a powerful antioxidant that helps restore the damage done to the body cells from pollution, stress, disease, and poor diet. Vitamin E acts like a mobile repair service throughout the body. 

Many almond milks contain 10 to 30% of the daily value of Vitamin E in one cup.

Excellent source of calcium.

Dairy milk and products help provide at least 25% of the daily value of calcium per serving. Removing dairy products without replacing the lost calcium is a major concern. Adequate calcium intake, including those from supplemental forms, is critical for bone health and healthy blood pressure. 

Almond milk manufacturers add calcium to their products to ensure adequate intake without taking extra dietary supplements. Most alternative-dairy milk companies mimic common nutrients found in dairy milk.  

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Fortified with Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is an essential calcium and phosphorus production regulator, helping maintain strong bones. Vitamin D is also considered a critical immune system hormone. When sufficient vitamin D is not present, the occurrence and severity of many immune-related diseases are worsened (psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and infections).

Almond milk provides more vitamin D than cow milk helping ensure adequate intake. 

Lactose and Dairy-Free.

With almost 70% of the world lactose intolerant, almond milk is a favorable choice for many. You can obtain most of the same nutrients in cow milk from your favorite almond milk without any unpleasant and uncomfortable lactose intolerance side effects. If you need to remove dairy due to a milk allergen, almond milk is an easy change and is available in most stores, whether in a rural area or a large city.

Almond milk can be used in place of dairy milk in most dishes and recipes. The mild flavor does not overpower dishes; most people cannot taste a notable difference. 

Drawbacks

While almond milk has many health benefits, the main drawback is its low protein content. Almond milk contains 1 g of protein in a cup compared to 8 g from a cup of dairy milk. Most alternative milk products are low or lacking protein altogether. 

If you count on your dairy milk to meet your daily protein requirements, this is a key drawback to be aware of. The average adult needs at least 50 g of protein per day from plant or animal-based sources to repair cells and build muscle. 

A dietitian can help you calculate the precise amount you need for your body size, health conditions, and goals. You can obtain sufficient protein from various foods and continue drinking almond milk. It may take planning and expert help. 

Nourish offers personalized nutrition counseling and can help you lose weight. If you’re ready to take the next step in your health, consider booking a virtual appointment with a registered dietitian.

Another drawback to watch for is the sugar content of almond milk. Unsweetened almond milk contains no added sugars, but sweetened almond milk contains an extra 9.74 g of added sugar per cup. 

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) comprise most of the added sugars a person consumes. A large body of evidence links regular intake of SSBs with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers

Make sure to check the label of your almond milk to ensure your almond milk is helping you achieve your health goals. 

Other Milk Alternatives

Several milk alternatives, including soy, oat, rice, coconut, flax, hemp, pea protein, and mixed plant-based milk, are available. 

You might consider soy milk for the same amount of protein, 6 g less carbohydrates, and more calcium and vitamin D than cow milk. Soybeans are a rich protein source, and soymilk is lactose and dairy-free as well. 

Flax milk is made from flax and pea protein. Unsweetened flax milk contains 60 calories, 8 g of protein, 3 g of fat, and 1 g of carbohydrates, making it very similar to almond milk but comparable to cow milk in protein. This milk is fortified with vitamins D, A, B12, and calcium.

Other good options exist. The key features to look for are comparable protein, vitamin D, and calcium with no added sugars. Several options, such as rice milk and many oat milks, provide similar nutrients to dairy milk and should be available at your local grocery store. 

Takeaways

Almond milk is a milk alternative that is helpful for weight management. Almond milk is a great option for lactose intolerance and allergies as it is made from almonds and water.

The enjoyable flavor of almond milk makes it a simple substitute for all foods and beverages that call for dairy milk. 

Almond milk contains monounsaturated fats that are helpful for weight loss and heart health and slightly more vitamin D, E, and calcium than cow milk. 

Watch for sweetened alternative milk, as these contain added sugars. Consider alternatives like soy or flax milk for benefits similar to almond milk.

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How a Dietitian Can Help you Manage Weight

Connect with an expert on nutrition, alternative milk, and weight management. A dietitian can help you achieve long-term weight loss and equip you with the tools to be successful whichever milk you choose.

Nourish has a team of dietitians available for online appointments. Every dietitian is covered by insurance, and many are specialized in weight management. Book your first appointment today.

Find a dietitian near you that accepts insurance using Nourish.

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