Regular Milk vs. Almond Milk: What’s all the hype?

July 17, 2012By 2 Comments

I have never been much of a milk drinker.  Water is by far my favorite beverage.  I know how important Calcium and Vit. D are and all the benefits that go along with them.  I get my Vit. D from walking outside at least a few days a week, and often drink orange juice that is fortified with both Calcium and Vit. D.  I also eat enough cheese, green vegetables and yogurt to pack enough calcium to keep my bones strong.  Taking a daily vitamin helps, but food sources of vitamins and minerals are more bioavailable to the body as we clinical people like to say, which means that food sources are more natural for the body to absorb all the good stuff than from a pill form.

Every so often I do purposely buy milk with the best intentions to start drinking it more regularly.  I am a firm believer in organic milk being better for you than regular milk.  Regular milk most likely comes from sources that are not hormone and antibiotic free, which can potentially cause all sorts of health concerns for young children and adults.  There are various theories behind organic milk vs. regular, but that’s not what this particular post is addressing.

I have recently been buying Almond milk, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s the chocolate version (but the regular unsweetened version is the healthiest for you).  I know as a dietitian all the health benefits of almonds, so without doing much research, I just figured Almond milk was great for me and would help me incorporate a more consistent milk serving to my diet.  I decided to look into it a little further, and here is what I found, by reading various nutrition resources such as Fitday.com:

-Almond milk is made from finely ground almonds and water

-It is safe for those with lactose intolerance and gluten or casein allergies

-It is high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber, zinc and calcium.

-It is cholesterol free and saturated fat-free and loaded with ‘good fats’(monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that have protective qualities for our heart!)

- High in antioxidants

-One caviet…. Regular cow’s milk is higher in protein than almond milk

Per   8oz Serv. Cals Fat Sat   fat Chol. Sod Carbs Fiber Prot Ca iron Vit A
Skim Milk 80 0g 0g 5mg 125 13g 0g 8g 30% 0% 10%
Almond Milk (plain unsweetened) 40 3g 0g 0 180 2g 1g 0g 20% 2% 10%

If the taste of Almond milk deters you from wanting to drink it, than try using it in your favorite cereal, or adding a dash of splenda to it to sweeten it up.  You can even add it to a carnation instant breakfast mix or with your favorite fruit smoothie recipe.  From a diabetic perspective, unsweetened Almond milk is much lower in carbs.  However, if your like me, I choose the chocolate Almond milk as a ‘treat’ for myself and when I’m craving something sweet or looking to treat a low blood sugar before bed, a glass of chocolate almond milk, with about 22g of carb, gives me a boost of vitamins and minerals and just the right amount of sugar to help me out!

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