Many people who are lactose intolerant, are vegans, or adhere to a dairy-free diet ask is if almond milk is considered dairy. While these are not the only people who wonder if almond milk is dairy, the answer is important to those who suffer from intolerance or allergy as well.
After extensive research, we found that almond milk is classified as a “non-dairy alternative” to milk. Almond milk is made from almonds instead of cow’s milk. It is also typically fortified with vitamins D and A, which are nutrients often lacking in vegan diets. In this article, we answer all of your questions on almond milk’s relation to dairy.
What is almond milk?
Almond milk is made by grinding the seeds of almonds and mixing them with water. This mixture is then strained, which results in almond milk. Almonds contain high levels of vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, riboflavin, and natural plant sterols.
Is almond milk considered dairy?
Almond is not a dairy product. The reason is that almonds are not animal products. As almond milk is simply ground up almonds with water, it is also made from plants rather than animals. While there is a slight chance almond milk is produced in facilities that process dairy, it is vegan and thus is not considered within the realm of dairy.
Classified as a non-dairy alternative to traditional dairy milk, almond milk may seem like a logical choice for those who avoid dairy products. However, as to whether almond milk is better than dairy is another question entirely.
Dairy vs. Almond Milk
While both can have similar health benefits, there are some differences between dairy and almond milk. Dairy contains saturated fat, while almonds contain monounsaturated fat, a type of beneficial fat that is considered good for the heart. Almond milk is often fortified with calcium and Vitamin D, while dairy already contains these nutrients. However, almond milk does not have lactose which is an indigestible sugar found in dairy products.
Dairy is also proven to be important in bone health as it is a good source of calcium. Almond is also considered a good source of vitamin E but is not proven to have any bone health benefits unless when fortified.
Almond milk vs. dairy milk
Dairy is made by both cows and other mammals, making dairy milk the more traditional source. Almond milk is produced by grinding up almonds to make the milk; it’s thus made from plants rather than an animal product. This is the primary reason almond milk is considered non-dairy.
Health benefits of almond milk
Almond milk is rich in various nutrients, making it an ideal dairy milk alternative and one with various benefits. These benefits include:
High vitamin E
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that is beneficial to the body. Vitamin prevents cell damage and protects the eyes and the skin from ultraviolet radiation.
A single cup (240ml) already has all the vitamin E you require in a day. In fact, one cup has around 110% of the RDA of vitamin E.
Good for heart health
Almond is rich in monosaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic acid and linoleic acid, which benefit heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels. This is different from saturated fats found in dairy products such as cheese and butter, which may lead to high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, obesity, and other conditions.
Low sugar in unsweetened types
Sugar is the most common type of carbohydrate found in milk products. However, unsweetened almond is naturally low in sugar, unlike other types of almond milk like chocolate-flavored almond milk.
Disadvantages of almond milk
Although almond is loaded with nutrients, it is not the perfect drink. It is low in some nutrients which are found in dairy milk. So, what’s the deal?
Low in proteins
Almond is very low in proteins, which is essential for the growth and repair of muscles. Although it is commonly consumed alone, combining almond milk with other protein-rich foods is still advisable to complete your daily recommended allowance of proteins.
For instance, a 240 ml cup of almond milk contains no more than 1g of protein, while an equivalent amount of dairy milk has at least 8g of proteins.
Unideal for infants
Almond milk is low in proteins and other essential nutrients that an infant requires after the first six months. This makes cow’s milk, which is much more nutritious, the better option for infants.
Almond is often added with various sweeteners and flavors. However, not all the additives used to flavor almond milk are totally healthy. Some of them are just preservatives, known to cause several health problems.
Sugar is another additive that is added to almond milk. It is not just known for its empty calories that contribute nothing but sugar and carbs. Sugar may be avoided by opting for unsweetened or unflavored almond milk.
People who are allergic to tree nuts, such as almonds, may experience an allergic reaction after consuming almond milk.
Is almond milk better for you?
Almond is non-dairy, is almond milk is better than dairy is up to the nutrients the consumer wants to consume in the more significant amount. Almond is a good source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E but does not contain a lot of calcium like dairy. Dairy contains protein which almond milk lacks. The choice between these two products is up to the consumer and is dependent on their dietary needs.
During the manufacture of almond milk, the resulting solution is usually thin and has a short shelf life. Other substances such as preservatives are used to improve the thickness, flavor, and shelf life. These substances may not be the best to consume in larger quantities, showing the dark side of almond milk.
Also, if you are allergic to tree nuts, you should avoid almond milk because it’s a product of tree nuts.
Does almond milk have dairy?
No, almond milk does not have dairy. Almond is a plant-based beverage rather than an animal product, so almond milk is considered non-dairy.
Although almond milk usually includes other ingredients for thickening, improving the flavor, and extending the shelf life, Dairy products are not included in almond milk. This is why it makes such an excellent alternative to dairy milk.
Is almond milk non-dairy?
Almond is NOT dairy. This is because the almond is a plant, not an animal product. Almond milk is produced by grinding almonds and water, resulting in a thick, brown liquid which is then strained of the solids. No dairy products are added to the resulting solution.
Another reason why almond milk is considered healthier than dairy is that it’s free of lactose, which is the indigestible sugar found in dairy products that can cause stomach discomfort for some individuals with lactose intolerance.
Video: What Happens When You Drink Almond Milk Every Day?
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I switch to almond milk?
Almond is a healthier alternative to dairy milk. It is free of lactose, the indigestible sugar found in dairy products that can cause stomach discomfort for some individuals with lactose intolerance. However, almonds are low in protein and may contain additives that you need to consider when making a switch.
If you are also allergic to tree nuts, avoid almond milk.
Is almond milk healthier than dairy?
Almond milk can be both a better and a worse alternative to dairy milk. It is healthier if you are lactose-intolerant but unhealthy if you consider the additives (including sugar), tree nuts allergy, and the low protein content. This is why it is essential to consider your dietary needs and the nutrients you want in a more significant amount before making any changes.
Is almond milk classified as dairy?
No, almond is not classified as dairy because it is tree nuts instead of an animal product. Almond milk is produced by grinding almonds with water, resulting in a liquid that’s then filtered from the pulp. No dairy products are included in almond milk.
Is almond milk worse than dairy?
Almond is not as nutritious and is lower in protein than dairy; however, this does not mean it is worse for you overall. It really depends on your dietary needs and personal preferences.
If you are allergic to tree nuts, you should avoid almond milk because it is made of tree nuts. If you are lactose-intolerant or sensitive to dairy products, almond is a better alternative than dairy.
Almond milk is not considered dairy, but it’s a healthy alternative to dairy. So if you’re lactose intolerant and want the benefits of almond milk without the downside of consuming dairy, look for brands that advertise themselves as non-dairy or vegan. If you aren’t concerned about any allergies or intolerances and just want something different than traditional cow’s milk with more nutrients like calcium and vitamin D (not to mention less cholesterol), try out some delicious almond milk recipes in your favorite dishes!