The national nut

Almond milk. I already knew this from looking at the ingredients and the bit where it says how much protein and so on per serving – almond milk isn’t a useful thing.

People drink almond milk for a variety of reasons, but many have no idea how devoid of nutrients their trendy dairy milk alternative actually is.

Each half-gallon carton contains very few actual almonds. Evidence shows there may be just over a handful.

Well if they don’t know they didn’t look, because if you look, it’s obvious. Almonds aren’t the main ingredient. It’s mostly water and sweeteners.

While the amount of almonds in each brand of the beverage vary, an analysis of UK almond milk brand Alpro showed that nuts make up just 2% of the drink.

Doesn’t surprise me a bit. It’s like Nutella – Nutella is fabulous, but it has very little hazelnut in it. It’s dessert, it’s not a nourishing food. Same with almond milk.

A typical serving of almonds has 160 calories per serving. By comparison, a cup of almond milk contains just about 30 calories. And while a serving of almonds has 14 grams of total fat and 6 grams of protein, a serving of the milk has 2.5 grams of fat and just one gram of protein.

In other words, a single serving of almond milk has almost no protein. Compared with plain old almonds, it fares even worse.

It’s basically syrup. Drink it if you like it, but don’t be thinking it’s food.


  1. says

    But almond milk isn’t used like nuts it’s a beverage used like dairy milk. Compared to dairy milk , while it does have less protein it also has less calories and far less fat it on the other hand it has more and a much larger range of vitamins and minerals, and taste swell.

  2. says

    OK, at the risk of jeopardizing goodwill…

    This piece from Business Insider looks very much like a PR plant from the dairy industry and animal exploitation industry more generally. I drink almond milk not for protein but because it’s not based on the enormous suffering of animals. I never even considered the protein content (much less the calories and fat!); we actually don’t need huge amounts of protein, and here I am, several years a vegan, alive, and probably getting more protein than I need. I put it in my cereal/granola – it’s not remotely a “scam.” This is also an attempt to demonize almonds to distract attention from the environmental effects of animal exploitation.

  3. astrolabecat says

    Oh. Huh.
    I belong to a medieval society where we cook (pretty amazing) medieval feasts. Almond milk is often an ingredient and we make it from almonds and water, as described very clearly in the extant texts. I cannot buy almond milk locally (Cape Town, South Africa) so was always envious of places where you could, because making almond milk is a bit of a pain. I never knew it wasn’t actually almond milk in those cartons but a sweet drink masquerading as such.

    I’ll stop feeling envious and feel smug instead.

  4. says

    If you need another reason not to drink it, how about water usage and California’s shortage?

    California’s almonds constitute a lucrative multibillion dollar industry in a fiscally tenuous state that is also, as you know, in the middle of the worst drought in recent history. The drought is so dire that experts are considering adding a fifth level to the four-tiered drought scale. That’s right: D5. But each almond requires 1.1 gallons of water to produce, as Alex Park and Julia Lurie at Mother Jones reported earlier this year, and 44 percent more land in California is being used to farm almonds than was 10 years ago.

    One nut require 4 litres of water. Are you flipping well kidding me?

  5. says

    There was a piece on the CBC this morning about how much water it takes to produce almonds, which of course are grown in California. It included a few swipes at the “almond trend”, including almond milk. (Perhaps this was meant to provide a balance to yesterday’s interview with someone who thinks dairy is unnecessary, even evil. On the whole, she came across as a kook.)

    OTOH, my older son drinks almond milk because he’s both lactose-intolerant and allergic to milk protein.

    My conclusion: Almond milk as a food fad is stupid because most or all food fads are stupid, but it still has legitimate uses.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    I belong to a medieval society where we cook (pretty amazing) medieval feasts. Almond milk is often an ingredient

    Really? Why? Because you want a substitute for animal milk? I believe that in the Middle Ages, Europeans would have had to import their almonds from the Middle East, so I doubt almond milk could be an authentic ingredient.

  7. theoneandonlymike says

    As with a lot of these articles this seems like a really stupid swipe at a product that doesn’t really appreciate why people use it. It is stupid because
    1) It doesn’t have a lot of almonds
    2) It’s mostly water (shock! so is milk by the way… Also glass of water. When did that become a bad thing?)
    3) It’s trendy (I was unaware, but ok)
    4) It has a lot of sweeteners (although there is unsweetened and the calorie count is still lower than milk)

    Ok so I drink it because
    1) it doesn’t involve abusing cows
    2) It doesn’t go off nearly as fast so I’m not throwing out half a gallon every week
    3) It has fewer calories and less fat (which according to this article I should be upset about because I was supposedly thinking I’d been drinking a cup of almonds in liquid form.)

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