The world has recently discovered that almonds are a precious foodstaff. Hailed as a “superfood”, almonds are in fact a crunchy jolt of complete proteins, healthful fats, vitamins and minerals. But, now they’re starting to show up in all sorts of recipes, and the well-known is the popular milk substitute: the almond milk.
Given their rather intense ecological footprint—read this article—we should probably consider them a delicacy, a special treat. That’s why I think it’s deeply weird to drown them in water and send them out to the world in little cartons.
What’s the point of almond milk, exactly?
Plant-based milk producer White Wave reported that in its first-quarter sales of almond milk were up 50% from the same period in 2014. In a deep report made by their CEO they revelead that almond milk now makes up about 2/3 of the plant-based milk market in United States, trumping soy milk and coconut milk.
Although almond milk does not necessarily have the harmful cocktail of antibiotics, growth hormones and the health hazards of factory farming, it turns out it actually offers almost nothing in nutritional terms.
Products that are sold as almond milk are leading people to believe that the products are made primarily from almonds. The truth is that almonds only make up 2% of the total drink.A jug of almond milk contains roughly 39 cents worth of almonds, filtered water and additives. Click To Tweet
You read correctly, only 2% of almond milk is almonds. I think a more appropriate term should be “colored water that may contain a hint of almond.”
But at least it doesn’t have any of the deadly side effects of massed produced dairy products, you might think.
Yeah, but it offers very little else.
Amonds are an an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and are great for starters. Almond skins contain beneficial phenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids, which are typically associated with vegetables and fruits.
Almond milk makes you forget the main reason why almonds are so amazing: they’re a great vegetarian source of protein, but almond milk has basically no almonds, it’s just an illusion of a “healthy drink” stuffed full of synthetic vitamins.
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 almonds.
While the amount of almonds in each brand of the beverage vary, a look on UK almond milk Alpro shows that nuts make up just 2% of the drink. The rest is just water, salt, stabilisers and vitamins.
What exactly is almond milk? It’s typically a combination of almonds, water, sweetener, thickener such as carrageenan and some fortified nutrients such as vitamins A, E, and D.
The current lawsuit against this “2% almonds” fraud argue that the producers falsely portrays that almond milk is made primarily from almonds.(Meanwhile, White Wave have removed carrageenan and xanthan gum from Silk almond milk.)If almond milk closely resembles any beverage, it's a glass of sweet water with multivitamin. Click To Tweet
There are even clever tricks on the ingredient list, such as listing the #1 ingredient as “almond base” (almonds, water) or “almonds”. This wording enables the manufacturer to put almonds right at the top of the list, when in fact the “almond base” is of course…the 2%.
More, this obsession with almonds is affecting the environment also. California is the source of almost 80% of the world’s almonds. Almonds requires water and I mean a lot of water. So, California is suffering from nearly unprecedented droughts, while almond farmers siphon off water from underground reserves to keep growing their crops.
Dairy or not
Dairy is still king, of course, comprising 90 percent of the “milk” market. But the sales of alternative milks hit $1.4 billion in 2013 and are expected to hit $1.7 billion by 2016, with almond milk leading that growth.
So, now I get it.
I get why people are switching away from dairy milk. Industrial dairy production is a nasty business and there are also adults that can’t digest lactose. Meanwhile, milk is a must on our breakfast culture. Almond milk looks to be the way to maintain the practice while rejecting the dairy. There was a war against soy milk once(feared that creates hormonal imbalances) and now looks that almond milk is just another fraud.
Regarding the soy milk, the worst problem is that soybeans grown is US are genetically modified. Those soybeans are designed to be Roundup Ready, which means they’re engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of herbicide. The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate and as we said in before it’s responsible for the disruption of the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle.
What’s more, glyphosate is toxic to the placenta and linked to cancer.
So, this alternative, almond milk is just an abuse of the situation described above. The people is asking for it, there is a lot of room for dairy alternatives and it’s cheaper to produce. But, if we take it as a nutritional information we can clearly see that actually we don’t need the amazing almond milk. If, of course, we are not preparing it at home(proportion should be 1/3 almonds and the rest water)
Let’s compare a standard serving.
We have about 28 grams of almonds that contain 6 grams of protein – about an egg’s worth, 3 grams of fiber and 12 grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – about half an avocado. According to the label of the almond milk one serving offers just one gram of protein and fiber and 3.5 grams of fat.
This is clear that the almond-milk industry is selling a jug of filteres water clouded with some almonds. So we go to the old question of price and profit. A regular serving of organic almonds is around 75 cents while any container of almond milk is aroun $3.99. In other words, to get the same nutritional value as a single serving of almonds from almond milk you would have to drink roughly a carton instead of one cup.
So it’s no secret that we actually buy water named “milk”. And it’s not just because there are no tits on almonds, but because manufacturers have to name their ingredients and products.
I’m not saying that your almond milk habit is ruining your health. But you should know what you are paying for. If you want my opinion I prefer raw milk or kefir, a fermented milk that is packed with protein and calcium.
For better results you should make you own almond milks. And you can use other nuts! It actually very easy and you can find a lot of tutorials how to do that.
You should search for organic nuts/almonds and filtered water. You will save money and will enjoy a real almond milk!
P.S. If you have an almond milk receipe or a tutorial how to made it at home, feel free to post it below on the comments section. Some of our readers will find this very useful.