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Is Almond Milk a good milk substitute?

Almond milk has become more and more popular recently as the lactose-averse population continues to grow. Almond milk is 100% lactose free, and is used by many as an apples to apples substitute for real cow’s milk. It can be used in cereal, coffee creamer, baking and wherever else milk is used and is not that far off in taste. Like moo-cow milk, almond milk contains fats, protein, carbs and many of the same vitamins. There are, however, a few stark differences as well where almond milk falls short of filling the shoes of cow milk.

Cow’s milk is a rich source of protein, loaded in calcium and vitamin D, and provides complete nutrition and even “does the body good”. So how does almond milk stack up? Below are the key comparisons between moo-cow milk and almond milk:

  • Calorie content: Almond milk has only 40 calories per cup as opposed to 122 calories for a cup of 2% cow’s milk, making almond milk a great alternative to real milk for weight loss and calorie control. (but then again, so is water)

  • Protein content: Cows’ milk is very rich in top quality protein with 8 grams per cup. Almond milk on the other hand has only 1.5 grams, and the protein quality is far inferior to boot (in that it is composed of an inferior amino acid profile). Overall, cows’ milk is a fantastic protein source and almond milk is not.

  • Fat content: 74% of Almond milks’ total calories are derived from healthy fats. It has no saturated fat and no cholesterol and has a good amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Compare this to 2% cow milk which has five grams of fat, three of which are saturated fat, plus 20mg of cholesterol. Unless you are somehow not getting enough fats, advantage to almond milk here.

The two most important vitamins in milk which it has a lot of are calcium and vitamin D. Both milk and almond milk are often fortified with these nutrients, so both of them give you ample amounts of both. Almond milk also has a good amount of vitamin E as well. There are not a ton of differences as far as vitamin content between the two.

Overall, almond milk is comparable to cows’ milk in vitamins and is great to use in cereal and other instances where someone would usually use cows’ milk. Almond milk has an excellent healthy fat content and is low calorie as well. Almond milk, however, lacks greatly in its protein content as compared to cows’ milk. Almond milk can be used as a milk alternative, but is not really a milk substitute due to the protein difference.

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