ALMOND MILK VS SOY MILK: WHICH ONE IS HEALTHIER?
Hi Guys! I get asked this question a lot, almond milk vs soy milk, which one is healthier? So I brought in my nutrition expert and registered dietitian Kim Denkhaus, and asked her a few questions to clear up any confusion. Personally, I don’t drink cow’s milk because I have an intolerance to dairy, and soy usually doesn’t agree with my stomach, so almond milk is usually my go to, but every person digests food differently, so what works for me, may not work for you. Happy plant-based sipping!
What is the difference between almond milk and soy milk?
Almond milk is made of ground almonds, and soy milk is a made of ground soybeans. Both almond and soy milk are made with water, and resemble the appearance of cow’s milk. Both are healthy plant-based alternatives, low in saturated fat, which is beneficial for heart health, and naturally lactose-free, which is favorable for those who are lactose-intolerant or have a dairy allergy. Research indicates that a growing number of individuals are opting for non-dairy alternatives as the prevalence of food allergies continues to rise.
So which one is generally healthier?
There isn’t really a simple answer here, because it depends on a multitude of factors from personal nutritional needs, taste preferences, food sensitivities, as well as a wide variance in nutritional profiles from product to product, thus making a direct comparison between almond milk and soy milk challenging.
Breaking down the nutrition, soy milk contains more protein than almond milk, and both milks are low in saturated fat. Almond milk is lower in calories compared to soy milk, and contains more heart healthy monounsaturated fats, while soy milk contains more heart healthy polyunsaturated fats. Almond milk contains slightly more sodium than soy milk, and both milks do not contain lactose.
Important Health Tip! Go with the unsweetened version of both almond and soy milk, and check the label, look for milk alternatives that contain no added sugars or additives like thickeners or emulsifiers.
I love almonds as a snack, but I’ve heard almond milk doesn’t contain as much protein, is that true?
A common misconception is that almond milk is a good source of protein, almonds in their raw form are a good source of protein and healthy fat, containing about 6 grams of protein per serving (approximately 23 almonds), whereas one serving (or 8 ounces) of almond milk contains approximately 1 gram of protein. Store bought almond milks are comprised mostly of water, some brands contain only 2% almonds, making the other 98% water, added vitamins and minerals, and sometimes emulsifiers.
Which one is better for the environment?
From a sustainability standpoint, current research suggests that many of the plant-based milk alternatives may be more environmentally friendly from a climate change perspective than cow’s milk. Soy may have less of an environmental impact on water usage than almonds, since almonds are a water intensive crop, and a large percentage of almonds are grown in California which is currently battling a severe drought.
A great eco-friendly option could be to make your own milk alternative at home, which would most likely increase the milks nutritional value as well. Keep in mind, that both almond milk and soy milk are not good sources of calcium, although many store bought brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, so if you’re making your own plant-based milk, it is important to look for food alternatives that contain high amounts of calcium such as cheese or yogurt, or some great vegetarian options high in calcium are dark leafy greens (like collard greens, turnip greens, kale, bok choy, and broccoli).
What’s your favorite plant-based milk, or “mylk,” a common spelling used to describe non-dairy milk products. We would love to hear from you, leave a comment below. Cheers to good health!
Astrid & Kim