Are Non-Dairy Milks Really the Healthier Option?

Many people are skipping the cow’s milk, and instead opting for soy, almond, coconut, or another non-dairy milk for a variety of reasons. Some people are lactose intolerant, have a dairy allergy or sensitivity, and others just see non-dairy milks as the healthier option. But, are non-dairy milks really the healthier option?

Now right off the bat, I’ll say that I don’t usually recommend soy milk for the reasons I outline in a previous post. Almond and coconut milk can be good options as a dairy substitute as long as you pay attention to the sugar content. Flavored almond and coconut milk can have as much as 17 grams of added sugar per cup. According the World Health Organization, we should be having no more than 25 grams added sugar per day, and I would argue much less on most days. Chances are that if you’re drinking sweetened almond or coconut milk, you have other sources of added sugar that are pushing you over that 25 grams. Remember, the more sugar you have, the more you will crave it.

Your best bet is to opt for the unsweetened varieties. If you’re using it in a smoothie, add fruit or a date or a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup for some sweetness. The next best option is the “original variety” as the sugar tends to be relatively low at 6-7 grams per cup. The numbers below are averages, so just make sure you read the label of the variety of almond or coconut milk you buy.

Type

Added Sugar Content per 1-cup Serving

Almond milk, chocolate

17 g

Almond milk, vanilla

16 g

Coconut milk, chocolate

10 g

Coconut milk, vanilla

9 g

Almond milk, original

7 g

Coconut milk, original

6 g

Coconut milk, unsweetened

0 g

Almond milk, unsweetened

0 g

Have questions about this post? Please leave a comment below!

 

4 Comments

  • Suzanne

    Reply Reply October 30, 2014

    You don’t mention flax milk at all?

    • Margaret Wertheim

      Reply Reply October 30, 2014

      Hi Suzanne! Unsweetened flax milk would be the best option. Original flavor has about 7 grams of added sugar, and vanilla around 11 grams.

  • Mary

    Reply Reply October 30, 2014

    What about home made cashew milk sweetened with dates?

    • Margaret Wertheim

      Reply Reply October 30, 2014

      Mary, that sounds perfect! Dates are one my favorite ways to sweeten things. What a great idea 🙂

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field