August 31st 2016
Your shop-bought almond milk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
July 30th 2015
With major non dairy milk brand Blue Diamond being sued for selling almond milk containing only 2% almonds, we question whether the hipster milk of choice is worth its while
Almond milk, the ultimate litmus test for cool coffee shop status, has come under fire as the US’s biggest supplier of the dairy alternative has been served a lawsuit for false advertising. The lawsuit in question highlights that Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze contains just 2% almonds and is in fact predominantly just water with the addition of sugar, carrageenan, and sunflower lecithin (yep, we were shocked too).
While it was always expected that almond milk would contain a high percentage of water (otherwise it would be almond butter), the lawsuit argues that customers would expect a product with ‘almond’ in the title to contain more than 2% of the supposed main ingredient.
Although here in the UK Blue Diamond’s almond milk isn't such big business, quick research (read: googling) reveals that popular almond milk choices such as Alpro’s Unsweetened Almond Milk are just as watery, and similarly to their American rival contain just 2% almonds.
So, in terms of nutritional value are these almond drinks worth your time? Having spoken to Gabriela Peacock, Nutritional Therapist and Founder of GP Nutrition, the verdict is that almond milk containing such a small amount of almonds has a nutritional worth that is “pretty low” and contains “considerably less protein, calcium and fat”.
Gabriela confirms that in fact the main source of nutrients in almond milks from brands such as Blue Diamond and Alpro comes from fortification, the process of artificially adding vitamins (in this case A & D), which is itself a debatable process.
While almond milk is one of best alternatives for people avoiding dairy, Gabriela highlights that if you remove cows milk from your diet entirely you have to be careful to make up for the calcium lost, and suggests eating calcium-rich foods such as “green vegetables, especially broccoli, sesame seeds and tofu”.
However, if you want to drink almond milk, what are your options? Nutritionist Kim Pearson suggests the first thing to look out for is, “Unsweetened almond milks, and avoid those with added sugar or agave syrup and opt for products with the fewest, most simple ingredients possible”. Kim recommends Provamel almond milk which contains 7% almonds and additionally only water and sea salt.
Both Gabriela and Kim agree though that the best way to ensure you get a high quantity of almonds in your almond milk is to make it yourself. Luckily, it is surprisingly quick and easy and we have a handy guide for you on how to make your own almond milk here.