Almond milk in glass with almonds
Last updated: June 19, 2020

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Have you noticed that organic, plant based beverages have been flooding the shelves of supermarkets in Canada?This should be of no surprise if we stop to consider all of the nutritional benefits they offer and the low environmental impact of it’s production. Almond milk has become one of the most popular alternatives to dairy milk, and it’s no longer a product only consumed by vegans and vegetarians. This nutritious, low-calorie drink has become very popular among all Canadian demographics.

It’s easy to see that the search for a healthier and more holistic lifestyle is not just a mere trend. In Canada, tendencies are shifting towards creating permanent and positive lifestyle changes. People seeking healthier habits see the benefits of this plant-based alternative. Almond milk is low in sugar and fat and it doesn’t have lactose or gluten, which makes it ideal for coeliacs or those who are lactose intolerant. Have we sparked your interest? Keep reading to learn all about almond milk.

Key Facts

  • Almond milk is made by blending soaked almonds with an equal part water. The result is then filtered to separate the “milk” from the pulp. Almond milk can be used as a substitute for dairy milk in any meal such as cereal, smoothies or milkshakes — it can even be used in baking recipes and while cooking.
  • Since it is a plant based product, the fat and caloric content is around 65-85% lower than that of dairy milk. Beneficial characteristics such as these, make almond milk an ideal alternative to include in a weight loss regime. Furthermore, almond milk helps improve HDL (good) cholesterol and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Almond milk does not contain lactose or gluten — making it a great option for people with intolerances to these foods. This vegetable drink also helps improve digestion, and it provides high levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E (natural antioxidant) and B vitamins.

The best almond milk products on the Canadian market

Even though almond milk has the reputation of being a healthy and nutritious drink; not all recipes offer the same nutritional value. Don’t forget that advertising can often be misleading, which can make it hard to know which option is really the healthiest one. For this reason, we’ve done some of the research for you. The next is a curated ranking of the very best almond milk products available in Canada.

365 Everyday Value — Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk (32 oz.)

Manufactured by Whole Foods Market, this organic unsweetened almond milk is an affordable and delicious replacement for cow’s milk. It comes in a 32 oz. carton and weighs just over 900 g. Its ingredients include organic almond milk, organic locust bean gum, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, vitamin A, vitamin D2, vitamin E and vitamin B12. It has a satisfying smooth texture that makes it a pleasant beverage to drink on its own.

As one of Amazon’s top choices, this product is perfect for those who are vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant or simply looking for non-dairy alternatives. Before using, shake well and make sure to refrigerate after opening. Once opened, this almond milk stays fresh in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. Consumers have reported that this almond milk is not too sweet, not too bland and absolutely love how affordable it is.

Blue Diamond — Almond Breeze Unsweetened Milk (946 ml)

Made from real almonds, Blue Diamond offers a delicious non-dairy beverage to replace all your milk needs. This is an all natural, smooth and creamy substitute that adds perfectly to batters, smoothies, lattes and even to drink alone. It is unsweetened, but has a naturally delightful vanilla flavour. Almond breeze almond milk has only 30 calories per serving and is now fortified with added vitamins and minerals.

Countless reviews claim this as the best almond milk on the market. They love its subtle almond flavour and how packed it is with nutrients. It’s the perfect milk substitute to use for liquid meal smoothies and protein shakes. This almond milk stays in the cupboard for extended periods of time, and only needs to be refrigerated once opened, staying good for up to two weeks. It is conveniently purchased and delivered right to your door.

Nutrisoya Foods — Natural Almond Beverage (964 ml)

Nutrisoya has created a delicious enriched almond beverage that contains 9 different essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Made with no carrageenan, no cholesterol, non-GMO, no lactose, no saturated fats and no trans fats, it’s your healthy solution to cutting dairy from your diet, whether that be from necessity or preference. It contains only 1-percent fat and 90 calories per serving.

This almond beverage has a rich and decadent vanilla flavour that will satisfy any sweet craving. Because of its powerful flavour, it’s great to use in baking, smoothies, batters and warm beverages that need an extra stimulating taste. It has a thicker and creamier texture in comparison to other milk products and is great to use as a cream substitute. It comes in an easy to pour 964 ml carton and is available for the extremely affordable price of CDN $3.50

Pacific Natural Foods — Almond Non-Dairy Beverage (964ml)

This organic, non-dairy almond beverage is a product very popular amongst consumers. This product is available in both vanilla and original flavour options. All options are unsweetened, allowing the natural flavours from the almonds to come out and perforate the taste buds. Pacific Natural Foods takes organic almonds and gently roasts them to emphasise and bring out the natural robust nutty flavours within the before breaking them down to produce their delectable milk alternative.

Through this process, they create their authentic and signature taste. This almond product is 100% organic, kosher and gluten-free and certified organic by Biologique Canada. There are no added sugars, no cholesterol and zero trans fats. Each serving provides quantities of iron, calcium, potassium and 1 g of protein. This beverage is great to have on hand for soups, sauces, baking mixes and mixes well with other beverages. It’s smooth texture also makes it great to drink by the glass.

Blue Diamond, Almond Breeze — Unsweetened Almond Coconut Beverage (946ml)

This is an all natural, smooth and creamy milk substitute has a subtle coconut flavour that makes it perfect to add to batters, smoothies, lattes and even drink by the glass. It is unsweetened and contains no added sugars, allowing the natural almond and coconut flavours to come to the forefront of your taste buds. Almond breeze almond milk has only 45 calories per serving and is now fortified with added vitamins and minerals.

This milk-substitute is completely natural, made from real almonds and coconuts. Consumers love it’s subtle but profound flavour and how packed it is with nutrients. It’s the perfect milk substitute to use in cereal, for smoothies and is great protein shakes. This almond milk stays in the cupboard for extended periods of time, and only needs to be refrigerated once opened, staying good for up to two weeks. It is lactose free, gluten free and GMO free.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about almond milk

Almond milk is a nutritious, low-calorie drink that has become very popular around the world. In Canada, it is among the most highly recommended nutritional superfoods on the market. The trend setters advocating the use of almond milk, are people looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

Nonetheless, in order to ensure you get a top quality product that preserves all the benefits and nutrients this vegetable drink has to offer, you should have an understanding of its main characteristics. To help you out, in this section we take a closer look at all the most important things to know about almond milk.

young woman preparing cereal bowls in the kitchen

Almond milk is a plant-based beverage made from filtered almonds and water. (Source: Josep Maria Suria: 111587328/123rf.com)

What is almond milk exactly?

Almond milk, like other plant-based milks (oat, cashew, soy, etc.), is not technically really milk. For starters, this drink is obtained from blending soaked almonds to extract their juices and nutritional components. This process also involves straining the liquid through a cheesecloth to separate the milk form the nut pulp.

Because almond milk offers a great source of nutrients, with low calories, sugar and fat content, it’s become a great alternative to traditional dairy milk. These products shouldn’t contain many additives or added sugars. As mentioned before the natural product, has no lactose or gluten, making it a suitable option for people who are allergic or intolerant to these foods.

Organic White Almond Milk

Unsweetened almond milk contains up to 80% fewer calories than regular dairy milk. (Source: Brent-Hofacker: 30365296/ 123rf.com)

Each almond milk product will have its own specific nutritional profile. Often, they contain added nutrients such as calcium, riboflavin, vitamin E and vitamin D, which are meant to boost their nutritional content. All the small changes to the basic recipe will dictate the quality of the product.

What are health benefits related to drinking almond milk?

Below we summarised the main health benefits of consuming almond milk:

  • It is made 100% from almonds. The basic recipe does not contain preservatives, additives or added sugars.
  • It’s low in calories. Almond milk contains 65-80% fewer calories than dairy milk (including skimmed or semi-skimmed milk).
  • Supports cardiovascular health. Almond milk improves HDL (good) cholesterol and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Supports healthy digestion. The high percentage of fibre and antioxidants in almond milk protects the walls of the intestines, which in turn helps improve digestion.
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Did you know that almonds are naturally high in vitamin E, providing 37% of the daily vitamin E requirement in just 1 ounce.

What minerals and vitamins can be found in almond milk?

Even though that for decades dairy milk has been marketed as the best source of calcium, all types of almond milk offer a greater source of calcium than cow’s milk. Almond milk is also rich in minerals like potassium, which helps treat diarrhoea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems. Almond milk also has a high content of magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

As for vitamins, almond milk usually contains high levels of vitamins D, A and E (a natural antioxidant) and some group B vitamins. Almond milk is also rich in vitamin B2, which is essential for strengthening hair and nails. The table below illustrates the normal nutritional composition of 100 millilitres of almond milk:

Minerals Quantity (mls) Recommended Daily Dose (%)
Sodium 38 2
4
Calcium 200 16
7
Iron 5 62
5
Phosphorus 220 31
4
Potassium 200 10

Are all almond milk products healthy?

As with all foods, there are healthy and unhealthy products on the market, sometimes even within one brand. This means you should always be diligent about reading the nutritional facts of whatever product you choose.

This is the best way to make sure the product you take home has the adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. Reading nutritional labels is the only way to make sure the product doesn’t contain any harmful additives that may counteract all the positive benefits of this natural drink.

This are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be cautions about misleading or false advertising. For example, some brands of almond milk, despite displaying the label “gluten-free,” warn in fine print that the drink may in fact contain traces of soy or other foods. This means that it may also contain gluten in low doses.
  • Nothing is excess is good. For example, if consumed in too large quantities, almond milk can have a negative impact on the thyroid, especially in people who have a pre-existing condition.
  • The nutritional quality of each product will depend on the recipe. For example, some brands of almond milk have added sugars, which can reverse the benefits of consuming almond milk, particularly for those trying to lose weight.

Can almond milk fully substitute dairy milk?

The nutritional properties of almond milk make it an excellent substitute for dairy milk. Actually, in some aspects, it even has several advantages over cow’s milk. For starters, it contains much fewer calories, it also offers lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while also having less saturated fat content and less sugar as well.

This is all without mentioning that its production can have a much lower environmental impact than the production of dairy milk. Nonetheless you should keep in mind that it is still recommended that children 3 years old or younger, still drink cow’s milk or breast milk, as these alternatives have a higher content of the fat growing bodies require to develop properly.

Jessica CaporuscioPharmacist

“Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat. The healthy fats in almond milk may help people lose weight and keep it off”.

When is it recommended to use almond milk?

Due to its low caloric content, almond milk can be consumed at any time of day, although it is best ingested in the morning. Drinking a glass of almond milk with breakfast is a great way to gently activate the digestive processes of the body — which helps prevent symptoms of constipation, inflammation and colics.

For instance, you could have almond milk for breakfast, served with tea or in a smoothie. Also, almond milk has a high water content, which means including it in your daily diet will help you stay hydrated by enabling you to reach the 2 litre daily water intake recommended by healthcare professionals.

How does almond milk support weight loss?

Its low caloric value and high content of non-saturated fatty acids, make it the ideal drink when trying to lose weight. Both of these properties, are crucial factors to weight loss and sustained weight management, since they play a role in maintaining low levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body.

Almond milk is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that supports the proper functioning of the heart and other organs. These fats support an efficient metabolic process, which is vital to weight loss. Last but not least, almonds contain high levels of antioxidants, which are essential during fat burn.

Atli ArnarsonPhD, Medical News Today

“You can drink a lot of almond milk without having to worry about gaining weight. It is also nutrient dense, giving you many nutrients in relation to its caloric content.”.

What is the difference between almond milk and other plant-based milks?

Although they are all grouped under the same term, vegetable beverages are not all the same and do not have the same nutritional composition. Along with almond milk, some of the most popular plant-based alternatives in Canada are rice, oats and soy milk.

The only similarity between these alternatives is that they are made from diluting and blending different nuts, cereals, legumes or seed extracts with water. Most of these drinks do not reach the nutritional level of dairy milk, but they still have other properties that are very beneficial to our health.

The nutritional information of each of these drinks will depend on the base vegetable material and the minerals or vitamins the drink retains after processing. A general nutritional breakdown of each type of milk is outlined in the table below.

Values per 100 ml Whole Cow’s Milk Almond Milk Oat Milk Soy Milk Rice Milk
Calories 62 27 40 39 49
Protein 3.3 0.5 1.3 3.1 0.2
Fat 3.3 1.2 0.9 1.7 1
Carbohydrates 5.4 3.4 6.3 2.4 9.7
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Did you know that 20% of Canadians are lactose intolerant? Almond milk is naturally lactose-free, making it a good alternative to dairy.

Can diabetics have almond milk?

Among the many plant-based alternatives to milk, Almond milk is one of the best options for diabetics. This is due to the fact that it’s mostly a natural product, so its digested quickly and its calorie and carbohydrate levels are low, helping maintain blood sugar levelled. Beyond that, minerals like iron and vitamins A, D and E help combat weakness and anaemic symptoms.

However, someone with diabetes should make sure to consume only almond milk that contains no added sugars or any other preservatives or additives as this could cause blood sugar levels to spike.

Woman drinking organic almond milk holding a glass in her hand in the kitchen. Bottle and fruit on the table. Diet vegetarian product

Almond milk is naturally dairy- and lactose-free, making it a good option for those avoiding dairy. (Source: Artem-Oleshko: 116563138/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

As you may have learned throughout this guide, there are some important things to keep in mind when buying almond milk products. Even though most of these drinks are made without gluten and lactose, and are meant to be low in calories; we recommend staying away from products that contain added sugars and preservatives.

Keeping the following purchase criteria in mind can help you choose the right almond milk product at the time of purchase:

Nutritional Composition

Almond milk should not contain more than 50 calories per 100 ml. In addition, if you’re looking to replace dairy milk with almond milk, you should look for products that have been enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Moreover, it’s important to make sure the product you choose has low levels of saturated fat, since this factor will help maintain proper digestion and also allow you the opportunity of losing weight.

Presence of gluten and lactose

Lactose and gluten is absent from the base recipe of almond milk, but some brands warn that the product may be exposed to or contain traces of ingredients that have gluten — like soybeans and peanuts, among others. Coeliacs and people with an intolerance to lactose should pay particular attention to this information.

Presence of added sugars or additives

Almond milk is naturally low in sugar however some brands sweeten the drink to improve its flavour. This completely breaks the nutritional composition of almond milk and should be avoided at all costs. Particularly if you are looking to lose weight and improve metabolic action.

Presence of allergens

As with gluten and lactose, some types of almond milk may contain allergens such as peanuts or soybeans. Those who suffer from food allergies of any kind should read the nutritional label of the product carefully to avoid any complications and negative interactions.

Origin of ingredients

Most brands of almond milk contain 100% natural ingredients, which is why almond milk suits those who wish to have a diet that relies on natural foods.

However, it is important to read the nutrition label carefully to ensure that the product you buy does not contain additives or preservatives that may not be entirely natural or beneficial.

Summary

Almond milk is a drink with a rich nutritional composition and numerous health benefits. In almost all cases it can replace dairy milk and its low calorie, sugar and fat content makes it an ideal drink for weight management. Moreover, this milk can also help regulate blood cholesterol levels and improve digestion.

Furthermore, almond milk is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium as well high in vitamins A, E, D and the B group. These factors contribute to improved cardiovascular health, a healthy immune system and preventing gastrointestinal complications. Keep in mind that almond milk should be made without gluten or lactose.

Which means it is a great alternative for coeliacs and those who are lactose intolerant. Nonetheless, it is always necessary to pay close attention to the list of ingredients and disclaimers of each product, since they may include low doses of added sugars and unhealthy additives to their recipe.

If you found the information in this guide useful, don’t hesitate to share it with your loved ones, so they too can reap the benefits of incorporating almond milk into their diet.

(Source of featured image: Anawat Sudchanham: 50307518/ 123rf.com)

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