We tend to assume that substitutes are filling a nutritional void or helping us avoid allergies, and therefore substitutes are healthier … or at the very least as “good for us” as their counterparts. A recent article in Consumer Reports puts that assumption to the test by comparing milk to all its many substitutes.
Notable findings include the alarming news that rice milk has detectable amounts of arsenic and that most soy milk is made from genetically modified beans. There were also an awful lot of sugars—disguised as ingredients such as “cane juice” or “rice syrup”—in products such as hemp milk.
Another article, recently published in Mother Jones, brings to light questions surrounding our newly developed taste for almond milk. In it, Tom Philpott reports that almond milk sales are up 50 percent in this country, easily making up two-thirds of plant-based milk substitute products. While Philpott admits to understanding consumers’ doubts about drinking standard milk due to the “pretty nasty business” of dairy production, not to mention lactose intolerance. He also believes almond milk to be “an abuse of a great foodstuff” and explains ...
A single ounce (28 grams) of almonds contains 6 grams of protein (aboutan egg's worth), along with 3 grams of fiber (a medium banana) and 12 grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (half an avocado). [Here’s the full nutritional breakdown.] According to its label, an 8-ounce serving of Califia almond milk offers just 1 gram each of protein and fiber, and 5 grams of fat. A bottle of Califia delivers six 8-ounce servings, meaning that a handful of almonds contains as much protein as the mighty jug of this hot-selling beverage.”
Philpott concludes that the almond milk industry is therefore making a huge profit from selling us what amounts to nothing more than a “jug of filtered water clouded by a handful of almonds.”
These facts may or may not turn you away from milk substitutes but as consumers we are always on a quest to know what we are paying for and putting into our bodies.
Milk Substitutes: Should You Sip or Skip? via Consumer Reports
Lay of the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters via Mother Jones
Read all articles by Juniper Briggs