What is it?
A white liquid made from blending almonds with water, salt and other flavourings. The blended mixture is strained to remove the almond pulp and the remaining liquid is used as a dairy-free alternative to milk.
The health claims?
- Almond milk is a great milk substitute as it’s full of calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins and potassium
- It’s a high protein drink
- It is more slimming than cows’ milk as it is low calorie
- Drinking the ‘superfood’ nut milk helps keep skin healthy and glowing
The scientific facts?
- Home-made almond milk is actually devoid of many nutrients. Why? Because it’s mainly water. The bulk of the almonds used to make the drink are discarded and never make it into the drink. Let’s do the maths: one cup of almonds (around 100g), which contains around 21g of protein, 350mg of calcium, 705mg potassium, 0mg vitamin D and 0mg vitamin A, is used to make four 250ml cups of the popular nut milk. No studies have looked into exactly how much of the calcium, potassium and protein make it into the liquid and how much stays in the almond pulp that is thrown away, but it’s estimated that less than a quarter of the almonds’ nutrients seep out into the water during blending. So, that’s a grand total of a paltry 1.25g of protein, 21mg of calcium and 44mg of potassium per 250ml glass of almond milk.
- This lack of nutrients in the home-made version of the so-called health drink is the reason shop-bought versions of the dairy-free drink are usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D – to make it nutritionally similar to cows’ milk.
- Shop-bought almond milk really should be called almond-flavoured water. Why? Because almonds make up just 2% of the average carton of the popular health drink (check out the label of Alpro’s version). It’s also a health myth that the nut milk is high in protein because even though whole almonds are 20% protein, almond milk contains around 0.5g of protein per 100mls.
- Claims that the drink is great for skin health are untrue. They are based on the health benefits of actual almonds rather than the resulting milk. Yes, the nuts themselves are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium and biotin, which all help keep skin looking healthy, but very little of these nutrients end up in almond milk.
- One health claim that the nut milk does live up to is that it is lower in calories than cows’ milk. Alpro’s original almond milk comes in at just 24kcals per 100mls whereas the same volume of semi-skimmed milk has double the calories (48kcals).
Nutritional facts – Almond milk (Alpro) versus semi-skimmed cows’ milk
Trendy superfood almond milk is touted as a healthy, dairy-free alternative to milk. But is it really a better dietary choice? Let’s see how 100mls of both compare:
- Kcals: Almond milk 24 v cows’ milk 48
- Carbohydrate: Almond milk 3g v cows’ milk 4.6g
- Sugar: Almond milk 3g v cows’ milk 4.6g
- Fibre: Almond milk 0.2g v cows’ milk <0.5g
- Protein: Almond milk 0.5g v cows’ milk 3.5g
- Fat: Almond milk 1.1g v cows’ milk 1.8g
- Saturated fat: Almond milk 0.1g v cows’ milk 1.1g
- Vitamins, minerals and miscellaneous: Alpro’s version of the popular nut milk is fortified to provide 15% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, vitamin D, E, B2 and B12. Cows’ milk has a better nutrient profile as it naturally provides double the amount of vitamin B12 and B2, and the same amount of calcium as almond milk. It’s also a good source of vitamin B1 and vitamin C and a modest source of vitamins E and A.
Winner: Cow’s milk. Although almond milk is lower in calories and slightly lower in sugar and fat, cows’ milk is a natural source of more vitamins, calcium and protein. In fact, almond milk is to cows’ milk what a dissolvable multivitamin is to a fresh fruit/vegetable smoothie. One is naturally crammed with goodness, while the other artificially mimics this goodness. If eating clean is important to you, the best option is quite clearly milk.
Worth the hype?
No. If you’re a fan of the popular nut milk because you like the taste and are on a dairy-free diet for personal or medical reasons then it could be a good fit for you. But if you’re adding it to your diet based on the belief that the drink boosts health, you’re wasting your money. There are much better dairy-free milk alternatives out there that actually benefit your health without artificial fortification, like coconut milk (which is naturally high in anti-bacterial agents, metabolism-boosting fatty acids and provides modest amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin C). If you are a fan of almond milk, why not make your own at home and keep the pulp for cooking? By doing so you’ll still benefit from the fibre and nutrients in whole almonds, while enjoying the taste of the nut milk.
Source: Article by Dr. Lauretta Ihonor BSC. MBBS. MA (http://www.drlaurettaihonor.com/almond-milk-know-virtually-no-almonds/)
When it comes to a ketogenic diet, you are going to need to get creative with some of the foods you start making.
However, some dishes you may want, may not be allowed on the diet because of the carb content it has. Lucky for you, there are low carb substitutes for almost any foods out there.
This article will provide you with 10 simple low carb substitutes that you are guaranteed to love. You won’t even be able to tell the difference anyway.
When people attempt to do keto or other low carb diets the biggest issue is that they don’t prepare and understand that most of their favorite foods have some pretty solid replacements.
Understanding how you can make bread without having to use the stuff that adds on the weight completely changes the game.
Instead of using regular or wheat flour you can use coconut or almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill is our favorite).
A quarter cup of coconut flour contains 6 grams of net carbs. This is compared to about 24 grams of carbs for regular wheat flour.
Almond flour contains about 3 grams of carbs for a quarter cup.
When it comes to health benefits, coconut and almond flour are much better than regular flour.
Both types of flour contain quality fats that your body will use for energy instead of the glucose provided by other types of flour.
Almond flour has more high-quality fats (which is why we prefer it) and it’s also high in Omega-6 which has anti-inflammatory properties in large amounts. This is part of the reason the keto diet works so well, it reduces inflammation that happens when you eat certain foods.
Another benefit of these flours is that they help speed up your metabolism, which is something that you want when you are trying to shed pounds off your body. Along with a faster metabolism, you’ll also have better digestive health.
Those two almost go hand in hand. Better digestion usually leads to a faster metabolism, but a fast metabolism doesn’t necessarily translate to better digestive health.
Breadcrumbs are one of those ingredients that always seem to add that extra bit of goodness to any dish. When you think about it, they may seem like a hard thing to truly replace.
There is, however, a great substitute for your typical, everyday breadcrumbs. Crushed up pork rinds are perfect in the placement of breadcrumbs. That’s right, pork rinds.
Trust me, I know how it sounds. This is something you would probably never think of, but they work almost exactly like breadcrumbs.
When you’re using them, all you have to do is crush them up and use them like you would any other breadcrumbs.
The reason pork rinds are a great low carb substitute is that they don’t have any carbs. So instead of calling this a low carb substitute, we can call this a no carb substitute. They are filled with healthy fats and if you’re worried about losing electrolytes they also pack on the sodium.
Pork rinds make it easy to stay on a keto diet and you won’t even be able to tell the difference since they look just like breadcrumbs.
We all know how much you enjoy cooking meats with a little bit of breading on it, so you might as well try this so you can get a taste of your old, “unhealthy” lifestyle.
Plus, they are pretty cheap for giant bags and can be found at the corner gas station. How convenient!
Tortillas are always great when you want something like a burrito or taco. Unfortunately, tortillas have about 98 grams of carbs in one serving. That is way too high when you are looking to go low carb.
Because of this, you really do need to throw out all the tortillas in your life. It is time to substitute them with lettuce leaves.
Lettuce leaves only have about 1 gram of carbs per serving. That is significantly lower when you compare that to a typical tortilla.
Something to remember about lettuce leaves is that they add a nice crunch to any meal. The crunch isn’t like that of a taco shell, but you have something that every meal should have a little bit of.
You won’t have the same taste as a tortilla, but if you’re making something where the lettuce leaf is just there for support, that taste difference really won’t be a problem at all.
Rice, another one of those foods that seem like it just can’t be replaced. You might be thinking that since you can’t have rice, your meals are significantly limited because of this.
There is definitely one low carb alternative that is extremely similar to the lovable rice. This alternative or substitute is cauliflower rice.
Rice has about 45 grams of carbs per cup. Cauliflower rice has around 2.5 grams of net carbs per cup. The difference is clear.
If you’ve never seen cauliflower rice before, it looks like very tiny white cubes, very similar to the look of rice. You can tell the difference in appearance and texture, but when you combine it with other foods to make your low carb meal, you’ll be thinking you’re eating rice.
Sugar is something that I definitely struggle with when I’m trying to stick to a keto diet. I’ve always had a sweet tooth.
There are a lot of people that don’t realize that sugar is considered a carb. If you don’t believe me, just look at the nutrition facts of any candy. You’ll see that sugar falls under total carbohydrates.
Stevia is something that you should use if you have a slight sugar addiction like me. It is a great sweetener that doesn’t have the same effects as sugar does.
There may be one problem with stevia and that is when most people try it, they can immediately tell how different it is from sugar. Stevia has somewhat of an acquired taste at first and you may not like it when you first try it. However, if you continue to use it, that acquired taste will be something you get used to and eventually, you’ll start to forget how real sugar actually tastes in some of your foods.
Stevia comes in a few different forms. You can get it as a powder or a liquid.
We prefer the liquid version since it doesn’t have as much of the bitterness and it doesn’t require much to sweeten things up. Scooping the powder form makes us feel like we are piling on the sugar.
We can be weird sometimes.
Coffee by itself isn’t bad for a keto diet. The problem comes from what you add to the coffee. The additives are what makes a regular cup of coffee go from keto friendly to having all your carbs for the week in one cup.
If you aren’t one to drink black coffee, you need to have bulletproof coffee. It’s coffee with enough added to it that will give it some flavor so you aren’t stuck with that natural coffee taste.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that I hate not having my whole milk. It’s something that I grew up drinking and it helped make my protein shakes that much creamier. However, I know it’s not good when you’re on a low-carb diet.
Whole milk has over 11 grams of carbs in a cup. This is something that makes staying on a keto diet somewhat difficult because it forces you to limit your meals for the rest of the day.
A low carb substitute for whole milk is almond milk which has about 2 grams of carbs per serving.
If you love the creaminess of whole milk, drinking almond milk is definitely going to be very different for you. You may not really like it right away. The best thing to do is add it to any smoothies or protein shakes you might enjoy throughout your day.
Pouring a glass of almond milk and drinking it straight up isn’t something I would recommend because it’s just not the same as whole milk.
The good thing about almond milk, besides its low carb content, is that it is cheaper than regular milk and if you really felt like it, you could make it yourself. It is simple to make and will save you the hassle of going to the store every few days if you’re a frequent milk user.
I have never met a person that flat out hates mashed potatoes. It’s a comfort food that everyone can enjoy at some point.
However, as good as it tastes, you are looking at 35 grams of carbs from just one cup of mashed potatoes. Not one of the best options on a low carb diet.
One of the best low carb substitutes you can make for mashed potatoes is mashed cauliflower. When made the right way, I guarantee that you will not be able to tell the difference between mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower. They taste that good.
Making mashed cauliflower might be easier than making mashed potatoes too. You don’t have to worry about peeling any potatoes which are probably the most time-consuming part of making mashed potatoes. The total cook time for the cauliflower is less than the potatoes as well. It’s just an overall easier thing to make when you compare the two together.
Pizza is something that can make my mouth water from time to time, but the crust is something that is definitely not keto friendly at all.
There are actually a few low carb substitutes that can work quite well in place of your traditional pizza crust.
You can make pizza crust out of actual meat (save this for when you’re really craving a meaty pizza), almond flour, or even cheese.
It may seem like making an actual pizza crust out of some of these would be very difficult, but if you have the right utensils, you’ll be perfectly fine. There won’t be any problems at all and in the end, the pizza will be just as good as any pizza you’ve ever had.
Try Them Out
Don’t be scared to try these low carb substitutes. They may not be your typical first option when it comes to cooking, but if you are serious about going low carb, you are going to need to know some creative ways to have dishes that you grew up loving.