How much health can almond milk bring us? Almond milk or any nut milk as a replacement for cow’s milk? How many almond kernels are needed to make a liter of almond milk? Is almond milk a sustainable choice?
Those are some questions that arise when you are planning to switch to a plant based milk for whatever reason.
Read time: 6 mins
Good things experts tell you about almonds
This is true for any food that needs a portfolio for promotional purposes.
- They list nutritional values of vitamins and minerals present in almonds and praise such foods that have a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals.
- They list a bunch of benefits with positive words like benefits, helps, fights, prevents, maintains, reduces, lowers, assists, regulates, controls, protects, improves, nourishes, contributes, promotes, plus the rest of the feel good positive words.
- They tell you how to eat them and support their claim with “scientific evidence” from case studies conducted by “who knows” on a group of people (5 10 20?) for a certain period of time (1 2 3 days/weeks?) and summarizing the results in percentages %.
Percentages & Case Studies in Research Methods
Manufacturers use case studies as their go to evidence to sell their products. Have you seen Ads that shout “feed this to your kids and they grow 2X in 2 months”?
Although case studies can be used as a means to test and validate a product and to improve existing products, they have their own shortcomings.
Here are some demerit of case studies
1. Case studies are time consuming and costly.
2. It’s subjective and conducted on a certain group of people belonging to certain geography who live a certain lifestyle.
3. Meaning, the results cannot be generalized and applied to people around the globe.
4. Since these studies are conducted on a limited number of people in limited time, it’s not reliable for knowing the outcome of prolonged use of products being tested.
And then we have percentages. OK, what about it?
Percentages don’t give the real picture and can be deceptive depending on the context it’s being used.
Say 10 people participate in a tasting study for an upcoming brand that plans to sell almonds. 8 people say “this almond tastes slightly better than other samples” and 2 say “They taste alike”.
What this means is “80% people found our almonds better than others”
That’s a great tagline when printed on the package. Sales!
If you are someone who believes everything shown on TV and Print as the truth, you are either already promoting superfoods or bragging about your inclination to such superfoods. Aren’t you?
How We Perceive Those “Positive Words” used in Ads and food packages.
|Improves my immunity so I don’t get sick often, fights my cancer so I could reverse it someday or survive it. Picture a body guard who protects health.
|Prevents me from getting a heart attack, from getting cancer, prevents me from becoming a diabetic. Prevention is better than cure.
|Keeps my health from getting worse. Maintain my condition. Maintains good health.
|Provides nutrients for my body. My skin is going to be shiny and my hair silky. Good nourishment is brain development for kids.
|Helps Fat loss, helps everything!
As you can see, positive words like these bring in a healthy feeling. The results you see by eating superfoods are at best anecdotal. Be it superfoods or fad diets, What works for you may not work for others.
Therefore treat all healthy food as nutritious rather than tagging it as superfood and promoting your belief in a particular group of food.
Then there is this association of certain food as good for the heart, good for the brain and such. Targeting organs with particular superfood. Is that why superfoods are referred to as a magic bullet?
Almonds are not Magic Bullets and Superfoods Don’t Help!
Think about this, when you hear a lot of praise for certain foods, subconsciously, you treat such food as superfoods.
You go nuts for almonds, thinking you have found a magic bullet for health.
This is true for any food promoted for its super goodness content.
Superfoods don’t work in isolation, no matter the kind of evidence experts and researchers use to convince us. Eating a bunch of superfoods everyday? You are likely overdosing your vitamin and mineral intake or falling short on other vitamins from foods you ignored because they are not super.
You can drink almond milk or eat 5 soaked and peeled almonds for the rest of your life and still have health issues.
Because it’s not about those 5 almonds, It’s the 10000 other things you put in your mouth and head that decides your health.
Read that again.
Don’t be lost in the overwhelming goodness of superfoods. And there are millions of superfoods, I mean everything made by nature. The chances of preferring certain groups of food over a balanced food may lead to nutrient overdose and deficiencies.
If you are buying “nut milk” hoping to improve health, you need to know it’s no match for cow’s milk. Let me tell you, I am using cow’s milk for comparison and not promoting it.
Almond milk is no match for cow’s milk.
Here is an ingredient label for a 1 Liter almond milk pack, almond paste used is only 5.7%, that’s about 57ml of almond paste. I am feeling generous today so let’s make that 60ml.
Let us milk the almond further.
First, to make a paste you need to soak almonds overnight and peel them.
The average weight of 1 dry almond is 1.2 grams.
4-5 soaked almonds make a tablespoon (~15 grams) of paste.
About 20 dry almonds are sufficient to make 60 grams(approximately 60ml) of paste.
When you pay for a liter of almond milk, you are essentially paying for 20 dry almonds! And common sense dictates, 20 almonds are no match for a liter of milk.
Wondering what’s the rest of the stuff in that almond milk pack?
Read that label again.
Besides water, the rest of the ingredients are derived flavors and synthetic vitamins. There are also emulsifiers (that keeps everything sticking together) and thickeners (ah the smooth creamy feel)
Is that factory made nut milk really beneficial for health? Think again.
All I see is chemical and plastic goop in the package.
Conclusion on milking almonds
Almonds are a great source of natural food that provides essential goodies for health like protein, good fats and vitamins. Be it any nut, they all have their place on our plates, fried, roasted or milked.
It doesn’t matter how you eat them. Eat almonds because you like them and if you want to drink them, milk them yourself.
Let me conclude by saying, that a little bit of knowledge on the matter will go a long way in helping one make informed decisions. And when that decision involves saving tons of money?
I hope this was helpful.
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I will see you in another post and thanks for your time.