Losing weight is largely a question of balance. Or, more accurately, imbalance. To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body needs. This is called a calorie deficit. This calorie shortfall forces your body to burn fat for fuel.
In contrast, if you consume more calories than you need, which is known as a positive energy balance, your body will convert those unused calories into fat, and you’ll gain weight.
Diets create a negative calorie balance in several different ways. Some involve eating smaller meals, while others reduce the number of meals you can eat. Others, such as keto, ban certain food groups. The end result is the same; a calorie deficit and weight loss.
Some diets replace high-calorie foods with lower-calorie equivalents. This raises the question, is almond milk good for weight loss?
It turns out that almond milk contains about 70% fewer calories than cow’s milk, so it could help you on your weight loss quest.
In this guide, we discuss the benefits of drinking almond milk and how you can use it to lose weight.
Is Almond Milk Good For Weight Loss?
What Is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a popular plant-based drink. It’s made from ground almonds and water.
The mixture is then filtered to remove any solids, leaving behind a liquid with a milk-like color and texture.
Because almond is made from nuts, unsurprisingly, it has a nutty taste.
Most brands of almond milk are fortified with vitamins and minerals to make them more comparable to dairy milk.
However, unlike dairy milk, almond milk is completely free from lactose and 100% vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
Some almond milks are sweetened and flavored, but these products are best avoided if you are interested in weight loss. Instead, you should stick to unsweetened/unflavored varieties, as they are usually lower in calories.
Almond milk is perfect for anyone with lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, or who prefers not to drink dairy milk.
While almonds are high in calories and fat, almond milk is not. This is due to the way almond milk is made – most of the nutritional solids are removed. Almond milk contains significantly fewer calories than cow’s milk, which weighs in at about 140 calories per cup. In contrast, one cup of unsweetened almond milk contains:
- 30 calories
- 2.5 grams of fat
- 1 gram of carbohydrates
- 0.7 grams of fiber
- 1 gram of protein
Flavored and sweetened almond milk contains more carbohydrates and calories, usually in the form of sugar. A cup of sweetened almond milk provides 93 calories and 16 grams of carbs.
In addition to its caloric content, almond milk also contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
However, it’s important to note that some of these are added by the manufacturer to boost the nutritional benefits of almond milk.
Almond Milk and Weight Loss
Almond milk is a common weight-loss food and can help shed those unwanted pounds in several different ways:
Low in calories – compared to cow’s milk, soda, and other popular beverages, almond milk is very low in calories.
Replacing dairy milk and soda with almond milk could save you a significant number of calories, increasing your caloric deficit.
Boost your metabolism – the calcium in almond milk could help speed up weight loss by increasing your metabolism.
Your metabolism is the number of calories your body burns each day. Drinking almond milk provides your metabolism with a small but valuable burst.
Filling – despite being low in calories, almond milk is surprisingly filling. Drink a cup of almond milk as a low-calorie snack or 15-30 minutes before a meal to reduce your appetite, so you don’t eat as much food.
Low in carbs – if you are on keto, almond milk could help you stay in ketosis. Unlike dairy milk, which is high in carbohydrates, unsweetened almond milk contains just one gram of carbs per cup, making it very keto-friendly.
Additional Benefits of Drinking Almond Milk
As well as being a helpful weight loss aid, drinking almond milk may also be good for your health. The benefits of drinking almond milk include:
High in calcium – like dairy milk, almond milk is high in calcium. Calcium is a critical nutrient that your body uses for lots of processes, including muscle contractions, regulation of your heartbeat, proper nerve function, and bone health. One cup of almond milk provides about 35% of the recommended daily amount of calcium.
More stable blood glucose – unlike dairy milk, unsweetened almond milk is naturally low in sugar and carbs. Drinking almond milk won’t increase your blood glucose. Low, stable blood glucose levels are linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, more stable energy levels, less hunger and fewer cravings, and increased fat burning.
Improved digestive health – almond milk contains naturally occurring pre and probiotics, which are good for the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. A healthier digestive system is linked to increased fat burning, less fat storage, increased immunity, and a lower risk of digestive upset.
Antioxidant benefits – almond milk contains several antioxidants, including vitamin E. Antioxidants are nutrients that provide protection from free radicals, which are unstable molecules linked to a host of negative health issues, including aging, macular degeneration, age-related cognitive decline, and some cancers.
Almond milk is mainly healthy. Because it’s lactose-free, it’s suitable for people who can’t drink dairy milk. It’s also keto diet compatible.
However, there are a couple of downsides to consider before adding almond milk to your diet:
Low protein – dairy milk is a good source of protein, and protein is a critical nutrient that is beneficial for weight loss and recovery from exercise.
However, almond milk is all but protein-free, so you’ll need to look elsewhere to ensure your diet contains sufficient protein.
Could cause allergies – people with nut allergies should avoid almond milk. After all, it’s made from nuts. Symptoms of nut allergies include hives, rashes, swelling of the tongue and lips, vomiting, and anaphylaxis.
Not suitable for infants – infants need maternal milk, cow’s milk, or formula for healthy development and growth. Almond milk does not contain the nutrients that a growing child needs.
May contain additives – some brands of almond milk contain additives, including sugar, flavors, salt, thickening gums, lecithin, and carrageenan, which are emulsifiers. Seek out pure almond milk if you want to avoid consuming these substances.
Almond milk is a viable alternative to dairy milk. It’s much lower in calories and, as such, replacing cow’s milk with almond milk could help you lose weight.
In addition, it contains several beneficial nutrients, which means it’s good for your health too. Unlike dairy milk, almond milk is free from lactose, so it’s safe for people with dairy allergies and lactose sensitivities.
Almond milk is widely available and easy to add to your diet. On the downside, some varieties contain added sugar and other unwanted ingredients.
For health and weight loss purposes, unadulterated, unsweetened almond milk is best. Almond milk is also easy to make and is something that you can do at home.
To make your own almond milk, soak two cups of almonds overnight and then drain. Put the soaked almonds in a blender with four cups of water and blitz on high for 1-2 minutes.
Pour the mixture through a fine filter and remove the solids. Flavor with vanilla extract if required, or add a sugar-free sweetener, such as stevia. Refrigerate your fresh almond milk for up to a week.
Drinking almond milk won’t automatically lead to weight loss, but it’s a useful weight-loss food because it’s low in calories, carbs, and sugar.