Is Vanilla-Sweetened Almond Milk Healthy

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Is Vanilla Almond Milk Healthy? Pros & Cons

 

Is almond milk healthier than calf’s milk? And is unflavored, unsweetened almond milk preferable to sweetened vanilla?

 

What Is The Difference Between Sweetened And Unsweetened Almond Milk?

The difference is added sugar. In general, I’m in favor of cutting down on intake of empty calories whenever possible. We get only about 2,000 in the calorie bank every day–why not try to make them count? So almond milk versus almond milk with added sugar is a no-brainer decision for me, but I guess it depends on what you’re using it for. If the only way you would drink green tea is with the sweetened variety, then overall it would be healthier for you to stick with the added sugar (though your taste buds would probably adapt to the unsweetened variety), or you could try adding a harmless sweetener such as date sugar.

 

Almond Milk Vs Cow Milk

Almond milk is certainly superior to calf’s milk, if only because of the lack of saturated animal fat, cholesterol, and hormones (see, for example, my videos Acne & Cancer Connection and Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero)

Cows’ milk has been found to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells in each of 14 separate experiments, producing an average increase in cancer growth rate of over 30%. In contrast, almond milk suppressed the growth of these cancer cells by over 30%. I discuss this in more detail in my video Prostate Cancer & Organic Milk vs. Almond Milk.

 

Is Almond Vanilla Milk Good For You?

Regular commercial almond milks often offer fortification of: 

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12

The vanilla question is interesting, though. Given its popularity, I was surprised there wasn’t more science published on the health effects of vanilla orchid fruit phytonutrients. There are two in vitro studies that suggest vanillin, one of the many aromatic compounds in vanilla, may be protective against colorectal and cervical cancer, but no clinical or epidemiological studies have been published to my knowledge. There was also a study showing that vanilla extract may interfere with bacterial communication, concluding vanilla “might promote human health by…preventing bacterial pathogenesis.”

The most unusual vanilla study may be one published out of Germany in 1999. Researchers wanted to know if our olfactory memory goes back even further than our verbal memory. Do we subconsciously remember tastes and smells from our infancy before we could even put them into words? They realized that there was a time certain German infant formulas were flavored with vanilla, so they challenged a group of adults with a vanilla-containing food. But they couldn’t just use your typical vanilla flavored confection because it could introduce too many other new variables. They had to choose something that no one would have ever associated with vanilla. So they concocted… vanilla-flavored ketchup! And guess what? Two-thirds of those bottle fed with vanilla as infants preferred the vanilla ketchup, whereas two thirds of the rest were like “blech!” and chose the regular ketchup. The moral of the story is that perhaps if breastfeeding women eat lots of healthy foods, their broccoli-flavored breast milk might get remembered years down the road! And indeed I even have a new video about that: The Best Baby Formula.

 

What Are The Downsides Of Almond Milk?

Regular commercial almond milks often have added salt and thickeners of questionable safety, such as carrageenan. Check out my video Is Carrageenan Safe?

You don’t want kids to be drinking too much almond milk. There have been a few case reports of little kids drinking four cups a day and running into kidney stone problems due to its relatively high oxalate content, which averages about five times more than soy milk.

 

How To Make Almond Milk At Home?

Combine 2 tablespoons of smooth, raw almond butter, and 2 cups of water in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the milk to a glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid and chill until ready to serve. Shake well before using.

See the full recipe for healthy homemade almond milk.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


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