Can lactose intolerant drink almond milk?
In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can lactose intolerants drink almond milk?” and the benefits of almond milk.
Can lactose intolerants drink almond milk?
It is possible for those who are lactose intolerant to drink almond milk. These products do not contain lactose and are cholesterol free since these components are only present in animal products.
Besides allergies, almond milk substitutes have a low protein content. If these products are consumed to replace cow’s milk in the diet and used as a protein source it may pose a risk, because it can cause a protein deficit and severe illnesses. (1)
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a condition that affects the mucosa of the small intestine, hindering the digestion and absorption of lactose from the diet. This occurs when the body has low activity or doesn’t produce enough of the lactase enzyme, β-D-Galactosidase.
Individuals with lactose intolerance may experience various symptoms including flatulence, abdominal discomfort, swelling, bloating, nausea, stomach rumbling, vomiting, constipation, watery diarrhea with acidic stools, perianal discomfort, dehydration, metabolic acidosis, and, in severe cases, malnutrition. (1)
What are the health benefits of almond milk?
Almond milk offers numerous health benefits, particularly in relation to improving blood lipid profiles and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Consuming almonds is also associated with promoting healthy digestion, preventing anemia and certain types of cancer, and offering protection against free radicals.
Almonds are renowned for being a rich source of vitamin E and other antioxidants, which play a crucial role in maintaining good health. However, it’s worth noting that almond milk, primarily consisting of water, is less concentrated in these beneficial nutrients compared to whole almonds.
Nonetheless, almond milk contains valuable bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, vitamin E, and polyamines, which exhibit antioxidant properties. Moreover, almond milk provides dietary fibers and phytosterols, both of which contribute to its overall health-promoting properties.(1, 2)
What is the difference between almond milk from regular milk?
Compared to proteins derived from animal sources, almond and other plant proteins generally have a lower nutritional quality due to limitations in certain essential amino acids. Additionally, their digestibility is typically inferior to that of proteins found in milk.
Proteins from legumes, such as almonds, often have lower levels of cysteine and methionine, while proteins from cereals tend to have lower levels of lysine. This imbalance in amino acid composition affects the overall quality of these plant proteins.
Among plant-based milk alternatives, only soy milk beverage provides a protein content similar to that of cow’s milk. It is generally considered a complete protein. (1)
What is the nutritional profile of almond milk?
Almonds are composed of several essential components, including proteins, lipids (fats), soluble sugars, minerals, and fibers.
The predominant component in almonds is lipids, accounting for approximately 35 to 52% of their composition, while proteins make up around 22 to 25%. The lipids present in almonds consist mainly of unsaturated fatty acids, which are considered healthier fats.
The proteins in almonds are primarily composed of essential amino acids that are vital for various bodily functions.
Apart from proteins and lipids, almonds are rich in a variety of nutrients. They are abundant in calcium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper, all of which play important roles in maintaining overall health.
In addition to their nutritional content, almonds also possess prebiotic properties. This is due to the presence of a carbohydrate called arabinose, which acts as a food source for beneficial bacteria in the gut. This prebiotic nature of almonds can contribute to promoting a healthy gut microbiome. (1)
Yes, almond milk can cause gas or flatulence. This is because both almond seeds and soybeans naturally contain oligosaccharides, particularly α-galactooligosaccharides such as raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose.
The consumption of almond milk, with its high content of α-galactooligosaccharides, may lead to flatulence or increased gas production. The reputation of α-galactooligosaccharides as contributors to flatulence has resulted in their perception as undesirable components.
However, it’s important to note that α-galactooligosaccharides have also demonstrated potential prebiotic activity, which can be beneficial for gut health. (3)
This problem can also occur due to the stabilizers added in the almond milk to make it last longer. One of these stabilizers, carrageenan, is particularly notorious for causing bloating, inflammation, and even stomach ulcers. (4)
In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “can lactose intolerants drink almond milk?” and the benefits of almond milk.
- Silva, A. R. A., Silva, M. M. N., & Ribeiro, B. D. Health Issues and Technological Aspects of Plant-based Alternative Milk. Food Research International, 108972. 2020.
- Vanga SK, Raghavan V. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk? J Food Sci Technol.;55(1):10-20.2018.
- Yu-Ping Huang, Bruna Paviani, Naomi K. Fukagawa, Katherine M. Phillips, Daniela Barile, Comprehensive oligosaccharide profiling of commercial almond milk, soy milk, and soy flour. Food Chemistry, 409, 135267, ISSN 0308-8146, 2023.
- Siddiqui, A. A., Feroz, A., Khaki, P. S. S., & Bano, B. Binding of λ-carrageenan (a food additive) to almond cystatin: An insight involving spectroscopic and thermodynamic approach. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 98, 684–690. 2017.