Almond milk is a popular alternative to cow’s milk, but does it make you poop? I’ve done my research and here are the facts.
Almond milk may make you poop more because it contains carrageenan which is known to increase bowel movements. Almond mil may also cause an allergic reaction in some people, which can result in diarrhea. Processed almond milk may also contain additives that can upset the gut, such as sugar, salt, flavors, gums, and carrageenan.
Keep reading to find out exactly why almond milk can cause diarrhea, as well as some additional side effects, dosage, and benefits of this drink.
Why Does Almond Milk Cause Diarrhea?
Almond milk does have the potential to cause diarrhea due to an ingredient added to it that makes it thicker. This ingredient is known as carrageenan and is derived from seaweed and algae that is also used in dairy products such as yogurt and cheese.
Some research has shown that it may have a laxative effect on the body, as it pulls more water into the intestine, resulting in loose stools and a fast bowel movement due to it becoming more slippery.
“If you eat a large amount, it seems to pull a lot of water into the intestine.”Schnoll-Sussman
However, it is important to note that while diarrhea may be due to the carrageenan in the almond milk, it can also be a symptom of an allergy, which brings me on to my next point!
Common Symptoms Of An Almond Milk Allergy
Making the change from regular milk to almond milk may be trading one allergic reaction for another! Tree nuts, such as almonds, are one of the most common allergy offenders.
Unlike an allergy to cow’s milk (usually resolves at an early age) tree nut allergies usually last a lifetime. In fact, only 9 percent of children will outgrow an allergy to almonds!
According to Healthline, these are some common symptoms of an almond allergy:
- Breathing difficulties
- Abdominal pain
- Runny Nose
Additionally, anaphylactic shock is much more common with allergies related to tree nuts. So be sure to make 100% sure you aren’t allergic before indulging in a glass of almond milk!
Additional Potential Health Risks of Almond Milk
When it comes to almond milk, there are some additional downsides health-wise that you may want to consider before switching to this plant-based alternative. Here they are below:
It’s Lower in Protein and Can Be Higher in Sugar
In many cases, almond milk is significantly lower in protein when compared to cow’s milk. One cup of almond milk contains roughly 1 gram of protein, whereas dairy milk has contains about 8 grams of protein per cup. That’s quite a difference!
Another concern is the added sugar that is so often added to plant-based milk. If this is a concern for you, then it is advisable to opt for unsweetened varieties next time you shop.
Unsuitable For Infants
According to PubMed, children younger than 1 year should avoid cow’s milk and plant-based milk, as these can prevent the absorption of iron.
Additionally, plant-based drinks and naturally lower in protein, fat, calories, and various other vitamins and minerals that are essential for development and growth of a young child.
In terms of nutrition, almond milk only provides 39 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein per 240 ml. This is certainly not sufficient for a growing child!
If you don’t want your baby to consume cow’s milk, rather continue to breastfeed or talk to your doctor for a better milk alternative.
Low in Protein
Almond milk provides only 1 gram of protein per cup (240 ml), compared to cow’s milk and soy milk which provides 8 and 7 grams, respectively.
Protein is vital for most bodily functions, and this includes the growth of muscle, skin, and bone, as well as enzyme and hormone production.
If you choose to drink almond milk it is advised that you balance it with animal products such as egg, fish, chicken, and beef. These are all excellent sources of protein.
May Contain Additives
Processed almond milk may contain various additives such as salt, sugar, flavors, gums, and emulsifiers such as lecithin and carrageenan. These ingredients are used for texture and consistency and are generally safe unless consumed in excess.
However, one study found that carrageenan, which is typically added to almond milk as an emulsifier and claimed as safe, may be harmful to your gut. However, there are still more studies that need to done to draw any solid conclusions.
Regardless, many companies steer clear of this additive completely, due to these concerns.
Lastly, many flavored and sweetened almond milk brands are high in sugar, which can result in weight gain, cavities in the teeth, and additional chronic conditions, according to PubMed.
Nevertheless, many companies avoid this additive altogether due to these concerns.
If this is a concern for you, then rather opt for unsweetened and unflavored almond milk.
How Much Almond Milk Is Too Much?
There is no definitive rule as to how almond milk you should be drinking. If you are only adding it to tea, coffee and breakfast cereals then chances are your intake will be minimal.
The important part is that you opt for the most nutritious options, and if you require calcium, then be sure to check that the brand you purchase contains around 300 mg of calcium per serving.
Health Benefits of Almond Milk
Now that we have covered the potential downsides of almond milk, it’s time to jump into some of the benefits of this tasty, plant-based drink. Here they are below:
High in Vitamin E
According to PubMed, almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for protecting cells from damage due to harmu free radicals.
Vitamin E is also good for maintaining eye and skin health, and may even play a role in protecting against heart disease.
One cup (240 ml) of shop-bought almond milk provides 110% of the DV for vitamin E, making it a simple and affordable method to reach your daily requirements, according to the USDA.
Unsweetened Varieties are Low in Sugar
While certain varieties of almond milk can be pretty high in sugar, the great thing about almond milk is that you have the option to select brands that are lower in sugar.
Unfortunately, many plant-based kinds of milk are flavored and sweetened. For example, one cup of chocolate-flavored milk can contain up to 21 grams of added sugar, which is more than 5 teaspoons!
Struggling to find unsweetened almond milk in the stores? Grab a bottle on Amazon here!
Insider Tip: When shopping for almond milk, also check that they do not contain added gums or emulsifiers, especially if you know you have a sensitive stomach. If you are are a vegan or vegetarian, choose almond milk that is fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
Worried about additives and want to make your own almond milk from home? Keep reading to learn how (it’s super easy)!
How To Make Your Own Almond Milk
- 2 cups (280 grams) of almonds (soaked)
- 4 cups (1 liter) of water
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla extract (this is optional)
Soak the almonds in water overnight and drain before use. Add the almonds, water, and vanilla to a blender and pulse for 1–2 minutes until the water is cloudy and the almonds are finely ground.
Step 01. Pour the mixture into a strainer over a bowel and line it with a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth. Make sure that you press down to extract the most liquid as you can. You should be left with approximately 4 cups of almond milk.
Step 02. Pour the milk into a serving container and leave it in your fridge for 05 days.
Is almond milk good for weight loss?
Almond milk is an excellent substitute for dairy if you are watching your calorie intake. Since it is not an animal product, it contains zero cholesterol. You can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, and cereal to enjoy guilt-free!
Is there a link between almond milk and skin conditions?
This is dependant on the person entirely. If you have a nut allergy, then the allergic response could affect your skin. It is always advised to check with your doctor before trying almond milk if you suspect any issues. Some almond milk contains sugar and vegetable oils which can promote inflammation and result in breakouts or worsened acne.