If you are into health your grocery store mission is likely to look for the healthiest possible foods on the shelves.
Almond milk – the new health craze
Almond milk seem to be just that. You know that almonds are good for you, full of fibre, protein, good fats and nutrients. Almonds are an excellent alternative to animal-derived protein sources such as dairy or meat.
This yummy nutrient-packed portable protein snack is too perfect to miss. Almonds are good for you, so should be almond milk, you think. Almond milk tastes really good, and is perfect for people looking for something other than soy milk or dairy on their cereals in the morning. What healthier breakfast can you have other than whole grains and almond milk in the morning, right? Wrong!
Duped by front label?
Many consumers buy products based on the front label without checking or comparing ingredients. Low fat foods, no sugar foods, all natural foods are flooding the shelves pretending to be healthier then the food next to it.
Unfortunately a vast majority of these “healthier” varieties are actually more inferior than the original products. Most contain fillers, artificial sweeteners and naturally derived non-natural ingredients. Yet, unless you actually read an ingredient list on the back of the package you will never know.
Almond milk – an expensive tap water
So let’s check out almond milk, an apparently one of the healthiest beverages. If you imagine that almond milk is made of almonds you are as far from the truth as lying on sandy beaches while visiting Antarctica.
Let’s take an example of Vanilla Almond milk that boasts on the front of the package to be a source of vitamin E and a low-calorie choice. Turning the package to the side offers even more incentives to buy the product. Who does not want highly nutritional beverage that is also low-fat, low cholesterol, and gluten-free. What better choice can you have if you are health oriented?
All nice, but let’s turn the package to the nutritional panel where you can investigate the facts. The first ingredient reads “filtered water”. Not a surprise here, because it is a beverage. The second ingredient should be almonds, you think, but instead it reads “cane sugar”. All ingredients are arranged in the order of amount present inside, so you are sure by now that almond milk has more sugar than almonds.
3 almonds in a cup?
How much sugar is there? Let me do a quick math for you. According to the label one cup of almond milk contains 12 grams of sugar. It the grams tell you nothing imagine 3 cubes of sugar, an equivalent of 12 grams. That is not bad at all as you are getting only 3 cubes of sugar in your cup. Yep, except that would you put 3 teaspoons of sugar to your tea? If you are conscious about sugar intake and reducing sugar in your tea or coffee 3 teaspoons may not be acceptable for you.
So what about almonds? They show up as the third ingredient. Now you must be scratching your head. If “almonds” are third on the ingredient list then their amount must be lesser than the sugar. If there are only 3 cubes of sugar in the cup of almond milk, there must be less than 3 cubes of almonds in the same cup! Can this be right? Let’s keep on calculating.
Math skills are Health Skills
It just happened that I had an almond butter handy. Almond butter is made of almonds and…. nothing else, just almonds. Perfect! So now we can compare the labels: almond milk vs. pure almond butter. In one cup of almond milk we have one gram of proteins and one gram of fat.
A quick look at the almond butter label and you will see that in one tablespoon there are three grams of protein and eight grams of fat. It means that one tablespoon of pure almonds have three grams of protein and eight grams of fat. Let’s quickly calculate.
To get the equivalent of one tablespoon of almonds in your almond milk you have to drink three cups of this beverage. So how much almonds in a cup of almond milk? One teaspoon. That’s right! There is only one teaspoon of almonds in a cup of almond milk, because three teaspoons equals to one tablespoon.
Trendy does not mean healthy
Are you into decaf, low carb, low sugar, low fat, low salt, and vegan diet? Are you putting a lot of effort, but ill-heath symptoms continue plaguing you? Headaches, low energy, weakness, constipation, cholesterol, period pain, bladder incontinence, weight issues, stiffness, and other?
Maybe trendy is not that healthy. Ask your grandma about health advice. She may have a surprise for you.