Almond Milk Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  11 min read
almond milk benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: almond milk is good for / helps eye health

Longevity: almond milk is good for / helps bone health, combat free radicals, detoxification, prevent heart disease

Appearance: almond milk is good for / helps skin health

Almond milk is…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: likely high, it takes 16,095 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of shelled or peeled almonds / 1,929 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of shelled or peeled almonds, high, (with shell), 8,040 liters of water to produce one kilogram of almonds with shell / 963 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of almonds with shell

Carbon footprint: likely high, 3.56 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of organic, dry almonds, a car driving equivalent of 8.25 miles or 13.25 kilometers

Destruction: high, almond production is relatively destructive, almonds are disruptive in ecosystems involving severe strain on bee populations

Almond milk is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, no animals are required to be killed for almond milk production

Harms: bees are required for commercial almond milk production, many bees are harmed during USA cross-country transportation for intense pollination practices in the name of almond production, which can also lead to spreading diseases and illnesses to other colonies

Indirectly kills or harms: ecosystems and wildlife, potentially bees, may be killed during cross-country transportation for intense pollination practices in the name of almond production, which can also lead to spreading diseases and illnesses to other colonies and ultimately effecting ecosystems and wildlife

Almonds milk is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Almond milk…

Where does most almond milk come from?

The world’s top almond milk exporting country is Switzerland, followed by Germany, USA, Denmark, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, China and Thailand.

What are almond milk uses?

Almond milk is used to drink directly, in cereals, drinks, smoothies, as a cow’s milk substitute, and more.

When are almonds in season?

In California almonds are harvested from mid-August through October.

Is almond milk nutritious?

Almond milk is surprisingly low in protein and sweetened almond milk is high in sugar. However, it’s common for commercial almond milk producers to fortify products with calcium and vitamins A, E, and D.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

almond milk is acidic.

Is almond milk alkaline or acidic? Almond milk is acidic. What is the pH level of almond milk? Almond milk has a 6.0 pH level, once digested.

When you eat food, it is broken down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

almond milk is gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Is almond milk gluten free? Yes, almond milk is typically gluten free. Almonds do not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

almond milk contains a common food allergen: tree nuts.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is almond milk a common food allergen? Yes, almond milk contains a common food allergen: tree nuts. Many people experience allergic reactions to almond milk.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

almond milk likely has a high water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does almond milk have a high or low water footprint? Almond milk likely has a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods and beverages.

What is the water footprint of almond milk? It takes 16,095 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of shelled or peeled almonds / 1,929 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of shelled or peeled almonds.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

According to Oxford Academic, The Hidden Water Resource Behind Meat and Dairy by Arjen Y. Hoekstra, “The water footprint of any animal product is larger than the water footprint of a wisely chosen crop product with equivalent nutritional value. In industrialized countries, moving toward a vegetarian diet can reduce the water-related footprint of people by 36%”.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

almond milk likely has a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does almond milk have a high or low carbon footprint? Almond milk likely has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods and beverages.

What is the carbon footprint of almond milk? It takes around 3.56 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of organic, dry almonds, a car driving equivalent of 8.25 miles or 13.25 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors that may be included are…

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

almond milk is unsustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is almond milk eco friendly? Is almond milk sustainable?

Almond milk production is relatively unsustainable as it is disruptive for ecosystems and involves a severe strain on bee populations.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

almond milk is vegan but pollinator intensive.

vegan brands and companies that sell vegan products

Is almond milk vegan? Yes, almond milk is vegan. Almond milk comes from tree nuts and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, it should be noted almond production is pollinator intensive and therefore problematic for bees, butterflies and other pollinator populations.

Almonds can be controversial since commercial almond production is pollinator intensive. While almond production doesn’t necessarily require an animal to be killed or exploited (that would be a “red” indication) it is a possibility that animals are sometimes used, in this case bees (hence the “yellow” warning for shoppers to investigate brands further or consume in moderation).

In the US, bees must be transported cross-country to pollinate almond trees in California (where nearly all US commercial almond production occurs). The process often kills many bees either due to the long transit itself or while pollinating the trees diseases spread, which are then brought back to the hive and fatal for the entire colony. Many know that pollinators, including bees, are critical to the ecosystem so if you don’t necessarily care or consider bees to be an animal of concern, please know that issues like this can be indirectly damaging to more forms of life than you realize.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

almond milk may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is almond milk a product with labor concerns? At this time there have been no major concerns with almond production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

Harvard, The Nutrition Source, Almonds

How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk?

USDA FoodData Central, Almond Milk

Food Standards Australia & New Zealand: Plant-based milk alternatives 

Economic Research Service U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Driven by Almonds, Pollination Services Now Exceed Honey as a Source of Beekeeper Revenue

USDA Bees, Pollination and Almonds Protecting a Crop and Protecting the Pollinators

Almond Board Of California

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.