Not all almond milk is created equally
Almond milk is obtained by milking almonds. Not quite like you think, but in basic terms, you blitz up activated almonds with water and then extract all the almond (the tough stuff) and squeeze out all the milk.
In its purest form, almond milk should consist of almonds and water. However, the need to add additives, sweeteners, thickeners, and preservatives exists, for a sweeter taste, longer shelf life and many others.
A common ingredient in almond milk is Carrageenan. An additive derived from seaweed which is being studied in more detail. At this stage, it has been classified as safe to eat. However, it can cause some stomach problems with some people.
Other common additives are xanthan gum and sweeteners like rice syrup, cane sugar, and Natvia.
But what is the difference between them all? Almond milk percentages range from as low as 2% almond content up to 14%. However, is this a true representation of the almond content in your almond milk.
It stands to reason that dried almonds would weigh less than activated almond, which has been left to absorb water for a period of time. If one producer uses 10% of activated almonds and another producer uses 5% of grown almonds in their almond milk, are they the same?
Let’s break it down to make it easy to spot the difference. Almonds are approximately 21% protein and using basic math, you would expect to see the same percentage of protein on the bottle as your calculation.
A simple formula you can use. We multiply the percentage of protein in almonds by the percentage of almonds per 100ml on the bottle:
0.21 x 14 = 2.94
If the bottle has 2.94g of protein per 100ml then we have a good almond percentage.
If your bottle is significantly less, you should expect that they are using activated almonds as the source of the percentage of almonds in the milk.
This is not a bad thing, activated almonds supposedly improve how you digest them and increase the nutritional content of the almond.
There is also room for variation in the protein, from the use of other ingredients or how they are processed. But use this as a simple tool to see how close your brand can get to the protein content of almonds.
Choose unsweetened almond milk and those with the least amount of ingredients. Close to pure, is always best