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What to Know About Sweetened Almond Milk

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 09, 2021

‌If you’re looking for a vegan or lactose-free alternative to cow’s milk, almond milk is one nut milk that may be suitable for you. It also has some nutritional benefits of its own.

What Is Sweetened Almond Milk?

‌Almond milk is a dairy- and cholesterol-free plant-based milk. It's made by grinding almonds with water, straining the liquid, and adding vitamins and minerals. It's lactose-free and suitable for those who are vegan or have lactose intolerance. This nut milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamins A, D, and E.

Sweetened almond milk has added sweeteners, such as stevia, cane sugar, dates, maple syrup, or honey. You can buy sweetened almond milk in flavors like vanilla and chocolate. It may have stabilizers and preservatives to improve its shelf life. 

Almond milk is available at grocery stores and markets, but you can also make it at home.

How to Make Sweetened Almond Milk at Home

‌To make almond milk at home, blend a cup of soaked almonds in a blender with some water. You can peel the almonds or leave them as they are. Strain this mixture to remove the solids. The smooth liquid that remains is almond milk. 

If you want a thicker almond milk, leave the solids in. If you prefer your milk on the thinner side, add more water. Add a sweetener of your preference – maple syrup, sugar, dates, or honey – or even fruits, berries, cocoa, or nuts. 

You can drink sweetened almond milk or add it to your diet in other ways:

  • Use it in tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.
  • Pour it over breakfast cereal.
  • Make dairy-free desserts and puddings with it.
  • Blend it in shakes or smoothies. 
  • Use it instead of cow’s milk in baked goods.

Difference Between Sweetened and Unsweetened Almond Milk

Many people prefer the taste of sweetened almond milk over unsweetened almond milk. But there’s another important difference.

One cup of sweetened almond milk contains 15 grams of sugar and 91 calories, while one cup of unsweetened almond milk contains 0 grams of sugar. The sweetened version also has more than double the calories.

Unsweetened almond milk is a healthier choice since it has fewer calories and less sugar content than the sweetened version. 

Health Benefits of Sweetened Almond Milk

‌Aside from higher sugar and calorie content, sweetened almond milk has benefits similar to those of unsweetened almond milk, including: 

Substitute for cow’s milk. Cow’s milk can cause reactions in those who are allergic to it. Whole milk is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which aren’t heart-healthy. Cow’s milk can also cause stomach problems in people with lactose intolerance – the inability to digest lactose. Sweetened almond milk can be a safe, lactose-free substitute. 

Suitable for a vegan diet. Sweetened almond milk is acceptable on a vegan diet. Nut milk contains no animal products.

Rich in antioxidants. Sweetened almond milk is rich in vitamin E, containing about 6.74 milligrams per cup. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that helps to protect your body from the inflammation. It also boosts your immune system.

Fortified with nutrients. Commercially sold almond milk has added calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, B2, D, and E. These nutrients protect your body in the following ways: 

  • Calcium strengthens your bones and prevents diseases.
  • Vitamin D allows calcium to be taken up by the body and helps maintain bone health.
  • Vitamin A helps maintain and protect your eye health.
  • Vitamin B2 – riboflavin – helps you digest your food.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your body against oxidative damage.
  • Iron protects your blood cells and prevents anemia.

Risks Associated with Sweetened Almond Milk

‌Sweetened almond milk has health benefits, but there are also some things to keep in mind:

Low protein content. Sweetened almond milk has less protein than soy milk or cow’s milk. It has 1 gram of protein per 8-ounce serving. So make sure you’re getting enough protein from other sources if you switch to almond milk. 

Higher in calories. Sweetened almond milk has more sugar and calories than the unsweetened type. Drinking too much sweetened almond milk (or any sweetened drink) could lead to weight gain. 

Not suitable for infants. Sweetened almond milk has low levels of protein. It’s not recommended for babies in their first year of life.

Unsweetened almond milk is better for you than sweetened almond milk. If you prefer sweetened almond milk, enjoy it in moderate amounts. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science Journal: “Development of Non Dairy Milk Alternative Using Soymilk and Almond Milk.”

International Milk Genomics Consortium: “Almond ‘Milk:’ A Case of Identity Theft?”

Katz, A. “Milk Nutrition and Perceptions.” Johnson & Wales University. 2018.

Nutrients: “Cow’s Milk Substitutes for Children: Nutritional Aspects of Milk from Different Mammalian Species, Special Formula and Plant-Based Beverages.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Beverages, almond milk, sweetened, vanilla flavor, ready-to-drink.

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