It seems we are all going nuts about nut milk at the moment. Almost every cafe I visit offers a dairy free alternative for patrons to enjoy with their coffee. Now, I know everyone seems to be interested in whether their coffee is single origin and organic but rarely do people know where their milk comes from (and really in most cases it makes up the biggest majority of that cuppa you are enjoying so it matters!). Dairy intolerance is a real thing, and many people do feel better when not consuming dairy. I think it’ s great that we not have some dairy free options available, but nut milks are big business these days and they are not always a healthy option. Here are some key questions to ask yourself before purchasing your nut milk.
- Is It Shelf Stable? Shelf – stable nut milks are UHT treated (Ultra High Temperature). This stops nasty bugs from breeding in your milk (which is a good thing) but makes the end result devoid of nutrients and enzymes (not a good thing). Try a fresh almond milk (found in the refrigerated section of your health food store or supermarket) or make your own. You can find an easy recipe here
- What Preservatives Does It Contain? Once again, these are included in the product to keep it stable but some of these can have a negative impact on our health. For instance, vegetable Gum ‘407’ which is also known as carrageen, is one in particular which I would be looking to avoid. It just so happens to be an ingredient in one of the most popular almond milk products circulating in local cafes in Melbourne at the moment
- What is It Packaged In? I called up one of the manufacturers of a reputable healthy almond milk brand to find out exactly what is in the packaging used to pack the milk. Unfortunately there is aluminium which is covered in a plastic resin. I have been assured the resin is food grade and BPA free but I’m still uneasy with what it is likely to contain and whether any of these chemicals can leech into your nut milk
- Does It Have a High Sugar Content? Many nut milks are made more palatable by adding sugar (this may be in the form of rice malt syrup which sounds healthier but is still a sugar!) and this can have an impact on your weight and your health. Many of my patients (especially those looking to improve their body composition), forget to include the calorie content of their coffee and this can have a significant impact on your food intake.
Ask these questions and be informed about what you are drinking because it really does matter and can impact on your health, especailly if you are consuming nut milks daily. Vote with your dollar. Ask your cafe which almond milk they use and if it’s a less than desirable one, ask them to change!
Need help deciphering food labels to work out whether your almond milk is a healthy option? I can help you. Get in touch here