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Is Almond Milk Good for Diabetes? Learn How to Make It at Home
Diabetes

Is Almond Milk Good for Diabetes? Learn How to Make It at Home

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 15
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7 min

Find out how almond milk can help you control your blood sugar and get healthier. Get the scoop on almond milk’s nutritional value, along with why it’s important to read the label before you buy it in store. To reap the most benefits, learn how to make sugar-free, low-calorie, and super healthy almond milk yourself.

is almond milk good for diabetes

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Having diabetes is one of the most demanding health conditions on the body that alters how it uses food for energy production. For people with diabetes, carb counting is everything. The rule here is to consume food low in carbohydrates but with the highest level of nutrition. 

Almond milk is a great choice for people with diabetes. As opposed to cow’s milk, which has at least 12 grams of sugar per cup, even after it has been skimmed of its fat, plain almond milk contains no sugar and is full of nutrients.

This article will tell you what almond milk is and its health benefits, how drinking it can help control blood glucose levels, how it compares to cow’s milk, and what to look for when purchasing it in stores.

Is Almond Milk Good for Diabetes?

For people with diabetes, unsweetened almond milk is good because it is low in calories, sugar-free, and high in magnesium, which regulates blood sugar levels. In addition, almond milk has more calcium per cup than cow’s milk.

Those with diabetes need to consume lots of protein but fewer carbs and fats, so most meat and nuts are off limits. The good news is that almond milk is high in protein but low in carbs and fats, so it’s perfect for a diabetes diet. 

You can snack on almond milk or almonds safely between meals if you have type 1 diabetes and must count every carb you consume. For people with type 2 diabetes, almond milk is the perfect way to maintain a calorie deficit and healthy weight while making their bodies more insulin-sensitive.

What Is Almond Milk?

Almond milk is a creamy, white beverage with a delicate nutty flavor. It is free of lactose, gluten, sugar, and unhealthy fats, making it a perfect alternative to cow’s milk. Also, it’s low in calories and high in fiber, so drinking almond milk is good for weight loss.

The nutritional profile of almond milk is excellent. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, D, and E. Due to almonds’ strong antioxidant properties, almond milk can promote bone, skin, eye, and overall health.

You can use it for smoothies, pair it with espresso, use it in place of cow’s milk when cooking, or simply drink it on its own. There are many retail stores and coffee shops that sell almond milk, but you can also make it at home by following the instructions below.

Almond Milk Nutritional Value

Almond milk contains antioxidants, vitamins A and B2, zinc, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. It’s dairy-free and cholesterol-free. Also, it has about 30% of the daily calcium requirement, which helps strengthen teeth, nails, and hair.

A 100g serving of unsweetened almond milk contains the following nutrients, based on data from the USDA.

Calories: 15kcalWater: 96.5g
Protein: 0.4gVitamin E: 6.33mg
Total fat: 0.96gVitamin D: 1µg
Carbohydrates: 1.31gCalcium: 184mg
Sugar: 0gMagnesium: 6mg
Fiber: 0.2gPotassium: 67mg

It is worth noting that the nutritional profile of almond milk varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Always check the nutrition facts label when you purchase almond milk to make sure it has no added sugars and saturated fat.

Glycemic Index of Almond Milk

Almond milk has a low glycemic index of 25 and is recommended for people with diabetes. The lower the glycemic index, the longer it takes the body to digest and absorb nutrients from food, and the slower the rise in blood glucose level.

With a cup of almond milk, someone with diabetes can safely satisfy their food cravings without spikes in blood sugar. Also, whole almonds, as well as almond milk, can promote better weight management and improve insulin sensitivity.

Furthermore, it is important to point out that the benefits discussed here apply only to unsweetened almond milk, as the sweetened version can lead to an increase in blood glucose levels.

Does Almond Milk Raise Blood Sugar?

The unsweetened variety of almond milk won’t spike your blood sugar. A diet high in almonds can also benefit people with prediabetes, a condition in which the blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to prompt a diagnosis of diabetes.

In fact, it helps people with prediabetes decrease high blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes if they take it regularly. 

A small study demonstrated that adults with prediabetes who consumed 60g of almonds a day had lower insulin and blood sugar levels than those who did not. 60g of almonds would make about 180g of almond milk, which is a little less than a cup.

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Almond Milk: Which One Is Better for Diabetes?

The best almond milk for diabetes is homemade because it’s free of sugar and other unwanted ingredients. Homemade almond milk usually contains only two ingredients: whole almonds and filtered water.

One cup of almonds yields three cups of milk, so homemade milk has a higher proportion of almonds than store-bought alternatives, making it nutrient-dense and low in calories.

On the other hand, some almond milk manufacturers offer milk fortified with nutrients like calcium and vitamins A and D that you can’t get in homemade milk.

There is a wide variety of almond milk available in the market today, and what goes into it varies from brand to brand. In store-bought chocolate almond milk, for example, the almond content is very low, and the sugar content is rather high. 

It is important to be aware that commercially produced milk contains a stabilizer known as carrageenan, which can cause nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. That’s another reason why homemade milk is a much healthier option.

3 Health Benefits of Almond Milk for Diabetes

A growing number of people who have diabetes, are lactose-intolerant, or have adopted a vegan or dairy-free diet are drinking plant-based milk these days.

The market is full of plant-based milk options made of soy, almond, oat, rice, etc. A leading advantage of almond milk, compared to other non-dairy milk, is its low-calorie content and properties.

Find out the health benefits of almond milk for people with diabetes and not only!

#1 Helps to maintain optimal blood pressure

Regular and sufficient consumption of almonds and other nuts reduces the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and coronary heart disease. 

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of almonds, as well as their high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, promote cardiovascular health by lowering “bad” cholesterol levels.

#2 Source of vitamin E

A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E, is found in almonds, almond milk, and almond flour, which explains the protective properties of almonds for cardiovascular health: oxidized LDL cholesterol is linked to heart disease. 

There is 16.6mg of vitamin E in a glass of unsweetened almond milk, which is enough to cover the recommended daily allowance for adults in this vitamin.

#3 Might boost immunity

Adults and adolescents can benefit from almond milk’s immunity-boosting properties. Researchers have found that incorporating almonds as a morning snack into the dietary regimen of first-year college students prone to skipping breakfast improved their gut health after 8 weeks. In turn, this can help prevent various diseases as well as overcome stress.

FAQs

Does almond milk have sugar?

Almond milk does not contain sugar unless it has been sweetened with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is typically made of sprouted almonds and filtered water, but there are also store-bought varieties of almond milk that contain additional ingredients. If you are choosing almond milk from the store, check the nutrition facts to see if it contains sugar.

How much sugar is in almond milk?

Plain almond milk contains 8.1g of carbs per serving (237ml), out of which there is 0.95g of dietary fiber and no sugar, according to data from USDA. The only ingredients in plain almond milk are organic sprouted almonds and filtered water. However, almond milk’s composition and sugar content vary by manufacturer, so read the nutrition facts carefully before buying.

What is the best milk for people with diabetes?

It is best for people with diabetes to choose milk with the least amount of sugar and a high nutritional value. Since diabetes depletes the body of calcium, this milk should also provide enough calcium to maintain strong bones.

People with diabetes may find almond milk a healthier alternative to traditional dairy milk due to its high calcium, magnesium, and potassium content. It is low in calories, sugar-free, and high in fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

How to Make Almond Milk at Home

Although you can find it in many stores, it’s worth a try to make your own almond milk at home because you always know exactly what goes inside it.

Take one cup of raw almonds and let them soak in water for at least 6 hours or overnight to soften them. You’ll like milk better after soaking and washing almonds. Soaking nuts increases enzyme activity, which may improve nutrient absorption. 

Drain the whole almond nuts until dry, add 3 cups of filtered water, and blend until almost smooth. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to obtain about 3 cups of super healthy homemade almond milk.

This milk is great for making a hot or cold beverage, such as a nice coffee latte or a smoothie. It also pairs well with granola for a delicious and nutritious breakfast. 

If you have leftover almond milk, you can store it in the fridge for 3–4 days.

Note: The best almonds to use for making milk are whole, raw, unsalted almonds without any flavor added.

Conclusion

The health benefits of almond milk are widespread, and these benefits extend to people with diabetes as well.

With high levels of healthy fats, protein, and fiber (carbohydrates are minimal), unsweetened almond milk is an excellent beverage for people with diabetes that offers superior blood sugar control. 

It also helps to reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes by controlling body weight, as well as fighting insulin resistance.

It is always important to check the label before buying almond milk in stores to ensure it has no added sugar. Or, better yet, make your almond milk at home.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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