In the quest for a healthier lifestyle, you’ve likely encountered the buzz surrounding plant-based milk alternatives. With various options available, selecting the suitable milk is crucial, especially when aiming for weight loss.
In this article, we compare almond milk vs cashew milk for weight loss and offer insight into these two often-used options.
The growing trend of plant-based milk alternatives mirrors an increasing awareness of health and environmental concerns. Amidst this trend, making well informed decisions becomes paramount if you focus on shedding extra pounds.
What Is Almond Milk?
Almonds originated in the Middle East, have transcended borders, and are cherished worldwide. These versatile nuts serve as snacks, are ground into flour, and are resourcefully transformed into creamy, dairy-free milk.
Almond milk is remarkable for its lactose-free nature, making it a staple for vegans. For many, it’s not just a substitute; it’s a preferred choice due to its delightful nutty flavor.
The beauty of almond milk lies not just in its taste but in its versatility. It can be enjoyed as a cool beverage or seamlessly incorporated into recipes that traditionally call for animal or other plant-based milk alternatives. Beyond its culinary appeal, almond milk brings a wealth of health benefits to your table, making it a nourishing addition to your diet.
Health Benefits Of Almond Milk
Almond milk is a popular choice among health-conscious individuals. Its light, nutty flavor makes it more appealing than other plant-based milk alternatives. It is simple to include in your daily routine and may be used instead of dairy milk in baking, oats, and coffee recipes.
1. Has a varied nutritional composition.
The unflavored almond milk is low-calorie compared to other plant-based alternatives or dairy milk1.
A 100g plain, unsweetened almond milk has 15 calories, 0.3g of fiber and carbs, 1.2g of healthy fats, and 0 sugar. Almond milk is also a good source of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, A, E, and calcium2.
2. Aids in managing your weight.
If you’re trying to lose weight, reducing your calorie intake from food can be a significant step3. Plant-based beverages like almond milk typically have fewer calories than regular dairy milk4. So, if your goal is to cut down on calories, switching to almond milk might support you.
Unsweetened almond milk is also known for being low in calories and carbohydrates2.
Research has demonstrated that cutting calorie consumption from food can aid in weight loss5. Additionally, a comprehensive analysis of five studies has highlighted the association between the significant consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes6.
3. It is lactose-free.
Almond milk, being lactose-free, is an excellent alternative for individuals with lactose intolerance.
Lactase, the enzyme that transforms lactose into a more digestible form, is deficient in those with lactose intolerance. Age, certain medical conditions, or heredity could all contribute to this insufficiency7.
Intolerance can result in several unpleasant symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and stomach pain8.
4. Good source of calcium.
Calcium is essential for you, especially as a youth or older adult9. It actively contributes to the growth and upkeep of robust bones and helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Additionally, it can lower your risk of osteoporosis and fractures10.
Studies have shown that women aged 65 and older, who had concerns about their bone mineral density, experienced enhanced bone formation. This was observed after they consumed yogurt fortified with calcium and vitamin D for 84 days, distinguishing it from a group that consumed non-fortified yogurt11.
5. Promotes heart health.
Incorporating almond milk into your diet is a wise choice. Doing so can boost your consumption of plant-based foods, potentially contributing to a healthier heart. Many advocate for plant-based diets, believing they might play a role in lowering the risk of cardiometabolic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes12.
Risks Of Almond Milk
When considering almond milk, it’s important to weigh both its health benefits and drawbacks, particularly:
- Nut Allergies
If you have a tree nut allergy, avoiding almond milk and other nut milk is crucial as it can trigger an allergic reaction.
- Low Protein Content
Almond milk contains significantly less protein than cow or soy milk, offering just 1 gram of protein in an 8-ounce serving. Therefore, if you decide to switch to almond milk, be sure to supplement your diet with adequate protein from other sources.
- Not Suitable For Infants
Due to low protein levels, almond milk isn’t recommended for infants during their first year. It’s essential to opt for more suitable alternatives for their nutritional needs.
What Is Cashew Milk?
The cashew tree produces kidney-shaped seeds called cashews, a tropical plant originally found in Brazil. Today, these trees are cultivated in warm climates worldwide, providing a global supply.
The appeal of cashews knows no bounds worldwide, thanks to their rich flavor and diverse uses. People enjoy them as snacks, delightful toppings, and ingredients for cashew butter and dairy replacements.
Interestingly, freshly plucked cashews come with a protective shell containing a toxic oil that can cause blisters, similar to poison ivy. To make them safe for consumption, the shells undergo a heat treatment process, after which they are carefully removed to reveal the edible nut inside. This meticulous procedure is one of the reasons cashews are never sold in their shells and contributes to their relatively higher cost.
Cashew milk is yet another plant-based milk alternative that is made from cashew nuts. It can be used in a variety of ways, such as a dairy milk replacement in coffee, cereal, smoothies, and cooking or baking. It is known for its mild and slightly sweet taste, making it a popular choice for those with dietary restrictions or those who prefer a dairy-free lifestyle.
Health Benefits Of Cashew Milk
Choosing the appropriate cashew varieties and ensuring they are cooked or prepared correctly can enhance their health benefits. Cashews, abundant in nutrients, have the potential to provide numerous advantages for your well-being.
1. Abundant in essential nutrients.
Twenty-eight grams (1-ounce) of unsalted, unroasted cashew nuts provide you with 157 calories, 5g of protein, 12g of unsaturated fats, 1g of fiber, and 9g of carbs. Cashew milk nutrition includes copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, thiamine, and selenium. They are also rich in vitamins K and B613.
Cashews boast high levels of unsaturated fats, associated with a decreased risk of premature death and heart disease14,15,16.
Additionally, cashew milk is low in sugar and fiber and offers nearly as much protein as an equivalent portion of cooked meat17,18,19.
Moreover, cashews are packed with copper, which is vital for energy production, brain development, and a robust immune system. They also provide substantial amounts of magnesium and manganese, crucial nutrients for maintaining healthy bones20,21,22.
2. Has beneficial plant compounds.
Cashews are a rich source of polyphenols, carotenoids, and antioxidants commonly found in tree nuts23.
Numerous studies have associated antioxidants in nuts like walnuts, pecans, and almonds with reduced oxidative cell damage24,25,26. Given the similarity in antioxidant content, cashews are likely to provide similar benefits in combating oxidation, especially when roasted.
Interestingly, roasted cashews exhibit higher antioxidant activity than their “raw” counterparts27.
3. Aids weight loss.
Nuts contain fewer calories than one might anticipate and are packed with protein and fiber. These nutrients are recognized for their ability to curb hunger and induce a sense of fullness, which supports weight loss28,29.
Risks Of Cashew Milk
- Nuts Allergy
Cashew milk might not be the best choice for everyone. Since cashews fall into the nine most common food allergens, they account for about 90% of all food allergies.
- Possible Weight Gain
Avoiding cashew milk with added sugars is the best option to avoid gaining weight. If possible, opt for homemade nut milk instead of store-bought cashew milk. Sugary drinks have a history of being connected to weight gain. Reducing sugary beverages can help reduce obesity and related health issues.
Does Cashew Milk Taste Like Almond Milk?
The distinction in taste between almond and cashew milk is primarily a contrast in texture; cashew milk tends to be creamier. While preferences vary, cashew milk often stands out due to its richness. It offers a slightly thicker consistency, appealing to those seeking fuller-bodied milk.
Moreover, in terms of flavor, cashew milk has a more earthy taste, adding a distinct and natural note to your palate.
Almond Milk vs Cashew Milk For Weight Loss
Both almond milk and cashew milk offer compelling nutritional benefits, making them attractive choices for health-conscious consumers. Almond milk, renowned for its light, nutty flavor, is widely available and often serves as a versatile base in various recipes. Additionally, homemade almond milk is free from additives and provides a purer and healthier alternative, particularly regarding weight management.
On the other hand, cashew milk boasts a creamier texture, adding a luxurious element to beverages and dishes. Both almond milk and cashew milk are typically low in calories, making them suitable for calorie-conscious diets. These unsweetened nut milks serve as a satisfying milk alternative and are abundant in essential vitamins and minerals.
With their comparable nutritional value, the choice between almond milk and cashew milk ultimately boils down to personal taste preferences, offering you a delightful and nutritious path toward your weight loss goals.
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3 Thom G, Lean M. Is There an Optimal Diet for Weight Management and Metabolic Health? Gastroenterology. 2017 May;152(7):1739-1751. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.01.056. Epub 2017 Feb 15. PMID: 28214525.
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10 Weaver CM, Alexander DD, Boushey CJ, Dawson-Hughes B, Lappe JM, LeBoff MS, Liu S, Looker AC, Wallace TC, Wang DD. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and risk of fractures: an updated meta-analysis from the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporos Int. 2016 Jan;27(1):367-76. doi: 10.1007/s00198-015-3386-5. Epub 2015 Oct 28. Erratum in: Osteoporos Int. 2016 Aug;27(8):2643-6. PMID: 26510847; PMCID: PMC4715837.
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