Unsweetened almond milk contains about 39 calories per cup (240 mL). The number of calories can vary slightly by brand, but most unsweetened almond milks provide between 25–50 calories per cup.
Calories in Almond Milk vs. Other Milks
Compared to other types of milk, unsweetened almond milk is relatively low in calories:
|Calories per 1 Cup
|Unsweetened almond milk
|Unsweetened soy milk
|Unsweetened coconut milk
As you can see, unsweetened almond milk has significantly fewer calories than regular dairy milk. Even compared to other plant-based milks like soy and coconut milk, almond milk tends to be lower in calories.
Nutrition Facts for Unsweetened Almond Milk
The nutrition facts for a typical unsweetened almond milk (based on the popular Almond Breeze brand) are:
|1 cup (240 mL)
As you can see, unsweetened almond milk is very low in sugar, fat, and carbohydrates. Its main calories come from the almonds themselves.
The protein and calcium come from the almonds as well, making unsweetened almond milk a good option for those looking to limit calories but still get important nutrients found in dairy milk.
Factors That Affect Calorie Content
While most unsweetened almond milks contain 30-40 calories per cup, there are some factors that can cause the calorie count to vary:
Some almond milks contain a higher percentage of almonds, which increases the calorie count. The more almond content, the more calories the milk will have.
Many almond milks are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and calcium. This vitamin fortification can slightly increase the calorie total.
Some almond milks include thickening agents like gellan gum or carrageenan to give a richer consistency. These added thickeners can result in more calories per cup.
Each brand uses slightly different recipes and proportions of ingredients. As a result, nutrition and calorie content can vary somewhat across brands. For example, Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk has 40 calories per cup, while Silk’s Unsweetened Almond Milk has only 30 calories.
Calories in Flavored and Sweetened Almond Milk
It’s important to note that the calorie totals given above are for unsweetened almond milk. Flavored and sweetened almond milks contain significantly more calories:
|Almond Milk Type
|Calories per Cup
|Vanilla almond milk
|Chocolate almond milk
|Original or sweetened
The calories increase dramatically once sugar and flavorings are added. For example, Silk’s popular Chocolate Almond Milk has 130 calories per cup, over 3 times more than unsweetened.
So if limiting calories is your priority, be sure to stick to unsweetened almond milk and avoid the flavored varieties.
How the Calories Compare to Almonds
Since almond milk is made from ground almonds and water, some people wonder how its calorie count compares directly to almonds.
Here’s how the calories stack up in 1 cup of almond milk vs. 1 cup of whole raw almonds:
|1 cup unsweetened almond milk
|1 cup raw almonds
As you can see, a cup of whole almonds provides over 800 calories, while a cup of almond milk provides only 30-40 calories.
This is because almond milk is mostly water, with only a small amount of almonds blended in. The small serving of almonds contributes flavor and nutrients without nearly as many calories as a full cup of just almonds.
Uses for Unsweetened Almond Milk
Because of its light calorie content, unsweetened almond milk can be used as a low-calorie substitute for heavier milks and creams in a variety of recipes and foods:
Unsweetened almond milk blends well into smoothies without making them too thick or calorie-dense. Use it as a base for fruit and green smoothies.
The subtle nutty flavor of almond milk works well in coffee and tea. Use it in place of heavy creamers to cut calories.
Pour unsweetened almond milk over your cereal or oatmeal for a calorie-conscious breakfast.
For lighter mashed potatoes, use almond milk instead of butter and heavy cream.
Make a healthy chia seed pudding by combining chia seeds with unsweetened almond milk and refrigerating overnight.
Soak oats in unsweetened almond milk overnight in the fridge for lower-calorie overnight oats.
Add a splash of unsweetened almond milk to pureed soups to lend creaminess without significantly increasing calories.
Replace some oil, butter or other fats in baking recipes with almond milk to cut down on calories.
Benefits of Choosing Unsweetened vs. Sweetened
Here are some of the key benefits of using unsweetened instead of sweetened almond milk:
With 0 grams of sugar and 30-40 calories per cup, unsweetened almond milk supports weight loss and management.
Less added sugar
The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 25 grams per day for women and 36 grams for men. The 0 grams of sugar in unsweetened almond milk help stay within these guidelines.
Lower glycemic impact
The natural sugars in sweetened almond milk can cause blood sugar spikes. Unsweetened has no impact on blood glucose.
Unsweetened almond milk can more easily be used in both sweet and savory dishes without throwing off flavor balance.
For children and families looking to reduce added sugars, unsweetened almond milk makes a healthier choice.
So for those monitoring their calories and sugar intake, unsweetened is typically the best form of almond milk to choose. But if you still want a flavored, sweetened variety, just be mindful of the increased calorie counts.
Making Your Own Almond Milk
Want to control the ingredients and customize the calories and nutrition in your almond milk even more? It’s easy to make your own at home:
– 1 cup raw almonds
– 4 cups water
– Pinch of salt (optional)
1. Soak almonds in water for 8-12 hours or overnight
2. Drain and rinse almonds
3. Add almonds and water to blender with salt if desired
4. Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy and smooth
5. Strain mixture through cheesecloth or nut milk bag
6. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week
Homemade almond milk takes just minutes to make and allows you to control the almond-to-water ratio. Adding more almonds will result in a richer, creamier milk with more calories. Using fewer almonds yields a lighter milk.
You can also flavor your homemade almond milk with vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or other spices. Just be mindful of how added ingredients increase calorie counts.
Should You Choose Almond Milk for Weight Loss?
Due to its low calorie count, unsweetened almond milk can be a smart choice if you’re trying to lose weight.
Here are some of the key benefits of almond milk for weight loss:
With just 30-40 calories per cup, almond milk provides the richness of milk without excess calories that lead to fat storage.
Almond milk provides nutrients like calcium and vitamin E to help support a healthy diet.
May increase fullness
Some research indicates that nut milks like almond may increase feelings of fullness compared to dairy milk. This can prevent overeating.
Easy to substitute
Almond milk can seamlessly replace higher-calorie milks and creams in recipes and drinks.
Supports muscle gain and fat loss
The protein in almond milk, when combined with strength training, may help promote muscle growth and fat burning.
So unsweetened almond milk can be a smart nutritional choice for those looking to shed excess pounds. Just be sure to enjoy it in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Comparison to Other Low-Calorie Milk Options
Almond milk is one of several plant-based milk alternatives that can fit into a low-calorie diet. Here’s how it compares nutritionally to a few other options:
As you can see, almond milk is generally the lowest in calories and carbohydrates compared to other plant milks. Soy milk has a bit more protein, while rice milk is higher in carbs.
So if strict calorie watching is your main goal, unsweetened almond milk tends to be a smart bet over other milk alternatives. But soy or coconut milk can also fit into a weight loss diet in moderation.
The Bottom Line
To summarize the key points:
– Unsweetened almond milk contains about 30-40 calories per cup.
– It provides significantly fewer calories than dairy milk and many other plant-based milk options.
– When flavored or sweetened, the calorie count increases substantially.
– Unsweetened almond milk is a smart choice for limiting calories, sugar, and carbs.
– The light calorie count also makes it useful for recipes, smoothies, and other foods when wanting to cut calories.
– For the most flexibility with calories and nutrition, make your own homemade almond milk.
– When used as part of a healthy diet, unsweetened almond milk can facilitate weight loss.
So if you’re looking for a low-calorie milk option, unsweetened almond milk is one of the best choices available. Substitute it in for higher-calorie ingredients as a simple way to cut calories without sacrificing taste or nutrition.