Is a latte with almond milk healthy?

Quick Answer

A latte made with almond milk can be a healthy beverage choice as part of a balanced diet. Almond milk is low in calories and saturated fat compared to regular dairy milk. It also provides some nutrients like vitamin E, calcium, and unsaturated fats. However, the high sugar content of flavored lattes should be consumed in moderation. Opting for unsweetened almond milk and minimizing added syrups can help keep lattes relatively low in calories and added sugars. Overall, an almond milk latte is a better choice than a whole milk latte for those looking to reduce saturated fat and calorie intake.

Nutrition Profile of Almond Milk

Almond milk has a different nutritional profile than regular cow’s milk:

Nutrient 1 cup Almond Milk 1 cup 2% Cow’s Milk
Calories 60 122
Fat 2.5g 5g
Saturated Fat 0g 3g
Protein 1g 8g
Calcium 550mg 293mg
Vitamin D 101IU 124IU
Vitamin E 4.9mg 0.1mg

As you can see, almond milk is much lower in calories, fat, saturated fat, and protein compared to cow’s milk. It’s also naturally lactose-free, making it a suitable option for those with lactose intolerance.

However, almond milk is not a direct replacement for cow’s milk – it’s much lower in certain nutrients like protein, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Therefore, it’s important those who avoid dairy ensure they get enough of these nutrients from other food sources.

The unsweetened versions of almond milk provide the best nutrition profile. Flavored and sweetened almond milks contain added sugars, which should be consumed in moderation.

Benefits of Almond Milk in Lattes

Using almond milk in lattes and other coffee drinks has some advantages compared to regular dairy milk:

– **Fewer calories** – Almond milk contains about 60 calories per cup, whereas whole milk has about 150 calories per cup. This means a latte made with almond milk will have fewer calories than one made with 2% or whole milk.

– **Less saturated fat** – The saturated fat content of almond milk is negligible, whereas whole milk is high in saturated fat. Saturated fat consumption has been linked to increased LDL cholesterol levels and heart disease risk.

– **Lower carbs** – Almond milk has fewer carbohydrates than regular milk. Per cup, almond milk has about 1.5 grams of carbs compared to 12 grams in whole milk.

– **Lactose-free** – Almond milk does not contain lactose, the natural sugar in dairy milk. This makes it a suitable option for those with lactose intolerance.

– **Vitamin E** – Almond milk provides a good amount of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin important for immune function and skin health. Each cup contains around 50% of the RDI for vitamin E.

– **Calcium-fortified** – Most commercial almond milks are fortified with calcium and vitamin D to provide amounts similar to dairy milk. This makes it more suitable as a milk replacement.

So for those looking to cut calories or saturated fat, almond milk can be an appropriate alternative to dairy milk in coffee drinks. Just be sure to stick to unsweetened varieties and avoid excess added sugars from flavor syrups.

Potential Downsides of Almond Milk in Lattes

There are a few potential downsides to consider when opting for almond milk in lattes:

– **Less protein** – Almond milk is not a significant source of protein, unlike dairy milk. This may be an issue for those looking to get adequate protein in their diet.

– **Added sugars** – Sweetened and flavored almond milks contain added sugars, which add empty calories and should be limited. Stick to unsweetened for the healthiest option.

– **Not a nutritional equal** – Almond milk is not nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk, so those replacing dairy need to ensure they get adequate protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and other nutrients from food sources.

– **Allergies** – Some people may be allergic to almonds and can’t consume almond milk. Cashew or oat milk may be better alternatives in this case.

– **Environmental impact** – Some brands of almond milk have a larger water and environmental footprint due to almond farming practices. Opting for a sustainable brand can help minimize any impact.

– **Cost** – Almond milk generally costs more than regular dairy milk. The added cost of using it in lattes from coffee shops should be taken into consideration for those on a tight budget.

As long as you’re aware of the nutritional differences and opt for unsweetened, sustainable varieties, almond milk can be a healthy, low-calorie milk alternative for lattes. Moderating your intake of flavored coffee drinks is still recommended, even with almond milk.

Almond Milk vs. Nonfat Milk in Lattes

Nonfat or skim milk is another way to cut calories and fat in coffee drinks. Here’s how it compares to almond milk:

Nutrient 1 cup Nonfat Milk 1 cup Almond Milk
Calories 83 60
Total Fat 0.2g 2.5g
Saturated Fat 0g 0g
Protein 8.3g 1g
Calcium 299mg 550mg
Vitamin D 115IU 101IU

As you can see, both nonfat milk and almond milk are low in calories and contain no saturated fat. Nonfat milk contains more protein, while almond milk provides more vitamin E and often calcium.

Those sensitive to lactose may still prefer almond milk, even though the lactose content of nonfat dairy milk is lower than full-fat milk.

Overall, someone looking to lose weight or improve heart health may benefit from either nonfat dairy milk or unsweetened almond milk in their lattes. Both provide a significant calorie and saturated fat reduction compared to whole milk.

Making Your Almond Milk Latte Healthier

There are a few easy ways to keep your almond milk latte healthy:

– Use unsweetened almond milk to avoid added sugars
– Choose small or regular latte sizes instead of large or venti
– Ask for less syrup if ordering a flavored latte
– Request 1 pump of syrup instead of the standard 2-3 pumps
– Opt for sugar-free syrups like vanilla, cinnamon dolce, etc.
– Choose low-glycemic sweeteners like monk fruit or stevia for added sweetness
– Request an extra shot of espresso for more antioxidant benefits
– Top with cinnamon or cocoa powder instead of sugary syrups
– Avoid heavy creams and whipped toppings that add calories, fat, and sugar
– Enjoy your latte with a yogurt parfait, oatmeal, or other protein-rich breakfast

Sticking to 12-16 ounce sizes and unsweetened almond milk is key to keeping lattes reasonable in calories. Flavored syrups, creams, and toppings quickly increase the calorie content, so moderating those is best.

Overall, a latte made with almond milk can certainly be a healthier option than a full-fat dairy milk latte loaded with sugary syrups and toppings. Just be mindful of your total daily calorie and sugar intake.

The Bottom Line

Lattes made with almond milk can be a nutritious beverage choice when consumed in moderation. The almond milk reduces calories, fat, and sugar compared to whole milk. However, those limiting dairy should ensure adequate intake of nutrients like protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium from other sources. To maximize nutrition and health benefits, opt for unsweetened almond milk, minimize syrups and sweeteners, and keep portion sizes reasonable. An almond milk latte can be a tasty lower-calorie option when customized properly. But as with any coffee drink, it’s still best consumed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

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