Almond milk has become a popular plant-based milk alternative for many people looking to lose weight. With its low calorie count and high nutritional value, almond milk can be an excellent addition to weight loss shakes and smoothies. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of using almond milk for weight loss shakes and help you determine if it’s the right choice for your diet.
Nutritional Profile of Almond Milk
One of the main reasons almond milk is so popular for weight loss is its nutritional profile. Here is how 3.5 ounces (100ml) of unsweetened almond milk stacks up nutritionally:
As you can see, almond milk is very low in calories and fat compared to whole dairy milk. It also contains useful nutrients like calcium and vitamin E. This makes it an ideal base for low-calorie weight loss shakes.
Benefits of Almond Milk for Weight Loss
Here are some of the top benefits of using almond milk for weight loss shakes and smoothies:
Low in Calories
One of the biggest advantages of almond milk is its low calorie count. With just 17 calories in 3.5 ounces, it contains 90% fewer calories than the same amount of 2% dairy milk. This means you can consume a larger portion size and take in far fewer calories. Using low-calorie ingredients like almond milk allows you to make satiating shakes without overdoing it on calories.
High in Nutrients
In addition to being low in calories, almond milk provides useful vitamins and minerals like:
- Calcium – essential for bone health and may help promote weight loss
- Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant important for immune function
- Vitamin D – regulates calcium absorption and supports immunity
- Riboflavin – helps convert food into energy
These nutrients help ensure you get sufficient vitamins and minerals, even when limiting calories for weight loss.
Helps Keep You Full
Almond milk contains a small amount of protein and fat that helps provide satiety. In one study, people reported feeling fuller after drinking almond milk compared to soy or dairy milk. Staying full between meals may help reduce cravings and decrease calorie intake throughout the day.
Easy to Digest
Unlike dairy milk, almond milk does not contain lactose, the natural sugar in milk that many people have difficulty digesting. Almond milk is naturally lactose-free, making it easier on digestion. This also means it’s less likely to cause bloating, gas or diarrhea, side effects sometimes associated with dairy shakes and smoothies.
Almond milk has a neutral, slightly nutty flavor that blends well into shakes and smoothies. It can be combined with both sweet and savory ingredients. Try mixing almond milk with fruit, greens, nut butters, oats, seeds, spices, protein powders and more. This makes it easy to create a diverse range of delicious weight loss shakes.
Potential Downsides of Almond Milk
Although almond milk has many benefits for weight loss shakes, there are a couple potential downsides to consider:
Lower in Protein
While almond milk contains a small amount of protein, it has substantially less than dairy milk or other dairy-free milks like soy milk. For example, one cup of almond milk provides just 1 gram of protein, compared to 8 grams in dairy milk. If you are looking to boost the protein content of your shakes, you may want to opt for a higher protein milk or add protein powder.
Some studies suggest that the phytic acid in almond milk may inhibit absorption of nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium. However, more research is needed to confirm this effect. To maximize nutrient absorption, you can soak almonds before making homemade almond milk.
Most store-bought varieties contain carrageenan, a food additive used as a stabilizer. While approved as safe by food regulatory bodies, some health advocates believe carrageenan may cause gastrointestinal issues. If you want to avoid carrageenan, choose almond milks made without this additive or make your own.
How to Make an Almond Milk Weight Loss Shake
It’s easy to whip up a nutritious and delicious weight loss shake with almond milk. Here are some simple tips for making one at home:
Use Unsweetened Almond Milk
To keep calories and sugar low, opt for unsweetened almond milk. Unsweetened has about half the calories of sweetened almond milk. Avoid vanilla or chocolate flavored varieties as they are higher in added sugars.
To ramp up protein, add a scoop of protein powder like whey, pea or hemp protein. You can also use Greek yogurt or nut butters.
Include Healthy Fats
Add a teaspoon of chia seeds, flaxseed, avocado or coconut oil to increase healthy fats that provide satiety.
Blend in oats, chia seeds, ground flax or psyllium husk powder to get a fiber boost that helps keep you full.
Use Zero-Calorie Sweeteners
If you want a sweeter shake, use zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit. Limit higher calorie sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or agave nectar.
Flavor It Up
Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla extract. Blend in fresh or frozen fruit like berries, banana, mango or pineapple to give your shake flavor.
Try making this delicious almond milk weight loss protein shake:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1⁄2 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Ice cubes
- Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Enjoy cold!
The Bottom Line
Almond milk can be an excellent base for low-calorie weight loss shakes and smoothies. With its stellar nutritional profile, versatility and light flavor, almond milk makes it easy to create delicious shakes that support your weight loss goals. Just be mindful of its lower protein content and add extra if needed. While there are small potential downsides, overall almond milk is a smart choice for anyone looking to shed pounds.