Love it, Like it, Hate it: Lower-Carb Milk + Non-Milk Alternatives

If you’re watching your carbs, you may have tried milk alternatives like almond or coconut milk.  But in spite of the “health halo” effect of non-milk options like almond, cashew, coconut, and others, many of these can be loaded with sugary carbs. To help sort through the confusion on the dairy aisle we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on what to look for – and what to avoid – for milk that’s truly good for you, and truly low in carbs.

 

  • Milk alternatives such as almond milk, cashew milk, and flax milk are allergen-friendly + vegan; good for those with lactose intolerance or milk protein allergies.
  • Many varieties of non-milk alternatives are much lower in calorie compared to cow’s milk
  • Taste, appearance, and texture vary widely; it comes down to personal preference for most people

 

Compare labels for:                           

  • Calories can range from 25 to 190 calories per cup
  • Protein. Can range from 1 gram to 12 grams.
  • Added sugar. Some almond milk can be loaded with 20+ grams of added sugars; look for milks labeled as unsweetened
  • Calcium. Look for products fortified with at least 20-30% DV for calcium
  • Vitamin D. look for products with at least 25% DV for Vitamin D

 

Compare Nutrition Facts to one cup nonfat milk:

90 calories, 12 grams carbs, 12 grams sugar, 8 grams protein, 30% DV calcium, 25% DV vitamin D

 

 

 

LOVE IT!

These milks & milk alternatives are lower in carbs & calories than regular milk, with same or more protein per cup:

 

Good Karma Unsweetened Flaxmilk + Protein (flax milk & pea protein)

  • Per cup: 70 calories, 2 grams carb, 0 sugar, 8 grams protein, 30% DV calcium, 25% DV vitamin D
  • Ingredients include flaxmilk (filtered water, cold pressed flax oil), pea protein isolate, tapioca starch, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, gellan gum, xanthan gum, vitamins/minerals

 

Ripple Original Unsweetened (pea protein milk)

  • Per cup: 70 calories, 0 grams carbs, 0 sugar, 8 grams protein, 45% DV calcium, 30% DV vitamin D
  • Ingredients include Ripptein (pea protein), sunflower oil, algal oil, vitamins/minerals, sunflower lecithin, natural flavors, sea salt, organic guar gum, gellan gum.

 

Fairlife Milk (cow’s milk)

  • Per cup 2%: 120 calories, 6 grams carb, 6 grams sugar, 13 grams protein, 40% DV calcium, 25% DV vitamin D

 

 

 

LIKE IT!

These milk alternatives are lower in carbs & calories than regular milk, but also very low in protein

 

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Cashew Blend  

  • Per cup: 25 calories, 1 gram carb, 0 sugar, 1 gram protein, 45% DV calcium, 25% DV vitamin D
  • Ingredients include water, almonds (or almonds & cashews, sea salt, guar gum, gellan gum, vitamins/minerals

 

Califia Farms Unsweetened Original or Vanilla Almond Milk  

  • Per cup: 40 calories, 2 grams carb, 0 sugar, 1 gram protein, 45% DV calcium, 25% DV vitamin D
  • Ingredients include water, almonds, sea salt, locust bean gum, gellan gum, vitamins/minerals

 

So Delicious Unsweetened Original Coconut Milk

  • Per cup: 45 calories, 1 gram carb, <1 gram fiber, 0 protein, 10% DV calcium, 30% DV vitamin D
  • Ingredients include coconut milk, vitamins/minerals, sunflower lecithin, organic locus bean gum, gellan gum

 

 

HATE IT!

 

Sweetened Almond Milk – Chocolate or Vanilla  

  • Per cup (Chocolate): 130 calories, 24 grams carb, 22 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 60% DV calcium, 30% DV vitamin D
  • Ingredients (Chocolate flavor) include water, almonds, evaporated cane juice, cocoa, sea salt, carrageenan, vitamins/minerals

 

+ Most other sweetened milk alternatives fall into the “Hate It” category

 

 

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Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD