Almond Milk and Diabetes

Almond Milk in a Diabetes Diet

Looking for a healthy substitute for cow's milk or soy?

Diabetics in particular should consider almond milk. You can buy or make the drink yourself with ground almonds and water. Add non-calorie sweetener, if you like.

In addition to the variety of benefits in a diabetes diet, almond milk is dairy-free and vegan. It is also an excellent replacement for those that are lactose-intolerant.

Like regular milk, it contains protein, calcium and Vitamin D. When you purchase or make unsweetened almond milk, the total calories for an 8 ounce (1 cup) serving is less than half that of skim milk (40 calories vs. 90 calories). It also has about 1/6th the number of carbohydrate grams (2 grams vs. 13 grams).

Almond milk in a diabetes diet can help you lose or maintain weight, and may potentially prevent dangerous rises in blood sugar levels. This is due to its lower carbohydrate count and reduced calories compared to regular milk.

You can make almond milk by straining water through crushed almonds, to create a milky, nut-flavored liquid (directions below). People enjoy almond milk as a beverage and/or as a substitute for milk in recipes.

Homemade almond milk
Homemade almond milk | Source

Almonds and Diabetes

Did you know that consumption of almonds can improve your diabetes health?

Medical studies have shown that consuming one ounce (approximately 10-12 almonds) before a meal may result in 30% lower blood glucose levels thereafter in diabetics, compared with 7% lower sugar levels for non-diabetics.

Over time, the benefits of almonds on diabetics are worth noting.

People with Type 2 diabetes who had one ounce of almonds daily over a 12-week period experienced a 4% reduction in the three-month measure of average blood glucose levels known as hemoglobin A1c.* This means that an A1c of 7% could be lowered to a healthier 6.7% in just three months, simply by eating almonds!

Consuming almond milk in place of regular or soy milk at least once per day can result in better health, including weight loss and lower overall blood sugar levels.

Even those without diabetes can benefit from enjoying almonds.

Approximately 20 million people in the U.S. are expected to have either prediabetes or full-blown Type 2 diabetes by 2020. However, eating almonds or drinking almond milk daily can improve insulin sensitivity and lower LDL-cholesterol (bad cholestorol) if you have prediabetes. In other words, incorporating almonds into your diet may help stave off diabetes in the first place!

Almonds are heart-healthy, nutritious, aid in disease management, and lower the risk of certain chronic diseases including, but not limited to, diabetes.

*Those without diabetes usually have an A1c of less than 5%. Diabetics are advised to keep their A1c's lower than 7%.

Almond Milk Compared to Skim Milk (8 oz./1 cup serving)

 
Calories
Fat
Carbohydrates
Protein
Almond Milk (Unsweetened)
40
2.5 grams
2 grams
1 gram
Almond Milk (Sweetened)
90
3.5 grams
16 grams
1 gram
Skim Milk
90
0 grams
13 grams
9 grams

How to Make Homemade Almond Milk

Almonds are a healthy addition to a diabetic diet
Almonds are a healthy addition to a diabetic diet | Source

Tips for Choosing the Best Almond Milk for Diabetes

Not all almond milk is created the same!

If you have diabetes, be sure to read labels to ensure that the product you are buying is sugar free. Almond milk can be a healthy substitute for dairy products, or even soy milk. Just make sure that it does not include added sugar and carbohydrates, which can undermine a diabetic diet and cause high blood sugar readings.

The easiest tip for diabetics and others watching their calorie and carb count is to purchase unflavored almond milk. There are a number of brands available at stores. If you do not find it in the dairy/milk aisle, there are a number of brands of boxed almond milk that are vacuum sealed so they can be kept on the shelf for a long period of time. Consider buying in bulk on Amazon.com or BuyTheCase.net.

Non-refrigerated almond milk is safe for consumption until opened. Thereafter, store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Stores like Whole Foods, often stock specialty almond milk in their dairy section. While it often contains fewer preservatives, it costs substantially more.

If you want to ensure that you have the healthiest almond milk possible, make your own. All you need are plain, unseasoned almonds, water and a food processor or blender. Many people like to flavor their almond milk, with non-caloric sweetener, or sugar-free syrups.

Don't forget that you can use almond milk in place of cow's milk in recipes. This tip can help reduce the overall calorie and carbohydrate count.

Almonds and Diabetes

Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

While I have Type 1 diabetes, the more prevalent disease is Type 2.

Among diabetics, only 10% have Type 1 (also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes). The vast majority of diabetics have Type 2, or "adult onset" diabetes, although even children may be diagnosed with this disease.

The two conditions both involve higher than normal blood sugar levels. But the causes are distinct. Type 1 diabetes results from an auto-immune reaction; the body erroneously attacks the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, killing them and resulting in the patient becoming dependent on external shots.

On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes may develop due to heredity, an inability of the pancreas to make adequate insulin, or a deficiency in cellular ability to uptake insulin for energy. Losing weight and eating a healthier diet may reverse Type 2 for a period of time.

However, most medical professionals will tell you that, as you age, even physically fit seniors may have to take more aggressive measures to treat the disease. This may include oral medication, or even insulin, in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

Why Consider Almond Milk for Diabetes?

Almond milk is an excellent replacement in a diabetic's diet.

Compared to skim milk, it is significantly lower in calories and carbohydrates per serving. Over time, enjoying unsweetened almond milk as a substitute can result in weight loss, healthier blood glucose levels, and lower A1c results.

Everyone can benefit from enjoying almond milk! Not only is it non-dairy, which may assist those that are lactose-intolerant, its also vegan/vegetarian. Almonds provide healthy amounts of a person's daily requirements of vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.

Because they primarily contain monounsaturated fat, you may also be able to reduce your heart disease risk by eating almonds or drinking almond milk.

Almond milk is rich and delicious, whether sweetened or unsweetened. Consuming almond milk may help you enjoy the health benefits of almonds, without having to eat them directly.

For me, I enjoy almond milk because I often cannot limit myself to only one serving of raw almonds. As a diabetic, I can enjoy their health benefits in my morning coffee or blended into a healthy smoothie. That way, I don't overindulge in the healthy snack!

Be sure to check labels before adding almond milk to your diabetes diet. If you are replacing regular milk, there will be fewer carbohydrates, so you may need to adjust medication accordingly. Also ensure that you follow suggested serving sizes so that you can most accurately predict the impact of almond milk on your blood glucose levels.

© 2012 Stephanie Hicks

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Comments 31 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

We actually drink almond milk and it is quite tasty. Informative as always, Steph! Great job!


kelleyward 4 years ago

We love almond milk Steph! Thanks for this helpful article! Voted up, Kelley


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

Wow...I have learned so much from this hub and your video, well, it's just too darn cute. I am a Type II diabetic and have a hard time getting fruit into my diet. I think the morning almonds may be the key for me. I will defintely be making my own almond milk and eating my daily almonds after reading your awesome hub. This was awesome. Voted up and shared.


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

I've not tried almond milk, but after reading about its benefits and knowing I am lactose intolerant, I'm going to give the beverage a go.

Great hub; voted up and Shared.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

So glad to learn more about almond milk from this post. It is definitely a huge help to those who are allergic to cow's milk. While I can use and do like goat's milk, the calories add up super quick. Almond milk works as a great replacement for dairy in many, many recipes. After learning more about its advantages for helping to balance sugar levels I'm even more thankful for this option.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks everyone for the great comments! I appreciate the reads - just got back from soccer games this afternoon, so catching up on HubPages now. Almond milk is definitely going in my grocery cart more often. I'm game to try making it at home, too.

Best, Steph


NayNay2124 profile image

NayNay2124 4 years ago

My husband is a diabetic and I shared this hub with him. We are going to try almond milk. I never knew almonds had so many great benefits to your health. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

So glad to hear that, NayNay! Please keep me posted on how your husband is doing with his diabetes. I hope that almond milk is helpful. All the best, Steph


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I love almond milk for drinking and baking. We turned to this due to allergies and diabetes. Great hub post and very useful.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Stephanie, I love almonds but never tried unsweetened almond milk. I'll try making my own almond milk. Thanks for sharing the video. And of course for this very well presented and informative hub.

Voted up, useful and shared.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

My daughter prefers almond milk to regular milk and I like it better too. Thanks for the information.


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

My husband is diabetic, and this would probably be a good change for us to make in our diet. Voted up, useful and interesting.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi everyone! So glad to hear that many of you are already enjoying almond milk. mperrottet, I hope that a change to almond milk will help your husband's diabetes. Enjoy the weekend! Best, Steph


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Hiya Steph, once again another great and informative hub. I didn't realize all the 'good' about almond milk for diabetics. I've been buying Silk Almond Milk as a treat. It taste great in coffee and in just about everything you would use milk in.

Thanks for sharing.

hope you and your gang are well

regards Zsuzsy


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Zsuzsy! Great to "see" you! Isn't it wonderful when you find out about health benefits of something you already love?

Hope you are doing wonderful, as well! All the best - Steph


Missy Mac profile image

Missy Mac 3 years ago from Illinois

Hi stephhicks68:

I am a diabetic and lactose intolerant. It is extremely frustrating finding foods that I can eat. This article has convinced me to give almond milk a chance. Thanks. Very informative. (I'll let you know how it does my stomach: I am sensitive to certain foods.)


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 3 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Wow what a great hub...Here I have been loving this Almond Milk now for some time but didn't know it was this good for me. I quit drinking cow's milk long ago and went to soy, then to coconut and now I drink all three...Not everyday but cook with it too...having diabetes I guess my body knows and tells me more then I realize

Thanks sweetie for this hub...:O) Hugs G-Ma


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Missy Mac - I hope that almond milk helps you avoid lactose issues and improve your blood sugar with diabetes. Thanks much! Best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

That is awesome, G-Ma! I love how you suppose your body realizes what is good for it already. Glad to hear you are enjoying the almond milk. All the best, Steph


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 3 years ago from Upstate New York

We made the switch about a month and half ago. We tend to drink the almond/coconut milk combo. I will have to compare the labels to see if it is just as healthy. I had no idea that drinking almond milk had such benefits. My parents are both diabetic, so I certainly am at risk. If I can avoid it through healthy habits, I will! Voted up, useful and sharing.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

Never thought about using almond milk, really didn't know about the benefits. Thank's for the share..


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Great to hear, donnah! Do let me know what you find out about almond/coconut milk combination. Its always great to be proactive with respect to your health. All the best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you always exploring! Hope that you try to enjoy almond milk for all of its benefits. Cheers, Steph


Isabella Alvin profile image

Isabella Alvin 3 years ago from New Jersey

Thanks for sharing the healthy tips about almond milk.


Kerry43 3 years ago

Excellent article, and yummy, I love almonds and almond milk. The first time I tried it was a couple of years ago, and now I purchase this on a regular basis. I hadn't thought of making it myself!

Thanks, pinning this to my foodie board too .

Have a fun weekend, Stephanie:)

Kerry


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you Kerry! I love almond milk too. So glad to "see" you here on HP again. Enjoy your weekend, as well Cheers, Steph


Hannah De Dios 3 years ago

I am lactose intolerant and love almond milk, the only brand I really like though is the Almond Breeze. I was wondering though, is this a valid substitute for your milk counts in the diabetic exchange diet?

Thanks!

Hannah


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Hannah,

I am not a dietician, but I don't believe that Almond Breeze counts as milk in the diabetic exchange diet because its non-dairy. That is a great question. I'm going to see what I can find. Best to you, Steph


Michael Davis profile image

Michael Davis 3 years ago

What a great Hub!! Very informative. I eat naturally and educate myself on natural ways to be healthy. You added to my knowledge. I wasn't aware of the benefits of almond milk. Thanks so much.


claudyobcn profile image

claudyobcn 3 years ago

my girlfriend has some problems with diabetes. I will ecomend this milk for her. Thanks for the tip.


Andris 16 months ago

You're comparing eanitg raw vegitables and fruits to processed meats like hotdogs and hamburgers, fast food, cookies and ice cream. What happened to eanitg normal healthy balanced foods for a healthy diet? By consuming so much fruit consistantly you put yourself in risk of diabetes. I know this from personal experience. You present many nice and tasty meals, but there is no need to limit yourself that much. You can eat balanced and do proper exercise, you will feel like you own the world!

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