Are Nut Milks Ideal for Diabetes?

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They’re all the rage, but are they really good for you?

Some time ago, men and women experiencing lactose intolerance, dairy allergies, or even dairy sensitivities had few options. As allergies increased, however, so did items on the market designed to provide dairy alternatives for those who could not partake of typical food items. Margarine and similar dairy substitutes are not new, but nut milks are an increasingly popular choice for individuals who cannot have milk or consider dairy unhealthy. The question remains: are nut milks better for your health than traditional dairy?

What’s Wrong With Dairy?

A debate has long raged over dairy. While some say it is an essential ingredient for health—particularly in children—others assert that dairy is actually an inflammatory food and is not fit for human consumption. The greatest argument against dairy typically comes from its fat content. Dairy is high in fat and natural sugar, which are both often targeted as significant determinants in whether or not you are unhealthy, overweight, etc.

For some diabetics, eschewing dairy is not a matter of limiting sugar and fat, but is a simple matter of avoiding food sensitivities. In that case, nut milk may be a suitable substitute, along with coconut, rice, or soy milk.

Is Nut Milk Better Than Cow’s Milk?

The answer is varied and will depend on each individual person. Someone struggling with high cholesterol, for instance, would likely be better off avoiding dairy in favor of a nut milk, while someone needing a strong source of calcium and protein will be better off drinking cow’s milk.

Dairy is full of protein and essential nutrients, but is also high in fat. Nut milk is significantly lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories, but does not contain as many essential nutrients as cow’s milk. There are pros and cons to each individual type of nut milk and each type of cow’s milk (whole, 2%, skim) that must be weighed against your body’s needs.

The Verdict

Nut milk is typically better for men and women struggling with cholesterol and fatty deposits. Used consistently, it does not contain anywhere near the amount of fats and cholesterol present in cow’s milk. For this reason, nut milks can be a wonderful substitute for diabetes patients.

Conversely, nut milk can be problematic for diabetics within a few age groups and backgrounds. Children, teenagers, the elderly, and pregnant women are all at risk for lacking the proper amount of calcium and protein if they choose nut milk over cow’s milk.

References

Cleveland Clinic. Accessed 10/17/17.

Medical News Today. Accessed 10/17/17.

Healthline. Accessed 10/17/17.