10 Best Almond Milks for Your Health, According to Registered Dietitian

Written by Claire Hannum
Medically Reviewed by Felicia Newell, M.S., RDN

August 1, 2023

If you’re sensitive to dairy like me, almond milk is your best friend. It’s tasty, versatile, and incredibly healthy. But narrowing down your go-to almond milk may take some trial and error. 

What started out as just Silk and Almond Breeze in the milk aisle is now a market that has expanded to include dozens of varieties, each with their own unique flavor and nutritional profile.

In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of ten popular almond milks, and reveal which ingredients you may want to avoid.

Why Almond Milk Is a Great Dairy-Free Alternative

“Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk,” explains Amy Beney, registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition Insights. “It adds a unique flavor to many dishes. It is also lower in carbohydrates and calories than regular milk. It is a great substitute for those with lactose intolerance or who are vegan.”

Many brands of almond milk are fortified with valuable nutrients to keep you functioning at your prime. “Almond milk is a great source of magnesium, vitamin E, and may contain calcium, depending on the brand,” says Beney. Some brands of almond milk are a rich, creamy consistency and loaded with nutrients. But others may contain added sugars, fillers, and gums that could cause the digestive discomfort you’re looking to avoid.

10 Almond Milk Varieties Ranked from Least to Most Healthy

Ingredients are included for each, and the ones we try to avoid are marked in red.

1. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze

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Original Almond Milk Ingredients: Almond Milk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, D-Alpha-Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E)

When it comes to the battle between Blue Diamond vs Silk almond milk, the two are actually very similar. The main difference between them is that Blue Diamond Almond Breeze has a more watery texture than Silk. But both have a mild nutty flavor, and both are relatively high in carbs and added sugars compared to other almond milks. Both contain gellan gum, a food additive that may potentially slow digestion based on limited evidence  (1).

2. Silk

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Original Almond Milk Ingredients: Almond Milk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C To Protect Freshness), Natural Flavor.

Silk almond milk has a very similar ingredient breakdown to Blue Diamond. It includes relatively high carbs, sodium, and added sugars, as well as gellan gum. The major differentiating factor is the consistency. Compared to Blue Diamond, Silk has a creamy, smooth texture. If you’re looking for almond milk that you can enjoy drinking on its own straight out of the glass, Silk is a level-up from Blue Diamond!

3. Pacific Foods

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Original Almond Plant-Based Beverage: Water, Cane Sugar, Ground Almonds, Gellan Gum, Natural Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Sea Salt, Sodium Citrate, Vitamin D2, Xanthan Gum

Pacific Foods takes a unique approach by roasting its almonds, which gives its almond milk a delicious toasty taste. It does include added sugars that you may want to be aware of. “There is evidence to support that limiting sugar intake is beneficial for health,” says Beney. “High sugar intake is linked to high blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Sweetened almond milk can be higher in calories compared to unsweetened brands…Finding small ways to reduce the sugar we consume is always beneficial.” Keep in mind that total added sugar in the diet is what matters most, and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6% of your daily calorie intake come from added sugars (natural sugars are not included in this), which is about 24-36 grams. For most people, eating foods that contain xanthan gum appears to be safe, however it can cause digestive issues for some.

4. Whole Foods 365

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Organic Original Almondmilk: Organic Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Organic Almonds), Organic Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Gellan Gum, Organic Locust Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2), Dl-alpha-tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).

Whole Foods 365 almond milk is ultra creamy (definitely a plus in our book) but it does include gellan gum, and added sugars. It’s important to minimize your intake per day, as per the recommendations above. “Opt for unsweetened almond milk or one with low sugar content if you are trying to reduce sugar intake,” says registered dietician  Danielle Gaffen 

5. Simply Almond

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Original Almond Milk Ingredients: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt

Added sugars aside, Simply Almond includes a delightfully short and simple ingredients list, which is always a plus. A downside of this almond milk is that unlike many of its competitors, it isn’t fortified with calcium and vitamin D. This can be remedied with a healthy diet that contains adequate food sources of calcium and vitamin D, adequate time in the sun, or supplements.

6. Califia Farms

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Unsweetened Almondmilk Ingredients: Almondmilk (Water, Almonds), Calcium Carbonate, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Gellan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Potassium Citrate.

Califia Farms almond milk has a great taste. It’s sweet, nutty, and flavorful enough to “replace” cow’s milk in your routine. But like many of its peers, Califia Farms almond milk includes gellan gum. It also contains guar gum, an additive that can cause digestive side effects for some people (2).

7. Trader Joe’s

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Organic Unsweetened Almond Beverage: Water, Organic Almonds, Sea Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Gellan Gum, Organic Locust Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Dl-Alpha-Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Vitamin B12

Trader Joe’s almond milk is creamy and packed with nutrients, but it also includes gellan gum. Another perk is that it uses organic almonds. This doesn’t change the almonds’ nutritional value, but it does decrease the odds that your almond milk is exposed to certain chemicals while being processed. 

8. SO Delicious

NativePath Blog Post Image

Unsweetened Almond Milk Ingredients: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid, Natural Flavor

SO Delicious almond milk is, in fact, delicious. Despite containing one ingredient some may prefer to limit or avoid, this almond milk makes up for its downsides with an abundance of nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin D2, and calcium. It also has zero added sugar, which we love!

9. Orgain

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Organic Protein Almond Milk in Unsweetened Vanilla Ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic Almonds, Organic Pea Protein, Organic Natural Flavors, Gellan Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Organic Sunflower Lecithin, Tripotassium Citrate, Sea Salt, Organic Locust Bean Gum, Natural Flavor, Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2)

Not only is Orgain organic, it’s loaded with a whopping 10 grams of added protein. By comparison, most almond milks contain only 1 gram of protein at most. The taste can be a bit powder-y at times, but when blended smoothly, it’s a delicious and abundant source of protein and vitamin D2.

10. Good & Gather (Target)

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Unsweetened Original Almond Milk Ingredients: Filtered Water, Almonds, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, D-Alpha-Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E)

This Target branded almond milk is dietitian approved! Good & Gather Unsweetened Original Almond Milk has zero added sugars and impressive calcium (35% of your DV per serving) and vitamin D (15% of your DV per serving) content (3). It has a creamy texture, it tastes great, and a lower price point starting at $2.50 per half gallon, depending on where you live.

4 Almond Milk Ingredients to Avoid

The bold red ingredients listed above are additives that we at NativePath avoid whenever possible. Not everyone chooses to stay away from gums and fillers, but here’s why we choose to.

Gellan Gum

Gellan gum is a plant-based gelling additive that first hit the scene in the 1970s. It’s generally considered safe, but it may cause changes to the gut lining or slow down digestion (4, 5, 6).

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is lab-created and used as a thickener or stabilizer in food. It’s used in powder form in industrial settings, where it’s been linked to respiratory issues, but the FDA has cleared it as safe as a food additive (7, 8).

Xanthan gum is a soluble fiber, which means your body can’t digest it. Instead, as xanthan gum absorbs water, it transforms into a gel-like substance in the digestive system (9). For some people, xanthan gum can have a laxative effect. It can cause stomach pain, digestive problems, increased gas, and changes in gut bacteria (10).

Xanthan gum comes from sugar, and the sugar it’s derived from may have its origins in wheat, soy, corn, or dairy (11). People with allergies or intolerances to any of these ingredients may experience symptoms if they eat food that contains xanthan gum derived from their allergens.

Guar Gum

Guar gum is derived from a legume called a guar bean, and is often used for thickening and binding (12). It’s made up of two sugars, mannose and galactose. Like xanthan gum, guar gum contains soluble fiber. Studies have linked guar gum to possible health benefits, but it can also cause digestive issues (13, 14, 15). Guar gum has been linked to gas, diarrhea, cramps, and bloating in some people (16). Rarely, some people have allergic reactions to guar gum (17).

“Many fortified milks contain emulsifiers, so that’s a tradeoff you’ll have to weigh for yourself”, Gaffen explains. “I have not yet come across a fortified almond milk brand that does not contain emulsifiers.”

Added Sugars

Sugars are a hallmark component of sweetened almond milk. Too much sugar may lead to an increased risk of health issues, including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, inflammation, heart attack, and stroke (18, 19, 20, 21, 22).

To help limit added sugars, opt for unflavored and unsweetened almond milk. “Individuals with diabetes or those trying to manage their weight should be aware of almond milk varieties containing added sugars, as these can contribute to increased caloric intake and negatively impact blood sugar levels,” says Gaffen.

Our Favorite Almond Milk—and How You Can Make It Yourself

If those fillers cause digestive discomfort or you just want to avoid them where possible, there’s an option to have filler-free, sugar-free, gum-free almond milk at home: the Almond Cow! It’s a plant-based milk machine that can create your very own batch of homemade almond milk (or any other seed or nut milk) with zero additives. All you need to do is add almonds and water and you’ll have fresh homemade almond milk in minutes.

Not quite ready to invest in a milk-making machine? No worries. As long as you have a blender, you can get by without one. Watch our Instagram Reel below for the recipe and instructions!

Claire Hannum
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Claire Hannum

Claire Hannum is a New York City-based writer, editor, wellness seeker, and reiki practitioner. Her writing has appeared in Self, Health, Prevention, and over a dozen other publications.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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