In a million years, I never thought I would question the “healthiness” of Almond Milk.
I mean, it’s Almond Milk. ALMOND MILK! Milk from almonds! My favorite way to lighten my coffee without consuming 10 extra pounds of sugar!
Well, this morning, as I sipped on my almond-milk-sweetened coffee, I came across an excellent little blog post from The Food Babe.
Watch Out For this Carcinogen in Your Organic Food
She specifically points out products from brands like Silk, Starbucks, So Delicious, Horizon, Zico, Pacific, Carnation, Tempt, and Blue Diamond- one of my favorite brands of you guessed it… Almond Milk!
What carcinogen is it that The Food Babe is talking about? Carrageenan.
Why is it a problem? From her blog:
[The Cornucopia Institute’s] report detailed out several specific studies that showed that food safe and approved “undergraded” carrageenan is containaminated with the non-approved degraded carrageenan. Furthermore, when you ingest the undergraded version, it actually starts to degrade in the gastrointestinal tract and in the liver and turn into a carcinogen, resulting in a serious inflammatory agent that also can cause intestinal abnormalities. Because of this reason and other studies conducted the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Research Council of the United States both have determined that carrageenan is a carcinogen – a substance that causes cancer.
Can you guess what I did directly after reading that paragraph? I ran to the kitchen to read the ingredients listedon the carton of Almond Milk that I bought from Trader Joe’s last week.
I was relieved to find that there’s no carrageenan in Trader Joe’s Almond Milk, but guess which huge almond milk brand does contain this icky ingredient? Almond Breeze. The brand of almond milk that I typically buy. (Well, not anymore!)
While Trader Joe’s doesn’t use carageenan in their Almond Milk, I was surprised to find that the ingredient list did contain a bunch of other additives. In fact I was surprised at myself for just throwing this into my cart at the supermarket without reading the ingredients. It just goes to show, even the things that you thought you knew were healthy, can still be full of preservatives and additives that you might be much better off without.
Always read the ingredients before you buy something!
Here are the ingredients in Trader Joe’s Almond Milk:
Nothing too crazy here, but still more additives than I would prefer to consume. As far as I’m concerned, this should simply read, “Ingredients: Almond Milk.” But with the time it takes to produce the product, get it to the store shelf, and then to the consumer’s fridge, it would be almost impossible for a large company like Trader Joe’s to package and sell 100% Pure almond milk without using anything to preserve it. So unless you’re making your own almond milk, expect at leastsome additives.
The only ingredient here that makes me feel uneasy about consuming the product is the Dipotassium Phosphate. It’s a fertilizer (ew!), food additive, and buffering agent often used in non-dairy products to prevent curdling. I didn’t find any studies proving that it can be harmful to humans as a food additive, but it’s and inorganic compound and let me repeat this, USED A FERTILIZER. Ew.
So, is Almond Milk really healthy? In it’s 100% natural and raw form, absolutely! But if you’re buying it packaged at the grocery store, make sure you read the ingredients list and avoid brands whose almond milk (and other products, too) contains carrageenan.
Do you drink Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk, and if so does this surprise you? Will you look for an alternative almond milk brand?