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There’s an endless buffet of food frauds available in this country. It’s an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of fads and so-called “health foods” that are supposed to magically improve your life.
In many respects, the health food industry is a massive money-making scam – and when one “superfood” dies out, a new one is waiting in the wings ready to take its place.
That’s actually what happened with soy.
For eons we were told how great soy was for us, and it became a menu staple for all the “health conscious” foodies out there. They couldn’t get enough of soy milk, soy lattes, soy burgers, tofurkey, and everything else under the sun that became soy-based.
And then one day our esteemed “experts” discovered that soy actually contains estrogen-like compounds called “isoflavones,” and research suggests those compounds could promote the growth of cancer cells, impair female fertility and mess with thyroid function.
That’s an awful lot of disease and despair to add to your Starbucks latte.
So, it was bye-bye soy and hello nut milk.
But before you rush off and try to milk your bowl of mixed nuts, you should know that the nut “milk” fad is a bigger and bolder scam than soy – and that’s because almond milk has now surpassed soy in popularity. It’s big business and the number one producer of the world’s almond milk is California.
But much to the chagrin of lefties, producing almond milk is becoming an environmental disaster. From killing bees to destroying infrastructure, it’s costing Mother Earth a lot to sweeten up a liberal’s cup o’ joe every morning.
Most of the almond milk sold in Australia comes from California, which produces more than 80 per cent of the world’s almond supply. It takes five litres of water to grow one almond. California is in its fourth year of record-breaking drought.
Despite this, demand for almond milk is rising. It has overtaken the popularity of soy in the US, and now in Britain, too. In Australia, it is hot on the heels of soy, which is still the leading alternative to dairy milk.
To cope with the surging almond demand, farmers have been drilling into the ground to tap into aquifers.
“Overpumping of aquifers threatens infrastructure like roads, which stand to collapse into sunken ground,” said The Atlantic. It could also trigger earthquakes, explained a seminal piece by Mother Jones last year.
Another knock-on effect is the collapse of honeybee colonies. California uses about 60 per cent of the US’s managed honeybees to pollinate the almond trees, but up to 25 per cent are dying from the pesticides.
It’s nuts. And hard for those of us who are trying to be healthy, and to weigh up environmental costs and to just be able to eat something we enjoy without guilt.
So, the production of almond milk is a nightmare for the planet, but hey, it’s still really good for you, right?
No, not really…
You’re actually being taken for a quite a “marketing ride” if you believe the hype about most store-bought nut milks being better for you than cow’s milk.
Unless you’re sitting at home “milking” your own “nuts” (sorry), most of what you’re drinking off the store shelves aren’t even actual nuts.
You’re ingesting a bunch of sugars, seed oils and other natural, and not-so-natural chemicals, additives and preservatives.
We were shocked to find out majority of nut milks contain very little of the actual nut, most almond milks for example can contain as little as 2 or 3 almonds. When it comes to plant-based miles it’s much more about quality and simplicity of ingredients. The best bet is always: whole, unrefined foods without additives.
Choosing wisely. Unfortunately, as the plant-based milk industry has exploded in the last decade, there are many different brands with highly variable ingredients. It’s a bit of a minefield. Often, brands like Almond Breeze will use meaningless terms like ‘natural’ or ‘full of fiber’ which can be misleading and cover up unwanted additional ingredients like added sugar, preservatives, stabilizers, seed oils and gums… Not what we want.
For example, some plant-based milks are free of sugar, others are as high as 17g per serving. Similarly, calorie count can range from 30kcal up to 550kcal! Others labelled ‘Almond’ milk for example contain as little as 2.5% of the nut.
And if you’re wondering why you’re suddenly feeling so “inflamed” after slugging back a few glasses of nut milk, here’s why:
Aside from the obvious, like added sugar. Some commercially available nut milks (Oatly for example) contain canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil). The trouble with these refined Omega 6 fats is that during processing and after they are heated to high temperatures producing oxidation, which in quantities over time can contribute inflammation in our bodies. It’s better to avoid products which contain this additive.
Rice milk is also frequently added to other nut milks and can be hidden quite well. It is not recommended for young children due to its arsenic content. It also contains the lowest amount of protein and higher glycemic index of the available nut milks, one to avoid.
Here’s more valuable info on the chronic inflammation associated with nut milks.
Much of it has to do with a thickening agent called Carrageenan.
But even more concerning are the “healthy” parents who make nut milks a primary staple in a child’s diet.
Very bad idea.
Plant milks do have nutritional benefits, particularly in their purest form. However, they’re not always super available to the body. Another reason these milks should be consumed in moderation and not as a primary food source.
Take protein for example. Soy milk has the highest protein content of the plant milks, however, in general plant protein can be less bioavailable (due to lack of limiting proteins). These can be added but it is often at the expense of taste and aroma, so many companies avoid it. There has also been some concern relating to phytoestrogen content (potentially hormone disrupting). So once again, in moderation for rapidly growing children.
The folks over at “Gonna Need Milk” point out that real milk, including fat-free, flavored and organic, provides eight times more naturally occurring, high-quality protein in every 8-ounce glass than almond milk does.
Meanwhile, many almond and other nut milks contain a lot of added sugar. If you look at the labels, you’ll see “cane sugar” or “cane juice” on the ingredient list.
This is Almond Breeze Vanilla:
Cane sugar is the #2 ingredient behind water, and very few almonds.
As we pointed out earlier, many of the most popular store-brand almond milks contain as little as 2 percent actual “almonds” in their product. That’s like adding about 3 almonds to an 8-ounce glass of milk.
The truth is nut milks are a very clever, targeted marketing scheme designed to make the former soy drinkers “feel” healthier, when, yet again, they’re actually not.
And sadly, companies will continue pumping out these products and cashing in on health food frauds, as long as people refuse to read ingredient labels and blindly follow these silly online trends.
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