Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: A Complete Comparison


When it comes to milk options, there are more choices now than ever. Almond milk and skim milk are two of the varieties lowest in fat. This makes them healthy choices, but they are not the same. What is the difference between almond and skim milk?

Almond milk is lactose-free and dairy-free while skim milk contains dairy and lactose. Almond milk is plant based and made from almonds while skim milk is made from cow’s milk. Almond milk tastes slightly nutty and skim milk tastes chalky.

Below this article takes a look at the differences between the two. Including nutrients, pros and cons of both kinds of milk so you can decide which type is better for you.

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Almond Milk: A Basic Overview

Almond milk is a plant-based milk that gained popularity as a dairy milk alternative a couple of decades ago, due to the flavor profile compared to previous dairy alternatives 1.  How is almond milk made?

Almond milk is manufactured by crushing almonds into a pulpy mixture. Water is added to the mixture and then it is strained. The remaining liquid is packaged and sold as almond milk. 

Pros of Almond Milk

Here are the main benefits of almond milk:

  • It is lactose-free. Many people are lactose intolerant and find that lactose-containing substances cause them to bloat and experience digestive complaints 2. Since almond milk has no lactose, it is an excellent alternative to dairy milk for those with this problem. 
  • It doesn’t require refrigeration. Although almond milk tastes best when it has been refrigerated, you don’t need to keep it in the refrigerator. This makes it very convenient for camping trips, vacations and when there is a power failure. Though you should refrigerate almond milk once you’ve opened the container so that it doesn’t grow bacteria.
    • Although the almond milk sold refrigerated should remain in the refrigerator at home.
  • Almond milk has half the amount of calories as skim milk. Unsweetened almond milk contains only 30-40 calories per cup, while skim milk is double at 80 calories. Almond milk can be used as a dairy milk alternative in recipes to help decrease the total calorie count. 
  • It contains no cholesterol. If you have or are trying to prevent heart disease, high cholesterol or hypertension, you should avoid saturated fat and cholesterol-containing food and drinks.
    • Comparing 1 cup of both almond milk and skim milk, almond milk has no cholesterol as it is plant-based. Skim milk has 0.2g of saturated fat. 
  • Almond milk is vegan-friendly. The vegan lifestyle has become very popular recently, and one significant advantage is it contains no animal products, making it an excellent dairy alternative for vegans. 

Cons of Almond Milk

Many people have heard negative facts about milk prompting them to ask, what is bad about almond milk?

Almond sometimes contains a thickening agent called carrageenan. This may cause bowel inflammation and digestive pains for some people. Almond milk shouldn’t be consumed by infants or toddlers because it doesn’t contain a higher number of fats required for growth.

The cons of almond milk include: 

  1. Sweetened almond milk contains more calories. If you switched to almond milk because you don’t like the taste of skim milk, you would consume more calories if you drink sweetened almond milk. One cup of sweetened almond milk contains 90 calories, 10 calories more than skim milk and 50 calories more than unsweetened almond milk. 
  2. Some varieties contain carrageenan. Carrageenan is derived from seaweed and is sometimes used as a thickening agent in some almond milk brands. For sensitive individuals, it may cause bowel inflammation and digestive pains 3.
  3. Not good for infants or toddlers. Toddlers require higher servings of fat which nut-based milk doesn’t contain. In addition, the high fiber content might be too complex for a toddler’s digestive system.  

Skim Milk: A Basic Overview

Skim milk is made from full-fat dairy milk by removing the fat with a high-speed separator resembling a centrifuge 4. This is a mechanical process and no chemicals are involved.

Skim milk tastes much less creamy than regular milk and has a watery texture.  Although the fat in skim milk has been removed, it has the same nutritional content as whole milk. 

Pros of Skim Milk

The advantages of drinking skim milk: 

  1. Skim milk contains more protein than almond milk. Almond milk contains only 1g of protein per cup, while skim milk has 8g. Protein has excellent benefits, particularly with weight loss, as the body uses more energy to break down protein and burns more calories in the process. 
  2. It is naturally high in potassium, phosphorus and other vitamins. Only one cup of skim milk provides 25% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D, 25% of phosphorus, 11% of selenium and 11% of potassium. They are all essential for the body’s basic functioning 5. 

Cons of Skim Milk

The disadvantages of skim milk include: 

  1. Some dairy farming practices are a concern for some people. If you are concerned about how cows are treated at dairy farms, you might want to avoid skim milk for ethical reasons. 
  2. Although it is fat-free, skim milk still contains carbohydrates. Are you reducing the number of carbohydrates you consume? While skim milk is practically fat-free, it does contain 12g of carbohydrates per cup compared to almond milk’s 1.4g. 
  3. The added sugar may be problematic for people with diabetes. Skim milk contains 12g of natural sugar per cup, while unsweetened almond milk doesn’t contain any sugar. The sugar in skim milk may be an issue if you have diabetes or want to lower your sugar intake.

Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: Nutrition

  Store Bought Almond Milk Unsweetened (1 Cup) Skim Milk (1 Cup)
Calories 30 83
Fat 2.5 g 0.2 g
Carbohydrates 1.0 g 12.5 g
Sugar 0 g 12 g
Protein 1 g 8.3 g
Sodium 170 mg 129 mg
Calcium 482 mg 316 mg
Magnesium 15 mg 26 mg
Potassium 176 mg 366 mg

When choosing between almond and skim milk, many people base their decisions on calories, vitamins or minerals 6. Therefore, may people ask, what is the nutritional value of almond milk vs skim milk?

Almond milk contains less calories, carbohydrates and sugar than skim milk. Skim milk contains less fat and sodium with more protein, magnesium and potassium.

Is almond milk or skim milk better for keto?

Unsweetened almond milk is better for keto than skim milk because it contains 1.0 grams of carbohydrates per one cup. Skim milk contains 12.5 grams of carbohydrates and more sugar than almond milk making it less keto friendly.

Does skim milk or almond milk have less calories? Unsweetened almond milk contains less calories than skim milk. Unsweetened almond milk contains 30 calories while skim milk contains 83 calories per one cup serving.

Sweetened almond milk contains more calories than skim milk per one cup. Sweetened almond milk contains 90 calories while skim milk has 83 calories.

When it comes to comparing almond milk 7 and skim milk, choosing between unsweetened and sweetened almond milk makes a large difference.  

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How To Determine Which One is Better

Many arguments can be made which milk is the better choice. Deciding whether almond milk is better than skim milk (and vice versa) is often a personal choice. Therefore, let’s answer the question a few different ways. Is almond milk better than skim milk?

Almond milk is better than skim milk for weight loss because it has less calories and sugar. Almond milk also contains less cholesterol and is better for people requiring dairy free milk.

Is skim milk better than almond milk? Skim milk is better than almond milk for a higher protein diet and weight gain because it contains more calories and protein.  

Also, if you want to avoid animal products, almond milk is better. A taste test may sway your decision, one way or the other 8.

Both almond and skim milk have a watery consistency. Almond milk tastes slightly nutty, while skim milk can have a bit of a chalky taste.

Is Almond Milk Healthier Than Milk?

While skim milk is naturally rich in many vitamins and minerals, many people ask, is almond milk healthier than milk?

Almond milk is healthier than milk because it contains less calories, fat, cholesterol and sugar. For lactose-intolerant people, almond milk is lactose free and a healthier choice than milk.

Almond milk is a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin A and E 9.

Almond Milk vs Skim Milk Cost

If affordability determines what makes it onto the shopping list, you’ll want to compare the prices. Does almond milk cost more than skim milk?

Almond milk costs more than skim milk. A 64-ounce container of almond milk costs $2.78 while skim milk costs $1.93.

I made this price comparison at a local Walmart. No matter what store you use or its location, almond milk will always costs more than skim milk.

This leads to the next question on the price, why is almond milk more expensive than skim milk?

Reasons why almond milk is more expensive than skim milk:

  1. Almond milk is made from real almonds.
  2. A multi step process is conducted to make almond milk which takes more time.
  3. Almond milk is dairy free, lactose free and low on carbohydrates which make it a premium product desired by health conscience people.

FAQs

What is skim milk called now? Skim milk is often called fat-free milk and are the same. Skim milk is cow milk which had the fat removed making it fat free.

Is skim milk 1% or nonfat? Skim milk is nonfat and not 1%. Skim milk contains less than 0.5% fat while 1% contains more. 

Is skim milk good for weight loss? Skim milk is better for weight loss than whole milk because it contains less calories per serving. Skim milk contains 83 calories and whole milk 146 per one cup. Drinking skim milk instead of whole milk lowers the calorie intake.

Wrapping Up The Almond vs Skim Milk

Almond milk and skim milk have pros and cons, and unless you are vegan or lactose-intolerant, you might find it hard to choose between the two. Some almond milk doesn’t require refrigeration, is lower in calories and has no cholesterol.

However, if you opt for sweetened, the sugar content will be higher.  Skim milk contains more protein than almond milk and is naturally rich in many vitamins and minerals.

On the flip side, it has more sugar and carbohydrates than almond milk, which could be a game-changer for those on a low-carb or low-sugar diet. 

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Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Plant-based milk alternatives an emerging segment of functional beverages: a review[]
  2. Mayo Clinic: Lactose intolerance[]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Revisiting the carrageenan controversy: do we really understand the digestive fate and safety of carrageenan in our foods?[]
  4. Wikipedia: Skimmed milk[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence[]
  6. University of Rochester Medical Center: Milk, nonfat, fluid, with added nonfat milk solids and vitamin A (fat free or skin), 1 cup[]
  7. USDA: Beverages, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable[]
  8. University Hospitals: Cow’s Milk vs. Plant-Based Milk: Which is Better?[]
  9. University of Notre Dame: Almond Milk or Soy Milk-Which is the Healthier Alternative?[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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