Informing people about healthy foods like almond or skim milk is part of my Health Coaching job. Many of my clients want to know if one milk is better than the other. Therefore, let’s answer, which is better, almond milk or skim milk?
Almond milk is better than skim due to its lower percentage of calories, carbohydrates and sugar. Almond milk is better for weight loss, for people who must limit their sugar intake, it’s lactose free and vegan friendly. Almond milk has a lower glycemic index than skim milk.
This article will include a side-by-side nutrient comparison of both milks. In addition, I’ll examine their tastes, textures, prices, glycemic indexes, health benefits and whether one can substitute for the other.
Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: The Difference
Both milks are healthy choices but they’re not the same. Therefore, let’s examine how they’re different.
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 is a plant-based milk that gained popularity as a dairy milk alternative a couple of decades ago. This is largely 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.
How is skim milk made?
Skim milk is made from full-fat dairy milk by removing the fat with a high-speed separator resembling a centrifuge 2. This is a mechanical process and no chemicals are involved.
Although the fat in skim milk has been removed, the remaining nutrients are the same type as whole milk.
Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: Nutrient Comparison
The following is a nutrient comparison between store bought unsweetened almond milk and skim milk:
|Almond Milk (1 cup)
|Skim Milk (1 cup)|
|Protein||1.05 g||8.75 g|
|Carbohydrates||3.43 g||12.30 g|
|Fiber||0.5 g||0 g|
|Fat||2.52 g||0.61 g|
|Sugar||0 g||12.3 g|
|Vitamin A||150 mcg||157 mcg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||2.45 mg|
|Vitamin D||2.5 mcg||2.9 mcg|
|Vitamin B6||0 mg||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||2.62 mcg||12.20 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0 mg||0.10 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.02 mg||0.42 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.18 mg||0.22 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.02 mg||0.83 mg|
|Magnesium||16 mg||37 mg|
|Phosphorous||24 mg||255 mg|
|Potassium||176 mg||419 mg|
|Iron||0.73 mg||0.12 mg|
|Copper||0.05 mg||0.02 mg|
|Calcium||482 mg||316 mg|
|Zinc||0.15 mg||1.00 mg|
Both are nutrient dense. Therefore, at first glance it may be difficult to determine which is healthier, almond milk or skim milk.
Almond milk is healthier due to its fewer calories, carbohydrates and sugar. Almond milk provides a greater percentage of iron, copper and calcium. Almond milk is lactose free and has a lower glycemic index.
Skim milk is healthy also and contains a higher percentage of protein, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium.
Which to Choose? Almond Milk or Skim Milk
Choosing between the two may depend on your particular goals. Let’s examine some of the most popular goals people have.
The number of calories per serving matters greatly if your goal is to shed some extra pounds. Even the smallest differences can add up pretty quickly. Let’s examine which is better for weight loss, almond milk or skim milk.
Almond milk is better for weight loss because it has 39 calories and skim milk has 91 calories per 1 cup. Almond milk provides 52 fewer calories than skim milk. This equals 134% less calories while drinking almond milk per 1 cup serving.
Keto or Low Carb Diets
If you’re on one of these diets or considering it, the number of carbohydrates may make a huge difference in your decision. Every gram of carbohydrates is important when on a low carb diet.
Therefore, let’s examine which one has fewer carbs, almond or skim milk.
Almond milk has fewer carbohydrates per 1 cup serving than skim milk making it better for low carb diets. Skim milk contains 12.3 grams of carbs per 1 cup and almond milk contains 3.4 grams. This equals 260% fewer grams of carbs while drinking almond milk per 1 cup serving.
If gaining lean muscle mass on your body is the goal then the amount of protein and carbohydrates may matter to you.
Extra protein helps to build and repair muscle fibers after a strenuous workout. Healthy carbohydrates help to fuel energy and increase performance while exercising or lifting weights.
Therefore, let’s examine which is better for bodybuilding, almond milk or skim milk.
Skim milk is better for bodybuilding than almond milk due to its higher percentage of protein and carbohydrates. The extra carbs can help fuel exercise performance and the added protein may help rebuild damaged muscle.
- Skim milk provides 8.75 grams of protein per 1 cup while almond milk provides 1.05 grams.
- Skim milk has 733% more protein per one cup serving than almond milk.
- Skim milk provides 12.3 grams of carbohydrates per 1 cup while almond milk provides 3.4 grams.
- Skim milk has 260% more carbohydrates per one cup serving than almond milk.
For people who have celiac disease or wish to follow a gluten free diet the goal is clear cut, avoid gluten. Therefore, let’s answer which one is gluten free.
Almond milk and skim milk are both gluten free and good for gluten free diets. Some flavored milks may have additives that are not gluten free so always check the label prior to consuming them.
If the amount of sugar in your meals is important, you’ll want to know which of the two milks has less sugar.
Unsweetened almond milk has less sugar than skim milk making it better for people with diabetes or those who can’t consume much sugar. Unsweetened almond milk contains 0 grams of sugar while skim milk contains 12.3 grams per one cup serving.
Vegan or Vegetarian
If you’re thinking about following a vegan or vegetarian diet consuming dairy products or animal-derived products is important. Knowing which milk is vegan or vegetarian friendly may help you choose between the two milks.
Almond milk is better than skim for vegans or vegetarians because it is not considered dairy and is not an animal-derived product. Skim milk is cow’s milk that went through a skimming process to remove the fat.
People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest the lactose in milk. Lactose intolerance is also called milk intolerance. So knowing which milk, almond or skim, is better for lactose intolerance is important.
Almond milk is better than skim milk for lactose intolerance because it is lactose free while skim milk contains lactose. Therefore, if you must decrease the amount of dairy, the plant based almond milk is the better choice.
Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: Taste and Texture
Sometimes all the issues and goals listed above don’t matter, and the taste and texture may make the difference when choosing between the two. If someone doesn’t like how a food tastes, they will probably leave it on the shelf.
Therefore, let’s examine how the taste and texture of almond milk and skim milk compare.
Almond milk has a slightly nutty flavor while skim milk can have a bit of a chalky and bland taste. Skim milk tastes sweeter than regular almond milk because it has more sugar. Sweetened almond milk will have a similar sweetness to skim milk. Almond milk has a creamier consistency than the watery skim milk.
I wanted to get the opinion of real people like you by conducting some original research. So I reached out to some of my clients, readers and members of food groups and asked, what tastes better, almond milk or skim milk?
- 76% said they preferred the taste of almond milk.
- 20% said they preferred the taste of skim milk.
- 4% said it didn’t matter.
In the battle of taste, almond milk tastes better and was the winner in the poll by a landslide.
Substituting Almond and Skim Milk
Sometimes people want to substitute one food for the other due to taste, availability or for health reasons. This makes people wonder if they can substitute almond milk for skim milk.
Almond milk and skim milk can substitute for each other because they have a similar consistency although the flavor will differ slightly. When substituting almond or skim milk for each other, use a 1:1 ratio and the cooking time should be similar.
Skim milk or almond milk can be used in any recipe or dish regular milk is used for. When substituting skim or almond milk for regular milk always add the same amount, 1:1 ratio. When using almond or skim milk instead of regular milk, the cooking time may lessen.
Skim milk or almond milk can be used for the following:
- White sauces
- Ice cream
- Mac and cheese
- Mashed potatoes
What’s better for coffee, almond milk or skim milk?
Almond milk is better for coffee than skim milk due to its slightly creamier texture. It’s better to allow the almond milk to cool down a little before adding it to the coffee for less curdling. Almond milk can also be frothed into a nice foam.
The Prices of Almond Milk and Skim Milk
The price of foods purchased every week is important to most people, especially with inflation the way it is. Let’s take a close look at how much almond milk and skim milk costs.
Almond milk costs more per 64 ounce container and ounce than skim milk. The average price for almond milk is $2.92 for a 64 ounce container. The average price for skim milk is $2.63 for a 64 ounce container.
To conduct my own research, I visited some local supermarkets and compared the prices of almond milk and skim milk. Here are my findings.
First I checked the Walmart supermarket:
- Store brand almond milk
- 64 ounce container is $2.36. This equals $0.037 per ounce
- Store brand skim milk
- 64 ounce container is $2.08. This equals $0.033 per ounce
I then checked my local Shoprite supermarket:
- Store brand almond milk
- 64 ounce container is $3.49. This equals $0.054 per ounce
- Store brand skim milk
- 64 ounce container is $3.19. This equals $0.049 per ounce
Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: Glycemic Indexes
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 6. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 7.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Let’s examine which milk, almond or skim, has a higher glycemic index.
Almond milk has a lower glycemic index than skim milk although they are both considered low glycemic foods. Skim milk has a glycemic index between 32 and 40. Almond milk has a glycemic index between 25 and 30.
Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: Health Benefits
This section will examine the health benefits of the nutrients provided by both milks. Each section includes the benefits of each nutrient and a breakdown of the numbers and percentages provided by each one.
Almond Milk Health Benefits
- Almond milk contains 482 mg of calcium per one cup.
- Skim milk contains 316 mg of calcium per one cup.
Almond milk provides 52% more calcium than skim milk per one cup.
Calcium helps the following:
- Helps nerve function.
- Help the muscles to function properly.
- Build and maintain strong bones.
In addition, calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 8.
- Almond milk contains 0.73 mg of iron per one cup.
- Skim milk contains 0.12 mg of iron per one cup.
Almond milk provides 510% more iron than skim milk per one cup.
Iron is a necessary part of any healthy diet 9 and may help with the following:
- Vital for development and growth.
- Is essential the creation of red blood cells.
- Help some hormones remain balanced.
- Help the immune system.
Skim Milk Health Benefits
- Skim milk contains 37 mg of magnesium per one cup.
- Almond milk contains 16 mg of magnesium per one cup.
Skim milk provides 130% more magnesium than almond milk per one cup.
Magnesium helps the body control the following:
- Nerve function
- Blood pressure
- Muscle function
- Blood sugar
Many people supplement with magnesium in the evening because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 10.
- Skim milk contains 419 mg of potassium per one cup.
- Almond milk contains 176 mg of potassium per one cup.
Skim milk contains 138% more potassium than almond milk per one cup.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 11. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
Skim milk provides a higher percentage of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9 than almond milk.
The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following 12:
- Brain function.
- Nerve function.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Red blood cells.
- Energy levels.
- Skim milk contains 255 mg of phosphorus per one cup.
- Almond milk contains 24 mg of phosphorus per one cup.
Skim milk provides 963% more phosphorus than almond milk per one cup.
Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:
- Help the body store and manage energy.
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote teeth and bone health.
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
- Muscle contraction and recovery.
Find out how almond milk compared to cashew milk in my article, Cashew Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
Read More Milk Articles!
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.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Plant-based milk alternatives an emerging segment of functional beverages: a review
- Wikipedia: Skimmed milk
- USDA: Beverages, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable
- USDA: Milk, nonfat, fluid, with added nonfat milk solids, vitamin A and vitamin D (fat free or skin)
- USDA: Almond milk, unsweetened, plain, refrigerated
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- National Institutes of Health: Iron
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure
- Harvard T.H. Chan: B Vitamins
- The University of Sydney: Your GI Shopping Guide
- Mayo Clinic: Lactose intolerance
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Milk, nonfat, fluid, with added nonfat milk solids and vitamin A (fat free or skin), 1 cup
- University Hospitals: Cow’s Milk vs. Plant-Based Milk: Which is Better?
- University of Notre Dame: Almond Milk or Soy Milk-Which is the Healthier Alternative?