Informing people about healthy foods like 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. It also has a lower glycemic index than skim milk.
This article will include a side-by-side nutrient comparison of both. In addition, I’ll examine their tastes, textures, prices, glycemic indexes, health benefits and whether one can substitute for the other.
In addition to coaching people about them, I’ve researched, purchased and used both prior to, during and after writing this article.
Almond Milk vs Skim Milk: The Difference
Both 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.
It is a plant-based milk that gained popularity as a dairy alternative a couple of decades ago. This is largely due to the flavor profile compared to previous dairy alternatives 1. How is it 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 in cartons.
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 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 each milk:
|Almond Milk (1 cup)
|Skim Milk (1 cup)
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Both are nutrient dense. Therefore, at first glance it may be difficult to determine which milk is healthier.
Almond milk is healthier than skim due to its fewer calories, carbohydrates and sugar. It provides a greater percentage of iron, copper and calcium. Almond milk is lactose free and has a lower glycemic index.
Due to its healthiness, I purchase and drink almond milk all the time. I add it to my coffee and smoothies.
Skim milk is healthy also and contains a higher percentage of protein, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium.
Which Milk to Choose?
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 milk is better for weight loss.
Almond milk is better for weight loss because it has 39 calories and skim milk has 91 calories per 1 cup. It provides 52 fewer calories. This equals 134% less calories 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 milk has fewer carbohydrates, 3.4 grams per 1 cup serving, making it better for low carb diets. Skim milk contains 12.3 grams of carbs per 1 cup. This equals 260% fewer grams of carbs 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.
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 has 733% more protein per one cup. Almond milk is much lighter in protein.
- Skim milk has 260% more carbohydrates per one cup serving.
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 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. It contains 0 grams of sugar while skim 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 one is vegan or vegetarian friendly may help you choose between the two varieties.
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 one is better for lactose intolerance is important.
Almond milk is better for lactose intolerance because it is lactose free while skim contains lactose. Therefore, if you must decrease the amount of dairy, the plant based almond milk is the better choice.
While cow milk typically has much fat, skim has had it removed. Milk skim and milk almond, both don’t have very much saturated fat at all.
Taste and Texture of Both Milk
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 each one and how they compare.
Almond milk has a slightly nutty flavor while skim 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. Almond milk has a creamier consistency than the watery skim.
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, which milk tastes better?
- 76% said they preferred the taste of almond milk.
- 20% said they preferred the taste of skim.
- 4% said it didn’t matter.
I also participated in my own blind taste test. I had two glasses filled with each milk. I picked the creamier almond milk over the watery alternative.
In the battle of taste, almond milk tastes better and was the winner in my test and in the poll by a landslide.
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 each one for the other.
Almond milk and skim milk can substitute for each other because they have a similar consistency although the flavor will differ slightly. When substituting one for the other, use a 1:1 ratio and the cooking time should be similar.
Either one can be used in any recipe or dish regular milk is used for. When substituting always add the same amount, 1:1 ratio. When using either one instead of regular milk, the cooking time may lessen.
Almond milk is better for coffee than skim milk due to its slightly creamier texture. It’s better to allow it 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 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 each one 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 each one. Here are my findings.
First I visited the Walmart supermarket:
- Store brand almond
- 64 ounce container is $2.36. This equals $0.037 per ounce
- Store brand skim
- 64 ounce container is $2.08. This equals $0.033 per ounce
I then checked my local Shoprite supermarket:
- Store brand almond
- 64 ounce container is $3.49. This equals $0.054 per ounce
- Store brand skim
- 64 ounce container is $3.19. This equals $0.049 per ounce
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 one 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.
This section will examine the health benefits of the nutrients provided by both varieties. 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 provides 52% more calcium 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 provides 510% more iron 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
- It provides 130% more magnesium 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.
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.
The fat-free milk provides a higher percentage of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9.
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.
- Fat-free provides 963% more phosphorus 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 cashew milk compared in my article, Cashew Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
If you have any questions about any of our articles don’t hesitate to email us. You can find an email on our contact page.
Read More Milk Articles!
- 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