Soy Milk v Almond Milk


So Many Dairy Milk Alternatives

Many years ago, the question of soy milk v almond milk didn’t come up for discussion. If you were found to be lactose intolerant or had sensitivities to dairy, it was too bad, you just had to give up your favorite ice-cream and forget about eating cheese smothered tacos.

And you had to summon your inner Italian and learn to drink your coffee black if you couldn’t give up your daily caffeine fix, as there were no alternative ‘milks’, yogurts and cheeses readily available.

As time went by, a limited range of milk alternatives could sometimes be found at health food stores with soy milk seeming to be the first to make an appearance. Soy cheeses and ice creams also started to appear.

Nowadays, it seems there is a dizzying array of alternatives to dairy milk available not only in health food stores but now conveniently sold at your local supermarket. Additionally, many of these alternatives are offered as flavored milks such as strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Some of the most popular alternative dairy milks on offer include:

  • Oat milk
  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Coconut milk

Two of the most popular alternative milks are soy milk and almond milk and are even available at your favorite local coffee bar so that you need never give up that frothy cappuccino or creamy daily latte if your sensitivities don’t allow you to drink dairy milk.

Why Choose a Non Dairy Milk Alternative?

soy milk v almond milk

Many people are sensitive to the lactose in milk which can be difficult for some to digest causing gut problems like bloating, nausea, cramps and diarrhea.

For others, the decision to avoid dairy is due to concerns about antibiotics and hormones given to dairy cows and transferred to humans when they drink this milk.


Antibiotics are given to cows in an effort to prevent diseases within the herd, and the bovine growth hormone rBGH is used to increase the cow’s production of milk to artificial levels.

Research shows concern over antibiotics and hormones found in dairy milk as a risk factor for various cancers in humans.

Additionally, nowadays commercially produced milk is pasteurized and homogenized. Years ago, milk was sold raw without these processes. Homogenization is used to break down fat molecules within the milk without which the fat molecules form a layer of cream on the top of the milk. This homogenization process is used to make milk smoother and more appealing to your taste buds.

Pasteurization is used to get rid of specific bacteria where the process heats the milk for a certain period of time to kill bacteria like Salmonella, E coli and Listeria. Unfortunately pasteurization also kills off some beneficial enzymes and vitamins in milk which is why raw milk produced with care is thought to be more beneficial.

Raw milk is once again becoming increasingly available in some countries, however many people are still concerned about drinking raw milk despite the claims that it is a whole natural food containing more vitamins, minerals and fatty acids than pasteurized milk.

It seems the arguments and numerous studies undertaken in defense of both raw and pasteurized milk will continue.

Use A Plant Source Milk Instead?

soy milk v almond milk

If you are confused over the arguments about pasteurized and raw milk, or are suffering side effects from dairy intolerance, perhaps it’s time to choose a plant source milk alternative instead. But now you need to decide…… which one?

Two of the most readily available are soy milk and almond milk so it seems appropriate to perhaps choose one of those but which one?

Soy Milk v Almond Milk

Let’s look at SOY milk first of all…………….

Soy based foods are considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet and provide a good source of plant based protein along with a range of vitamins and minerals.

For hundreds of years Asian nations have been eating soy in the form of the lightly cooked bean, or ‘edamame’ as it’s now referred to in trendy eating circles. Soy is also eaten in Asia as soy sauce, tofu and tempeh which is a fermented soy bean cake.

Natto, another form of fermented soy beans is also used as a condiment with a small amount being added on top of rice dishes. With its strong and pungent flavor only a small quantity of natto is used to top the dish.

Having lived in China for several years I saw edamame being eaten in small quantities, usually along with sliced pig ear as an appetizer before the main course dishes are served. Tofu is eaten as part of a main meal and in hotpots etc. Generally it is eaten as the main protein component of the meal replacing chicken or pork.

Soy in these forms which are eaten close to their natural state provide a good nutritional profile.

What I didn’t see, was soy milk being used as a beverage and consumed on a daily basis in the way we started using it in western countries. It is available as a sweetened drink, in small tetra block packages, however this would not be consumed on a daily basis.

soy milk almond milk

For those concerned about the genetic modification of food, consider this. Of the vast majority of soybeans grown in the U.S. (a major exporter of this crop), approximately 85% are genetically modified to make the crop resistant to herbicides.

Adding to concerns about the supposed health benefits of soy milk, studies have shown that soy phytoestrogens can cause breast cancer.

In order to make soy milk more acceptable to the western palate several ingredients are added some of which are not that healthy. For example sugar and carrageenan.

Of course sugar is added to make it taste less ‘beany’ and give it a more acceptable flavor. For those of us trying to kick sugar, there can be pretty high quantities of sugar used in some soy milks.

Carrageenen another commonly used ingredient derived from seaweed is added to help give the soy milk a creamier texture more closely similar to that of dairy milk. However, carrageenan can cause stomach inflammation and stomach problems.

Unaware in the early days of some of the not so healthy effects of soy milk I drank it for a while, until it started affecting my thyroid. Thought to be safe in those with a healthy thyroid, soy milk can have a detrimental effect on those affected by hypothyroidism. It certainly had a thyroid lowering effect on me, and as a consequence I stopped drinking it.

So given all of the facts now known about soy milk it seems that it might not be the healthier alternative to cows milk.

Almond Milk

A relative newcomer to the alternative dairy milk scene, almond milk is packed with healthy fats but does not contain the levels of protein in cows milk. A glass of cows milk contains 8 grams of protein whilst a glass of almond milk only contains 1 gram.

soy milk v almond milk

However, almond milk is considered a nutritious and low calorie dairy milk alternative. Some almond milks are boosted with calcium, vitamins D and E to help increase its nutrient profile. You need to watch out for added sugars in some types sold, so check the package ingredient list.

Sugar free almond milk does not cause a spike in blood sugar compared to dairy milk which is thought to be insulinogenic. Of course, many people have nut allergies, so almond milk would be unsuitable for them.

Made by grinding almonds, mixing with water and then straining, the resulting almond milk product looks similar to dairy milk with a fairly neutral taste. Some people make their own almond milk at home as it’s pretty easy to do. Making it yourself means you can be sure it doesn’t contain any added sugar or other nasties.

It’s a useful substitute to dairy milk and can be used in baked goods, ice cream and puddings too. Try this healthy sugar free chocolate pudding recipe using a combination of almond and coconut milks click here.

Putting It All Together

I’ll be sticking to almond milk for now. I like the flavor, it’s great in coffee and is easy to use in recipes. Of course, I only use unsweetened organic almond milk and check the ingredients list on the package carefully for any added nasties before I make the purchase.

I’d be interested to hear what you all think of this debate Soy milk v Almond milk, so please feel free to leave a comment below.










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  1. Hi Ann,
    You know I never given thought to the choice of milk because I never had this problem but I don’t drink a lot of milk per say. I do have a latte 3 times a week ( purchased at Starbucks). At home regular milk is use for coffee, hot chocolate and for making other items. I have realized that I prefer to buy organic milk, I find it to be creamer and enjoy the taste.
    I do have a friend that is lactose intolerant and most of the time she buys or request soy milk or lactose intolerance milk.
    I have used almond milk to make smoothies and enjoy the taste, but it’s been simply because the recipe listed it as one of the ingredients.
    Yes, about living in an Asian community. I too realize that, it’s use in small quantities in Japan in the area were I lived. But I enjoy the sweet and salty flavor and was happy to see them here in the state as a appetizer with drink at the bar.????
    I do recall that after I breastfeeded my children, soy milk was the alternative due to a rash that regular formula created. But it was for a short while and they drink organic regular milk.
    Sad to know that sugar is add to soy milk because I always try to keep my sugar intake as low as possible during the day.
    If almond milk is going to become the healthy alternative, for those that do not have a nut allergies, we all need to check the label incase companies begin to add items that are not compatible with our system.
    I will give almond milk a second look and try it out for other uses in my cooking and preparing other items for my family.
    Thank you, I did enjoy this short article and would definitely read another from your blog or website.

    • Hi Lady Esther
      Thanks for your comments and yes I agree definitely read the ingredients list on cartons of soy or almond milk to check which nasties could potentially be added.

  2. What do you know about the discussion that suggests soy products can cause female breast tissue in men, i.e. gynaecomastia? Furthermore, I have heard that soy based foods have a net negative effect on a man’s health. What are your thoughts?

    Also, damn! I didn’t know companies made this many types of milk substitutes. How does cashew milk taste???

    • Hi Josh 

      Thanks for your comments. I haven’t read anything about soy products causing female breast tissue in men. This idea has probably come about due to the mistaken belief that soy milk contains estrogen and because estrogen is thought of as the female hormone this link has been made.

      Soy milk contains phytoestrogens in the form of isoflavones. Phytoestrogens differ at the molecular level to estrogen, so the feminizing effects of soy products is probably without any scientific merit. Thanks for bringing this point up though……. some research on this needed!

        • Hi Josh, Agree, how hormones work is an interesting subject. It’s so easy to throw them off balance as I learned from my own personal experience. When I had an unstable thyroid I threw it into a hypothyroid condition by consuming too much soy milk on a regular basis. Hormones all need to work in harmony with each other for everything to go smoothly.

  3. Hey there! Thanks for this detailed article about the milk alternatives to cow’s milk. I have been wondering if drinking almond milk is better than cow’s milk. I certainly do notice a better difference when drinking almond milk but then my brothers always sarcastically say that its made from limestone. Do you know anything about that?

    Also I hear that cow’s milk has a lot of pus and spores in it?

    Sometimes I’m just not sure what to believe because of the scandals and other drama that goes on yet everything seems right. So can you help me understand these issues better?

    I really like drinking almond milk but is it really limestone?



    • Hi Marlinda Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Almond milk made from limestone? I’m not sure where that information comes from, I’ve certainly never heard of it. As with any product you need to check the source and quality of the product. Definitely read the ingredients on the package. I haven’t made almond milk myself, but have heard it’s pretty easy to do. This would be one way to be 100% certain of the ingredients.

  4. Hello Ann. I have never even really given milk that much thought before. I was never a big milk drinker to begin with although I do love ice cream…lol.  I remember years ago one of my kids was having a problem with milk and the Dr recommended soy milk. Has sugar always been added into soy milk? I wonder if that’s why my older daughter loves ice cream so much…lol. I have been wanting to add cereal back into my diet so I do not eat so many eggs. One big thing that was stopping me was that I am not a big milk fan. I was tossing around the idea of milk alternatives so this article came at a perfect time. You have saved me a lot of research time for which one I should try. I am going to give the almond milk a try. Thanks to you I will be looking at the label to make sure there is no sugar added…Dennis

    • Hi Dennis, thanks for your comments. As with all processed food, you need to check the ingredient labels to find out what is in the product. Not all soy milk contains sugar. I hope you can find a good dairy milk alternative to enjoy with your cereal (whole grain sugar free of course) haha!

  5. For years soy milk is used to hype up a healthy lifestyle. Every self-taught health coach tells you you need to use soy milk because cow milk is bad. It doesn’t help that in recent years health products based on soy milk have been popping up in every grocery store around the world. 

    The health industry has made a lot of money on soy milk and that’s also why it has been abused. As more info comes out on soy milk, more people will become aware not everything is what it seems. However, we are still far from that to happen. And when it happens, the health industry will probably have found another “healthy” product to promote…

    • Hi Laura I agree, the food industry will find some other product to promote as the next ‘healthy’ thing. It’s definitely a case of buyer beware and do your homework. Eating non processed food is a first step.


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