Registered dietitians Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh of C&J Nutrition get an early taste of Starbucks’s newest non-dairy option, almond milk. Read on to see if it lived up to the hype–and their nutritional standards.
When we first heard that Starbucks was going to start offering almond milk (the Starbucks variety is spelled almondmilk) starting September 6th in select locations and September 29th nationally, we figured it would be in the same boat as their coconut milk and soy milk—sweet. We are really grateful that Starbucks offers non-dairy options for people who can’t, or don’t want to, consume dairy products. But we often wish that the soy and coconut beverages they offer were less sugary. Let us be the first to tell you, the almondmilk delivers. Here are three reasons we are fans of the new dairy-free option from our nation’s favorite caffeinator.
It’s got the lowest sugar count of any of Starbucks’s non-dairy milk options.
One cup of Starbucks’ almondmilk contains: 60 calories, 4 grams fat, 110 mg sodium, 5 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams sugar, and 2 grams of protein. In comparison, a cup of the coconut milk at Starbucks delivers 8.5 grams of sugar, while the soy milk packs in 13.5 grams of sugar per cup. In addition, the new almond milk delivers 30 percent of the daily value of calcium and vitamin D, 10 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, and 2 percent of the daily value for iron.
It might change your drink game for good.
If you’re used to getting soy or coconut milk in something like a latte, be prepared to taste more of the espresso and less sugar. We love the green tea lattes (GTL), which are made with sweetened matcha powder. Our GTL tasted much different with the almondmilk in place of our usual coconut milk…in a good way! We also tried a Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) with the almondmilk and it was perfect. Basically, if there are any drinks that are usually a little too sweet for you with the soy or coconut milk, the almondmilk will likely be your new go-to.
We can get behind the ingredient list.
While the verdict is still out on carageenan (an additive derived from seaweed that is used to thicken and emulsify some dairy alternative milks) and its potential inflammatory effects, Starbucks almondmilk doesn’t contain it. It does contain guar gum and xanthan gum, also used to thicken and emulsify the milk. The reality is, unless you’re making almond milk at home, most commercial options contain at least one of these ingredients. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) rates both guar gum and xanthan gum as ingredients that are safe, but that some people may need to avoid due to allergy/reaction to the ingredient. The full ingredient list for the almondmilk is: almond milk (filtered water, almonds), sugar, tricalcium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).
Overall, thumbs up to Starbucks’ almondmilk. That spelling is going to take us a while to get used to, though.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stephane Clarke and Willow Jarosh
SELF – Nutrition