Almond Milk Yogurt
- We’ve found a few small lactose-free milk based yogurts in the form of Green Valley Organics and Yami yogurt.
- We’ve established that Greek-style strained yogurts have about 40-50% less lactose than comparable regular dairy yogurts, and that while not 100% lactose-free, they may be a good option for the mildly lactose-intolerant.
- I’ll caveat this with a warning that a few so-called Greek Style yogurt brands, such as Cabot and Yoplait, jack up their protein content by adding additional milk protein concentrate rather than by straining the yogurt fully. These products are NOT as low-lactose as a true Greek Style yogurt and may not be as well-tolerated by the sensitive guts amongst us.
- We’ve also decided that Coconut Milk-based yogurt is pretty delicious and makes a good, lactose-free, dairy-free alternative.
But if the modern American shopping experience is about anything, it’s about choice. So in case you’re seeking yet *another* option, herein lies my evaluation of Almond Milk yogurt.
I came across a Canadian brand of Almond-milk yogurt from a company called Cascade Fresh, fittingly called Amande, in my local food co-op recently. (While I had previously encountered Almond milk yogurt in a fancy pants brand called Nu-Lait, the product is only available in a handful of health food stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Plus each 5.3 oz container has almost 300 calories, over 6 teaspoons of sugar, and isn’t calcium fortified, so I wasn’t exactly seeking it out, either).
Amande comes in plain and seven flavor varieties. Calorie-wise, each 6 oz container is comparable to a typical lowfat dairy yogurt (160 calories). It’s also lower in protein (3 oz, versus about 8g) and higher in fiber (2g from natural gums and pectin, versus 0g) than a typical dairy yogurt. With about 14g of sugar, the flavored varieties come in significantly lower than most flavored dairy yogurts, which typically range from 17g to 24g… and sometimes even close to 30g. (Though 14g, which is 3.5 tsp, is still a bit higher than I like to see). As a cultured product, it should have similar probiotic benefits as yogurts made from cow’s milk or coconut milk.
But unlike Soymilk and Coconut-milk based yogurts, Amande is not calcium fortified at all: it contains 0% of the daily value for calcium. Which strikes me as odd and sort of belies one of the key reasons people eat yogurt. Given what this product brings to the table nutritionally, I almost wonder if eating a handful of actual almonds wouldn’t be a more nutritious snack…? For just 40 more calories, 1 quarter-cup serving of actual almonds has no sugar, more protein (7g), more fiber (4g) and even more calcium (9% of the daily value)! Plus, the almonds are a great source of heart-healthy Vitamin E and magnesium, two additional nutrients lost in the conversion to almond milk yogurt.
To sum it up, I think Almond Milk yogurts in their current commercial renditions are the least nutritionally compelling lactose-free yogurt option available. If you like the taste and enjoy it as a treat, you could certainly do worse for a snack. But if you’re in the market for a product to deliver comparable nutritional benefits as a dairy-based yogurt, almond milk yogurt falls short of the mark.
**2012 update: Amande Yogurt is now, apparently, fortified with calcium! Go for it with gusto, my vegan friends!Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.