It is often recommended to avoid the diarrhea-causing lactose from dairy milk, but can almond milk cause diarrhea as well?
There are so many alternative choices of milk out there nowadays. We have soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk and more. But almond milk is definitely one of the more popular ones. Not only did do people enjoy the taste of a nice glass of almond milk, but is also packed with nutrients, being high in unsaturated fats, protein, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, calcium and others.
Maybe you are looking to start drinking almond milk, or already have, because you are lactose intolerant; maybe you are vegan; maybe you have irritable bowel syndrome and dairy milk triggers this; or maybe you are just looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative than the common cow milk you find at the grocery store.
And it probably sounded like an amazing alternative until you either experienced diarrhea for yourself and wondered if the almond milk was to blame, or maybe you just heard about this unwanted side effect from somebody else.
I have personally been drinking almond milk, pretty much exclusively, for a couple years now and have never had any negative side effects from it, or at least none that I know of. However, just the other day I was reading a story on Today.com about how some women it was lactose intolerant switched over to almond milk and was still experiencing that sick and bloated feeling. She was worried that the problem was much worse than lactose intolerance and, at the recommendation of a doctor, did an elimination diet to find that almond milk was the culprit.
After reading this I was quite surprised. I had never heard of anything like this before. But anyways… I decided to look into it further and found that other people have experienced the same thing in that it really isn’t all that uncommon, although it isn’t that common either.
Below are three reasons that I found almond milk could be the cause of your diarrhea, or the potential future cause if you haven’t actually started drinking it yet.
One of the more common causes would be that you are actually allergic to almonds. Although almond allergies are not as widespread as peanut allergies, they are on the list of top nut allergies. And according to LiveScience, allergies from these little guys can lead to a number of things, including stomach pain, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even anaphylaxis in the worst of cases.
The good thing is that if you are just experiencing diarrhea, then your allergies are not all that bad. It could be worse.
One of the reasons that you could potentially be allergic to almonds, and almond milk, is because of the proteins that almonds contain. What happens in many cases is the human body mistakes these proteins as invaders and the immune system orchestrates unnecessary attacks.
Of course not all men milk is created equally. Some almond milks are definitely more healthy than others, but many of the almond milks I see in the store contain a lot of additives and all of them are indeed highly processed. You cannot just go out there and crack open an almond to drink milk from it.
A lot of the almond milks on the market have nutrients added to them, such as minerals that are not actually from almonds. And anyway this is not much different from supplementing with vitamins taken out of a bottle, which there been a lot of studies on showing that absorption is not nearly as effective compared to when getting vitamins from a natural source.
You also have to consider the sugar content of almond milk. Unsweetened almond milk is the best choice, because it has zero sugar and this could potentially be the problem. But I know a lot of people are going to want to buy the unsweetened kind due to the… Well… Unsweetened taste.
And don’t confuse “unsweetened” with “original”. The original almond milks are indeed sweetened.
It it is also possible that you could experience diarrhea due to overdosing on vitamin E after drinking almond milk.
Almonds are very high in vitamin E. For every 1 ounce serving you’re getting about 35% of the RDA… For regular old almonds. Now of course the milk contains a much more diluted amount. Your common Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk will provide you with about 20% of the RDA for vitamin E in a 1 cup serving.
Now I will say that it would be rare for an overdose on vitamin E to be caused by your consumption of almond milk, but it might be worth about. If you are already getting high doses of vitamin E, maybe already going over the RDA by a bit, the addition of all involved to your diet may tip the scales a little bit too much.
Vitamin E is incredibly important for a long list of reasons dealing with human health, but you don’t want to much of anything. There are number of side effects that come from overdosing on this vitamin, diarrhea being one of them.
If almond milk is a current part of your diet and you are experiencing diarrhea, you might be thinking that there is very little chance that this could be the cause because this unwanted side effect is not something you get relatively soon after drinking it, which you might expect. However, determining if almond milk is the cause is a little more complicated.
Almond milk could cause diarrhea later down the road. It could take a while… Even over a day after you drink it. This all depends on the reason for your intolerance and this makes it much more difficult to find out what to place the blame on.
A really good way for determining the cause is the symbol of elimination diet, which was mentioned in the beginning when I was talking about a story I read from a woman that was trying to get to the bottom of this.
With the elimination diet you simply want to slowly start eliminating foods and seeing if the diarrhea goes away. But of course this is easier said than done… Since I just mentioned that you could drink almond milk one day and potentially not get diarrhea from it until the next. Ian there is also the possibility that a combination of nutrients or the cause of your diarrhea, which just makes things all the more complicated.
When incorporating almond milk safely into your diet, I think the best approach to take is to start off slowly. Start off by just drinking the smallest amount for a couple of days and see if you have any side effects to it. If not, start drinking more until you get to the desired amount.
If you do have digestive problems or other side effects, then stop and see if they go away. If they do go away, and the side effects weren’t too bad, you may want to run the test again just to make sure. And if you are still experiencing problems then you may want to try the unsweetened almond milk if you are up for the bad taste.
All in all, almond milk is a good alternative, I would say one of the better alternatives, to dairy milk. Sure, it may not be quite as healthy as people think and some people may get diarrhea from it, but overall it is a good choice and I personally am very happy I switched over to almond milk when I did several years ago.
Anyways… I hope you enjoyed the short post and found it informative. If you like to, please share to help spread the word.
And if you have any questions or comments, just leave them down below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂
Kyle is an avid health enthusiast that believes in nature as a cure-all. When he's not drinking spirulina smoothies or dealing with the horrible aftertaste of stevia, he is probably working out, researching healthy herbs, or dealing with hand cramps he gets from writing articles like this.