Almond milk and side effects

Updated April 08, 2017

Almond milk is a healthy and nutritious alternative to soy milk or cow's milk. Almond milk is dairy free, cholesterol free, and contains high levels of protein, calcium, and essential vitamins and minerals. The praises of almond milk are endless, however there are a few dangers lurking in the carton, including high amounts of sugar and the status as a goitrogenic food.


Almonds are a goitrogenic food, meaning they contain chemicals that can harm your thyroid. Goitrogenic foods such as soy, cabbage, kale, flax, broccoli, and almonds, cause the thyroid to expand, and when consumed on a large level, cause goitre to form because one of the prevalent chemicals found in goitrogens blocks the intake of iodine. While goitrogenic foods can be harmful in large consumption, they are at the same time healthy and beneficial to the human immune system. However, for those with low thyroid functions, restraint from consuming high quantities of goitrogenic foods is critical. Almond milk contains levels of goitrogenic toxins produced from almonds, and should be avoided by those at risk of low thyroid function. For people who have healthy thyroid function, consuming a moderate amount of almond milk daily will have no negative side effects to the thyroid.

For Babies

As with the trend to replace cow's milk with soy milk in your baby's bottle, the replacement with almond milk is equally dangerous. Almond milk is not an adequate source of nutrition for a baby; if either breast milk or formula is replaced with almond milk, the baby will suffer from malnutrition and likely develop health complications for life.

Even the occasional feeding of almond milk (altering with breast milk or formula) is dangerous and not recommended. Journal of the American College of Nutrition studies have shown autoimmune thyroid disease in babies who drink almond milk. The concentration of goitrogenic chemicals in ratio to an infant's body is much higher than when consumed by an adult. Therefore, even in moderation, goitrogenic foods such as almond milk should be avoided during infancy.


One of the most obvious disadvantages of almond milk is the higher percentage of sugar it contains compared to cow's milk. Almond milk does not contain sugar naturally; it is added by most manufacturers during processing to improve the taste. Most commercial almond milks contain about 20 grams of sugar per serving. Fortunately, there are now unsweetened brands of almond milk on the market containing as little as 1 gram of carbohydrate per serving.

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About the Author

Mallory Ferland has been writing professionally since her start in 2009 as an editorial assistant for Idaho-based Premier Publishing. Her writing and photography have appeared in "Idaho Cuisine" magazine, "Spokane Sizzle" and various online publications. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French language and now writes, photographs and teaches English in Sao Paulo, Brazil.