When choosing between dairy and plant-based options, it’s essential to understand the differences in sugar content. Undeniably Dairy, a program sponsored by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and America’s dairy farmers, explains that cow’s milk contains lactose, a type of natural sugar. Whole and reduced-fat milk contains around 12 grams of sugar per cup. Sweetened varieties like chocolate milk can contain a staggering 24 grams of sugar per cup. Meanwhile, almond milk can be an excellent low-sugar alternative. Because it is made from just ground almonds and water, unsweetened almond milk contains no sugar at all, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Almond milk’s naturally low sugar content makes it a better alternative to other plant-based milk options, too. Unsweetened soy milk is a close second, with approximately 2 grams of sugar, while a cup of oat milk has about 5 grams. Coconut milk has 8 grams and unsweetened rice milk has 13 grams. It’s important to understand that nutritional values can vary among different brands and types of almond milk. For example, sweetened almond milk can contain up to 13 grams of sugar in just one cup.