Protein is made up of amino acids that are essential for brain communications. Plus protein builds muscle tissue, supports cell walls and gives you energy if glucose from carbohydrates isn't available. Because of all of its functions, you need to have a certain amount in your daily diet. Since almond milk is low in protein, you shouldn’t rely on it too much to help you up your protein intake.
Protein in Almond Milk
Almond milk isn’t particularly rich in protein. You’ll get approximately 1 to 1.5 grams of protein from 8 ounces of almond milk. Because protein offers 4 calories per gram, 4 to 6 calories of the total 90 to 120 calories in an 8-ounce glass, come from protein. As a comparison, the same serving size of 2-percent milk has roughly four to five times as much protein, with nearly 5 grams, for fewer than 140 calories.
Plant sources of protein are incomplete. They are missing certain essential amino acids or have low levels. When you have something with incomplete protein, like almond milk, brown rice, beans or legumes, your digestive tract pulls various essential amino acids from the foods and puts them together as needed. As long as you have multiple protein sources at some point in the day, your body can get all of the necessary essential amino acids.
Increasing Protein Content
Even though almond milk isn’t the richest source of protein, you can easily increase the protein content by mixing in protein powder. One 45-gram scoop of whey, which is a derivative of dairy, has more than 35 grams of protein. Or if you want a vegetarian-friendly protein powder, opt for soy protein. Stirring in a scoop -- the same weight -- of soy-based powder adds about 25 grams of protein to your beverage.
Amount You Need
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that women get at least 46 grams of protein daily, while men should aim for a minimum of 56 grams daily. This might not be enough for you though, particularly if you’re highly active, pregnant or breast-feeding. You can calculate your own protein needs to get a more precise recommendation. Make sure 10 to 35 percent of your calories come from protein, suggests the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. For 2,000 calories daily, that’s 200 to 700 calories from protein a day or 50 to 175 grams.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Beverages, Almond Milk, Chocolate, Ready-to-Drink
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Beverages, Almond Milk, Sweetened, Vanilla Flavor, Ready-to-Drink
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Total Water and Macronutrients
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Milk, Reduced Fat, Fluid, 2% Milkfat, with Added Nonfat Milk Solids, without Added Vitamin A
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Beverages, Protein Powder Whey Based
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Beverages, Protein Powder Soy Based