If you’re on a weight loss journey, you may be looking for a dairy-milk alternative to help you achieve your goals. Cow milk is delicious but relatively high in fat and carbohydrates, which can derail weight loss for some people.
Almond milk has become a popular dairy alternative for people who are lactose intolerant or looking to switch to a plant-based lifestyle. The beverage can also be a weight-loss tool, but does almond milk fit into a specific program like WeightWatchers?
Discover more about almond milk as an option for helping you on your weight loss journey and how it fits into your WeightWatchers program.
What is WeightWatchers?
WeightWatchers (WW) is a weight loss program with a longstanding history dating back to the 1960s. The program was started by Jean Nidetch in 1963, a homemaker who started hosting support meetings in her living room after struggling with her weight.
While the original iteration of WW focused on calorie counting, the program has changed over time, adopting a more holistic view of foods and helping members adopt a healthier lifestyle. WW focuses on accountability and group support for achieving one’s weight loss goals.
The current WW program utilizes digital tools, mobile apps, and online support group options for over 4.6 million members around the world.
How Does WeightWatchers Work?
WW uses a points-based system to help members reach their weight loss goals.
When you sign up, you answer a few questions about your weight loss goals and food preferences. You are then given a Points Budget that helps you choose foods that fit into your lifestyle but help you track what you consume.
The program includes ZeroPoint foods, which you can eat unlimited amounts due to their nutritional profile. These include chicken breast, popcorn, eggs, fruits, non-starchy veggies, and lentils, beans, and peas.
On average, most members’ allotted daily Points Budget is 23.
While this can roughly equate to 100 calories for every 3 points, it isn’t a direct correlation (that would only be around 800 calories, way below the safe minimum of 1,200).
With the consideration of ZeroPoint Foods, however, members can easily eat a reasonable number of calories while staying within their Points Budget.
How Many Points is Almond Milk on WeightWatchers?
According to weightwatchers, unsweetened almond milk is 1 point per cup serving.
Almond milk’s nutritional profile, which provides healthy fats, fiber, protein, and low sugar content, makes it a great option if you’re on a weight loss journey.
Depending on the brand, almond milk may be fortified with nutrients like vitamin D and E, and is a natural source of calcium and potassium. One cup of unsweetened almond milk contains around:
- Calories - 39
- Protein - 1 gram
- Fat - 3 grams
- Carbohydrates - 4 grams
- Fiber - 1 gram
- Sugar - 2 grams
- Calcium - 184 mg
- Potassium - 67 mg
- Vitamin D - 41 IU
- Vitamin E - 6.33 mg
Here’s a comparison of almond milk vs dairy milk on WeightWatchers:
Fat-Free Skim Milk
Benefits of Almond Milk on a WeightWatchers Diet
If you’re on WW, there are plenty of reasons to drink almond milk instead of dairy or other plant-based milk.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider using almond milk on WeightWatchers:
Almond milk has one of the lowest calorie counts of most dairy and plant-based milk products. Healthier brands like Three Trees use more almonds, giving their product around 100 calories per serving.
Some brands that use fewer almonds may have around 39 calories per serving.
Compared to other beverage options like 2% dairy milk, that’s 20 fewer calories per cup.
More importantly, almond milk can serve as a lower-calorie option to high-calorie drinks like fruit juice or soda, which can have well over 130 to 170 calories per serving. This can support a weight loss journey.
Healthy fats are essential to weight loss, contrary to past beliefs that fat is the enemy when losing weight.
Healthy fats help keep you full and are actually good for heart health.
Almond milk is higher in healthy fats, which can help you prevent hunger and reduce your cravings for unhealthy snacks.
Most almond milk, like Elmhurst 1925 Unsweetened Milked Almonds, has 0 mg of cholesterol as well, making it a heart-healthy option.
Calcium is an important nutrient for your body’s bone health and is readily available in cow’s milk.
However, on WW, cow’s milk can take up a substantial portion of your Points Budget, so you might be looking for an alternative.
Almond milk is an excellent choice for your daily calcium needs.
Although you should still supplement your calcium intake with other weight-loss-friendly foods such as spinach, beans, and salmon on WW, almond milk can provide a portion of your RDA, depending on the brand.
For example, Mooala Organic Almond Milk has 280 mg of calcium per serving, which is 20% of your RDA.
While no plant-based milk beats dairy milk in terms of protein, almond milk can add to your daily protein goals.
Protein helps your body build and maintain muscle mass and is essential for satiety, which means fewer cravings and feelings of hunger when losing weight.
Almond milk generally has around 2 to 5 grams of protein per serving. For example, New Barn Organics has 3 grams of protein per 8 fluid ounces.
While this isn’t a ton of protein alone, you can use almond milk to make protein-packed healthy meals, such as chia-seed pudding, overnight oats, or smoothie bows that contain oats, chia seeds, nut butter, and protein powder.
Almond milk is one of the lowest carbohydrate options available, with only a few grams of carbs (typically calculated by adding natural and added sugars) per serving.
For example, Elmhurst 1925’s unsweetened variety only has 3 grams of carbohydrates, with 0 grams of added sugar.
Unsweetened Almond MALK from MALK Organics has 3 grams of carbs, with 0 grams of added sugar.
You can even opt for vanilla-flavored almond milk without piling on the sugars and carbs.
Most organic brands or those with few additives use pure vanilla beans or extract to naturally sweeten the product. This means you get extra flavor without added calories impacting your weight loss journey.
How to Choose the Right Almond Milk on WeightWatchers
While almond milk is generally an excellent beverage choice while on WW, there are a few considerations to make when choosing the right product.
Not all almond milk is equal, so it's important to think about elements like additives and sweeteners and how they might affect your goals.
Many almond milk brands have additives that may or may not affect your health or dietary goals.
These include natural flavors, which are not tightly regulated by the FDA and can be made from a multitude of ingredients such as herbs, fermented products, or dairy.
While these are typically safe, they can cause stomach issues and other symptoms which could derail your WW program.
Additives also include ingredients like gums, emulsifiers, and oils. Manufacturers add these to change the texture and shelf-life of almond milk.
It’s often best to avoid almond milk brands with lots of additives when trying to eat clean to get to a healthy weight.
As mentioned above, unsweetened almond milk is a great WW option. However, some almond milk has added sugars.
These can come from cane sugar, coconut sugar, beet sugar, honey, agave, or any other number of sweeteners.
Sweeteners are often added to entice consumers and are especially popular for coffee or barista blends options.
While WW doesn’t “forbid” sugar, the Points system does encourage eating foods that are low in added sugar.
While you could have an option like the chocolate almond milk from MALK, it has 7 grams of carbs, 4 of which come from added coconut sugar.
You can have sweetened almond milk on WW in moderation, but an unsweetened product is a better choice for daily consumption.
Incorporate Almond Milk Into Your WeightWatchers Program
Overall, almond milk fits seamlessly into most people’s WW personalized programs.
It’s low in calories and sugar and high in healthy fats. WW recommends several almond milk brands and recipes ideal for WW members.
For example, the Double-Berry Overnight Oats uses berries, nuts, oats, and almond milk for a delicious 4-point snack.
With these recipes, you can totally enjoy your favorite unsweetened or vanilla almond milk while on the WW program.
Subbing it out for dairy milk in cooking, cereals, and as a creamer can also help you cut more calories and reach your health and weight loss goals.