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Almond Milk vs Barley Milk: Which Is Best?

Trying to decide between almond milk and barley milk? Both popular dairy alternatives have their pros and cons. Read on to discover which one is better for you.
Michael Whaley, Health Writer

Written by Michael Whaley, Health Writer. Updated on November 7, 2022.

In this article, we are going to compare almond milk and barley milk to see how they compare in many aspects including calories, nutritional content, taste, usage, effects on weight loss, and environment.

To make this comparison as fair as possible and get a realistic picture of how almond and barley milk compare, we’ve used USDA’s date on products that are unsweetened and that aren’t fortified or that are minimally fortified if the completely unfortified product isn’t available.

Both almond and barley milk are dairy-free, and therefore suitable for vegans and people that stick to a plant-based diet for a variety of reasons, but there are also many differences between these plant-based drinks.

Let’s see what almond and barley drinks are, how they are produced, and finally how they compare in various ways.

What is Almond Milk and How It’s Made?

Almond milk is a nut-based beverage that is becoming more and more popular day by day.

The reason behind the popularity of almond milk is that in addition to its light taste, it can also contain a nutritional composition that may be beneficial for you.

Almond milk is actually the best-selling non-dairy milk in the United States, followed by oat and soy milk.

Since almond milk isn’t a dairy product, it doesn’t contain any lactose. As a consequence of this, it is an excellent alternative for those who are unable to digest lactose.

Almond milk consists of two ingredients: water and almonds. Store-bought products usually contain between 2 and 5% of almonds, but also might contain other ingredients such as salt, stabilizers, and emulsifiers to make them taste better and to extend their shell life.

There are also unsweetened and sweetened variants, as well as products with added flavors such as chocolate or vanilla-flavored almond milk.

Also, almond milk products are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals that are hard to obtain on a plant-based diet, including calcium, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.

What is Barley Milk and How It’s Made?

Barley is a type of grain. It is one of the most consumed grains in America.

It is very rich in nutrients. It contains many vitamins and minerals and is associated with a number of health benefits.

Another plant-based milk option made using barley is barley milk. It is frequently on the shelves and can reach many consumers thanks to both its taste and composition.

The nutritional value of barley is high due to its high content of vitamins, minerals, and other useful plant elements.

Pearl barley is the only kind of barley that does not utilize the whole grain; this type of barley has been polished, which removes part or all of the exterior bran layer as well as the husk. Nearly all other types of barley do use the complete grain.

When ingested in its whole-grain form, barley is a very rich source of fiber, selenium, molybdenum, and manganese. In addition, it has a respectable quantity of copper, chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, and niacin.

During the barley milk preparation process, however, the fiber and pulp are separated, so this is a crucial consideration to keep in mind. Because it is not ingested in its whole, it is unable to give all of the health advantages that are associated with consuming whole barley.

Almond vs Barley Milk Nutrition and Calories

In this section, we’ll analyze the similarities and differences between almond milk and barley milk milk based on nutritional information provided by USDA.

Macronutrients

Plant-based milks mostly consist of water, and almond and barley milks are no exceptions.

3.5 oz or 100 g of almond milk contains 15 calories, and consists mostly of fat (1.22 g), followed by protein (0.55 g) and carbs (0.34 g).

Speaking of barley milk, the same amount contains 29 calories, and consists mostly of protein (2.08 g), followed by fat (2.08 g) and carbs (1.25 g).

The table below compares the nutrition of a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of almond milk to the same amount of barley milk.

Fiber

Fiber is important for our health as it keeps us feeling full, prevents constipation, lowers sugar spikes and regulates sugar levels, lowers total and LDL cholesterol, and provides many other benefits.

When it comes to dietary fiber, almond milk is a better choice. It contains 0.45 g per 3.5oz (100g), while barley milk is lower in dietary fiber with 0.4 g.

Almond MilkBarley Milk
Energy15 kcal29 kcal
Total Fat1.22 g2.08 g
Carbs0.34 g1.25 g
Fiber0.45 g0.4 g
Sugars0 g0 g
Protein0.55 g2.08 g

Micronutrients

What about micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in almond and barley milk?

The table below shows the most important vitamins and minerals in unfortified or minimally fortified plant-based drinks available in the market. Some of these nutrients are hard to get on a vegan diet.

AlmondBarley
Vitamin B-120.34 mcg0 mcg
Calcium173 mg192 mg
Vitamin D37.1 IU (0 mcg)0 IU (0 mcg)
Iron0.29 mg0.42 mg
Magnesium6.8 mg0 mg
Phosphorus30 mg0 mg
Potassium31 mg200 mg
Vitamin A41 mcg0 mcg
Sodium60 mg83 mg

Weight Loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably want to know whether almond or barley milk is better for you.

With 29 calories per 3.5 oz (100 g), barley milk is higher in calories than almond milk which contains 15 calories.

Almond vs Barley Milk Taste and Uses

Almond milk is a low-carb, nutritionally dense, nut-based milk with a watery consistency. It has a slightly nutty taste and can also be a little sweet, depending on the type and quantity of almonds used while making the milk.

It is to be kept in mind that heating almond milk for a long time or on high heat may turn it bitter.

Almond milk can be used in coffee, hot chocolate, pancakes, French toast, smoothies, and even ice creams. It can also be used in baked items like cookies, bread, cakes, and brownies.

Barley milk is creamy and has a slightly earthy-grainy aftertaste.

Like other plant-based milk, you can use barley milk in coffee, tea, and smoothies. You can use it in your baked items for its earthy smell.

Barley milk can add to the taste of chocolate-based dishes.

It can enhance the flavor of chocolate fudge cake and brownies. You can use it in pasta sauces to add a grainy taste.

Conclusion

Almond milk and barley milk are both plant-based, non-dairy beverages, suitable for vegans.

Almond milk and barley milk have their similarities and differences, but both are nutritious and a healthful addition to your diet. When available, always choose unsweetened, fortified products or try making them at home.

Plant milks, including almond and barley milks are easy to add to diet, and can be used in varieties of recipes and dishes.

Fortified products will help getting different nutrients, including micronutrients that are usually hard to get on a plant-based diet, such as vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium and other.

If you’re willing to learn more about these non-dairy milks, read our articles about them: Almond Milk and Barley Milk.

Other Almond Milk Comparisons

Other Barley Milk Comparisons

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