Did you know that 75% of the earth population are lactose intolerant. Because of increasing number of lactose intolerant people dairy free milk and milk products are high in demand. Another reason for increasing demand of non-dairy milk and milk products is the shifting trend of non-vegan to vegan for different reasons. These are known with different names like plant milk or plant-based milk, vegan milk, dairy free milk which are basically nothing but plant-based alternative to dairy milk.
What is lactose intolerance? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lactose intolerance is basically “an impaired ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products”
There are different sources of non-dairy/plant-based milk and one of the main sources is Almond.
Ingredients of Almond milk
The basic ingredients are obviously almond and water but there are some other added ingredients also which vary with brands. Let us take few brands and check their ingredients
Epigamia: Water, Almond(4%), Emulsifier (INS 322(ii)), Stabilizer (INS 418), Tri calcium phosphate, Vitamin premix (Vit A and Vit D2)
Urban Platter: Water, Almond, Calcium carbonate, Salt, sunflower lecithin, carob gum, gellan gum(INS 418), Added flavour (Nature and nature identical)
Now let us check if the added ingredients are safe to consume or not
It is Lecithin, partially hydrolysed which act as emulsifier and antioxidant. Partially hydrolyzed lecithin is used commonly as an emulsifier to form and maintain a homogenous mixture of oil and water phases. Lecithin can be derived from both animal and plant sources including egg, beef, soybean, etc.
Is it vegan? It is safe to consume but since the source of this ingredient is not mentioned in the label, this product may or may not be vegan.
Stabilizer (INS 418)
It is Gellan gum which is used in food products as a stabilizer and it works as a plant-based alternative to gelatin which is derived from animal skin, cartilage, or bone.
Is Gellan Gum Vegan? Yes, The gellan-producing bacterium was discovered and isolated by the former Kelco Division of Merck & Company, Inc. in 1978 from the lily plant tissue from a natural pond in Pennsylvania, USA.
Carob gum/Locust bean gum (E410)
Locust bean gum is the ground endosperm of the seeds of the strains of carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua (L.) Taub and used as a thickening agent or gelling agent. Locust bean gum is a white to yellowish-white, nearly odourless powder.
Tri calcium phosphate(TCP) (E341)
It is a calcium of phosphoric acids also called tribasic calcium phosphate and bone phosphate of lime (BPL). It is a concentrated source of calcium and is used to prevent calcium deficiencies.
It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used in accordance with good manufacturing practice. It is used as food additive like raising agent, stabilizer, dough strengthener, anti-caking agent, texturizer, flour treating agent and acidity regulator.
Health risks: Hypercalcemia, Kidney stones, Cardiovascular problems
Is It Vegan? It is mainly produced from animal bones, hence it may or may not be vegan.