Today, more than ever, there is an abundance of alternatives to dairy. From milk to ice cream to cheese, it's becoming easier to take traditional dairy products out of your diet. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, or have just decided to live a dairy-free lifestyle, there's no need to fear the dairy aisle of your local grocery store.

When it comes to milk, almond and coconut milk are the most popular and accessible. Even coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts have added these non-dairy nut milks to their menus for their customers. While the differences between almond milk vs coconut milk may seem obvious, there's more to it than just the ingredients. Knowing how they’re made, the nutrition facts, and benefits of almond milk vs coconut milk can help you make a choice that best suits you and your diet before you add your milk to your shopping cart or cup of coffee.

How They're Made  

sweet, milk
Katherine Baker

I don’t know about you, but when I first started drinking nut milks, I didn’t give much thought to how they're was made. Then, I was kinda like “WTF, how do they even do this?” Don’t worry, it’s actually not that complicated.

Almond milk is made by toasting batches of almonds, then finely grinding them into a thin powder-like consistency. Then the ground almonds are blended with filtered water. Some of the vitamins in almond milk are natural, and others are added during the blending process.

Coconut milk is made from the white flesh, or the meat, of brown coconuts. The flesh is grated, then boiled in water. The flesh is then strained, creating the final product. This technique usually produces thicker milk, so in order to make it thinner, the mixture is sometimes strained twice.

The good news about both milks is that there are no artificial colors, flavors, or GMOs added to the standard recipe. Of course, flavored options are available, but that’s where the nutrition value comes in.


walnut, meat, almond, nut
Torey Walsh

Almond milk is low in calories, especially in its original form without any flavors. Silk's unsweetened original is a smart choice at just 30 calories per 8 oz. glass, but regular original is still only 60 calories. Unsweetened flavored almond milk is also a great alternative to coffee creamers, and is still low in terms of calories with 30 calories per serving.

Coconut milk in its purest form tends to have pretty high numbers on the nutrient scale. At 552 calories per 8 ounce serving, it's fairly high calorie. Don’t let that intimidate you, though because many coconut milks found in stores are under 100 calories per serving. This is because they are strained to remove some of the fat, lowering the calorie count.

Where nut milks fall short is protein. Since non-dairy products do not contain whey (milk protein), they are not a good source for your daily dose. Almond milk contains 1 gram of protein while coconut milk has none at all. Because of this, it's important that you incorporate protein into your diet in other ways. 


nutmeg, coconut, nut
Jessica Yeh

Aside from being a great alternative to dairy, almond and coconut milk have a pretty nice list of benefits. Almond milk is free of cholesterol and its fats are what make it heart healthy. Also, almond milk is high in Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that fights against free radical damage. There is also 50% more calcium in fortified almond milk than dairy milk, and it is known to help aid in weight loss.

Coconut milk is helpful in nourishing the digestive lining, helping to improve gut health. It also contains acid that is good for energy and electrolytes that help replenish your body.

Now that you know the breakdown of these two "milks," you no longer have to go nuts in the grocery store choosing between almond milk vs. coconut milk. Both are great dairy alternatives with benefits and nutrients that will make great additions to your diet.

Note: All nutritional facts in this article are based on Silk products.