Almonds provide many nutritional benefits and are regarded as one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

So it would make sense to think that almond milk is a healthier alternative to dairy milk. But this isn’t necessarily true. Millions of Americans stock up on almond milk thinking that it is better for them, but in reality, they are shorting themselves out of a lot of nutrients found in dairy milk.

The truth is that almond milk only provides us with a mediocre nutritional value when compared to real milk. Almond milk bought in stores does contain all the nutritional benefits of almonds, but it comes with a lot of added ingredients.

In addition to almonds, it is also filled with water, sweeteners, and other additives. When all is said and done, a carton of almond milk only contains the equivalent of a handful of almonds. Research has even found that the leading almond milk brands are only made up of 2 percent almonds.

The rest of the drink is a mixture of sweeteners, water, added vitamins, and carrageen, which is a thickening agent. All of this means that when you pour that glass of almond milk, thinking that you are still getting all the nutritional benefits of milk, you are actually getting a drink that is full of harmful ingredients, including sugar.

A story reported earlier this year even stated that a boy in New Zeland had to have eleven teeth removed because they had rotted due to his extremely high sugar intake.

This kind of story has prompted many parents across the globe to switch their kids to a sugar-free diet, but this isn’t as easy as it may seem. Sugar and other artificial sweeteners seem to be everywhere we turn, and sometimes, we may not even realize they are there. Sports drinks are a great example of this.

They are marketed as an important part of a healthy, active lifestyle, but they contain loads of sugar. Many of the leading brands have as much as 12 packets of sugar per serving.

A serving is usually about 12 ounces. Many foods also contain a variety of artificial sweeteners, including agave, corn syrup, and honey. It seems like sweeteners like these are becoming a more common additive than salt.

The worst culprit is beverages since even drinks that claim to be sugar-free contain additives that soften tooth enamel, leading to decay.

Drinks with added sugar are even worse, as the sugar will react with the plaque that covers your teeth and produce an acidic substance that is harmful to enamel. Baby teeth can’t fight off this decay because they are much weaker than full-sized adult teeth.

The best choice for you to make when it comes to milk is dairy milk. But if you’re lactose intolerant, you’re still not out of luck. It’s easy to make your own almond milk at home, so you can have all the health benefits of almonds without the unhealthy added ingredients found in store-bought almond milk.

All you need to make this tasty, healthy drink is raw almonds, water, vanilla extract, and a blender.

Making your own almond milk is quick and easy, just plan ahead to allow time for the almonds to soak, about 10 to 12 hours. The advantage of making it yourself is that you ensure that the milk is raw and full of its optimal nutritional power. If you're lactose intolerant, its a great way to get vitamins and nutrients without the dairy!