Coconut and Almond Milk in Cartons Not a Healthy Buy

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

Organic coconut milk and almond milk are common purchases at the health food store by those with dairy allergies.  Usually, these people are savvy consumers who know enough nutritionally to avoid soy milk with its endocrine disrupting isoflavones and gastric inflaming phytates. Rice milk is also steadily declining in popularity as it is really not much more than a glass of sugar water nutritionally speaking.

Organic, unsweetened coconut milk and almond milk in cartons seem like great alternatives at first blush, but are they really as “healthy” as people believe?

Let’s take a look at the labels.   I was shocked at what I found.

Check out the labels of the three brands I photographed.  I checked all the brands, by the way, and they all contained the same dangerous additives I’m about to describe.

Almond Breeze Unsweetened Coconut Milk

First, Vitamin A Palmitate is added, the synthetic version of Vitamin A.  I personally avoid synthetic versions of Vitamin A like the plague.  Every single multi-vitamin I’ve ever examined contains some form of synthetic A, including the so called “whole foods” multis.

Synthetic vitamins are the chemical mirror images of the real, natural versions.  They can cause imbalances over time   Even small amounts of the synthetic fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A can prove toxic and should be strictly avoided!

The Organic Consumers Association warns that isolated vitamins such as those produced synthetically cannot be recognized or metabolized by the body in the same way as the natural version.

Tree of Life Unsweetened Almond Milk

Large doses of natural vitamin A are well tolerated by the body as established by researchers decades ago, however.  Traditional diets contain 10 times or more of the RDA of this nutrient with no ill effect.  However, synthetic vitamin A is associated with birth defects and bone fractures.  It has no benefit in the diet whatsoever.

So Delicious Coconut Milk

The second really bad additive in these organic cartons of coconut milk and almond milk is Vitamin D2.  Vitamin D2 is a form of the wonder vitamin that you should take great pains to avoid.

In all known cases of Vitamin D toxicity where the dose was intentional, Vitamin D2 was the culprit.  By comparison, Vitamin D3 is much less toxic and requires an enormous or even an accidental dose to produce any toxic effect.

Vitamin D2 is manufactured industrially by irradiating yeast.   It is dangerous for D2 to be added to any food product particularly if this product would be given to children, where toxicity symptoms would appear at much lower dosages.

None of the store brands of cartoned coconut milk or almond milk were free of these dangerous and synthetic versions of the fat soluble vitamins!

Notice also that carrageenan is present in 2 of the 3 products as well!  Dr. Andrew Weil has been telling people to avoid carrageenan since 2002.  Carrageenan is so toxic and inflaming to the human digestive system that this food additive is formally classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) as a potential human carcinogen.

In my view, it would be a mistake to purchase and consume these items.  They are in no way health promoting or beneficial, particularly for growing children!

Healthy Alternatives to Coconut Milk and Almond Milk in Cartons

Coconut milk and almond milk should be healthy and they can be if they are produced at home without these dangerous additives.  I wrote an in depth post on how to easily make these healthful beverages yourself in a post called The Three Best Alternatives to Milk.

Believe it or not, even organic coconut milk in BPA free cans would be a better alternative to cartons of coconut milk based on my label inspection!

Check out my video on how to make your own coconut milk and my article on how to make healthy homemade almond milk, fermented to add probiotics and enzymes to boost immunity and improve digestion.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Source:  From Seafood to Sunshine: A New Understanding of Vitamin D Safety

Vitamin A on Trial


Comments (306)

  1. all you need to make nut milk is nut and water. there’s no need to add those unnecessary chemicals to it. if they do, then it’s obvious. isn’t it.

  2. This is a really narrow article with a misleading title. I live in the Netherlands and the coconut/almond milk I buy has 6 ingredients:

    coconut milk* (4.5%)
    agave syrup* (3.5%)
    almond* (3%)
    sea salt
    natural coconut flavour*

    It’s a brand called Provamel
    and all other brands I’ve tried here also have minimal ingredients and nothing I’m unsure about

    Maybe you are just buying the wrong products

      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist April 11, 2015 at 5:48 pm

        I wouldn’t buy it either. European labels are more general than US ones (I’ve observed this as I have had the opportunity to travel pretty extensively not just to Europe but South America, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand as well … doesn’t mean it’s better.

        • European labels are not “more general” …
          every product needs to be evaluated.

          In this case the US manufacturers add vitamins and it’s not that common in Europe. The only difference in the label is the way the fats are described.
          saturated unsaturated for EU
          trans for the Us

          • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist June 15, 2015 at 7:59 am

            I would consider a European label saying “vegetable oil” to indeed be more general. A US label would say the exact vegetable oil used, i.e., canola oil.

    • Unfortunately that has to do with the difference between US and EU markets.
      90% of the products in EU are without the adds and vitamins that sometimes are recommended in the US. – they try to stuff food with a percentage or all the RDA value of vitamines.

      Rice milk is not declining ( soy is loosing mkt shares ) and almond is booming… specially in the US.
      (where the procurement is much much cheaper)

    • Agave sweetener is so refined now that I have removed it from my diet…

      I make my own coconut milk from organic shredded coconut and water the flour, by product is used for everything I bake… or a thickener for my soups…

      It take some effort but it tastes so much better since I’m making it from scratch!

      My pint is don’t trust the agave nectar…

  3. Wow you really opened my eyes, definitely coconut and almond milk in cartons is not a healthy buy.Thanks a lot for sharing this and also for the photos you have added. Will surely bookmark this page for all your future posts. I too have some info regarding benefits of almond milk.

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  7. The only good coconut milk is the kind in bpa free cans that have 3 or fewer ingredients such as Native Forest brand: coconut, water, guar gum. No carageenan or any additives. The ones in the cartons say “beverage” on them for a reason, they aren’t just plain coconut milk

  8. Pingback: Health Store Almond & Coconut Milk Vs Homemade - My Blog

  9. I think it’s important to note two things:

    Firstly, this is over 2 years old now. Secondly, products these days are far more natural.

    Lets compare Almond Milk I’m drinking right now!

    INGREDIENTS: Filtered Water, Almonds, Mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), lecithin, salt, carrageenen (vegetable gum).

    The worst ingredient this has is Carrageenen, which studies have shown as a carcinogen in high doses. However, it has an incredibly short half life, and assuming that it had the maximum legal limit of Carrageenen in it, you would have to drink 18 Litres in 4 hours to even be at ‘entry level risk’

    Yes, making your own Almond Milk is healthier… no doubt about it. But you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. It’s not as unhealthy these days as this article states.

  10. Pingback: Homemade Coconut Milk | Vibrant Life Army Wife

  11. I have found that the problem with all nuts and nut milks is that they are very low in the essential amino acid lysine and very high in the non-essential, and competing, amino acid arginine. This amino acid imbalance causes many problems! Also, the phytic acid in both almonds and coconuts inhibits enzymes needed to break down the amino acids phenylalanine, tryptophan and tyrosine. Phytic acid also binds minerals, such as manganese. The combined effect of these problems would be not only physical but mental as well.

    I apparently can’t digest the casein in cow’s milk, although long-aged cheese and whey seem to be fine, but goat’s milk is no problem, as well as sheep’s milk yogurt, so these are good alternatives to cow’s milk for some people. By the way, dairy products have the highest lysine to arginine ratio of any foods, so they are very helpful to balance out grains, which are also much higher in arginine than lysine.

  12. I went to the website you cited (Organic Consumers Association) and could not find anything negative that was specific to Vitamin A Palmitate. I did further research and found that Vitamin A Palmitate or retinal palmitate is naturally occurring in animal sources, where as Vitamin A or carotenoids is found in fruits and vegetables. I do agree that Vitamin A Palmitate is used in vitamin supplements and can be consumed to the point of toxicity, but I do not believe that the mere presence of it in products should keep people from buying products that are healthy.

  13. Adding synthetic vitamins to nut and coconut milks is a practice that I can do without, and add coconut nut water to that mix.

    FYI: Soy only causes a problem in “ISOLATED FORM”, real non gmo soy contains PHYTO ESTROGENS that are 10,000 times weaker than estrogen and actual help the body by attaching to receptors sites, mimicking real estrogen. So please don’t write about soy if you only rewrite, false facts made by other writers who didn’t have the proper information to begin with,.

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  16. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site
    before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
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  17. Hey all you crazy “carrageenan is so horrible” and “vitamin D is synthetic” people!! SO DELICIOUS DAIRY FREE JUST TOLD ME THAT THEY ARE JUST NOW PRODUCING CARRAGEENAN FREE REFRG. COCONUT MILKS AND SOON ALL WILL BE WITHOUT THIS INGREDIENT! ALSO…. NEWS FLASH… THEY USE PLANT BASED VITAMINS! VITAMIN A AND D ACETATE! Call them before you post old packages on the internet so people “think” it’s bad. It’s a great coconut milk!!

    • Peggy, I just saw cartons of SO Delicious yesterday in my grocery store (March 7th, 2015) and the cartons still list Carrageenan,Vitamin A Palmitate,et al….on the ingredients list.

      What I would like to know is short of making one’s own almond, coconut, flaxseed, hemp milks, are there ANY companies that are producing pure, organic-certified products?

      • I just bought a carton of So Delicious Vanilla (purple carton) yesterday at Target in Tampa, FL and mine does not list Carrageenan as an ingredient.

  18. Hey there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my
    comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours
    and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

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  21. How about the brand almond fresh with coconut?

    INGREDIENTS: Almond Base (Filtered Water, Almonds), Evaporated Cane Juice, Cocoa Powder, Tricalcium Phosphate, Canola Lecithin and/or Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Salt, Carrageenan, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavour, Vitamin A Palmitate, Zinc Gluconate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12. Produced in a facility that also produces soy.

    • You want to try to avoid canola oils (including canola lecithin) which is highly processed and transformed as it’s made. It can be so chemically altered that some of the omega 3s can actually be transformed into trans fats. This is the case with all seed oils created under high pressure and extreme heat.

      Just thought I’d offer a tip! Carrageenan also has a number of studies on its ill-effects.

    • You also want to avoid sweetened versions of the milk alternatives. Most of them are naturally sweet anyway. And it has already been pointed out that carageenan is an issue. The fewer ingredients the better the product.

  22. I was looking to buy coconut milk today and reading the labels… The “So Delicious” dairy free Coconut milk beverage is free of Vitamin A palmitate and vitamin D2.

    The only ingredients are “ORGANIC COCONUT MILK (water, organic coconut cream), ORGANIC DRIED CANE SYRUP, CARRAGEENAN, GUAR GUM.

    I wish I could attach a photo of the ingredients list to this comment.
    Does this mean they listened and have changed the make up of their coconut milk? If so, that is awesome!! As much as I would like to make everything from scratch myself, working tons and away from home doesn’t give me the chance to do so. Glad that some companies do listen to what the public wants…

    • Tara, if they have removed the Vitamin A Palmitate and the Vitamin D2 from their Coconut milk, that is great news. However, until they remove the Carrageenan I would still not recommend it.

      Also, I was just in the Supermarket yesterday (March 7, 2015) and I saw labels with those ingredients still listed.

  23. My label for So Delicious Coconut Milk matches – I am in USA. Go to their websites for back labels, they match. I also checked the sources at bottom of post – they spell it out.

    I found this page when looking for info on “Are the almonds in organic almond milk irradiated?” Found good info.

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  28. Since going vegan, I will occasionally still buy Silk Almond Milk Unsweetened, runs about $5USD for a large carton because it is the only brand that is fortified with B12. The “Blue Diamond” brand is not B12 fortified so I consider it a complete waste of money. I don’t take a B12 supp so this is easier for me than having to take it in pill form. Vegans who are not supplementing B12 need to get some fortified foods in their diet so Almond milk from the carton is not necessarily a bad thing once in a while. Nutritional yeast or Fortified Almond Milk or Vitamin supp are the only places to get B12 for a vegan.

    Some weeks, I will make fresh nut milk which is extremely easy, cheaper, and more nutritious than the store bought. The only thing you have to remember to do is ALWAYS SOAK RAW NUTS TO GET RID OF THE PHYTIC ACID (overnight) and then next day, put some filtered water in a personal blender and strain with a mesh strainer or a cheesecloth. Very easy to do. You can add more water or less water depending on how creamy you like your nut milk. Again, delicious and nutritious when homemade but not fortified with B12. Unless I want to be deficient in B12, I switch up homemade nut milk for store-bought cartons.

  29. Blue Diamond uses “almond flavoring” to their miks, so they dont have to use too many actual almonds. Not really as organic as I thought.


    • It’s a secret recipe—–so that makes it safe?!?!??! Who is really dense here? Natural flavor = made in a lab=CHEMICALS. There is nothing NATURAL about ‘natural flavors’. The more apt title should be ‘imitation vanilla’, or imitation fill-in-the-blank.

  31. Hey Karen, here is a classic example of listening to people that have no clue or scientific backround to what they are saying. Carrageenan is NOT msg. MSG, is MSG. Carrageenan is seaweed that has been used over the past 20 years. It was never an issue, until people started “blogging” about the wrong Carrageenan! There are 2 different types, ungraded and graded. Now of course, everyone now says that even the food grade Carageenan causes them tummy aches and still don’t like it. Do you know most Organic Assiciations still back Carageenan up, aling with the FDA after doing numerous studies on it as recent as 2012? Do your research, get your information from a credible sources. People will ALWAYS have an issue with an ingredient in anything. It’s a joke, just like people thinking or “been told” that MSG is another name for natural flavor. Lol. Natural flavor is a brands “secret recipe” that makes the product unique, so it’s not easily copied. I’m going to only listen to credible sources from now on and a “blogger” is defenitly NOT one.

  32. Most of those premade nut milks have carrageenan in them. From what I was told…carrageenan is another name for MSG. Yikes!

  33. Santiago Sanchez July 22, 2013 at 9:49 pm


    Oct. 28, 2009 – Boston University School of Medicine researchers (BUSM) have found that 50,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D2, given weekly for eight weeks, effectively treats vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D2 is a mainstay for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in children and adults. Continued treatment with the same dose of vitamin D2 every other week for up to six years after the initial eight-week period prevents vitamin D deficiency from recurring with no toxicity.The BUSM study appears online in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

    Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from the food we eat. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children and the painful bone disease osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause osteoporosis and has been linked to increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases including influenza, according to senior author Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, director of the Bone Healthcare Clinic and the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine.

    Of the 86 patients researchers studied, 41 patients who were vitamin D deficient received eight weeks of 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 weekly prior to starting maintenance therapy. For those patients, the mean pre-treatment 25-hydroxyvitamin D status (25(OH)D) level was 19 ng/ml, which increased to 37 ng/ml after eight weeks of weekly therapy. These patients were then treated with 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 every other week and had a mean final 25(OH)D level of 47 ng/ml.

    For the 45 patients who received only maintenance therapy of 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 every two weeks, the mean pre-treatment 25(OH)D level was 27 ng/ml and the mean final level was 47 ng/ml.

    “Vitamin D2 is effective in raising 25(OH)D levels when given in physiologic and pharmacologic doses and is a simple method to treat and prevent vitamin D deficiency,” said Holick, who is also director of the General Clinical Research Unit and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at BUSM. “While treating and preventing vitamin D deficiency, these large doses of vitamin D2 do not lead to vitamin D toxicity.”

    According to Holick, this is the first study demonstrating the efficacy of a prescription therapy to prevent vitamin D deficiency longterm in routine clinical practice.

    Quest Diagnostics, the nation’s leading provider of diagnostics testing, information and services, analyzed the specimens used in the study.

    • I briefly scanned the study and do not know what the purpose of it was considering that Vitamin D2 is inferior to Vitamin D3 which is what we actually produce and use in our bodies. You get Vitamin D3 when you are in the sun for 10 minutes (100% DV).
      Vitamin D2 is for the most part synthetic in most of these fortified products so if anything if someone is suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency, they need to be taking Vitamin D3 or getting some daily sun – 10 minutes max…we’re not talking about baking out in the sun without sunscreen but the sun is the only way to make natural vitamin D.

      I don’t know what the absorption rate for vitamins is for fortified products but the Vitamin D they use for dairy alternatives/dairy is not sufficient considering they use Vitamin D2 and also because it is synthetic. This is not the case where… it’s better to take it than not. These companies have been misleading the public for too long…even if it is a healthier brand like “Silk” or “Blue Diamond”.

  34. Her perspective on Vit A is off – Vit A Palmitate (or preformed Vit A) is actually well-recognized by the body and processed in the small intestine in a very efficient process that is not subjected to feedback regulation, so when you’ve gotten too much it won’t shut down. Whereas, the processing of Provitamin A (beta-carotene) requires it be broken down prior to absorption and this is a highly regulated process controlled by feedback from the body’s stores of Vit A. Chronic toxicity has been associated with daily ingestion of 10x the RDA over a long period of time and acute toxicity with >200x the RDA. That is a lot of coconut/almond milk!!

    As for Vitamin D2… It is certainly known to be a lesser quality supplement that Vitamin D3. However, I don’t feel that the evidence supports it being considered a villian. It is not as bioefficacious at binding as D3 and can be available more often in the free form. This is what makes it more at risk for causing toxicity. However, I found no evidence to support her claim that “all” intentional Vit D dosing toxicity cases were caused by Vit D2 (“ALL” is a very strong word). Also, I found nothing to suggest that D3 was significantly safer supporting her alleged claim that it “requires an enormous or even an accidental dose to produce any toxic effect.” Vitamin toxicity is not a black and white issue and there is no well-accepted threshold of any supplement in medicine. Here is a link to a very good peer-reviewed journal article on the topic of D2 v. D3: The author argues against the use of D2 as a supplement due to it’s lesser quality and stability not because it is necessarily harmful.

    Physician-Against-Biased-Blogging, MD

  35. I drink both Almond Milk (Blue Diamond 40cal), and Coconut milk (So Del. Organic 45cal) from 950ml tetra packs.

    Neither contain ANY added vitamins at all (0%)

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  37. I’ve been giving my 14 month old daughter silk almond milk for two months now and just purchased so delicious coconut milk last night to mix with her almond milk. She can’t have lactose and besides that I am trying to avoid cows milk due to all of the growth hormones and antibiotics used on cows. I thought I had found a healthy option with the almond milk but apparently not.. is there a healthy option to purchase??

    • that’s why I am suggesting we stop kibbitzing and go directly to the manufacturer and ask that they remove the added crap none of us want..VIt A palmitate for sure..eve Mercola hates the stuff.

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  39. Good Post Since I’m a Personal Trainer I Started Telling My Clients About It. They Love Me even more now. BUT IM A RAW MILK ADVOCATE NOTHING BUT RAW MILK IN MY HOUSE RIGHT DOWN TO THE BABY. GOOD INFO

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  41. I just called So Delicious. Their coconut milk is organic and contains NO SYNTHETIC VITAMINS and the Vitamin D is not D2 I believe….it just says Vitamin D. The consumer relations gal is checking with their scientist to confirm on the Vitamin D and will let me know. I feel bad for all those who read this article who thought they could no longer have their cartoned coconut milk. So Delicious IS O.K.
    I did find out many good things from reading both the article and ALL the comments. Thank you! As a 4 decades plus vegetarian in excellent health who looks quite a bit younger than my birth-age, I do wish you would just “agree to disagree” with us veggies and hold back on the sniping. Appreciatively, kanta

  42. I just like the helpful information you supply to your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and test again here frequently. I’m somewhat certain I will be told plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the following!

  43. Pingback: Homemade Almond Milk | My Healthy Happy Home

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  45. So if I’ve understood correctly, almond milk itself is good but when commercially packaged check the other ingredients which may not be.

  46. What you’re describing is not the case in every country. For example, in Canada, the brand of coconut milk you’re showing in the photo has no vitamin supplementation whatsoever. Many “Canadian” version of US products do not because we have stricter food additive laws when it comes to vitamins and minerals (for example, manufacturers are not allowed to fortify ANYTHING with vitamin K!). It doesn’t stop the carrageenan, however, but I thought you’d be interested to know that.

    • could you give us the names of the products and their website to see if we can get it here in the US? maybe they sell them thru Amazon? Thanks

  47. I broke down how much it costs to make my own almond milk with 5 lbs of store bought bulk Raw Organic Whole Shelled Almond (ROWSA) and here’s what I got:

    – 1 lbs = 3 cups. (That’s a conservative figure); 5 lbs = 15 cups
    – I make a single batch with 1 cup of ROWSA at the time and get 6 cups of almond milk using this recipe:

    1 cup almonds, soaked and rinsed (Overnight in Fridge – Follow Janet’s advice)
    2.5 Tsp Maple syrup
    6 cups water (you may use only 5 for thicker milk)
    Pinch sea salt
    1 tbs vanilla extract (optional)

    Blend almond with only 2 cups of water to produce fine almond meal. Then filter with Cheesecloth or create your own filter bag made of fine fabric.

    – This makes 90 cups of almond milk;
    – There’s 45 pints in 90 cups;
    – Each store bought almond milk cartons is 2 pints; 45 pints/2 = 22.5 cartons
    – So you’ll need to buy 22.5 cartons at $3.00 (Also a conservative figure) to get the same quantity of homemade almond milk; 22.5 cartons @ $3.00 = $67.50
    – The cost of 5 lbs of ROWSA is $37.50 (I get mine online at
    – Even at $10.00/lbs ($50) it’s still a good and clean deal! No Carrageenan, additive of all sort and waste…speaking of which HERE’S ONE DELICIOUS WAY TO USE YOUR ALMOND MEAL (I dry mine in a toaster oven @ 175 F for 25 minutes moving the meal around every 10 min.):


    -3 cups (450g) of almond meal
    -2 tsps baking soda
    -1/2 tsp salt


    -1/4 cup (60ml) coconut oil melted
    -4 large eggs

    -2 very ripe bananas, mashed
    -3 tsps vanilla
    -3 tsps cinnamon
    -1/2 cup (50g) of walnut, chopped
    -1/2 cup of carob chips (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 350C(175F)
    2. Combine DRY INGREDIENTS in a small bowl
    3. In separate bowl mix together coconut oil and eggs
    4. Mix the flour combination into oil and eggs, stir until well blended.
    5. Add mashed bananas, vanilla and cinnamon. Fold in walnuts and carob chips.
    6. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 25-30 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean.


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  51. We cannot trust what this woman has to say. I checked the cartons as well and the label are NOTHING LIKE IT SHOWS IN THE PICTURE! So Delicious is one of the best products out there. I have spoken to not only the customer service representative, but also the quality control department. Do you know, that the coconut milk products are certified Vegan, Kosher, Gluten Free, Organic, BPA Free, Non-GMO? They test ALL the product and ingredients before, during, and after the finished product? They are approved by FAAN, and the Organic Network.

    Before believing this person blogging and posting misinformed information, speak to the actual company! So Delicious is the only one that is very open and provided me with any answers to any questions I have ever asked. That company actually cares.

    • well some of us don’t like coconut milk and the vit A Pailmitate seems to be ubiquitous in the other non dairy milks..almond hemp and oat. Thta’s why I am urging people to voice their displeasure where it will do the most good -withthe folks that make it..If enough people complain they will change because it will hurt their bottom line.

  52. Hi Sarah…I am Canadian too and was looking at the label of my almond milk that I give to my daughter who is just over one year old. Ingredients are: filtered water, almonds, tapioca starch, natural vanilla flavour, calcium carbonate, sea salt, potassium citrate, carrageenan and sunflower lecithin.

    Vitamin A, D and C are listed as 0%, Calcium is 30%, Iron 4%, Vitamin E 15%, Phosphorous 2% and Magnesium 8%.

    Let me know what you think, or anyone else for that matter!

  53. I really hope you are really researching this before causing such a scare. What makes me wonder is your comment about synthetic vitamin A, specifically, causing birth defects. That statement is both true and extremely misleading. Too much of ANY vitamin A causes birth defects. This was what was taught in my advanced biology nutrition class when I was in college, as well as what my OB said when I was pregnant.

    • why take a chance? voice you opinion with their customer service depts online.we have strength in numbers and should become activists for our cause..If we all do it together, we can change their product.

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  56. Can you send me info on your qualifications on giving health and nutrition advise.
    I can forward you actual real photo’s of these products and labels if you like.

  57. Hey Sarah,
    I’m not quit sure if you took those pictures or there stock photo’s but we buy both of those products you have in the picture and the nutrition and ingredients labels on our containers look nothing like yours.
    Pacific Foods organic Almond Milk ( unsweetened Original: water, organic almonds, organic rice starch, organic vanilla, sea salt, natural flavors, carrageenan)
    So Delicious Coconut Milk Organic ( unsweetened: organic coconut milk, water, organic coconut cream, carrageenan, guar gum).
    So like i said not sure if those labels belong to those products. Can you send me info on your qualifications on giving health and nutrition advise.
    I can forward you actual real photo’s of these products and labels if you like.

    • If you bought them in Canada, they will not have the same ingredients. The US versions of So Delicious at least does have all those ingredients as I have bought it there and imported it. The Canadian version does not because of our food additive laws.

  58. Vitamin A Palmitate — This is a synthetic version of vitamin A that is associated with birth defects and bone fractures while providing zero health benefits. Other side effects of this isolated chemical form of vitamin A include tumor enhancement, joint disorders, osteoporosis, extreme dryness of eyes, mouth and skin, enlargement of liver and spleen, and immune suppression. As an added note, vitamin A toxicity, known as hyper-vitaminosis, always results from consuming too much synthetic “purified” vitamin A and never from naturally occurring vitamin A found from natural food sources. Still haven’t thrown out your store-bought “almond milk?”

    Vitamin D2 — This synthetic chemical needs to be avoided at all costs as toxicity occurs easily with ingested synthetic D2. This occurs especially in children. In fact, a single dose of synthetic vitamin D of 50mg or greater is toxic for adults. The immediate effect of toxicity is abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. In time, as toxicity builds, the result is a buildup of irreversible deposits of calcium crystals in the soft tissues of the body that damage the heart, lung and kidneys.*

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    • Ellen, what is “raw milk”? Cow’s milk or milk that comes from another animal’s udder? I just try to differentiate when I use the word “milk.” I am an animal rescuer, and I encounter a lot of people who will rescue little kittens and give them what they call, “milk” and I say, “cow’s milk? that’s for baby cows, not baby cats…they could develop diarrhea and die from that, so please don’t use cow’s milk for a different species.” And then that makes them think. We are the only species that drinks “milk” from another species. Is raw milk unpasteurized, unprocessed cow’s milk?
      Thanks. :)

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  61. I have been using SO Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk for a few months now. I usually pour it in my oatmeal and a couple of cups of coffee daily, about 1 – 2 cups daily use. I started using this product because of an episode I saw on the Dr. Oz show. I, like Liz above, found this page on a curiosity search and am a little concern about the Vitamin A palmitate and Vitamin D2. If the alternative to cow’s milk coconut is healthy, how can we avoid the additives? Are there other products in the market you can recommend?
    It seem like everything we try to consume that should be healthy turns out not so.

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  63. I’ve been trying to find somewhere else on the web that describes what you’re saying about Vitamin A palmitate and I just can’t find anything so negative.. I’ve been trying alternatives for milk and I found this page on a curiosity search to see if I could find downsides to it.. And from what I’ve researched past this post, based on what you’re saying, the vitamin a palmitate in these kinds of drinks are synthetic so as to appeal to vegans, because it’s usually animal derived, and vegans don’t like that… And overdoing it on any vitamin or food, or anything ever in general can harm your body, so yes, it can eventually cause an ‘imbalance’ if only in that you overdose on it. I am still not convinced that this can possibly be something that causes me not to drink the stuff, considering that I drank milk for 21 years only to find out recently that milk is horrible for you.. This seems to be a pretty decent alternative

  64. This article was overwhelming to say the least.

    Are you saying that findings show something about the cartons themselves is leeching into these milk alternatives?

    Or, is it what is added to them? They can add stuff to cans, and let me know where BPA-free cans are, because I’ve never seen them. Even if BPA-free, cans just don’t seem like the best choice for any ingestable item.

  65. Another reason the article is misleading is Mrs. Sarah should have also taken a photo of a carton of cow’s milk from the grocery store shelf to be fair.

    I’m looking at a photo of a gallon of Great Value Brand Fat-Free Milk and this is the ingredient list:

    Ingredients: Fat-free milk, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3

    The fact that synthetic Vitamin A Palmitate is a harmful ingredient is not incorrect or misleading, but that she chose to single out ONLY the non-dairy products (that mostly appeal to vegans) to bring attention to this dangerous additive.

    If she truly wanted to make this post an educational experience for her readers (dairy consumers and non-dairy consumers alike), she should have also mentioned that commercialized cow milk also contains the harmful Vitamin A Palmitate ingredient as well.

    Not good for dairy consumers who are unable to purchase raw cow’s milk as she suggests.

    • Ewen, I just checked the Pacific Natural Foods site…and all of the milks contain carageenan or some sort of “gum,” Vitamin A Palmitate, “natural flavorings” (which should raise a red flag…), and Vitamin D2. *sigh*

  66. so… i read everyone’s commnet…can come to a conculsions that under any circumstances DO NOT give milk to ur kids…..But then what to do…..i work and teach and tutor….and have NO time to make my.own…BUT still think my kids should drink some sort of milk to get their Vitamins and Calicum….
    Pls. help what do i do? what can i give them……
    i just started buying almond milk heard it was suppose to be good for..u…BUT now i am confused and dont know what to do…
    PLS HELP!!!

  67. Pingback: Alternative Milks: Coconut Milk | Salt 'n Pepper

  68. What a Bummer. Thought I was doing ok. I like the taste of almond milk. Will have to make my own I guess. Doesn’t it tear up your blender?

  69. Thanks so much for this information. I am a bit dubious that the cans of coconut milk sold on are truly BPA free…but I may try those out and just dilute that milk in water. I just found out the other day that carageenan and guar gum are, essentially, MSG, and I am really upset about it…not that I drink a lot of almond milk, but it is my go-to drink, particularly when I make hemp protein shakes. Thanks for the Vitamin D2 info as well. You’ve upset the vegans on here…I’m vegetarian who is trying to convert to veganism, and I was unaware that there was no viable plant-based Vitamin A source…but i will search for a supplement, because I just can’t do something that is cruel and bad for the environment, even if i tried. There must be another way, I’m sure. Thanks again.

  70. I been drinking it anyway.I’m not a vegetarian.I just never liked milk that much.I got silk brand for awhile.Got a couple “organic” so delicious brands yesterday.Synthetics in USDA organic,doesn’t surprise me really.I went to all local stores & couldn’t find anything better.None carry organic coconuts or any type of organic nuts.I bet they are dipped in fluoride anyway.

  71. The only carton of any type of organic milk here, is the one that sais organic on the label of ingredients shown. This is way misleading. She is referring to “organic” almond milk, while showing almond breeze, non-organic. From this report we have no idea what is in organic almond milk; as Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond milk is not organic at all.

    • Lauren,

      You are absolutely right about this lady’s intentions. She sounds knowledgeable, but may have issues with self worth. Did you check her statement about BPA cans? Lol! She said she’d rather people drink out of BPA FREE cans than drink products that are obviously taking advantage of the whole foods process. Her suggestions are ludicrous and remind me of someone with munchausen by proxy syndrome, only on a grander scale. In her case, making the world sick so she can feel ‘gratified’ she healed them. So for those of you who do not know there are actual whole food products you can purchase that are truly organic. Check your local Asian, African or Middle Eastern store aisle for ‘true’ products which you don’t have to make yourself! Do be careful as even a few of these have guar gum/xantham gum as an additive. Get the product that has one ingredient: Coconut Milk! So you see unfortunately this overindulged Internet hog, doesn’t know everything. That’s why a community of information sharing will always be better than one person who wants alllllllll the glory….tsk, tsk (shaking my head)! My son has some severe issues, one being asthma of an incredible oxygen robbing manifestation. After learning bout coconut water and other pure, non-refined coconut products such as coconut milk, cream (just add water to make it milk), vinegar, sugar, etc. we’ve seen a steady improvement in his health and social skills (when one is oxygen deprived your communication skills go down the drain as who can learn to talk when you can’t breath so you use your hands wildly and this learned behavior doesn’t leave once the gift of air is given. So imagine what it must be like for him at school)! This lady has a lot to learn about ethics and research. She is truly just taking advantage of weakened minds and desperate attitudes. If one truly cares about one’s health, do whatever research necessary to validate her claims! There is too much information on the Internet of RELIABLE source to counteract her unjustified, confused and poorly written diatribe! Please do your research and yes, READ THE LABELS COMPLETELY!

      H. Nicole Lea Mon
      Naturopathic Therapist

  72. An excellent post. It’s unfortunate that a product that markets itself as being a healthy alternative contains so many unnecessary synthetic components. I’ll definitely look in to finding ways to consume coconut milk without the additives, because I do find it to be an excellent tasting beverage and great substitute for milk taste-wise.

  73. I just came across this post and find it very interesting. For a time, when he was around 14 months old, I gave my son Almond milk from the carton as we were weaning him off formula. Shortly after he began developing dry skin/dermatitis that I was sure was linked to the Almond milk (we have hereditary skin issues and sensitivities to dairy). It immediately cleared up when we stopped with the Almond milk and returned to formula. He did better on formula to be honest. I’m not a fan of formula, but I couldn’t breastfeed past 8 months and we didn’t have access to raw milk. I am sure it had to do with the denatured product as well as the additives. This post has been very eye opening and I will be doing additional personal research on vitamins and additives in all products we eat.

    I don’t know this site and I am going to look at it more when I have the time. I am concerned about some of the opinions of intolerance as well as “advice” being dispensed. Every person is different, and while certain things are clearly less advisable and unhealthy, it is a dangerous policy to make a blanket statement of advice regarding something like vitamins, etc. Different medical situations, genetics, nutritional profile through childhood and beyond, and economic circumstances all determine whether someone may need supplementation. The same goes with being well-suited to a vegetarian/vegan diet (or it to them). I would hope that the intent of this site is to raise awareness and discussion rather than alienate. There are good brands of products out there which the author and respondents have done a great job of identifying (thank you!). And hopefully every person listens to their bodies and instincts to determine what is best for them and their families.

    Final note…Tremendous contributions have been made by the vegetarian and vegan communities in regard to nutritional information, cookbooks & recipes, etc. Although I am neither, I own a number of books written from that perspective. I find the raw food emphasis particularly useful for reminding myself to have a green smoothie or a bowl of fruit instead of a piece of buttered toast and a cheese stick just because it’s easy (I have dairy intolerance), and where I heard about almond milk in the first place. The well-known vegan, raw food advocate and author, Shazzie, spent a number of years researching children’s nutrition after her daughter was born. The result is one of the best nutrition books, especially for children, I have ever read (Evie’s Kitchen)–also chock-full of recipes that are highly nutritious and will appeal to children. The publication of her book created tremendous controversy within that community by stating she had never seen a truly healthy, unsupplemented raw vegan child. She takes great care as a vegan to make sure she gets all the nutrition she needs and knows where to go for the sources, but was willing to question her beliefs rather than impose them, for the sake of her child’s health and well-being. There are so many nutritional lifestyles, and we all have things we can learn from one another–I hate to see a group denigrated and reader’s alienated when they could benefit from the comments here, and reader’s could also benefit from what they bring to the table. Undoubtedly, we all have more in common than not in our desire to feed ourselves and our families more whole and nutritious foods and live harmoniously on the planet.

  74. I just came across your article and upon doing a little research found a coconut water/milk/cream distributor that seems to not have any of the bad things you mentioned. They seem reasonable and I an happy to support their business.

    PS I’m in no way affiliated with them, just found them when searching for high quality coconut products.
    Thank you for the info!

  75. You know what I’m tempted to call claims about vitamins that are nowhere near conclusively substantiated by medical science? Lies. Ya know – the kind that get ratings/readers. I suppose if you’re just too stupid to know better, though, we would just call it confusion.

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  77. I’m looking at my SO Delicious COconut Milk Beverage and it does NOT contain any synthetic vitamins. Ingredient list says: Organic Coconut mIlk (water, organic coconut cream), carrageenan and guar gum.

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  81. i really didn’t like that ”fools” comment either. it was very bitchy and unnecessary. if you don’t believe veganisem is healthy, then fine, but you certainly don’t have to attack others just because they chose to keep animal products out of their diet. that’s all i have to say to you.

  82. Thank you for the info.I did not like your comment about those who are foolish to eschew animal products though! Since I quit eating animal products 11 months ago, I have lost 55lbs, got off my BP med and feel 100% better! Dairy is the worst for asthma too! I no longer have to use my nebulizer! I feel like a plant based diet has saved my parents life also. They have lost over a 100lbs together and have cut their diabetes meds in half and their blood work is amazing, the Dr can’t believe it! Maybe you should read the China Study, How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Eat to Live! It’s one thing to give info, but another to call others fools!

  83. I will have to do some investigation on the subject of vitamins and synthetic A being in all brands even brands that are labeled to contain just carotene as a natural A.

    Are you saying that the FDA does not allow the muti vitamins to NOT have a synthetic A?

    If so why is that?

    And are some brands of multi vitamins which are labeled with carotene as the vitamin A source mislabeling?

    Please be clear on this as I think it has stirred up a huge confusion for the readers. Especially mothers taking prenatal vitamins.

  84. After reading this article and then hearing from more than one that all multi vitamins had the synthetic A in it, I pulled my Multi Vitamin out of the cabinet to see if it had Vit A Palmitate in it, it did not. It has only Vit A. from Natural Beta Carotene. I take the NOW brand EcoGreen Multi.
    Also, though I haven’t checked it out yet, I would be willing to bet that the Life Extensions bands of Multi Vit does not include synthetic anything! This is another good brand that our family buys.

  85. Do you have a good source for nuts in bulk? We eat so many soaked and dried nuts and we drink canned coconut milk (the carton stuff is watered down anyway…) and I HAVE been buying unsweetened almond milk. For those who make their own, is it really cheaper?


  86. I’m sorry to say this, but your statement that ALL of the milk alternatives contain those harmful additives…is FALSE.

    I am sitting here, with my SO delicious coconut milk beverage, organic and unsweetened. The ingredients are: organic coconut milk (water, organic coconut cream) carrageenan, guar gum.

    NO vitamin A NO vitamin D. They are in fact listed as 0% in the nutritional table.

    I am Canadian, so maybe that is the difference? But you should make it clear in your posts where you have looked/live (america, canada, etc) so your readers both new and old ones are reminded that this information is relative to YOUR area. Rather than initially scarring the poop out of them ha!

  87. Your sources do not support your claims that synthetic vitamin A, or synthetic vitamins in general, are harmful. In fact, the second link (written by Chris Masterjohn, an excellent and thorough scientist) states, “The research clearly suggests that the *amount* of vitamin A is the operative factor rather than the *form* of vitamin A.”

    Vitamin D2 should be avoided for many reasons, but I don’t think synthetic D3 is a problem. The amounts, especially relative to other vitamins, are what matter.

  88. We use the Wilderness Family Naturals coconut milk. I think the only addition is xanthan gum and it is sold in tetra packs. It’s the best I’ve found and I have no time to make it at home yet. However, we’ve finally been able to re-introduce dairy after being strictly no-dairy for about 3yrs. Mostly raw cheese and raw butter. yum!

  89. Tijana OCeallaigh via Facebook January 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

    oh wow – we’ve been drinking the store bought almond and occasionally coconut milk for a year or so – giving it to my toddler and drank it through pregnancy :( well better to learn about it late than never! I just signed up for a herd share to get raw cow’s milk now!!

  90. I have a question. I’m in Australia, so these brands are not familiar to me, but over here we have almond, rice, soy in tetra-pak cartoons that are on the self, and ones that are in milk carton styles that are in the fridge. It’s my understanding that those found on the shelf are ultra-heat treated and therefore have no nutrients in them, so really not that good for you. Am I right in assuming this? And out of curiosity are the ones in the photo on the shelf or in the fridge? Thanx Evie.

  91. I buy Ayam coconut milk in cans, and according to the ingredients it’s only coconut milk with some water (82% coconut I believe). It’s not as good as fresh coconut milk, I guess, but doesn’t seem to have added nasties.

  92. Just as a side note, we have had canned organic coconut milk tested, and it still contains small amounts of aluminum from the cans they are packaged in. So, getting the milk in an aluminum can is probably not a healthy alternative. Also, there is a company called “Wilderness Family Naturals” that sells a good healthy coconut milk and cream that does not contain anything other than xanthum gum and coconut milk. Here’s a link:

    Thanks for the great informative articles and for being brave enough to get the truth out to people, regardless of the controversy and negativity some people bring to the table.

  93. As always you do a great job of uncovering what most of us overlook! It is like all foods – you just have to really watch not only the ingredients but the quality of those ingredients!! As always, best to just make your own. I am a big proponent of coconut products, coconut milk included! I will certainly share the information you presented to family, friends and people following my blog as this is very useful information.

  94. I do not know about synthetic vitamins however my feeling would be that synthetic vitamin A is not the exact chemical opposite (known to chemists as an enatiomer), but rather its both the exact chemical opposite or the mirror image and the correct natural state vitamin. The reason being in a lab its very hard to separate a natural product and its opposite. The only physical lab difference it has is the way it rotates polarized light. It is not impossible but a lot more difficult. Many years ago there was a drug called thalidomide that caused birth defects it turned out that it was a mixture of the 2 chemicals that were mirror images. Only one of the chemicals caused the birth defects the other was a benefit.

  95. My grandson’s Garden of Life Vitamin Code Kids has vitamin A (as beta-carotene) listed. Dr John Cannell at the Vitamin D Council warns we need to keep our kids away from vitamin A palmitate. I looked through a lot of brands to find this one.

  96. Lelhani Morris-Pouessel via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I was deeply disappointed and wrote to Pacific Foods to tell them so, with regards to their individual chocolate almond milks. I had chosen them as a sweet treat for my kids and was really bummed when I saw they contained so little protein. Their answer was, oh well, pick another nut milk. I did. The organic refrigerated Trader Joe version, in vanilla.

  97. Sarah, regarding your disdain for multi’s, there are a few good ones out there. Not everyone is as fortunate as you to afford access to whole foods and nutrients while pregnant or at any time. I use a brand for my clients from Synergy company. They have very few products but are dedicated to whole organic nutrition. I have also observed dramatic positive changes in my clients who take multi’s along with other lifestyle changes. We do not live in a perfect world and to suggest otherwise is delusional. I counsel clients to do the best they can with reliable resources, whole foods, exercise, sunshine, a good night’s sleep and encourage them to surround themselves with good people who strive after higher standards of ethical conduct in their work and daily living. Life is a summation of “whole” simple living. Making it too complicated invites mediocrity.

    • No doubt the definition of “good” varies person to person, but on this blog, a supplement is definitely identified as no good period if it contains synthetics as all multi’s do to be labeled as such by the FDA.

      I would never take a supplement with a synthetic in there no matter how pristine and wonderful the remaining ingredients are and I would never advocate someone else take such a supplement either.

  98. Once I started GAPS I couldn’t buy any more canned coconut milk because they all have guar gum as an additive (illegal on GAPS). The only can that doesn’t is Natural Value (available on Amazon) but the cans probably have BPA. I eventually ordered the Aroy-d brand online (cartons with only coconut as ingredients, from Thailand) but they were expensive. Turns out my local international market carries this brand (both milk and cream) at a fraction of the price. I know they’re not the best (the carton worries me) but I use it sparingly. It’s my compromise at this time.
    I don’t do almond milk much anymore but I always made my own (almonds, milk and Blendtec/Vitamix is all you need!).

  99. Lori R. Taylor via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    New Chapter Organic Perfect Prenatal–Vit A is in the form of Beta Carotene. Not sure if the “other” ingredients are okay, but I like this brand’s formula with whole foods and herbs. Maybe someone can verify?

  100. Thank you for this information. I buy this exact almond milk once or twice a year to use when we go out of town. I have always cringed when I read the ingredients but have turned a blind eye for the 1 or 2 cupfuls my kids consume. Hard to do that now with this information. I need to just make my own. It’s so easy, but I get lazy when I make everything else from scratch and need a break sometime.

    • I totally understand the “need a break” thing. You wonder why they add that stuff to begin with. It would be just fine without it. But, then you realize that they add it to market to the vegan community and then the whole reasons for maximizing profits and appealing to the widest variety of consumer becomes apparent.

      • Sarah, they do not add it to appeal to the vegan market. Where did you get that idea? If certain vitamins that have an established RDA are present in your food product, including A and I believe D, then you are require to “claim” it in the nutrition facts box. As you can imagine, the vitamin and mineral amounts of completely unprocessed food varies, however you must meet the label claim everytime. This is why vitamins are added. Because its required to be listed if t’s present in a greater than zero amount, and it’s required to be accurate. Companies can’t pay to test each box of milk separately to ensure the nutrition facts are accurate, so the ensure that the vitamins are present in even amounts by adding them in specific amounts.

  101. Homemade coconut milk is the only dairy free milk I drink. Almond milk is sooo high in PUFA’s. I don’t consider it a healthy option. I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant and have been following the guidelines for pregnant and nursing mothers by Weston A. Price Foundation. I was unable to receive raw milk for a two week period. I contacted the Weston A. Price Foundation and asked if Coconut Milk Tonic (BPA free canned coconut milk mixed with dolomite powder) would be a suitable substitute until I was able to find a new source of raw milk. They approved and said it was the best option.

      • the only one i can find in your links is lait de noix de coco coconut milk and its not organic:( if im missing something can you post themaes of the good brand more clearly for people not many of us have time to go over link to link to link and search it down no offence thank you

  102. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama January 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    The additives are why I decided to stop buying these and give raw milk a shot (with my “dairy allergic” kids who no longer have problems) about two years ago. Carrageenan? All that other junk? How is that real food?

  103. What great information (as usual). I can’t wait to start making my own coconut and almond milk, then I won’t have to worry about those pesky labels :) I just took my crispy almonds out of the oven this morning, with plans to whip up a batch of a-milk and you’ve provided just the right of motivation I needed to make sure it gets done!

  104. Brandae Filla via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Very interesting. I’m pregnant and have been taking this prenatal: Garden of Life Vitamin Code® RAW Prenatalâ„¢

  105. Oh thank you so much Sarah! I also had some trepidation when purchasing these, but I mistakenly thought that it might be a better choice that regular milk when I can’t get raw. I do so appreciate that you STAY up with what we are all facing in just trying to feed our families REAL FOOD! Also, just in case I missed it? The SOPA/PIPA debate is getting bad concerning internet freedom of speech. Have you already alerted your readers? We will pray that we remain unhindered in our search for the TRUTH! God bless!

    • Yes, I see what’s going on with SOPA and I am still trying to wade my way through this issue and think about it (still examining both sides). I’m not yet completely sure if we should be concerned or not, but given the government’s track record, it most likely is a threat to our freedom of speech.

    • Be careful what you call ‘truth’, and do your own research before blindly believing everything you read.. She is neither a scientist nor a god, so really think twice before worshipping her opinions!

  106. Kristine Winniford via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    You can make your own ‘milk’ with any nut, seed, or coconut. We do our own coconut milk and love it, almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews are all great too.

  107. Michelle Lubbers via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    @Twila, I make 2-3 quarts at a time and it stays fresh for 4-5 days I would guess, maybe longer. It’s usually gone before that long though :).

  108. Lisa Clibon via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Glad I don’t have to rely on those products for milk! Figures they would screw these up as well and the unsweetened versions were becoming less and less available anyway as Americans love their sugar!

  109. My dd, 13, and I recently had a check up and blood work with our doctor. Both of us were quite low in Vit D (23 and 28, respectively) which was surprising as we take FCLO, ghee daily and she drinks raw milk and has full cream ice cream daily. Doctor recommended sublingual D3. Wondered what you think about the label info: Bluebonnet D3 drops provide natural D3 (cholecalciferol) from lanolin, medium chain triglycerides, orange and lemon essential oils for flavor.
    We were both low, but not nearly as bad, in B12 at 512 and 571. Doctor also recommended we take B12 drops. Subligual B Total includes B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folic acid in a base of distilled water, vegetable glycerine, sorbitol, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, fruit flavors, and sodium benzoate.
    She also put me on niacin for liver function. Metagenics Niatain. Niacin as nicotinic acid. Other ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, hypromellose, stearic acid, silica, and coating (water, hypromellose, medium chain triglycerides, and hydroxypropylcellulose.
    Wow, that was hard to type :-)
    Normally we take no vitamins or rx drugs. I chose to add the above to get our levels up but not to take them permanently. After reading your blog today, I took a look at the ingredients. If this is terrible for us to take (please comment your thoughts), what else are we to do to up our vitamins? We eat a good diet of grassfed beef, pastured chicken and eggs, milk, etc.
    Thank you!

  110. Sheryl Bradbury via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Will someone please explain the deal with carageenan? I’ve heard it’s bad so many times, but I’ve also heard it’s good. What’s the deal?

  111. Stephanie Yurgen via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Im so pissed about this! HOW are they allowed to put ‘All Natural’ on the front of the carton of Blue Diamond Almond milk and in the ingredients are Vitamin A Palmitate AND Vitamin D2 etc…??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • FDA – I knew but I do only have a carton of one or the other once a month, all things in small amounts. We don’t need dairy at all, once we are not at the mother’s breast. If we want protein, calcium or D3 or anything, it is in the plant world. To be completely open, admitting that I do eat “clean” red meat and poultry that has been raised pasture fed and had a good life, though thinking of the vegan and more peaceful life. But saying we do not NEED dairy at all. If you are making milk from almonds or coconut, try adding some organic seaweed extract or powder that is all natural, truly natural, for extra supplementation too. But do this just before you drink not letting the serving set because it could take on a fishy taste, being seaweed and all.

  112. Andrea Davis via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    We’ve made almond milk at home, but it wasn’t much cheaper so we just buy it. Now, we’re going to make it for sure. I’m so bummed about this. Thankfully it’s simple to make.

  113. Does anyone have any thoughts to Hemp milk in the carton? That is what I use for everything. I know it has vitamins and minerals but are they the bad ones?

  114. Sheesh. I had actually made the same observations, trying to find alternatives to milk for my 20 month old. She was throwing up milk, even raw milk. She seems to do ok on rice milk and some of the lactose free milk but I’m not comfortable with either. And the D2 is a big red flag for me. I struggle with trying to figure out what to give her. Maybe…we could try raw milk again… Hm. I really think it’s the lactose she is having issues with. We tried kefir but she won’t drink it. She LOVES coconut milk but it’s way too expensive. Grumble. Sometimes it feels like the world is working against me.

    • You can easily make coconut milk from dried/fresh coconut and water. If you search Sarah’s site, you’ll find the post and video. Same with almond milk – very easy to make.

    • I make a coconut milk tonic for my 2.5 year old and have since she was weaned. I actually got the recipe from Sarah. You can buy “Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk” on and do the subscribe & save option where you save 15% I believe and get free shipping. We have it shipped 1x/month and it’s 12 cans for roughly $22. Not too bad if you compare it to the cost of buying raw milk in our area especially considering how much my little one drinks. It’s 1 can of coconut milk + 1 quart H2O, 2-3 TBSP Grade B Maple Syrup or Honey, and 1 tsp Vanilla. Mix/shake well and store in fridge, will keep up to 4 days (ours usually doesn’t last that long!)

  115. Most people who cannot tolerate dairy have a problem with the A1 casein. I know many people who consume dairy from cows with the A2 casein and are fine. Many are so happy to be able to consume dairy again. You can get raw cheese and cultured dairy beverages at This is the new food company opened by Jordan Rubin.

  116. HI Sarah
    I buy coconut milk in cartoons instead of cans. My kids don’t like it but I love it in smoothies with frozen blueberries and raw egg yolks, and to make crepes.
    The only ingredients are coconut and water. Do you think the cartons have a BPA lining? Thank you!

  117. Thanks for this article. I was tempted to buy some a little while back, but stopped when I saw a long list of ingredients. I wasn’t even sure why, but I decided to skip it. I guess intuition stepped in. Now I know why.

  118. I am nursing my 4 month old, and I just started taking New Chapter Organics perfect prenatal to replace my cheap Target brand ones, and I have been really happy with these so far. Even though we are a Real/Whole Food household with raw milk, traditional fats, very limited processed food etc, I have read the dietary guidelines (I think from Nourishing our Children?) for the amount of food I would need to eat each day to get all my vitamins and minerals, and it is just not realistic for me. Too much food!

    I do take 1/2 tsp fermented cod liver oil/butter oil each day, I try to take frozen liver pills regularly, and I drink Kombucha, but I just want to make sure that I am getting all the nutrition my body needs to make nutritionally sound breastmilk for my son.

    Despite the fact that the Vitamin A is 100% beta carotene is really better for me not to take the prenatal at all?

    • Okay, here is the link I was reading:

      The issues I have are seafood 2-4 times a week… This is difficult from a budget standpoint, but maybe if I counted canned tuna, it would work?

      And the quart of raw milk seems like a lot to me. We already blow through 2 gallons a week without me drinking even half that much.

      Although maybe if I put the $15 a month I am putting toward the vitamin toward the seafood or the extra milk, it could work….

      Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, Sarah. Thanks!

    • Hi Megan, we all have to make our own choices, but for the record, I myself never took a prenatal vitamin EVER with any of my 3 pregnancies. I just ate whole foods and for the second and third pregnancies, took cod liver oil and butter oil plus dessicated liver. I also consumed copious amounts of grassfed raw dairy in the form of milk, cheese, cream, and butter. All 3 children are healthy with no allergy or auto-immune issues.

      • Hi Megan,
        I did take prenatal vitamins with all three of my pregnancies. In fact, the same New Chapter Organic whole food prenatal vitamins you are taking.

        However, I never ate any animal products (animal flesh, animal organs, animal fats or oils), no cow milk, cow cheese, cow butter, eggs, etc and all three of my children are exceptionally healthy and have never been to the doctor for anything – ever. They have no allergies or auto-immune issues either. In addition, they are also extremely intelligent and a grade above their peers in school. I myself am also in excellent health and had my last two pregnancies while in my 40’s. I recently had blood work done and all of my test results were well within the normal range including calcium, protein, iron, cholesterol, etc.

        This alone proves it is a fact that you can be healthy an thrive on both an animal-based diet as well as a plant-based diet – as long as you make sure you are getting all the essential nutrients your body needs, which is the key.

        And yes, I agree that we all have to make our own choices regarding the diets we choose for ourselves and our families, but we should also not judge others who have differing opinions or different diets than we have chosen to make.

  119. Gayle Provost via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    We are allegrgic toc conut :-( So We should make our own almond milk???? My daughter is sensitive to almonds too and allergic to cashews. any other suggestions???

    • Milk isn’t really necessary beyond breast milk for babies. You can sub water or juice for baking if you can’t find an acceptable alternate. Hemp or oat might work if you need something for your coffee or when you want something like milk to drink (though check those labels if you aren’t making your own).

  120. Sue Smith via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I just called So Delicious (Turtle Mountain, LLC) and their office is not open yet, but I am going to continue to call until I can speak with someone. There is no good reason that they should put synthetics in their products to appease just one group of their consumers.

    • I have also contacted So Delicious, but only by e-mail. I have told them I will not allow my family and friends to consume their coconut beverage until these synthetics are removed. I highly encourage anyone to call or e-mail them about removing these items from their products.

  121. Elia Garrison via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Wow! This is eye opening. I have a little one that is allergic to dairy and have been givin her almond milk. Thank you to all that gave recipes on how to make your own.

  122. Martha Heid via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

    No!! Just when I thought I found something that works.. *sigh* And the list of things you can buy at the grocery store gets smaller. I live in a terrible area for fresh, local, organic. Not to mention, its not legal to sell raw milk.

  123. Anna Uncensored via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Funny, we just bought some almond milk yesterday. We’ve stopped drinking cow’s milk, and DH wanted a substitute. I tried a sip of it, and the first thing I noticed was how sweet it was. Sure enough- sugar was the second ingredient- and that was in the “original” flavor. :/

  124. Kristen Conner Pardue via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

    thehealthyhomeeconomist If you don’t take prenatals, then do you just rely on your food for nutrition? I know that’s ideal, and I eat very healthy, but didn’t think it was enough. I take standard process supplements and a prenatal from my alternative dr.

    • Kristen, I think the goal is always whole food. But sometimes it is hard to get everything from your diet, so adding a whole food supplement bridges the gap. Make sure you use one that has peer reviewed published research on the product itself. I found a great one at

  125. Kristen Conner Pardue via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

    thehealthyhomeeconomist If you don’t take prenatals, then do you just rely on your food for nutrition? I know that’s ideal, and I eat very healthy, but didn’t think it was enough. I take standard process supplements and a prenatal from my alternative dr.

  126. Kristen Conner Pardue via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

    This is so sad! I’m 31 weeks pregnant & have a sensitivity to cow’s milk so have been drinking coconut & rice milk during my pregnancy. :( I had no idea!

  127. This is GREAT information for a real food regular. On the other hand, someone out there making a switch from regular milk to almond or coconut milk is still on a better road than drinking the regular old store brand milk. We see people in the office who are just starting and learning what real food is, so getting them to take baby steps is important! (They are happy to tell they are making a switch) Then eventually make the steps to pure almond & coconut milk and raw milk.

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

      I don’t agree with that. I also don’t agree with baby steps approach. If you want to reclaim your health, you must dive off the cliff and make SIGNIFICANT changes. Baby stepping leads to frustration and lack of progress in my experience.

      Also, I don’t agree that that cartoned coconut milk and almond milk is better than store milk. All three are terrible. The better transition would be low temp pasteurized, non homegenized milk if one is stepping up to raw milk from a local farm.

      • Sarah, I have to respectfully disagree! When people DIVE in to anything, the excitement fizzles…relationships, diets, poor financial decisions! For food, I believe very strongly in a gentle, baby step approach. You know a lot about food so it is easy for you to point out all of the things that need to change in a person’s diet. A person new to real food won’t know all of these things and will feel overwhelmed! Baby steps is key to allowing them to learn, research and make educated decisions without getting overwhelmed. Any baby step they make gets them one step healthier and one step further from the SAD diet. I actually have heard you say before what changes should be made first – which means you don’t expect someone to make them all at once!

        Rachel I think a baby step approach is a great way to help educate people on what changes need to be made -understanding that the end goal is ALL the changes will be made :)

  128. Twila Neeld-Bracken via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:47 am

    So, what would be the NONsynthetic form of vitamin A? I just went to Pacific’s website and wrote to them (not easy, they give you one little short line) asking them to remove these things from their oat, almond, etc., products (the “natural flavors,” vitamin D2, and vit A). I encourage everyone else to contact them also. It didn’t take but a minute. They need to know what some of their customers think and that we will no longer purchase the item? Been drinking this brand for years. Sigh.

  129. Chet Kan via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:40 am

    almond milk in 3 easy steps: 1. soak 1 cup of raw almond over night.
    2. rinse the almond, combine with 3 cups of water in blender.
    3. strain with cheese cloth and add sweetener if u wish.

    • Chet Kan, thanks for posting this. You beat me to the punch. Sarah’s link to MSG had this ingredient on the list as well. Sadly, it is in almond yogurt too.

      Sarah, some of the brands are in Tetra Paks. They are lined with plastic. Who knows if the plastic is leaching into your milk?

  130. Michelle Lubbers via Facebook January 18, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I have been making my own fresh almond milk for almost 4 years, the kids love it and we don’t have to worry about any of those yucky additives.

    • I have just started making it in the last month. But, I have noticed it going bad quickly. Any suggestions for lengthening the shelf life?

    • You can make your own almond milk at home with out the “nasty” synthetic vitamins. The ingredient list: almonds. Period.

  131. This drives me crazy every time I walk past the shelf and am tempted by a good sale to buy some. Honestly I just can’t replicate the coconut milk in a carton at home. My homemade coconut milk from dried coconut separates when it sits out for fermenting or is refrigerated. I’ve even used an empty carton and added a can of coconut milk and some water. It’s acceptable but even then I have problems with chunks of coconut oil. If you have any tips to make homemade a little more like the carton milk I’d love to hear them. For the time being I buy it only very occasionally and frequently complain to So Delicious about the addition of yucky synthetic vitamins :)

      • I just found this brand at my local Asian market. $1.25 a can. Yippie!! This is the only brand that I have found to date that has ONLY these ingredients: coconut extract, 60% water. So excited since all the other brands that I have found have so many more ingredients! Time to stock up I would say

  132. Sarah, you are a wealth of knowledge! We are doing GAPS and the second I picked up the commercially produced cartons of milk (coconut and almond), I put them right back down. I was astonished at the additives. I made homemade almond milk last week and was pleasantly suprised at the ease (plus as an added bonus, I got almond flour out of the pulp- I love when I get two products in one).

    Thanks for sharing this article!

    • They add them to appeal to vegans. Coconuts and almonds have no vitamin A or D in their natural state as no plant foods contain natural vitamin A or D (beta carotene is not true vitamin A). But these synthetic additives are added to the processed versions to appeal to those who foolishly eschew all animal foods.

        • Beta carotene is a real precursor of Vitamin A but many people can’t convert it to Vitamin A in their bodies, so it’s not the ideal way to take Vitamin A.

      • how dare you talk about a person’s choice to avoid animal products like there something wrong with it. I’m deleting your website from my bookmarks. Though some of what you say is true, If you are foolish enough to think that way, I certainly can not trust your obviously biased research.

        • Dani, I agree with you. This lady would rather have someone kill an animal for her, so she can buy it, cook it and eat it, but is upset that someone put Vit D2 into almond milk!.

        • Yup, No way I’m ever looking at this website again. She only provides one ‘source’ that doesn’t even seem to be peer-reviewed. Seems like a lot of fear-mongering to me, not to mention how rude and self-righteous it is to call vegans ‘foolish’ while partaking in one of the most unnecessary and environmentally degrading practices on the planet (consumption of animal products). I pity this woman.

          • They ARE foolish. Just look at all the research for yourself. Of course, you probably avoid ANY website with facts proving what a poor choice you’ve made as “rude” or “fearmongering”. So you will forever stay ignorant (and unhealthy!)

        • People, you have to remember. This is just a housewife with a blog. She is very opinionated and it’s her way or the highway. It’s bad enough that she is so aggressive about her meat and dairy choices but she literally attacks vegans/vegetarians with her smart-aleck and sarcastic comments. It’s truly is a turn-off and makes you feel like you are reading a blog from a junior high student with the immaturity level of her comments. She cannot handle criticism or that everyone doesn’t follow her dogma. And you are correct, she hardly backs up any of her many erroneous and biased statements and if she does, they are from her DENTIST mentor from the early 1900’s. Seriously?

          And the saddest part is all the innocent people following her advice like sheeple without checking any other sources and just doing whatever she says to do. SHE IS A HOUSEWIFE, with no medical or nutritional degree.

          • Please! If you don’t like what you’re reading, delete it then! But don’t assume because “just a housewife” she isn’t educated enough to know what’s good and what’s bad. You sounded like an idiot as soon as you opened your mouth!

      • I can’t believe what i am reading from this “healthy” home economist!!!
        “foolishly eschew all animal foods”?

        This is dangerous advice and very very very irresponsible.
        Not all alternatives are healthy, but animal products have been proven to cause cancers, heart disease, bone disease, etc. Nevermind the cruelty involved.

        Look in the mirror and help your(herbivore)self, so you can help others.

        • Wrong! It’s animal foods (and non-animal foods) in America, thanks to all the CRAP they put in our foods for the sake of saving a few bucks. Hormones, shots, poor quality feed, etc. If you look to other places that consume animals regularly, such as Argentina, South Korea, or Germany, you won’t see all the nasty side-effects we have here, becuase they have standards.
          Or, just look to the past, for over a million years, humans have been consuming animals without getting all those cancers and diseases associated with modern bought-out gov’t and penny-grubbing companies. It’s sites like this one (which inform you what to consume or avoid) which are going to educate the public to stop supporting companies that care more about their bottom-line than the country’s health.

          • What do should mean didn’t get cancer. When was the human race ever cancer free. Oh, that’s right, it wasn’t. We ( people) have the highest life expectancy in the history of the world and the fewest amount of diseases. Go ahead and believe everything you read, no reason to inform yourself of any facts.

          • I personally thing it is the government regulated foods, farms, dairy’s and so forth and so on that make things unhealthy.
            People are so confused on what or what not to do, eat and not eat. That is enough to make anyone nuts.
            One day it is fine to eat, drink or whatever and the next very bad for you. Plus the fact of Chem-trails and spraying heck it goes everywhere even on home gardens.
            I don’t thin we have an honest chance in hell to honestly live healthy.

      • I thought this would be a great site to get some info, but I can’t sit by and condone your bashing of someone’s life choices, whether you agree or not it’s not your place to criticize them. You should be ashamed, to me you are nothing more than a bully.

      • Really, you call people who avoid animal products foolish? Should do some more research on how bad cow’s milks is, not to mention it’s from a different species. A lot of people write up lies to make people think that the only way is dairy, becaus ethe dairy industry will pay big bucks for it. You’re the foolish one.

  133. I started sending the coconut milk in a carton to daycare for my 3yo son after having recurrent ear infections/tubes. I switched to raw milk at home (and stopped vax) and we haven’t had an ear infection since. What are my options for replacing the milk he gets at daycare? I wish I could send raw, but I don’t think they would give it to him. And I’d be afraid they would call DCF if I tried!

      • Lauren "The Health Babe" February 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

        I just finished researching the So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut milk, which I use in my coffee as a creamer. Sorry, you may be The Healthy Home Economist but you know nothing about INGREDIENTS and how to store NON-DAIRY creamers. First of all, Carrageenan is not a carcinogen, it’s not that harmful…but they are taking it out as we speak of all their products for 2014. Storing it in a carton is NOT harmful. Storing in an aluminum can is MORE harmful for you than in a carton!! You need to do more research when you comment about something …because you’re wrong!!

    • I live in Australia & I buy Australia’s Own Organic
      Almond milk which is free from Lactose, Soy, Gluten,
      Cholesterol, Preservatives, Artificial Colours & Flavours,
      GM Ingredients.
      Ingredients: Filtered water, Australian Organic Almonds (3%)
      Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Sunflower Oil, salt.
      The only thing I am bit concerned about is the container it
      comes in (cardboard lined with what looks like aluminium foil)

      • March 24, 2013 at 12:05 am

        excellent! I to am from oz n love almond milk… i find from all the range in australia Blue dimond unsweeterend has least added ingredient compared to the threee above :) ive put alot of my own research in and wont just buy any almond milk! just like most products there will always be variety! with major differences in nutritioal values ! hope this helps.
        ingredients: filtered water, whole almonds,calcium,tapioca,sea salt, carrageenan(seaweed extract),sunflower oil

        • I too drink and love almond milk. However whilst the Australian brands contain organic ingredients I am worried about the sunflower oil in it and I know sunflower oil, as a vegetable oil, is very bad for you. Is there an almond milk made without it in Aus? I have a feeling I am going to have to make it myself! :)

          • I drink either Silk or Blue Diamond Almond Milk and will have to check all that out.
            Dang thought I had a good thing going on

          • Carageenan is actually really bad for you…studies have shown it is a carcinogen in humans. Silk is the best I’ve found as far as ingredients…but I think I’m still going to make my own soon.

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