Oat milk seems to be taking the world by storm right now. It’s become the trendiest dairy-milk alternative out there, frothing everyone’s latte, while almond milk’s been left by the wayside. But what gives this milk the right to bully the others? With all the dairy-free choices out there, is it really the leader of the pack?
Let’s put taste preference aside and look at the health benefits and how it compares to its non-dairy competitors.
Oat milk, a vegan, gluten-free dairy alternative, is a blend of carbs/sugar, some fibre, and protein––really not much different from nut milk, coconut milk, rice milk, etc. All of these milk alternatives, however, are enriched with other nutrients that make them a bit more worthwhile to drink. Most of the “health benefits” from these milks come from these added nutrients, not the product itself (best to be aware of this if you decide to make your own nut or oat milk). Oat milk also boasts an emulsifier, rapeseed oil, most commonly. Rapeseed oil is sometimes called canola oil but the two are not necessarily the same; it depends on the oil’s Euric acid content. This type of oil has been controversial for some time––health concerns exist, even with the improvements made to it, such as ensuring that it’s non-GMO.
It’s believed that oak milk boosts immunity because of the added vitamins A and D. There’s also a nutrient in oat milk called beta glucan, which is said to lower cholesterol. In fact, a few studies note that drinking it over a period of four to six weeks lowers both our LDL (bad cholesterol) and our total cholesterol. This is compared to drinking rice milk, specifically, so please do not think that results are in relation to any medical treatments. It also apparently strengthens bones, but again, because of its added nutrients, not because of the milk itself.
To see how oat milk stacks up against another dairy-free alternative, let’s take a look at the following nutritional labels: oat milk vs. almond milk.
Oatly oat milk
Almond Breeze almond milk
See how they differ? For me, the takeaway is that even though oat milk may have a bit more protein and a little less fat, the difference in calories, carbs and sugar might not make it worth the switch. Unless you’re a true foodie and only consume what tastes good to you, nutritional labels be damned. Most of us wish that we were not so tied to reading labels and evaluating the pro and cons of our food, but alas, society has shaped us.
A few final words on oat milk: Be wary of where it’s processed, since the facility may process other grains, making your oat milk not fully gluten-free. It’s also best to ensure that it’s not full of additives, other than those added for nutritional value.
If you’re one of the few people who doesn’t care about your carb and sugar intake, by all means, open that sleeve of Oreos and drunk away. For me, oak milk can take a backseat––I’ll stick with my almond milk and my regular old cow’s milk. Nothing tastes better (except wine). Everything in moderation anyway––am I right, or am I right?