Oat Milk: Everything You Need to Know About the New Dairy Alternative
Have you encountered a hip coffee shop offering oat milk yet?
You might have even seen it at your local grocery store - oat milk is all the rage in hipsterland!
Today, we are going to give you the low-down on this trendy new milk alternative so you can decide if you’re going to add it to your nutritional arsenal. After all, oats are an incredibly cost-effective grain.
As we age, many people often become intolerant to dairy to a certain degree. If it doesn’t upset our stomach, it often makes us full of mucous (um, yuck). This is because, after a certain age, the adult human body simply doesn’t need dairy the same way it did when our bones were still developing and growing. Hence, we look to milk alternatives to avoid lactose intolerance.
But- cashew milk is expensive. Coconut milk tends to have additives. Almond milk tastes awful in coffee. Don’t even get me started on the estrogen and added sugars in soy milk! And, while I personally love hemp milk, it’s hella expensive and hard to make yourself.
Is oat milk the saviour of the milk alternatives? It could be…
Let’s find out together.
What Nutrients Does Oat Milk Have?
Oat milk has 2-4 grams of protein, depending on who you ask. (This could also vary based on how the oat milk is made and what type of oats are used.)
Dairy milk, in contrast, has 8 grams of protein. While looking for the protein content of almond milk, I found it can range in nutritional info from 1-8 grams, also depending on who you ask. While oat milk definitely contains protein, it’s not going to be your go-to for all of your plant-based proteins. Healthy fat is something we need in order to have energy and is necessary for healthy brain function.
Weighing in at 130 calories per cup, oat milk has more calories than almond milk, which contains about 30-60 calories per cup. A cup of 1% dairy milk has 103 calories. Personally, I don’t like to get hung up on calories and prefer to focus on vitamin and mineral content. Oat milk contains lots of fibre and can improve digestion.
Oat milk has both more fat and sugar than almond milk, so if you need more healthy fats in your diet, oat milk might be a good option for you. It also has zero cholesterol, while a cup of dairy milk has 12 milligrams of cholesterol.
Oat milk contains iron which is essential for our energy levels, so score one for oat milk! It also contains potassium, which is extremely important in combating depression in women. Plus, oat milk has energy-packed vitamins A, B, and E.
While I know you’re probably not stalking your phosphorus or manganese levels, oat milk has those, too. Oat milk offers you 35% of your daily calcium and 25% of your daily vitamin D. You need these nutrients together because vitamin D is what allows us to use calcium. Not to mention vitamin D is essential for our emotional wellbeing, and 25% of your daily needed amount is quite impressive!
Pros & Cons of Oat Milk
Besides nutrients, there is the cost, allergen considerations, and taste that can help us determine if oat milk gets a nay or yay for us.
Oat milk can either be extremely cheap if you make it yourself or it can be double the cost of almond milk if you buy it in a store (yikes). Being a trendy new fad, we will need to be patient for the prices to go down. It’s common for a new product to be expensive at first and then when the supply goes up, prices go down. In the meantime, try making your own with a cheesecloth strainer and high powered blender. Check out this Oat Milk Recipe and make your own instead of paying high prices at the store.
From a flavour standpoint, it scores high. It’s delicious and not overpowering as some soy or nut milks can definitely be. It’s naturally sweet so you don’t need to add refined sugars.
Coming from a grain, it does have 19 grams of sugar per cup, but this is not refined sugar and can be used as energy for your day - if you don’t exercise though, those sugars can be stored as fat. That said, oat milk has no saturated fat, but dairy milk does. Saturated fats are much harder to get rid of and not good for heart health.
Did we mention that oats are great for lowering cholesterol and for heart health? Oats are good for weight loss because of that fibre content as well.
If you are allergic to gluten, the store bought brands can be cross-contaminated, so you would need to make your own unless you find some of the brands made from gluten-free oats (which do exist, such as Oatly, Thrive Market, and Rude Health).
Oat milk is a sustainable way to consume, and that makes our hearts warm. Oats don’t produce methane or require extra water that factory animal farms do. If you are up on your climate change science and global warming news, you know we all need to be doing our part to lower our carbon footprints. Inevitably, we all have a choice and oat milk is without a doubt a more sustainable choice than cow’s milk.
The world is changing. We are becoming empowered to live with better energy, understand what’s in our food, and choose what ingredients we want to put into our bodies. Whether you decide to give oat milk a shot or not is completely up to you. Everyone’s needs are different and everyone’s tastes are different. The best thing you can do for yourself is get educated and consider talking to your doctor or a nutritionist before you make a big change in your diet.
Related Article: Conscious Consumption: Be Free, Not Owned