Are you looking for a new plant-based milk to try with your morning coffee? Or maybe you’re already an oat milk aficionado, and just want some more info about your fave non-dairy drink. Whatever your reasons, join us as we dive into the fascinating nutrition facts and other need-to-know info about oat milk.
Plant-based milks now make up a sizable portion of the global milk market, with demand soaring in recent years. And oat milk is one of the fastest growing plant milk products, now rivaling soy for popularity. So let’s break it down to see what all the fuss is about.
What Is Oat Milk?
The main ingredients in oat milk are (you guessed it) oats and water. It’s made by soaking and blending the oats with water, straining them to separate the milk from the oats and then filtering the liquid.
You can try making your own version of oat milk at home, but it may not look and taste exactly the same as the ones from the supermarket. That’s because commercially produced oat milks often include additional ingredients to add nutritional value and improve the taste.
Is Oat Milk Vegan? Lactose-Free? What About Gluten?
Oat milk is a plant-based, dairy-free and lactose-free product. So it’s a good milk alternative if you’re vegan, lactose-intolerant or trying to avoid dairy.
The question of whether oat milk is gluten-free is a little less clear. Oats are a gluten-free grain — but oat milks may get cross-contaminated with gluten during the production process. If you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, look for oat milk labels that say they’re certified gluten-free.
What Are the Nutrition Facts for Oat Milk?
The exact nutrition facts vary from brand to brand, so check the labels to know for sure. Keep a particular eye on added sugars — some flavored oat milks may have up to a whopping 16 grams of added sugars per serving! Look for plain unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars.
And if you’re concerned about key nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, look for fortified oat milks that have vitamins and minerals added to them.
To get an idea of the range of nutrition facts for oat milk, here’s the key info for a 1-cup serving of Oatly original oat milk (fortified):
- Calories: 120 calories
- Fat: 5 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Total sugars: 7 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Calcium: 25% of the recommended Daily Value (% DV)
- Vitamin D: 20% DV
And here’s the key info for a 1-cup serving of Elmhurst unsweetened oat milk (not fortified):
- Calories: 80 calories
- Fat: 1.5 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Carbs: 14 grams
- Total sugars: 1 gram
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Calcium: 2% DV
- Vitamin D: 0% DV
Those are pretty big differences! You can see that things like the calories, sugar, calcium and vitamin D vary quite a bit. So always read the label to know exactly what you’re getting with your oat milk.
Is Oat Milk Good for Your Heart?
Oat-based products contain beta-glucans, a soluble fibre that may help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. That has led to claims that oat milk may be good for heart health. However, research has found that oat milk has more moderate effects on cholesterol than oat-based foods like oatmeal or porridge.
That’s likely because one cup of oatmeal has twice as much fiber as one cup of oat milk. So if you’re looking for the health benefits of fiber, you’re better off eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast than drinking a glass of oat milk.
Is Oat Milk Better for the Environment Than Other Milks?
Many people seek out plant-based alternatives to dairy milk because of concerns over the environmental impact of the dairy industry. And oat milk may be one of the better alternatives. For example, oat milk production uses much less water than almond milk production. And plant-based milks in general stack up favorably against dairy milk in terms of carbon emissions and land and water use.
So if you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact, switching to a plant-based option is a good step. But researchers are continuing to study the environmental impacts of various plant-based milks, and more research is needed on the overall best plant-based options for sustainability.
- “Plant-Based Milks: Oat” via University of Florida
- “Processing of Oat: The Impact on Oat’s Cholesterol Lowering Effect” via Food and Function
- “Plant-Based Milk Substitutes” via Journal of Functional Foods
- “Climate Change: Which Vegan Milk Is Best?” via BBC News
- “Which ‘Milk’ Is Best for the Environment?” via The Conversation