Everything You Should Know About Oat Milk, Because Almond Milk Is Cancelled

Whether you enjoy following the latest food and drink trends or you actually need to avoid dairy for dietary reasons, you’ve probably heard about all the different dairy alternatives. Springing up in coffee shops and all over the internet, options ranging from coconut milk to nut-based milks like almond milk have risen in popularity. It might seem a little extra to use a phrase like "adding another dairy-free milk option to your routine," but in all honesty, iced coffee (and oat milk) drinkers are so extra (myself included)!

This brand-new alternative is becoming popular, and both baristas and coffee lovers are ~thrilled~ with the new option. Oat milk, which is much more environmentally sustainable than almond milk, the other main contender for dairy-free options, has a more popular taste and texture! If you’re going to be adding a pricier option to your coffee and drinks, it should be the best option out there. Let’s be real: you deserve the best.

There’s a lot to consider, though, when you’re adding a new component to your diet, and finding all of the health information in understandable terms can be a challenge — so be sure to look at your body and diet, your specific wants and needs for a dairy alternative, and the key facts when you’re going to be making a change! I’ve done the work for you on rounding up the pros and cons of adding a little splash of oat milk to your daily iced coffee, so you can relax, sip and enjoy.



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Why people love it

Baristas and coffee aficionados seem to really prefer oat milk over almond milk and other plant-based dairy alternatives. This is due to the rich, creamy texture that reminds people of cow’s milk, and makes it a nice alternative for those who can’t consume dairy products.

It naturally tastes sweeter than alternatives like almond milk or soy milk. Since oats are carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into simple sugars, adding to the ~natural sweetness~.

Since it’s so hard to find nut-based milks that are just right — not too thin, the wrong texture, or overly flavored — oat milk has such appeal for its naturally good flavor, richness, and ability to seamlessly blend into recipes (especially for those of us out there who love a good macchiato or steamed-milk drink).

You also can opt to make your own oat milk at home and even flavor it, like this gorgeous recipe for vanilla oat milk. You can make other varieties too, like cinnamon or chocolate flavored oat milk, so it’s super customizable. DIY-ing oat milk has its own advantages, and it’s easy to do. The basic process involves soaking the oats in water, using a blender to pulverize them, and then straining out the oats to produce the milk.  

Health benefits and drawbacks

From a health perspective, all dairy-free alternatives have benefits and drawbacks, and one benefit of oat milk is the higher fiber content. Of course, you won’t get as much fiber from oat milk as you would from eating whole oats, but oat milk adds a nice little hidden boost of fiber. Bonus: the fiber found in oat milk is soluble, which means it helps stop your body from absorbing too much cholesterol. Oat milk usually has less protein content than soy milk, but more than almond milk.

If you’re looking to lose weight, oat milk contains more calories and a higher fat count than alternatives like almond milk. Nutritionally, coconut milk can help you retain brain health while almond milk has higher potassium to help your muscles, so if your body has specific needs, make sure you choose the best dairy-free option for you.

Related: These Women of Color on Vegan Instagram Has Me Switching to a Veggie-Based Diet, Like, Yesterday 



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What to look for on the label and when to be careful

When you’re adding something new to your diet, especially something as trendy as oat milk, it’s easy to hear all of the benefits and be sold. However, since oat milk is so new, there are still some serious considerations you should take into account.

Watch for added sugar content. Although oat milk is naturally sweet, many brands, even those that claim to be unsweetened, add extra sugar to enrich the flavor.

Oats are naturally gluten-free, but be sure to check that the brand of oat milk you’re buying is certified gluten-free so you’re safe from any cross-contamination during processing. If you have celiac disease, certain oat milk brands could put you at a much higher risk for cross-contamination, so be really mindful when choosing the product you’re going to try.

Oat milk can be made with oats that were treated with pesticides, so the brand you choose should be clean, sustainable, and certified to be pesticide-free. Another important thing to consider if you’re thinking of incorporating oat milk into your diet is the potential for added phosphates and inflammatory ingredients. Store-bought oat milk can contain rapeseed oil, another name for canola oil, which can be a really inflammatory ingredient, and many brands of oat milk contain phosphates which have been linked to kidney disease.

The final scoop on oat milk, AKA your new fave

You can definitely eliminate a lot of these risks by DIY-ing your own oat milk, and since it’s so simple to do, this is a great option if you have concerns about pesticides or gluten.

If you’re just looking for a nice dairy-free, plant-based milk to add to your morning coffee, oat milk could be the perfect alternative for you to sip on, especially with its texture, flavor, and how it steams and froths. If you’re looking for something to have throughout the day as a true alternative for dairy (or you have at least three iced coffees a day on the down low), just shop smart — not all brands of oat milk are made equal. Since it’s so much more environmentally sustainable to produce than almond milk, environmentalists are pulling for oat milk to become an equal alternative to dairy milk. Oat milk could be a great addition to your routine, especially if you go for a quality brand like Oatly. Just remember: oat milk is more expensive than other alternatives, but you’re worth it.

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