Is Oat Milk Good For You? Answered

Are you wondering, “Is oat milk good for you?” The short answer is yes, oat milk is healthy and good for you.

Is oat milk good for you?

When oat milk joined the ranks of almond, rice, and soy milk on supermarket shelves and in coffee shops a few years ago, it appeared to be merely the latest in a long line of trendy plant-based milks — but now it's everywhere and here to stay. Each year, more and more brands of this beverage emerge.

It makes sense – oat milk has shown to be very versatile. Some companies, such as Oatly, make a barista version of oat milk that has a bit more fat and is creamier. Many people who are into baking also choose to use oat milk instead of dairy milk since it has a more neutral flavor.

If you're considering switching to oat milk, you need to know about its health benefits, how it compares with dairy milk, and its advantages and disadvantages to cow's milk.

Health Benefits Of Oat Milk

Health Benefits Of Oat Milk
Some of the key nutrients are found naturally in oat milk, while the manufacturers add others

Oat milk is a rich source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed by our body. These include:

Protein

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that adults should consume around 50 grams of protein per day.

Protein is the “workhorse” of the body and plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including:

  • Growth and maintenance
  • Causes biochemical reactions
  • Acts as a messenger
  • Provides structure
  • Maintains proper pH
  • Balances fluids
  • Bolsters immune health
  • Transports and stores nutrients
  • Provides energy

Collectively, these functions make protein one of the most important nutrients needed by your body.

Fiber

Fiber is necessary to move food and waste through the digestive system, keeping the gut healthy and helping avoid constipation. It can also help control LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, can increase the risk of having heart disease and heart attack.

Calcium

The recommended dietary calcium intake for adults is between 1000 mg and 1300 mg every day. One cup of oat milk provides 350 mg of calcium, which means that you need three to four cups for that daily amount.

Calcium plays a role in:

  • Blood clotting
  • Enzyme function
  • Regulating heart function
  • Regulating muscle function, such as contraction and relaxation
  • Strengthening bones and teeth
  • Transmission of nervous system messages

Calcium deficiency may lead to disorders such as osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle. 

Phosphorus

The body needs phosphorus to produce energy and carry out chemical processes.

One cup of oat milk has around 20% of an adult’s daily value (DV) of phosphorus.

Riboflavin

Riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, is an essential vitamin for the cells to help them grow, develop, and function. In addition, it also helps your body turn food into energy. 

One cup of oat milk has around 45% of an adult’s daily value (DV) of riboflavin.

Vitamin B12

Oat milk can also provide reasonable amounts of Vitamin B12 – this nutrient is essential for our body because it helps to:

  • Keep the nerves healthy
  • Keep the blood cells healthy
  • Create DNA

It also helps prevent megaloblastic anemia, a type of anemia that makes people feel weak and tired.

Some of these nutrients are found naturally in oat milk, while the manufacturers add others. It's always good to read a product's label to know the exact nutritional information.

How Does Oat Milk Compare With Dairy Milk?

Oat milk and dairy milk have different nutritional profiles – oat milk provides fewer nutrients than dairy milk, and most of its nutrients are fortified.

Specifically, dairy milk provides you with the 13 essential nutrients in each eight-ounce glass:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin B12
  • Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Niacin
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Potassium

On the other hand, a glass of original oat milk has only five essential nutrients in an eight-ounce glass:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin
  • Iron

Apart from iron, all the other nutrients found in oat milk are fortified. Although dairy milk is fortified with Vitamins A and D, the rest of the nutrients occur naturally, making it a healthier choice for most people. 

Is Oat Milk Healthier Than Cow's Milk?

How does oat milk compare with dairy milk?
Although dairy milk is fortified with Vitamins A and D, the rest of the nutrients occur naturally, making it a healthier choice for most people

Oat milk that you find at your local grocery store usually has similar vitamins and minerals as regular cow’s milk. Some manufacturers also add calcium, Vitamin B12, and riboflavin to oat milk to provide some of the nutrients naturally found in regular cow’s milk.

Oat milk and cow’s milk also have similar calories in a one-cup serving. However, oat milk has more carbohydrates, fiber, and less protein. The additional protein in a regular cow’s milk can keep you full longer, as it prolongs the digestion and absorption process in your Gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

It’s important to check a product’s label before as marketing claims can make “vegan,” “lactose-free,” or “non-dairy” products look more nutritious than they are. Even an oat milk labeled “Plain” or “Original” can sometimes contain added sugar.

Is There A Downside To Drinking Oat Milk?

People with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should not necessarily assume that oat milk is a gluten-free drink. Some oats are processed on shared equipment, so you have to look for a “Certified Gluten-Free” symbol on the packaging to make sure that the product meets strict gluten-free standards.

Aside from that, finding an oat milk alternative without added sugar may be difficult, and the drink can be pretty costly – but overall, there aren't any significant downsides to drinking this beverage.

What Are The Healthiest Oat Milk Brands?

Upon analyzing different supermarket oat milk options, we can say that Innocent Dairy Free Oat Drink is the healthiest brand. It contains less calories, fats, and sugar compared to it’s competitors. It also has a comparable protein volume, not to mention that it only has three simple ingredients – water, oats, and a pinch of sea salt. 

Another healthy oat milk brand is the Alpro Oat Original because it has more added fiber compared to other brands. Oatly’s oat milk is also a good option, despite its high-calorie content – it contains more protein and fiber. If you are looking for the healthiest oat milk brand available in your local supermarket, consider one that is fortified. 

You can also read our guide on How To Make An Iced Matcha Latte With Oat Milk: 4 Easy Steps.

Author

  • Danico Dacillo became a fan of coffee when he was in college 'cause it helps him stay awake. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, but now working as a content writer. His passion for writing started when he was still in grade school -- as a sports news writer.