What’s the Deal with Oat Milk?
[This blog comes courtesy of our colleagues at Milk Life. You can find the original article here.]
Oat milk is the latest player in the non-dairy milk alternative world – joining other alternatives like almond, coconut and soy – and is a popular choice when served up as an oat milk latte. While oat milk’s consistency may be more similar to that of real dairy milk, it’s important to know that it’s not a one-for-one swap – especially when it comes to oat milk’s nutrition.
Oat Milk Nutrition vs. Real Dairy Milk: What’s the Difference?
One of the biggest and most important differences between oat milk’s nutrition and dairy milk is the nutrient profile. Oat milk provides fewer nutrients than dairy milk, and most of the nutrients it provides are fortified. That means they’re added during manufacturing, as opposed to occurring naturally.
Specifically, dairy milk provides nine essential nutrients in each 8-ounce glass (protein, calcium, vitamin D, potassium, vitamin A, phosphorus, vitamin B 12, riboflavin and niacin); a glass of original oat milk has five (calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, riboflavin and iron).
Apart from iron, all of the nutrients in oat milk are fortified. While dairy milk is fortified with vitamins A and D, the rest of its nutrients occur naturally, making it a naturally nutrient-rich choice.
The Protein Factor
Apart from providing more nutrients overall, dairy milk also has about twice the protein as oat milk. Protein helps build lean muscle, and getting enough at each meal can help you feel full and satisfied. Dairy milk provides 8 grams of protein in every 8-ounce glass, while the same amount of oat milk typically provides 4 grams (though the protein in oat milk varies from brand to brand, so it’s important to check the label).
Dairy milk is also a source of complete, high-quality protein, which means every glass contains a full mix of essential amino acids. Most plant-based protein sources, like oats, are incomplete proteins and missing some of the essential amino acids our body needs.
Real dairy milk also boasts a simple ingredient list – just milk, vitamin A and vitamin D – so you always know what you’re getting when you reach for a glass. Oat milk can vary considerably from brand to brand, in both nutrients and ingredients. Fortification of non-dairy milk alternatives is not federally regulated, so some brands may fortify more while others fortify less. And when it comes to ingredients, some varieties of oat milk have more than ten, including stabilizers and emulsifiers.
So, the next time you’re deciding what to request in your latte or pick up at the store, remember non-dairy milk alternatives don’t offer the same nutrition benefits, functionality or taste as real dairy milk. Understanding your choices and the differences between them can help you determine the most suitable beverage for you and your family.
You can get more information on dairy milk vs. other plant-based beverages here.