Although Oat Milk may sound like some made-up, Millennial hipster drink, over past the year its’ popularity has exploded. In fact, Trader Joe’s now has their own Oat Milk version—so you know it has officially “Arrived”. Many baristas prefer using oat milk in coffee drinks as a non-dairy alternative, because many people swear it tastes as good as cow's milk. As a long time drinker of Almond Milk, I was intrigued to taste test, and learn more about the possible benefits of Oat Milk versus Almond Milk.
From a nutritional and a health perspective, how does Oat Milk measure up to Almond Milk?
- Oat Milk typically doesn't have a significant amount of protein or fat, although it does have more fat compared to Almond Milk. One serving of Oat milk contains 2 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, while Almond Milk contains 1 gram of protein and 2.5 grams of fat per serving.
- Oat Milk has more sugar per serving than other types of “milk”, because it's made from a carbohydrate (which gets broken down into a simple sugar). *Usually, it's just natural sugar from the oats, although you may want to check the label to see if there are any "added sugars."
- Pretty much all dairy-milk alternatives contain vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and vitamin D that have been added to it. However if you make your own oat milk, then you're not going to get any of those vitamins at all. This isn't a huge deal, and shouldn't affect you nutritionally so long as you eat a balanced diet.
- Oat milk is great for people who have allergies to dairy, soy, or nuts, and/or follow a vegetarian diet. (However, it is often processed with the same machines as wheat, so there could be cross-contamination that puts those with a wheat allergy at risk.)
- Carbon footprint: The Water Footprint Network, https://waterfootprint.org/ states that almonds require six times as much water to grow than oats do—so this was a huge for me.
- Oak Milk Nutritional Content: 1 cup serving is 120 calories, 5 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar), and 2 grams of protein.
- Almond Milk Nutritional Content: 1-cup serving is 60 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 8 grams of carbs (1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein per cup.
- Cost: Trader Joe’s 32-ounce Almond Milk is $1.79. Trader Joe’s 32-ounce is $2.29. (That’s roughly a 25% increase.)
- Taste: I had several women, ages early 30’s to 50’s do a taste test of whole (4% fat) cow’s milk, Almond Milk and Oat Milk. Comments regarding oat milk ranged from OK to “tastes like cold oatmeal.” Ranking for taste was #1 whole milk, #2 almond milk, and distant third, oat milk. (I much preferred the taste of Almond Milk over Oat Milk.) Also, Oat Milk has a thin, grayish color, which is not visually appealing to me or any other ladies.
- Calories: Oat Milk’s calorie and fat count is double that of Almond Milk on average.
Final thoughts? Taste, visual and cost opinion was skewed far more favorably for Almond Milk versus Oat Milk with my group of women tasters. That’s the bad news. Good news was that everyone REALLY liked the fact that Oat Milk saved far more water. Takeaway: I recommend purchasing a 32-ounce container of Almond and Oat Milk, and do your own taste test.
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