The Ultimate Guide to Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk


When you are a newbie to the world of dairy free drinks, a barista asking you if you prefer oat milk or almond milk in your latte is exactly like your high school math teacher asking you to solve a derivative. You look at the menu, let out a long “ummmmm” and your mind goes through the pros and cons of each option. After about 30 seconds you timidly whisper “almond?” And hand over your credit card.

To keep you from looking like “Confused math ladyEven in the middle of Starbucks, read on for the differences in nutrition, taste, and environmental impacts between the two dairy alternatives. Have confidence, this will help you settle your oat milk versus almond milk debate once and for all.

Ingredients of oat milk vs almond milk

Before you mess with the nutritional value of oat milk versus almond milk, here is a much needed primer on dairy alternatives. Basically, non-dairy milks are just the main ingredient – that is, almonds, oats, or other grains, nuts, or seeds – that have been mixed with water and filtered, says Alex Caspero, MA, RD, dietitian and herbal chef. “It’s basically like you’re making juice,” she says. “You extract nutrients from anything. (Don’t worry. Good things are being added, as you’ll learn below.)

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Some store-bought oat and almond milks will contain added sugar, and most will be fortified with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium (which help keep your strong bones) and vitamin D (which help your body absorbs calcium), says Caspero. “It makes non-dairy milks nutritionally comparable to cow’s milk in this way,” she explains. “Some brands will also add vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin B12, which would naturally be found in cow’s milk.” Because of this nutritional benefit, Caspero generally recommends that its customers choose a fortified non-dairy option.

Since these nutrients are normally in powder form when added to milk, some companies will also use emulsifiers, such as gums, so that the vitamins stay evenly dispersed throughout the liquid – and don’t settle to the bottom of the milk. pot, says Caspero. But don’t be fooled: they can come with a few health benefits. “Some research shows that some gums act like prebiotics, which are non-digestible fibers that gut bacteria can feed on,” she explains. “Some people, however, are very sensitive to it, which can [cause GI] problems with these people. If you have an easily irritable gut, consider looking at shelf-stable oat and almond milk options – some of which aren’t fortified and, in turn, don’t contain these emulsifiers – rather than refrigerated, Caspero says. .

Oat milk vs almond milk Nutrition

Fortification aside, the biggest nutritional differences between oat milk and almond milk are in the calorie, fat and protein content, says Caspero. “Almond milk will tend to be lower in calories, especially if we’re talking about unsweetened almond milk,” she says. Oat milk, on the other hand, has more protein, as oats themselves are a good source of protein and most varieties of almond milk only contain four almonds (yes, you read that right). per cup, says Caspero. (The rest, ICYWW, is water, hence the lower calorie count.) Oat milk will also contain a little fat, as many brands add a little oil to give the alternative. dairy a creamy mouthfeel, she said.

Here, the nutritional breakdown of oat milk versus almond milk, based on two dairy-free milk options common in supermarkets right now: Oatly Original Oat Milk and Almond Breeze Original Almond Milk.

Oatly Original Refrigerated Oat Milk, 1 cup

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Total sugars: 7 g
  • Protein: 3 g

Almond Breeze Original Almond Milk, 1 cup

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 2.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Total sugars: 7 g
  • Proteins: 1g

Oat milk vs almond milk Taste, texture and uses

While the two alternative milks are not too much different in nutrition, they couldn’t be more distinct in taste and texture. “Oat milk is much thicker than almond milk, which tends to be very thin and watery, and has a texture similar to cow’s milk,” says Caspero. “This is why it is really excellent in lattes, because it foams. Oat milk is also Caspero’s go-to product for vegan cooking, as it has a higher carbohydrate content which gives the treats a nice golden brown finish without the need to use eggs, he explains. it. Almond milk, on the other hand, works great with smoothies and cereals, says Caspero.

Flavor profiles will differ from brand to brand, but almond milk will tend to taste slightly nutty, while oat milk often gives a sweeter taste, adds Jerlyn Jones, MS, MPA, RDN, LD, CLT., registered dietitian-nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Environmental impact of oat milk compared to almond milk

If you’re looking to reduce your environmental footprint, both non-dairy milks are greener choices than cow’s milk, but neither are perfect, says Caspero. “Almond milk is going to be the most water hungry just because the almond trees themselves need a lot of water,” she explains. In fact, a 2019 study have found that 3.2 gallons (12.11 liters) of water are required to produce a Single California almond. On the flip side, oat milk has a bigger impact on land, as oat kernels require more space than almond trees, she says.

TL; DR: “Oat milk is going to be slightly more environmentally friendly,” Caspero says. “But compared to cow’s milk – and all the emissions that come from feeding and raising cattle – the choices of grains and almonds will always be a greener choice.”

The final verdict between oat milk and almond milk

In general, Caspero and Jones agree that there isn’t a huge difference in the nutrition of oat milk compared to almond milk. Still, taking your individual needs and your overall diet into account could help you decide which one is best for you. “If you’re concerned about calories, you’ll probably want to choose unsweetened almond milk over whole oat milk,” says Caspero. “Oatly’s oat milk contains 120 calories, compared to Almond Breeze’s Unsweetened Almond Milk 30 calories. If you are someone who drinks a few cups a day, it can add up.

Oat milk is also high in carbohydrates – containing 16 grams per cup – which can increase blood sugar, so this may not be the best option if you’re trying to keep your blood sugar stable, Jones explains. But for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding and need those extra macronutrients, higher fat, higher protein oat milk may be a better choice, Caspero adds. Still not sure whether you should go for oat milk or almond milk? “Always consult a dietitian if you have any questions about how to choose the best breast milk substitute for you, as it certainly makes a difference depending on your condition, the cost and why you are using the breast milk substitute. milk, ”says Jones. .

Whatever type of dairy-free milk you choose, make sure it doesn’t have any added sweeteners, suggests Caspero. “There are so many sweeteners and sugars hidden in our food supply, and so the more we can get out of it, it will be a better and healthier choice,” she explains. “This is especially true for non-dairy milk, where you don’t drink it because you want sweetness like you might choose a brownie.” After all, the American Heart Association recommends that women limit their intake of added sugar to just 25 grams per day, so if your morning glass of almond milk has 7 grams of cane sugar, you’ve already used up a third of that suggested allowance, Jones says. “You don’t want to spend all of your added sugar intake just on what you drink,” she says.

And remember, you’re not legally bound to stick to the same dairy-free milk for all eternity, and all types – whether made from oats, almonds, bananas or pistachios – can have a place in your bowl or glass. “If you open my fridge, I have soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk, and I like to use them all in different ways,” says Caspero. “I think that’s the beauty of where we’re at these days – you don’t have to pick just one.”

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