Vegan, healthy, lactose-intolerant, environmentally friendly—whatever the reason for the switch to plant-based milk, it’s undeniable that these dairy alternatives are quickly stealing the spotlight from good old-fashioned milk.
In fact, the sale of plant-based milk increased by a stunning 61% in the United States between 2012 and 2016; closer home, the market is set to grow by 16.6% by 2025, with an estimated one in three Brits swearing by plant-based milk and including it in their diets.
Two such types of plant-based milk that have captured supermarket shelves and the hearts (or stomachs, rather) of people?
Oat milk and almond milk!
Creamy, tasty, low in calories, and packing a nutritious punch, both these are quickly becoming regular features in meals and beverages across the world, with many cafes, restaurants, and smoothie bars offering customers the choice in their menus.
But are all plant-based milk created equal? Is almond milk the more beneficial option or does that title go to oats milk?
Here are our two cents on the matter.
First, An Introduction!
Here’s an introduction to our two contenders.
The relatively new kid on the block, oat milk production started as late as the 1990s, but it’s been a short yet wildly successful life for this plant-based milk so far.
Oat milk has many takers due to its textural similarity to cow’s milk—thick and creamy—with the added yumminess of the oaty flavor and subtle notes of nuttiness.
All of this makes oat milk an especially popular choice with espresso drinkers, along with the fact that oat milk simply froths better than dairy!
Oat milk is manufactured by mixing whole oats with warm water and treating it with enzymes and heat before fortifying it with extra vitamin-y and mineral-y goodness.
Today, you can get oat milk in its OG state, as yoghurt, or even as a coffee creamer.
Almond milk’s been around for ages (since the 13th century, to be more precise!), originating in the Middle East and now a global favourite.
Thinner than cow’s milk but with a delicious nutty flavour, almond milk has been among the highest-selling plant-based milk around the world.
Making almond milk is as simple as soaking almonds in water, grinding them, extracting the pulp, and fortifying the results!
Oat Milk Vs Almond Milk
If you’re planning to make a switch from dairy to one of these plant-based alternatives, you might have your task cut out for you when it comes to choosing one.
To help things along, here’s a detailed comparison of the benefits of oat milk vs almond milk.
Both oat milk and almond have approximately the same amount of nutrition, as they are both fortified before hitting the shelves.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the nutritional value of a cup each (240 ml) of both kinds of milk (unsweetened):
- Calories: Oat milk contains around 79 calories while almond milk contains 59.
- Protein: Oat milk contains 4 gm of protein compared to 1 gm in almond milk.
- Fat: Oat milk contains 1.5 gm of fat and almond milk contains 2 gm.
- Carbs: Oat milk contains 15 g of carbs whereas almond milk contains 8 g.
- Iron, Sodium, and Calcium: Oat milk will give you 6%, 5%, and 1% of your daily value of iron, sodium, and calcium, respectively, whereas almond milk will give you 2%, less than 1%, and 15% respectively.
Depending on the brand, though, you may find other nutrients as well in both types of milk, such as vitamin D and B12.
Additionally, watch out for added flavours and sugars, as these can significantly change the taste and nutritional profile of the milk.
It should also be noted that oat milk has substantially more micronutrients than almond milk, though—you can get your daily dose of vitamin D, B12, riboflavin, and dietary fibre from oat milk.
Almond milk is super rich in vitamin E, but is trumped by oat milk in all the other categories!
Benefits To Health
Both almond and oat milk are superb additions to those with a plant-based diet.
However, if you’re prone to tree nut allergies, almond milk is a total no-no and nut-free oat milk is the better option. Oat milk is also great for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other inflammatory conditions.
If you’re on a ketogenic diet, though, almond milk might be the better option, given its low carb content; certain types of almond milk can even be added to Paleo diets.
Not so much oat milk, unfortunately!
That apart, the health benefits from both types of milk can be excellent, thanks to all that fortified goodness.
Vitamin D and calcium work wonders for your bones, vitamin E is great for your eyes, B12 is necessary for nerve function, red blood cells, and DNA synthesis, while riboflavin keeps your skin glowing with all that antioxidant goodness!
Another thing to consider is that oat milk may have gluten if the harvesting equipment is shared with wheat harvesting and processing.
Those with celiac conditions should look for certified gluten-free oat milk to avoid the dangers of cross-contamination.
There are some considerations to keep in mind when it comes to safety, such as the addition of too much carrageenan to make the milk thicker.
Given its naturally creamy and rich texture, carrageenan doesn’t make much of an appearance in oat milk, but it could in almond milk, and in more than welcome quantities.
Also, though both types of milk are safe for children, they should never be used as a substitute for breast milk or cow’s milk, unless a medical professional is advising this.
Again, as mentioned earlier, look out for added sugar, flavours, and preservatives, as these can cancel out all the goodness both types of milk naturally contain.
Lastly, always opt for fortified milk. Both oat milk and almond milk have less protein than cow milk, which means that plant-milk users may not get sufficient protein from their diet, leading to the risk of health issues caused by inadequate protein.
From clothing to food, sustainability has become a significant influencing factor in many decisions today (and we’re behind this 100%).
If sustainability is important to you, you may also want to consider the sustainability factor with regard to oat milk and almond milk.
But wait—they’re both plant-based and vegan and eco-friendly, so aren’t they sustainable already?
While both milk types are more environmentally friendly than dairy, almond milk requires more natural resources than oat milk, as almonds need more water to grow.
It’s like avocados—they’re healthy and vegan, but one tree needs up to 4.5 litres of water per day!
One California almond leaves an average water footprint of 12 litres in its lifetime.
Benefits Of Oat Milk Vs Almond Milk: Summing Up
The popularity that plant-based milk enjoys has exploded these last few years, and it isn’t hard to see why.
More nutritious, more versatile, and tastier than regular dairy, oat milk and almond milk have many consumers making the switch from dairy to plant-based.
If we had to pick one of these, though, our vote would go to oat milk, for its better nutritional value, sustainability, and health benefits.
That’s just us, though—you know what works best for you, so factor in your lifestyle, health, and diet preferences and pick the milk that works for you!