Oat Milk Is the Newest Non-Dairy Darling. But Is It Nutritious?
- Oat milk is a creamy blend of oats and water that bears resemblance to whole milk — all without the lactose or casein that can trigger allergies.
- This plant milk may not work for everyone. Avoid it if you follow a ketogenic diet or want to heal your gut, and watch for added sugar or canola oil that can make you foggy and fatigued.
- For a plant milk alternative with fewer risks for mold and gluten, pick up full-fat canned coconut milk.
Move over, almonds: Oat milk is the newest non-dairy sensation to fill your mug. This plant milk has a creamy texture similar to whole milk, making it a new mainstay in trendy coffee shops and specialty grocery stores.
Despite the recent hype, oat milk has won the hearts of alt-dairy lovers since the 1990s. But is this plant beverage worth sipping? Here’s everything you need to know — plus creamy alternatives you’ll want to try, too.
What is oat milk?
In its purest form, oat milk contains only two ingredients: Oats and water. After soaking, oats blend with water and then get strained through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. The finished creamy beverage bears a striking resemblance to whole milk — and makes a silky addition to foamy cappuccinos, smoothies, and even ice cream.
Since oat milk has a neutral flavor and slightly thinner consistency compared to almond milk, store brands tend to add sugar and flavorings to make it even more drinkable. However, you can easily make your own oat milk and skip these additions.
Oat milk benefits
- No casein, lactose, or gluten. Oat milk won’t trigger dairy allergies, and in some cases you can get it gluten-free (more on that in a moment).
- Trace amounts of fiber. Oats contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that helps your gut absorb more vitamins and minerals.
- Environmentally-friendly. Since oats require less water to grow compared to other plant milk sources like almonds, oat milk is also an environmentally-friendly plant beverage. Companies such as Oatly partner with farms to recycle oat milk byproducts into animal feed to reduce waste even more.
Oat milk drawbacks
Oat milk may not work for everyone. Oats are considered suspect on the Bulletproof Diet because they contain avenin, a protein that acts like gluten in sensitive people and can cause intestinal distress. Oats can also contain mold and have a high glycemic index. If you follow a ketogenic diet or need to heal your gut, oat milk isn’t your best choice.
If you do try oat milk, take a few precautions:
- Get it gluten-free. Oats naturally contain no gluten, but may be processed with other grains like wheat or rye that contaminate the final product. Read your labels to ensure your oat milk is gluten-free.
- Watch for pesticides and GMOs. Unless your oat milk is GMO-free, it could be exposed to glyphosate, a toxic herbicide linked to cancer.
- Avoid added junk. Oat milk brands often add canola oil and sugar to improve the flavor and help milk froth better in your coffee cup — but both cause brain fog and inflammation.
To keep your oat milk cleaner, make it at home with organic, certified gluten-free oats. Skip the added sugar and use Bulletproof-friendly flavorings like vanilla, Ceylon cinnamon, birch xylitol, or raw cacao.
Oat milk swaps worth trying
If you can’t tolerate oat milk, you can still add natural creaminess to your favorite recipes. Try these alternatives:
- Grass-fed butter or ghee. Even with lactose intolerance, most people still tolerate these dairy products — plus they make a delicious addition to Bulletproof Coffee.
- Egg yolks. Add them to smoothies and ice cream for silky texture without dairy proteins. Try them in these dairy-free fudge pops.
- Coconut milk (full-fat from a BPA-free can). Coconut milk is the most Bulletproof-friendly plant milk, since it contains more quality fat, lower carbs, and less susceptibility to mold. See it in action in this keto coffee jelly recipe.
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