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What is oat milk?
Oat milk is a dairy milk alternative; it’s made by blending oats, water and other ingredients to give a milk-like texture and flavour. As well as oats, All Good oat milk contains rapeseed oil, calcium and vitamins.
How does oat milk stack up nutritionally?
Oat milk is different, nutritionally, from dairy milk. Like all plant milks - and reduced-fat dairy milk - it’s not suitable for young children as a dairy milk replacement. For adults who don’t consume dairy, though, oat milk is a versatile, tasty drink with some useful nutrition on board.
Oat milk is lower in total and saturated fat than whole dairy milk. All Good oat milks offer two options; the Barista version is higher in fat for a creamy mouth feel and great texture in coffee; it’s more like a full-fat dairy milk. In both varieties the saturated fat is a lot lower than dairy; a boon if you’re looking to keep your intake of unhealthy fats low. Consuming less saturated fat is associated with better heart health.
Calcium is important for our bone health, and dairy milk is typically one of our main sources of calcium. The great news is that All Good oat milk contains as much calcium as dairy milk; around 300mg per cup. This is between a fifth and a third of the calcium we need in a day (men and kids need less; teens and older people need more). Use it in a smoothie with some almonds and dried fruit and you’ll be on your way to a high-calcium day.
We wouldn’t expect to get fibre from our milk. Dairy milk has none. But because it’s made from oats, oat milk contains some fibre – around 2 grams per cup. What’s interesting about this is that a chunk of that is a particularly special kind of fibre: the soluble fibre beta-glucan. Evidence suggests beta-glucan may help lower blood cholesterol, especially the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. You won’t get as much beta-glucan from oat milk as you’d get from whole oats. But adding it into your regular oat-containing diet will give you an extra boost.
Is oat milk suitable for people with food allergies? What about vegans?
Oat milk is a standout in the milk world, since it doesn’t contain any of the typical allergens that can be problematic in people with food allergies. It’s soy, nut, dairy and wheat free, so people prone to intolerances might find it easier to tolerate, and it’s safe for those with diagnosed allergies. Oat milk is not gluten free, since oats can contain gluten. But it is A-OK for vegans.
Bottom line: is oat milk good for you?
All Good oat milk is a useful alternative to dairy milk, and an interesting and versatile drink in its own right. It has some really positive nutritional benefits, and as an ingredient it works well in many of the ways you’d usually use dairy milk. If you’re someone who doesn’t eat dairy, or you’re looking for an interesting new drink to try, it’s worth seeking out.
*Niki Bezzant is a NZ-based science and nutrition writer.