A barista asking you if you’d prefer oat milk or almond milk in your latte can make you feel just like your high school calculus teacher asking you to solve a derivative when you’re new to the dairy-free beverage world.
Your mind quickly weighs the advantages and disadvantages of every choice as you glare up at the menu and utter a prolonged “ummmmm.” You mutter “almond?” and hand over your credit card after about 30 seconds.
Read on to learn how the two dairy alternatives differ from each other in terms of nutrition, flavour, and environmental effects so you don’t end up looking like the “Confused Math Lady” meme in the middle of Starbucks. You can have faith that it will help you finally resolve your oat milk vs. almond milk dispute.
Oat milk vs almond milk ingredients
Here is a fundamental introduction to dairy substitutes before delving into the nutrition facts of oat milk vs. almond milk. According to Alex Caspero, MA, RD, a registered dietitian and plant-based chef, non-dairy milks are really just the main ingredient — such as almonds, oats, or some other grain, nut, or seed — that has been blended with water and filtered. In essence, she claims, “you’re making juice.” “Whatever it is, you’re taking the nutrition out of it.”
Although most store-bought oat and almond milks are enriched with vitamins, minerals, and calcium in particular (which helps keep your bones healthy) and vitamin D (which aids in calcium absorption), according to Caspero, some may contain additional sugar. According to her, “in that regard, the non-dairy milks are nutritionally equal to cow’s milk.” Some brands additionally include vitamins E, A, and B12, which are naturally present in cow’s milk. Caspero often advises her clients to select a fortified non-dairy choice because of that nutrient boost.
Since these vitamins are typically added to milk in powder form, some businesses will also employ emulsifiers, such gums, to ensure the vitamins are uniformly distributed throughout the liquid and don’t sink to the bottom of the jug, according to Caspero. But don’t be alarmed; they might have a few health benefits. According to some research, some gums behave like prebiotics, which are indigestible fibres that your gut flora can consume. However, some people are extremely sensitive to them, which may result in GI problems for those people.
If your gut is easily irritated, Caspero advises choosing shelf-stable oat and almond milk options rather than a refrigerated variety. Some of these options aren’t fortified and so don’t contain those emulsifiers.
The largest nutritional differences between oat milk and almond milk, excluding fortification, are in the amounts of calories, fat, and protein, according to Caspero. Especially if we’re talking about unsweetened almond milk, “almond milk is going to tend to be lower in calories,” she explains. Contrarily, oats alone are a decent source of protein, and most forms of almond milk only contain roughly four almonds (yes, you read that right) per cup, according to Caspero. Oat milk will also contain some fat since many manufacturers add a small amount of oil to the dairy substitute to give it a creamy feeling.
Here is a comparison of the nutritional values of oat milk and almond milk using two popular dairy-free milk brands that are currently available in supermarkets: Oatly’s Original Oatmilk and Almond Breeze’s Original Almondmilk.
Oatly Original Chilled Oatmilk, 1 cup
- Calories: 120
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 16 g
- Dietary Fibre: 2 g
- Total Sugars: 7 g
- Protein: 3 g
Almond Breeze Original Almondmilk, 1 cup
- Calories: 60
- Fat: 2.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 8 g
- Dietary Fibre: 1 g
- Total Sugars: 7 g
- Protein: 1g
Oat Milk vs Almond Milk Taste, Texture, and Uses
While the nutritional content of the two alternative milks is similar, their differences in flavour and texture are uncanny. According to Caspero, oat milk has a viscosity similar to cow’s milk and is far thicker than almond milk, which is frequently quite thin and watery. Because it froths, it works particularly well in lattes. Oat milk is also Caspero’s go-to ingredient for vegan baking since, according to her, it has a greater carb content than other milks and provides baked goods a lovely, golden-brown finish without the use of eggs. Contrarily, Caspero claims that almond milk goes well with cereal and smoothies.
The final oat milk vs almond milk verdict
In general, Caspero and Jones concur that there isn’t much of a nutritional difference between oat milk and almond milk. Nevertheless, figuring out which one is best for you might be aided by taking into account both your particular requirements and general diet. According to Caspero, “If you’re concerned about calories, you are probably going to want to pick an unsweetened almond milk over, say, a full-fat oat milk.” “Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almondmilk has 30 calories, while Oatly’s Oatmilk has 120 calories. That can build up if you consume several drinks each day.
Oat milk may not be the ideal choice if you’re attempting to maintain stable blood glucose levels because it is also high in carbohydrates (16 grammes per cup), which might boost blood sugar. But the higher-fat, higher-protein oat milk would be a better choice for folks who are pregnant or breastfeeding and need those extra macronutrients, says Caspero. Are you still undecided about choosing oat milk or almond milk? If you have any questions about how to select the ideal milk substitute for you, Jones advises that you “always see a qualified dietitian because it definitely makes a difference based on your health condition, the cost, and what you’re using the milk substitute for.”
Caspero advises making sure the dairy-free milk you choose is devoid of any additional sweets. Because there are so many hidden sugars and sweets in our food supply, she says, the more we can choose to avoid them, the better and healthier option will be. This is particularly true of non-dairy milk, as you wouldn’t often choose to drink it if you wanted sweetness instead of, say, a brownie. In light of the fact that the American Heart Association advises women to limit their intake of added sugar to just 25 grammes per day, Jones explains that if your morning glass of almond milk has 7 grammes of cane sugar, you’ve already consumed a third of the recommended allotment.
And keep in mind that any sort of dairy-free milk, whether it is produced from oats, almonds, bananas, or pistachios, can have a place in your bowl or glass. You are not required to drink the same type of dairy-free milk for the rest of time. I have soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk in my fridge, and I like to use them all in various ways, says Caspero. You don’t have to pick one, and I believe that is the beauty of our current situation.