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Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk

Check out the differences between oat and almond milk so you can make an informed decision on which milk to buy. See which of these plant-based milk will best suit your diet and lifestyle.

Top view of a glass of milk with almonds and oats on the side.

  • Find out what the difference are between oat milk and almond milk
  • Learn what makes plant-based milks like almond milk and oat milk so popular
  • Make an informed choice on which milk is best suited to your lifestyle and diet

I’m sure you have heard about oat milk and almond milk before. But if you haven’t, don’t feel bad. If you’re like most people, you don’t think twice about the milk you have with your cereal or add to your morning coffee.

These kinds of milk are, however, becoming increasingly popular. Not only are they really good for you, but they also contribute to sustaining the environment. 

The invention of plant-based milk like oat milk and almond milk introduced a healthy alternative to cow’s milk for those who want to follow a dairy-free diet. These kinds of milk are vegan-friendly and great options for those suffering from dairy allergies and lactose intolerance. Besides that, they also have many other health benefits that even dairy lovers will appreciate.

Oat milk and almond milk may share some qualities, but many factors make them different from each other. So, how do you choose which milk to buy? This article will help you decide! Read on to see which milk option will be best for you.

What is oat milk?

Pitcher and glass of oat milk with a bowl of oats on the side.

In simple terms, oat milk is a popular milk alternative that is made by processing oats into creamy-textured, oatmeal-flavored milk with high nutrient content.  It can be commercially manufactured or made at home by following the correct processes.

If you are wondering how you can turn your favorite porridge into milk, the following steps will make it more clear to you. So, how is oat milk made commercially?

Firstly, the oats are milled into fine flour and combined with hot water. Soaking the oats in hot water is part of the extraction process where all the components from the oats are transferred to the milk.

Next, enzymes are added to the mix to help break down gelatinized starches and improve protein extraction from the oats. The mixture is reheated to deactivated the enzymes after the starches have been broken down.

During a separation process, the insoluble bran fibers are removed to give the milk a smoother consistency. Some companies may decide to leave the loose fibers, called beta-glucans, intact to preserve valuable nutrients.

The milk may then be fortified with vitamins and minerals to improve its nutritional value, and other ingredients may be added. These include fats and oils, flavorings, and additives. The milk is packaged and is now ready to go on the shelf!

What is almond milk?

A glass of almond milk with almond nuts on the side.

Almond milk is nutty-flavored milk made of ground almonds and filtered water.

In its unsweetened form, almond milk is low in calories and a great source of protein and calcium. It is also lactose-free and free of saturated fats found in most dairy milk. Almond milk is made commercially, but you can also easily make it yourself.

Almond milk made in a factory goes through multiple processes. First, the almonds are peeled and placed in a colloidal mill where water is added. The ratio of almonds to water is approximately 1:10. The grinding process continues until almond milk is formed.

Next, the almond milk is filtered through a 200-mesh sieve. Preservatives and other additives may be added to the mix.

After the mixing and screening process, the almond milk is sterilized as part of health and sanitation protocols. Then, the almond milk is bottled and sealed through the use of a filing machine. After packaging, they are off to the store and ready to be added to your next cup of coffee or a healthy smoothie!

Differences in taste and texture

Man making a protein shake with berries and oats.

The distinct difference in taste and texture sets almond milk and oat milk apart. Oat milk tends to have a much thicker, creamier consistency than almond milk. Almond milk has a watery, thin texture that comes close to that of cow’s milk.

While oat milk has a sweet taste, almond milk tends to have a nutty taste.

You can taste almond and oat milk in coffee and tea. Almond milk gives coffee or tea a rich, nutty flavor. Oat milk adds a sweet, wheaty flavor to beverages and cereals.

What does it mean if oat milk or almond milk had been fortified?

Since most almond and oat milk brands are fortified, it is important to understand what this means.

Fortified milk has extra vitamins, and minerals added and therefore has higher nutrient content than non-fortified milk. Oat milk and almond milk are usually fortified to be equally beneficial alternatives to cow’s milk.

The nutrients added to fortified almond milk or oat milk are usually found in cow’s milk. These vitamins and minerals include vitamin A, D, E, B12, and calcium. They are usually added in powdered form along with emulsifiers, like gums.

These gums have the added benefit of improving gut health by functioning as prebiotics.

Health benefits of almond milk

A jug of almond milk over a checkered towel.

You may have wondered why people have ditched normal cow’s milk for almond milk, especially in recent years. Most store-bought almond milk has been fortified with extra nutrients to make it even healthier. Let’s have a look at the benefits of almond milk:

  • Low in calories
  • Low in sugar (even more so with unsweetened brands)
  • Enriched with calcium
  • Enriched with vitamin D
  • It contains vitamin B, B2, and B12
  • High in vitamin E (antioxidant)
  • Lactose-free and dairy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan-friendly

Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk and a good dairy-free and low-sugar milk option for those wanting to lose weight and those with gluten intolerance. It’s also better for the skin because of its high antioxidant content and low sugar content.

Health benefits of oat milk

Top view of oats and milk on a wooden table.

  • Low in saturated fat and other fats
  • Low in sugar
  • Source of calcium
  • It contains vitamin B, B2, and B12
  • High in fiber
  • Lactose-free and dairy-free
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Creamy texture

Oat milk is a yummy alternative to cow’s milk, and its creamy texture makes it great to use in cereals and coffee/tea. Vegans and those suffering from lactose intolerance will love it, but it may not be suitable for those wanting to follow a gluten-free diet since oats do contain gluten. It also contains fiber, so it can help to maintain a healthy gut.

Almond milk vs. oat milk nutritional values

When it comes to choosing the right milk alternative for you, it is vital to look at the nutritional aspects of each type. Important nutritional values to be looking at when comparing almond milk to oat milk include calories, fats, proteins, sugars, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, and cholesterol. Without being brand-specific, almond milk generally compares to oat milk in the following way:

Almond milk:

·           Lower in calories
·           Lower in fats
·           Lower protein content
·           Fewer sugars
·           Lower carbs
·           Less fiber

 

Oat milk:

·           Higher in calories
·           Higher in fats
·           Higher protein content
·           More sugars
·           Higher carbs
·           More fiber
·           Lower sodium

Both kinds of milk are great options for those suffering from high cholesterol levels. Almond milk contains no cholesterol, while oat milk contains beta-glucans that help lower cholesterol levels. In the end, choosing the right one comes down to what your dietary requirement and preferences are.

Which option is better for weight loss?

Both kinds of milk are great for weight loss due to their low sugar content. Almond milk, however, contains significantly fewer calories than oat milk and is the better option for those wanting to reduce their calorie intake. 

Are oat milk and almond milk better alternatives to cow’s milk?

Mom pouring cow milk on a glass held by her son.

All the nutrients found in cow’s milk are usually added to store-bought almond milk and oat milk, making these dairy-free milk alternatives just as good for you (if not better) as cow’s milk. The only downside may be extra sugars found in these kinds of milk. It depends on the brand and will be specified on the packaging.

Generally, unsweetened oat milk and almond milk are lower in calories, sugars, and fats than cow’s milk. These kinds of milk are also usually fortified with extra nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, making them more nutritious and healthier than cow’s milk.

Oat milk is great for those wanting to follow the dairy-free route but who are allergic to nuts. Almond milk is great for those who are gluten intolerant and those wanting to reduce their daily calorie intake. Both kinds of milk serve their purpose in a person’s diet and are regarded as healthy milk alternatives to cow’s milk.

Which is the more affordable option between almond milk and oat milk?

Almond milk is less expensive than oat milk. Despite being similar to almond milk in many ways, oat milk’s cost far exceeds that of almond milk. The main reasons for this are the commercial processes needed to produce oat milk and the high demand in certain regions.

The production of oat milk is a lengthy process and requires specialist machinery that may not be available in every country. The distribution of the oat milk from the place of production to the retailer has a significant impact on the cost of the product as you see it on the shelf.

If production cannot keep up with demand, it will be reflected in the product’s price. Therefore, the cost will increase even more if there is a high demand for it in the area. 

Likewise, if there is a lower demand but a larger supply of oat milk available, the shelf prices will be lower.

It really all comes down to supply and demand and the availability of facilities in the area to produce the milk.

DIY: How to make your own almond milk at home

Woman making homemade almond milk.

It’s quite simple to make your own almond milk. All you need is a blender, almond, and water, and you’re set to go!

  1. Start by placing the almonds in a glass bowl filled with cool water.
  2. Place the bowl in the fridge and leave the almonds to soak overnight.
  3. The next morning, drain out the water and rinse the almonds.
  4. Place the almond in a blender, add about 4 cups of water, some vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt (you may also add some honey or a few dates for a touch of sweetness)
  5. Blend this all together until you have a creamy, smooth mixture.
  6. The last step is to strain out the mixture using a nut milk bag, and voila!
  7. Remember to store your homemade almond milk in an airtight container in the fridge.

DIY: How to make your own oat milk at home

Process of making homemade oat milk.

The process for making oat milk is not the same as for making almond milk. Homemade oat milk can have a slimy, grainy texture if the wrong methods are used. But making your own oat milk is as quick a wink if you follow these simple steps:

  1. Combine rolled oats and water in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds until the mixture is creamy (be careful not to over-blend!).
  2. Next, you’ll want to strain the mixture using a fine-mesh strainer. Strain the mixture over a large bowl. (NB!! Oat milk does not want to be squeezed or pressed because this makes it slimy)
  3. Discard any liquid or pulp that gets left behind in the filter.
  4. To make the mixture extra smooth and creamy, you can strain it again.
  5. Store the oat milk in the fridge to chill and enjoy!

Extra tip: Do not shake the oat milk before serving. Let the pulp settle to the bottom of the container so that the milk your pour off the top will remain smooth.

References:

Insider: Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk

U.S. News: Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk: Which Is Better?

Well And Good: Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk

McQueens Dairies: Almond Milk vs. Oat Milk

Shape.com: Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk