Is Oat Milk Really Bad for You? Experts Debunk Social Media Myths

In recent years, people have started to ditch cow's milk for plant-based alternatives. And for most, it is a toss-up between soy, almond, and oat milk.

According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, alternatives to animal milk have contributed $105 million in growth, while animal-based milk's decline equated to a loss of $264 million.

But, now social media users are protesting against oat milk and warning others to stop drinking it due to "health concerns". TikTok users have started a trend, after becoming concerned about the canola oil, fats, and sugar in oat milk.

So, Newsweek have reached out to experts to find out once and for all, if oat milk is good or bad for you.

TikTok User and Holistic Nutritionist, Carley Nadine, went viral after posting a video on 'why you should stop drinking oat milk'. In her video, which has over 180k likes, she claims that the milk alternative drastically increases your blood sugar, has an impact on your hormones, and contributes to anxiety, and inflammation.

Carley, from Toronto, Canada, told Newsweek: "Oat milk isn't the health food that it's positioned as. For most conventional brands, enzymes added during the production process break down the natural oat starches into sugar. Therefore, it can spike your blood sugar more significantly than other milk. Especially when consumed on an empty stomach.

"Most Oatmilks contain additives and seed oils such as sunflower oil or canola oil. This lends to oat milk's creamy taste and texture.

"Glyphosate, also known as "Roundup", is often sprayed on oat crops to speed up drying at harvest. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently reported high levels of glyphosate residue in many popular oat-based products."

However, registered Dietitian, Lauren McNeil, from Toronto, Canada, has shared a video on TikTok to 'set the record straight'.

Speaking to Newsweek, Lauren, who runs her own business called 'Tasting to Thrive', said: "Oat milk can absolutely be a part of a nourishing overall eating pattern. Most store-bought plant-based milk is also fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are important nutrients to make sure you're getting enough of.

"I recommend choosing unsweetened plant-based milk most often so you can control the sweetness. There really aren't any cons!"

According to Medical News Today, a cup of oat milk contains 130 calories which is less than half the amount of calories compared to cow's milk, which contains 259 calories.

The medical information website has also pointed out that cow milk has 31 grams of sugar and oat milk is pretty close behind containing 19 grams, whereas almond and hemp milk hasn't got any sugar in at all.

Oat milk
A stock image of two glasses of oat milk. YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Ayat Sleymann, who owns Sleymann Nutrition, LLC, spoke to Newsweek and diminished a few myths that have been floating around the internet.

The Registered Dietitian Nutritionist said: "Many people worry about the dipotassium phosphate ingredient added in oat milk. This ingredient is added as an 'acidity regulator' which helps prevent the splitting of the plant-based milk when added to coffee. In other words, it improves the consumer experience when they choose to drink oat milk.

"A lot of people are worried about this ingredient due to the misinformation being spread, however, dipotassium phosphate is safe to consume for the general public and it provides about 20 percent of the daily value of phosphorus. The body needs phosphorus to make energy and carry out normal bodily functions.

"However, those with kidney disease need to be cautious about how much phosphorus they are consuming as their kidney is not able to remove phosphorus from the body very well."

She continues: "As for the misinformation about the rapeseed oil (or more commonly known as canola oil) being added to oat milk, studies show that this oil has cardiometabolic benefits. It is low in saturated fats, high in unsaturated fats, and higher in omega-3 fatty acids than most other oils which help reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels.

"Unlike other non-dairy milk, oat milk has a little more protein, fiber and vitamins as it is made from oats. However, it does contain less protein compared to dairy milk.

"Oat milk contains beta-glucan, which has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and helps manage blood sugar levels over time. It is also a great option for those with a nut allergy and for those trying to follow a plant-based diet."