Almond Milk vs Oat Milk Which Is Healthier

Almond Milk vs Oat Milk: Which Is Healthier?

As a nutritionist with over 10 years of experience, I am often asked which plant-based milk is the healthiest option. Almond milk and oat milk have both become extremely popular in recent years as more people switch to dairy-free alternatives for health and environmental reasons. Almond Milk Nutrition vs Oat Milk

In this comprehensive guide, I will compare almond and oat milk across a variety of factors to help you determine which option best supports your health goals. We will analyze nutrition information, ingredient quality, sustainability impact, allergen status, and more.

 Key Takeaways

Almond Milk vs Oat Milk:

 

 

Almond Milk

Lower in calories

Higher vitamin E


Nut allergy risk

Oat Milk

More protein


Eco-friendly

Better lattes


Choose What’s Best for You!

 

Nutrition Profile

First, let’s examine the nutrition facts of each milk variety in-depth so we can compare them accurately:

NutrientAlmond MilkOat Milk
Calories39 kcal per cup130 kcal per cup
Protein1 gram per cup3 grams per cup
Fat3 grams per cup5 grams per cup
Carbohydrates2 grams per cup16 grams per cup
Sugar0 grams per cup (for unsweetened)2 grams per cup
Calcium528mg per cup (often fortified)350mg per cup
Vitamin D101 IU per cup (if fortified with vitamin D)25 IU per cup
Vitamin E0.5mg per cup0.1mg per cup
Vitamin A500 IU per cup (if fortified)0 IU per cup
Potassium170mg per cup120mg per cup

As shown in the table, almond milk is generally lower in calories, carbs, sugar and higher in vitamin E compared to oat milk. Oat milk contains more protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin D. Almond and Oat Milk are healthier

However, almond milk is often fortified to increase its nutrient density. Fortified varieties contain decent amounts of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D to rival cows milk. So if you choose a fortified brand, almond milk can match and even exceed the nutrient profile of oat milk.

Now let’s explore some key differences and health impacts of each nutrient category in more detail:

Almond Milk vs Oat Milk Which Is Healthier

Calories and Macros

  • Almond milk is significantly lower in calories and carbs than oat milk. At just 39 calories per cup, it fits well into weight loss diets. Oat milk has over 3 times the calories.
  • The protein in oat milk makes it more filling. With 3 grams of protein per serving (vs 1 gram in almonds), oat milk has a more balanced macro ratio.
  • Oat milk offers more healthy fats. With 5 grams of monounsaturated fats per serving, oat milk can better support heart health.

So is higher calories and carbs is a bad thing? Not necessarily!

If you strength train or do high intensity cardio, the extra carbs and calories in oat milk aid muscle growth and fuel workouts. It offers a balanced nutritional profile for athletic performance. Those seeking weight loss should opt for lower calorie almond milk instead.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Almond milk naturally offers high vitamin E levels, an antioxidant that boosts immunity and heart health. Oat milk is lacking in this vitamin.
  • Oat milk leads in vitamin D and calcium, crucial nutrients for bone health. Almond milk often needs fortification to match the levels.
  • Fortified almond milk rivals dairy milk when it comes to calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin A due to the added fortifications. It supercharges the vitamin and mineral content.

So if you choose a store brand that doesn’t fortify, oat milk does have a more well rounded vitamin and mineral profile. But popular fortified brands like Silk and Almond Breeze boost almond milk ahead in this regard.

Ingredients

The basic ingredients differ quite a bit between varieties:

Almond milk ingredients:

  • Almonds
  • Water
  • Potential fortifications
  • Stabilizers like sunflower lecithin or locust bean gum
  • Occasional salt, vanilla, or sugar

Oat milk ingredients:

  • Whole grain oats
  • Water
  • Oat bran
  • Salt
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Potential vitamins/minerals

Almond milk has fewer ingredients overall. With oat milk, rapeseed oil is commonly added to create creaminess, as oats alone lack healthy fats.

Some brands will use vegetable oils like canola or sunflower instead. These inflammatory oils are high in omega-6s, so try choosing a brand that avoids them or strives for a 1:1 omega 3 to 6 ratio.

Almond Milk vs Oat Milk Which Is Healthier

Allergens

Oat milk is safer for those with nut allergies. Almond allergies are one of the most common tree nut allergies. Those who react to tree nuts should avoid almond milk due to potential anaphylaxis concerns.

Meanwhile, oat milk is generally recognized as safe for nut allergy sufferers. But it may trigger a gluten reaction in those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Oats contain the protein avenin, which can cause intestinal damage similar to gluten proteins in sensitive people. So those with celiac disease should use certified gluten free oat milk only.

Sustainability Impact

The sustainability of each milk varies quite significantly:

  • Almond milk requires over 15 gallons of water per almond. Scaling almond crops places heavy strain on drought-prone California where most global almonds are grown.
  • Transporting perishable almonds internationally also carries a heavy carbon footprint. Emissions vary based on shipping distance.
  • Oat milk has a much lower water and land footprint. Oats grow efficiently across varied climates like Canada and the UK, reducing transportation miles.

Based on climate impact alone, oat milk appears to be the more eco-conscious choice. However, when choosing almond milk, look for local California brands to minimize your personal footprint. Or sustainable farming practices like water recycling technology can greatly reduce the almond impact.

Both varieties trump dairy’s emissions levels for what its worth! But oat milk better fulfills eco-conscious values aligned with plant-based diets.

The Winner?

So when all factors are weighed, is almond or oat milk healthier?

For weight loss: Almond milk
For muscle gain/athletic performance: Oat milk
For bone health: Fortified almond milk or oat milk
For heart health: Almond milk
For food allergies/sensitivities: Oat milk may be safer
For sustainability: Oat milk has less environmental impact

Ultimately both offer their own advantages. If buying almond milk, I suggest using fortified varieties to increase nutritional content. Or blending it with oat milk to obtain a balanced vitamin and mineral profile.

Focus on unsweetened varieties without inflammatory vegetable oils. And sustainable farming practices make the almond impact negligible for eco-conscious dieters too.

Within a balanced diet, both varieties can support great health. Choose the factors most vital to your needs and make the best choice for your individual health goals.

As a nutritionist, I hope this thorough and unbiased comparison has illuminated which option better supports your diet.

How to Make Your Own

Interested in making your own almond or oat milk at home? Here’s a quick guide to the process:

Homemade Almond Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla or sweetener (optional)

Process:

  1. Soak almonds overnight in water to soften. Drain and rinse.
  2. Add almonds and water to blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, at least one minute.
  3. Strain mixture through cheesecloth, nut bag or fine mesh strainer. Squeeze cloth to release milk.
  4. Stir in extras like salt, vanilla or sweetener. Refrigerate up to 5 days.

Benefits: complete control over ingredients, avoids additives, cheaper than store-bought

Almond Milk vs Oat Milk Which Is Healthier

Homemade Oat Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 cups water
  • Pinch salt
  • Vanilla (optional)

Process:

  1. Add oats and water to blender. Blend until liquified and smooth, about one minute.
  2. Strain through cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer, squeezing liquid out.
  3. Stir in salt or any flavor additions like vanilla.
  4. Refrigerate up to 4 days. Shake before usage.

Benefits: minimal ingredients, lower waste from packaging, customize flavors

When making your own, feel free to experiment with mix-ins like dates to sweeten, cocoa powder, or nut butter for added nutrition. Just be mindful that homemade varieties won’t contain vitamins/minerals like store-bought. Overall choosing DIY lets you control quality and ingredients.

Price Comparison

Money might be another consideration when choosing between the two. Here’s an overview of how they compare cost-wise:

  • Almond milk tends to cost $2 to $3 per half gallon on average for popular brands like Almond Breeze or Silk.
  • Meanwhile quality oat milk like Oatly costs closer to $4.50 to $5 per half gallon on average.
  • Buying larger containers usually offers bulk savings, with options like:
    • Half gallon almond milk tubs for $5 to $6
    • Full gallon jugs for $6 to $7
  • Organic varieties cost $1 to $2 more across the board.

As you can see, almond milk tends to be more affordable than oat milk, ounce for ounce. Over the course of a year, buying mainly almond milk could save you $50 to $100.

Of course, homemade versions drive the cost down dramatically. A batch of DIY almond milk may cost just $0.75 cents or less! Though it requires more hands-on effort and planning.

Nutritional Recipes

Both varieties can be used as tasty, good-for-you ingredients in all types of recipes like:

Almond milk recipes:

  • Overnight oats – Combine chia seeds, almond milk, oats, yogurt, fruit and cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight for ready-to-eat breakfast.
  • Fruit smoothies – Blend frozen banana, mixed berries, spinach, almond milk, flaxseed. Top with granola.
  • Chocolate pudding – Mix avocado, cacao powder, maple syrup and almond milk. Top with raspberries.
  • Bean and veggie soup – Saute veggies in stock and spices. Blend in white beans, almond milk and lime juice.

Oat milk recipes:

  • Tofu veggie scramble – Saute kale, bell peppers, onion and tofu crumbles in veggie broth. Pour in oat milk once softened. Season generously.
  • High protein overnight oats – Mix oat milk, vanilla protein powder, chia seeds, oats and peanut butter. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Green goddess smoothie – Blend oat milk with spinach, mango, banana, avocado, matcha powder, ice.
  • Curried red lentil soup – Saute onions and garlic. Simmer lentils and broth 15 minutes. Puree with oat milk, carrots, ginger, curry powder.

As you try these recipes, let the unique creaminess and flavors of each shine through. Both can make tasty, nourishing plant-based additions to your diet.

Final Verdict

To conclude this extensive guide comparing almond and oat milk:

If you prioritize weight loss – Almond milk

If you have nut allergies – Oat milk

If you dislike too many ingredients – Homemade almond milk

If you want to save money – Store-brand almond milk

If you strength train often – Oat milk

For the planet’s future – Oat milk

For lattes/hot drinks – Most prefer oat milk froth

For curries or smoothies – Both work great

I hope this clarity around comparing nutrition, taste, cost, and factors like allergies helps you feel informed deciding between them.

 

Almond Milk vs Oat Milk Which Is Healthier

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing between almond milk versus oat milk, there are a few key takeaways:

Both can be healthy options that offer similar amounts of nutrients thanks to fortified varieties. Oat milk naturally offers more protein and healthy fats. Almond milk shines for vitamin E. But with the right brand, both give you calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A and other bone-building nutrients.

If losing weight is your goal, lower calorie almond milk supports shedding pounds. The extra carbohydrates and calories in oat milk better fuel intense gym-goers needing more energy however.

Oat milk appears to edge out in sustainability metrics, having a lower water footprint and causing less greenhouse gas emissions overall. But sustainable almond farming makes this impact negligible too.

Those with nut allergies should stick to oat milk where possible. And the fewer ingredients in homemade varieties help avoid unwanted additives and oils.

At the end of the day, both can nourish your body while pleasing your taste buds. Let your specific health goals and individual needs guide whether creamy oat milk or light almond milk makes the healthier choice for you. Mixing both or alternating based on recipes can allow you to reap the unique advantages of each.

Frequently Asked Questions: Almond Milk vs Oat Milk Which Is Healthier

Is almond or oat milk healthier?

Both contain similar nutrients thanks to fortified varieties. Oat milk naturally has more protein and healthy fats. Almond milk is higher in vitamin E. Those seeking weight loss may prefer lower calorie almond milk. Athletes may benefit more from the carbs and calories in oat milk.

Which is better for the environment?

Oat milk is generally considered more sustainable than almond milk. Almond crops have a large water footprint and transporting them long distances can increase emissions. But sustainable almond farming practices like water recycling technology can reduce the ecological impact.

What has more calcium and other nutrients?

Popular fortified almond milk brands contain calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A rivaling dairy milk. So in terms of nutrients, if you choose an enriched brand, almond milk can match and even surpass oat milk thanks to the added fortifications. Oat milk does naturally edge out almond milk when it comes to protein and healthy fats though.

Which milk causes fewer allergic reactions?

Oat milk avoids common tree nut allergies associated with almonds that could cause anaphylaxis in highly sensitive people. But oat milk may trigger minor gluten cross-reactivity in those with celiac disease. So those with celiac should choose certified gluten-free oats. Overall oat milk poses fewer allergen risks.

Is oat or almond milk cheaper to buy?

Almond milk costs approximately $2 to $3 per half gallon on average, while oat milk like Oatly costs $4.50 to $5 per half gallon typically. So almond milk tends to be more affordable and buying it long-term could potentially save you $50+ per year. Of course making your own at home dramatically lowers costs too!

What milk is creamier in coffee drinks?

The natural creaminess and fat content of oat milk makes it the fan favorite for frothing up a light foam layer in lattes and cappuccinos. But almond milk can foam up decently too – just make sure to stir it well and choose barista-style blends optimized for steaming ability. So oat milk wins as the creamier option, but almond milk can make a mean latte too.

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