Is Oat Milk Healthy? Here's What Dietitians Say About This Popular Alt Milk

Dietitians explain the pros and cons of this non-dairy milk.

The world of plant-based milk is no stranger to waves of popularity. Once upon a time, soy milk stole the show, but it was eventually bumped aside by almond milk, which still holds the number one spot. Coconut and rice milk have also shared the spotlight, but lately, oat milk has taken center stage and is currently the second most popular alternative milk.

In fact, some might say that oat milk is everywhere these days. Oat milk brands, like Oatly, Califa Farms, and Planet Oat, can be found in cafés and grocery stores alike. Even big box stores like Costco and Target are producing their own versions, making the trendy drink as accessible as cow's milk.

But is oat milk worth the hype—and is it here to stay? To find out, we consulted dietitians to learn more about the non-dairy drink.

oat milk in glass

The Health Benefits of Oat Milk

Many consumers choose oat milk for its health benefits. "Oat milk has a powerful nutrient profile that will nourish and satisfy [the body]," says Valerie Agyeman, RD, women's health dietitian and founder of Flourish Heights. For starters, oat milk offers about 3 to 4 grams of protein per 1-cup serving. "[This is] not as high as regular cow's milk or soy milk, but more than almond or coconut milk," says Agyeman.

Oat milk also contains more carbohydrates than other milks, meaning it can be a great source of energy. And while the production process of oat milk strips some fiber from the oats, "oat milk has about 2 to 3 grams of fiber per cup, which is more than your typical almond milk," says Agyeman. What's more, store-bought oat milk is often fortified with nutrients like vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, calcium, and vitamin D, she says.

According to the USDA, a cup of Oatly oat milk contains 120 calories, 3 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of sugar.

It's Allergy-Friendly

Oat milk is an ideal option if you're allergic to soy, nuts, or coconut, which are the main ingredients used in other alt milks, says Megan Byrd, RD, registered dietitian and founder of The Oregon Dietitian. "It can also be gluten-free if the oat milk is made in a certified gluten-free facility," says Agyeman, making it a great option if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

The Cons of Oat Milk

There's no such thing as a perfect food (or drink), and oat milk is no exception.


"Oat milk may contain a [high amount] of added sugars, especially in flavored options," says Agyeman. "Luckily, unsweetened versions are equally as delicious without the added sugars." You can determine if an oat milk is unsweetened by looking at the front of the carton, which should have the word "unsweetened" on the label.


Some brands add small amounts of additives, such as gums, oils, and stabilizers. If you're trying to avoid additives and other synthetic ingredients, Agyeman suggests checking the product labels and finding brands with simpler ingredient lists.


While the high carbohydrate content of oat milk can be a boon for many, if you have a history of diabetes or high blood sugar, it might be a downside. As mentioned above, the production process of oat milk strips some of the fiber from the oats. Fiber is important because it slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, which increases your blood sugar slowly. But since oat milk has less fiber than actual oats, the carbs in oat milk will cause faster blood sugar spikes than whole oats, says Byrd. That said, "[if you're] concerned about blood sugar spikes, oat milk may not be the best option," she says. In this case, Byrd suggests reaching for lower carbohydrate alternatives like almond or coconut milk instead.

Consistency and Taste

Oat milk's claim to fame extends beyond its nutritional profile. "The biggest draw to oat milk seems to be the consistency," says Byrd. It's creamier and richer than other plant-based milks, making it an excellent option for decadent dairy-free lattes and satisfying smoothies. The taste of oat milk is also a winner, says Agyeman, as it's slightly nutty and sweet. And while the popular beverage certainly doesn't taste like cow's milk, it's delicious in its own right.

Is Oat Milk Here to Stay?

According to Agyeman, the popular beverage will likely become a staple product. "While it's a hot and trendy food now, I believe [oat milk] will become a norm in cafes and home kitchens because of its taste, versatility, and nutritional profile," she says. Byrd seconds this notion, adding that although oat milk will stay popular, it will likely be joined in the alt milk aisle by new options. In the meantime, we'll raise our glasses to oat milk, a new favorite non-dairy beverage.

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