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Dietitian issues warning over risks of oat milk – says it’s ‘not as healthy as you think’ – The Mirror

3 minutes, 42 seconds Read

A dietitian warned about the potential ‘health risks’ associated with oat milk – possibly shattering a common myth that plant-based milks are superior to dairy.

Reema Pillai, a nutritionist at Dietitian Fit, asserted that despite its popularity, oat milk may not be as healthy as it seems. Speaking on it, Reema said: “Dairy milk provides a source of protein, calcium, iodine and vitamins A, B12, D. The protein it contains provides all the essential amino acids, meaning that milk is a complete protein. Oat milk is a poor source of protein, and naturally is not a source of many of the nutrients that dairy milk contains.”

“Although, many of the oat milks available in the market will be fortified (unless you buy organic oat milk). Be sure to choose an oat milk that has been fortified with Vitamin B12 and D, potassium and phosphate, calcium, iodine and riboflavin.” In her expert advice, she said: “Overall, if you do enjoy dairy milk and can tolerate it, then I would suggest keeping to this. However, if you would like to change to a plant based milk for ethical, environmental or dietary reasons, make sure to go for an oat milk that has been fortified with the nutrients and that does not contain any added sugars.”

Reema further highlighted that besides the lack of essential nutrients, oat milk could potentially trigger health issues, reports Bristol Live. She explained: “Since oat milk does contain naturally occurring sugars, it can cause rises in blood sugar. During production, oats are blended with water, and the liquid is strained, resulting in the plant based milk.

“Because the oats have been finely ground, this means the food matrix of the whole oats has been disrupted, meaning the natural sugars from the oats are easier to absorb. This could lead to a large spike in blood sugar compared to eating whole oats themselves but remember, having spikes in blood sugar after eating is completely normal, and it is not harmful.

“The body will work to bring down the blood sugar in a timely manner. Ensuring that you pair the oat milk with a source of protein or fats, will help reduce the spike. Though if you are occasionally having a bit of oat milk in a tea or coffee, these blood sugar spikes are minimal.

“If you consume large quantities of oat milk, it may be worth looking at alternative plant-based milk options such as soy or almond, especially if you have a condition such as type 2 diabetes or PCOS, which may lead to larger than normal spikes in blood sugars than for others.”

Reema explained: “Gram for gram, oat milk does contain more carbohydrates than other plant based milk and dairy milk, with 100ml providing 7.1g carbohydrates, of which half of this is sugar. Dairy milk provides 4.8g of carbohydrates and sugars per 100ml. This is a difference of around 3ml carbohydrates per 100ml, which isn’t a large difference. The carbohydrates are broken down into sugars during the digestion process, but keep in mind that these are the natural sugars found in oats, not added sugars, and oat milk can be included as part of an overall balanced diet, without the fears of the sugars it contains.”

She also warned about additives in some oat milks, saying: “Where possible, try to choose an oat milk that does not contain any flavourings. In most cases, emulsifiers and additives are needed to preserve the oat milk in the best possible condition.”

“These are a part of our diet in many ready prepared foods we eat, but are in very small quantities. If you consume oat milk in moderation in an overall balanced and nutritious diet, this is not an issue. However, if you are regularly consuming numerous foods that contain emulsifiers and additives such as oat milk in larger quantities, this may lead to a disruption of our gut microbiome, which has been linked to changes in our mood, metabolism and inflammation in the body.

“More research is needed to assess the full extent of these additives to our health, before specific guidance can be given though if you do enjoy oat milk, aim to consume it in small quantities and pair it with whole foods rather than high levels of processed food products, to help create a healthier balance overall.”

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