Why Your Body Might Not Love Oat Milk

Oat milk—especially the cult favorite, Oatly—is a hot commodity. Every time I stroll into my local coffee shop to order an oat milk-based beverage, there is around a 20 percent chance that the response will be: “Oh, I’m so sorry. We’re out. There is this massive national shortage and we haven’t been able to get any.” Dejected, I opt for some light green tea, a little disappointed I won’t get to enjoy that creamy, warming oat embrace.

Apparently a lot of other people in the world like oat milk as much as I do. The Swedish company, Oatly, has seen such unexpected growth in the US market, they were barely able to keep up with demand last year. But this year, expect to see an oat milk boom. Not only are Pacific Foods and Thrive Market on board the oat train, but behemoths like Quaker and Silk are both launching their own oat milks this year, which means oat milk shortages will soon be a thing of the past.

Oat milk isn’t just incredibly delicious. Because oats are less consuming and water-intensive than something like almonds, they are a significantly more sustainable base than other non-dairy milk varieties. Which is great, because most people can tolerate oat milk just fine. But don’t jump for joy just yet.

Oat milk isn’t necessarily the new patron saint of the lactose intolerant and plant-based sippers. While oat milk is a godsend for many of us, for some people, oat milk still isn’t the best option. Here are four reasons why your body might not be so in love with that oat milk latte.


1. It’s potentially contaminated with gluten.

It’s pretty well known that oats, although inherently gluten-free, can get contaminated with gluten at the processing facilities, as they are oftentimes processed on the same machinery as other gluten-containing grains. If your oat milk doesn’t specifically say ‘gluten-free’, it probably contains traces of gluten.

While this isn’t a big deal for most people, it can be a major issue for the gluten sensitive.

2. Oats are usually covered in pesticides.

If your oat milk isn’t organic, it almost definitely contains trace amounts of pesticides. According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are seven toxins regularly found on conventional US oats. These include known honeybee toxins, carcinogens and hormone disruptors.

In fact, a whopping 1.8 percent of oat samples even contained the neurotoxin methyl paraoxon. So, if you are buying packaged oat milk, make sure your oats are either organic or coming from a company who cares about wellness and the environment.

Assortment of organic vegan non diary milk

3. It’s a bit less nutritious than other alternatives.

Oat milk certainly isn’t the most nutrient-dense dairy alternative, though it’s not totally lacking in nutrients. Oat milk does contain a bit of iron—one cup provides 10 percent of your RDA. It’s also rich in soluble fiber, and most companies fortify packaged oat milks with nutrients like calcium, B12 and magnesium.

Nut and hemp milks contain a bit of protein, along with other nutrients. Coconut milk contains those easy-to-digest, brain-fueling fats—MCTs. If you’re looking to replace the nutrients that you would get from cow’s milk, look somewhere else. (Or, just enjoy your oat milk and just eat more lentils and broccoli.)

4. Oat milk often contains inflammatory ingredients.

If you’re concerned about digestive inflammation, packaged non-dairy milks may not be for you. Vegetable oils like rapeseed oil are known to be highly inflammatory, yet they lurk in most dairy alternatives as one of their primary ingredients.

Oat milks also tend to contain emulsifiers and thickeners that can impact digestive health and potentially affect the delicate balance of the microbiome, according to studies. Plus, many varieties are packed with hidden sugars,, the O.G. inflammatory ingredient.

Oat milk is really great, but it may not be right for you.

If you’re concerned about your health and sensitivities, there is a way you can still enjoy your oat milk—make your own at home. Buy some organic, gluten-free oats. Blend a cup into four cups of water, along with a pinch of salt and maybe a date for a little sweetness. Blend (but don’t overblend). Strain through cheesecloth, and voilà! Homemade oat milk—no overnight soaking required!

Are you on the oat milk train? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

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Images via Getty


Christine S

I like "Ripple" pea protein milk- lots of protein, and the chocolate version tastes like a chocolate walnut brownie- yum!

Paulo R
Paulo R8 days ago


Mely Lu
Mely L10 days ago

I've never liked oat in general but oat milk does seem like a pretty interesting alternative for the other non-dairy varieties in the market.

Barbara S
Barbara S12 days ago

Thank you

JoAnn P
JoAnn Paris12 days ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

Janis K
Janis K12 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Paulo R
Paulo R12 days ago


Olivia M
Olivia M13 days ago


Danuta W
Danuta W13 days ago

thank you for posting

Carole R
Carole R13 days ago

Good to know. Thanks.