Dairy milk is facing some serious competition these days thanks to the number of alternative options out there on the market – from almond milk to coconut milk, and then oat milk. But are these dairy-free alternatives really as healthy as they seem? It may be a good time to start being more cautious about your plant-based milk choices, especially if oat milk is your go-to option. Here’s why.
1. There’s a chance they are not gluten-free
Oat milk isn’t the best choice if being gluten-free really matters to you, because of the nature of the oats itself. During the harvesting process, most oats are processed alongside gluten-containing ingredients like wheat, barley and rye. There’s a high chance your oat milk has been cross-contaminated with gluten-containing products, so this may be a big warning sign to opt for another type of milk instead.
2. A high risk of pesticide contamination is present
Research has found traces of at least seven different types of pesticide in the oats used in regular oat milk. Not only are these pesticides harmful to your body, they’re bad for the environment too. Some of the pesticides found in oat are known to be detrimental to the health of honeybees, which are natural pollinators and very important to the ecosystem. This really goes against the principles of eating organic, doesn’t it?
3. They can cause inflammation
Nutritionists and health experts like Kelly LeVeque and Jenny Carr don’t recommend oat milk as the best dairy-free option because of this very reason. The reason why drinking oat milk can make you susceptible to inflammation is because of the gluten present, as mentioned earlier. That’s not all – most oat milk also contains canola oil. This seemingly innocent side ingredient is often genetically modified and is considered to be of inferior quality to other omega-containing oils.
It’s clear by now that store-bought oat milk isn’t the best substitute for dairy milk but hey, don’t be too disheartened by the facts. If you’re really a fan of oat milk, there’s still a way you can enjoy it and stay healthy – just make your own! All you need is a blender, your favourite oats and some side ingredients of maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Or you could always consider almond or coconut milk, which have their own unique health benefits and are just as enjoyable!