Oat milk vs almond milk

The Truth About Oat Milk Vs. Almond Milk, According To Nutritionists

As you can see, oat milk is higher in—well, almost everything.

Oat Milk vs Almond Milk: Which Is Better for You?

We checked in with doctors and nutritionists to decipher the difference.

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Oat milk and almond milk are mainstays at cafes these days, along with other non-dairy alternatives like soy milk, goat’s milk and even potato milk (yes, you read that right). But when it comes to the difference between two favorites—oat milk vs almond milk—is one actually better for you over the other? We talked to two professionals to find out if oat milk or almond milk is healthier.

Meet the experts: Bill Rawls, M.D., licensed family physician and author The Cellular Wellness Solution, and Allie Echeverria, nutritionist with Eaton Broshar Atlanta.

Whether you have a dairy sensitivity or lactose intolerance, these picks can be creamy, flavorful substitutes for cow’s milk. And they can make great alternatives to dairy milk, according to Dr. Rawls.

It’s important to remember that neither version is officially “milk” because both are blended from grains and nuts. “Oat milk, of course, comes from a grain and almond milk from a nut. They are made by blending oats or almonds with water and then straining out the solid components,” says Dr. Rawls.

Oat milk can be higher in protein than almond milk, but it’s important to note that it’s also higher in carbohydrates. “Neither oat milk [nor] almond milk have quite the same mouth feel and taste as regular cow’s milk, but that’s not as much a disadvantage as something to get used to,” says Dr. Rawls. “Oat milk has a starchy taste. Almond milk is thinner than regular cow’s milk and has a distinct almond flavor.”

Oat milk vs almond milk: Nutrition

Almond milk is lower in carbohydrates, which can make it a better option for people on low-carb diets. To better understand what that means, Allie Echeverria breaks down the numbers.

Unsweetened almond milk nutrition

“An 8 oz serving of unsweetened almond milk contains 37 kcal, 1 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fat, 1 grams of protein, and 481 mg of calcium,” Echeverria says.

Sweetened almond milk nutrition

“The same amount of sweetened almond milk contains 93 kcal, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 459 mg of calcium.”

Oat milk nutrition

On the other hand, oat milk is higher in protein, which may not be a good idea for people battling certain diseases like cancer. “An 8 oz serving of regular oat milk contains 120 kcal, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 350 mg of calcium,” she says. “The same amount of low-fat oat milk contains 1 gram of fat.”

Pros and cons of oat milk

When it comes to oat milk, some people prefer the flavor profile a bit more than they do almond milk.


  • Oat milk is usually safe for people with nut allergies or who need to eat gluten-free (as long as the brand does not manufacture other products containing those allergens).
  • It’s higher in calcium, potassium, and phosphorus than almond milk.
  • Oat milk is naturally sweeter requiring less additional calories to boost flavor.
  • Protein and fiber content can help some people feel full longer.


  • Oat milk is higher in both carbohydrates and calories.
  • It can be contaminated by gluten when the oats have been either grown or processed by contaminated grains.
  • Many oat milks contain carrageenan, which has shown to cause digestive upset in some people.

Pros and cons of almond milk

If price is a concern, Echeverria says you may have a better chance of downing your daily glass of milk without lowering your bank account by skipping over the oat milk. “Almond milk costs about a dollar less than oat milk,” she says, adding that prices could change as more oat milk companies enter the market.


  • Almond milk is naturally higher in vitamin E, a substance that can increase immune response and improve skin health.
  • Unsweetened almond milk is low in calories (37 kcal per 8 oz).
  • Good for adding creaminess to smoothies and protein shakes without significantly adding to the calorie count.


  • Almond milk is made from nuts, which is a common allergy.
  • People normally prefer it sweetened, which can add calories.
  • It needs fortification to provide calcium.

Bottom line: Is oat milk better for you than almond milk?

Both alternatives can provide a great substitute to dairy, with their various health benefits and flavors, but neither of them share the same nutritional profiles as cow’s milk.

“Neither milk is better or healthier, but one may be better suited to your goals,” says Echeverria. When it comes to picking your dairy alternative, it sounds like you need to consider what you want to get out of your milk (and your tastebuds) before you pour. If you’re looking for lower calories, almond milk might be better for you, and if you’re looking for more protein, oat milk might be your preference.

Lauren Wellbank is a freelance writer based in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Martha Stewart Living, and more. She has three small children, a husband, and an over eager dog at home. When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden with her family.

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Becca Miller (she/her) has been working in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen since 2018, where she researches and writes about tasty recipes, food trends and top cooking tools. She graduated from NYU with a liberal arts degree focusing on creative writing. She makes killer scrambled eggs, enjoys a glass of un-oaked chardonnay and takes pride in her love of reality television.

The Truth About Oat Milk Vs. Almond Milk, According To Nutritionists

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Plant-based milk has had a serious boom over the past few years. (Dairy milk, who?!) And two of the buzziest are almond and oat milk. If you’ve tried both, you know they offer a very different taste and consistency. But you may be wondering how these two stack up against each other nutrition-wise. In the oat milk vs. almond milk debate, does one really stand out as the better choice?

Though almond milk has held court as the king of dairy-free milk for years, its reign might be over. It looks oat milk holds the title now, and that isn’t a bad thing at all.

First of all, almond milk isn’t exactly sustainable. It takes a whopping 6,098 liters of water to produce a single liter of almond milk, according to the Sustainable Restaurant Association via The Guardian, which is extra troubling considering the U.S. gets most of its almonds from draught-plagued California.

Second of all, almond milk isn’t really all that nutritious. In addition to providing almost no protein, it’s often sweetened with sugar and only contains calcium if fortified, says Tony Castillo, RDN, a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition.

On that note, you should know dairy milk packs a ton of nutrition that plant-based milk falls short on. “Dairy is a rich source of various nutrients, particularly calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA,” explains Anya Rosen, RD, the founder of Birchwell Clinic.

That said, some non-dairy milk alternatives are fortified with these nutrients. And plant-based folks can make up for the difference by consuming other sources of calcium (e.g., kale or white beans), vitamin A (e.g., carrots or sweet potatoes), omega-3s (algae or seaweed), and supplement with vitamins D and B12 as needed.

So if you truly prefer plant-based milk or follow a vegan diet, you won’t be missing out much by making slight tweaks to your diet. It’s totally understandable that you’d still want to pick the healthiest non-dairy milk option. So, Women’s Health asked nutrition experts to weigh in on the two most popular varieties.

Meet the experts: Tony Castillo, RDN, is a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition. Anya Rosen, RD, is the founder of Birchwell Clinic. Brittany Modell, RD, is a nutritionist and intuitive eating counselor.

This is how almond milk and oat milk nutrition stack up.

Nutritionally, oat milk and almond milk are quite different.

Here’s what one cup of unsweetened oat milk looks like:

  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 1.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 120 mg
  • Carbs: 14 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 3 g

And what one cup of unsweetened almond milk looks like:

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 160 mg
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

As you can see, oat milk is higher in—well, almost everything.

Why? Both milks are made by soaking either almonds or oats in water, and then blending and straining the mixture. While the process pulls just a bit of flavor and some white color out of the almonds, it pulls much more—especially carbs—out of the oats, says nutritionist Brittany Modell, RD.

Both milks are typically fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are important for healthy bones and keeping a proper nutrient balance in your bloodstream and cells, adds Castillo.

Almond milk does have the perk, though, of being naturally high in vitamin E, which benefits your skin and immune system by reducing UV damage to the skin and helping your body fight off bacteria and viruses. It might also reduce your risk of chronic disease by going after disease-causing free radicals, Castillo says.

Oat milk definitely has pros and cons.

Here’s what you need to know about the positives and negatives of oat milk.


  • Creamy consistency. Because of its higher carb and calorie content, “oat milk provides a creamy consistency that almond milk does not provide,” Modell says. (In fact, it’s probably the most comparable to cow’s milk out of all your plant-based milk options.) That’s why baristas have taken so quickly to the stuff; oat milk froths in a way that almond milk typically can’t.
  • Thickeners not needed. Another perk of oat milk’s naturally heavier texture: It also rarely contains thickeners (like carrageenan), which some scientists believe is harmful to the digestive tract. In animal models, carrageenan has been linked to cancers and intestinal ulcers, per a review in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
  • Stays fresh longer. Oat milk is also relatively shelf-stable, meaning it can last a really long time.
  • More sustainable. Finally, oat milk has a lower environmental impact and is more sustainable, notes Rosen.


  • Higher carb and calorie content. If you’re watching your calories or strictly monitoring your carb intake (like people on the keto diet), consider how oat milk fits into your daily eats and keep an eye on your serving sizes.
  • Risk of cross-contamination. Gluten-free folks should also be careful about which product they buy. “Oats are naturally gluten-free,” Castillo says. “However, they can often be grown or processed [alongside gluten-containing grains], which can cause cross-contamination.” If you have celiac or a gluten allergy, check your labels to make sure it’s truly gluten-free.
  • Often contains inflammatory oils.Oat milk often contains added oils that may be inflammatory, like canola oil, notes Rosen.

Almond milk also has upsides and downsides.

Like oat milk, almond milk comes with its own set of pluses and minuses.


  • Fewer calories. As mentioned above, almond milk is still significantly lower in calories than oat milk, which is a plus if you want to limit how much of your daily calorie intake.
  • Fewer carbohydrates. Again, almond milk has a lower carb count compared to oat milk, which Rosen says won’t spike blood sugar.
  • Higher in healthy fats. Finally, almond milk is higher in healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E.


  • Watery consistency: Unlike oat milk, almond milk has a less creamy and frothy consistency, notes Rosen, which leads many food manufacturers to use thickeners.
  • Thickeners: Though sustainability has become one of the biggest arguments against almond milk, concern about the thickeners used in the beverage has also brought it under fire. “The [questionable] additive in almond milk is carrageenan,” Castillo says. “Carrageenan is used to thicken almond milk and prevent separation, but there are concerns that it may cause inflammation and damage in the intestines.” Castillo and other nutrition experts feel that more research will help clarify the impact carrageenan has on the body. Though there are several studies that use animals as subjects, a review in the Food and Function Journal of existing studies concluded there isn’t enough evidence to determine the effects of carrageenan on the body.
  • Added sweeteners: Since almond milk doesn’t offer the natural sweetness that oat milk does, it’s often sweetened. Whether you’re specifically monitoring your carbs or not, both Castillo and Modell always recommend opting for the unsweetened stuff.

So. is oat milk better for you than almond milk?

Ultimately, both almond milk and oat milk are fine choices.

If you’re looking for a low-calorie option and don’t care as much about consistency or flavor, almond milk will certainly do the trick, says Castillo. (Modell recommends Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk or Malk Unsweetened Almond Milk, neither of which contain carrageenan.)