Oat milk, like other dairy alternatives, first hit the market advertised as a tasty milk alternative that would go great in coffee, cereal, oatmeal, and more. Oat milk is often advertised as a health food since it's technically vegan, but recent discussions have shown that oat milk may not be as healthy as we were led to believe. Lately, oat milk has been deemed a "sugar water" because it contains high starch content, which means high glucose content and can lead to potential glucose spikes in the body. To understand oat milk's true value, we need to look at how the beverage is made.
The process for creating oat milk is to soak oats in water, blend the soaked oats, and strain the liquid out. However, during this process, a sugar known as maltose is produced from the breakdown of starch, which is exactly how oat milk is made. On the glycemic index (a tool that calculates how much a food will boost blood sugar), oat milk comes in at over 100, meaning it acts as pure glucose, and your body will treat it as such. If you have conditions such as diabetes, this potential glucose spike can be dangerous, especially given how oat milk has been marketed as healthy up until now.
Is Oat Milk Really Unhealthy?
In addition to the natural glucose created during the rendering process of oat milk, brands such as Oatly add extra sugar to the beverages. If you go for flavored oat milk, you risk even more added sugars. Coffee and oat milk are a common pairing, and the caffeine content in coffee can raise the glucose levels in your body as well. Caffeine triggers the hormone adrenaline, which can prompt the body to release stored glucose from the liver into the body.
While many people focus on the sugar levels of oat milk, there is less discussion about another key component of the beverage: the dietary fibers, which can actually help regulate your blood sugar. Oat milk also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals needed in your daily nutrition values, and the complex carbs in oat milk are beneficial for sustained energy. Drinking oat milk comes down to being mindful and enjoying it in moderation, just like any other food or beverage you enjoy. If you have preexisting conditions that oat milk can interact negatively with, you may want to look for other dairy alternatives. Some oat milk brands are even releasing products with no added sugar, or low-fat versions that remove some of that higher sugar content.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.