For some time, lattes and coffee have come in all sizes, temperatures and even flavors. Recently however, “milk” has been the modified ingredient of choice among coffee drinkers the world over.
Originally, it was 2-Percent or Whole Milk. Then came Skim (nonfat) or Lactose Free options. Soy, Almond, Coconut and even Rice milk have been on the scene for a while now too. But the newest addition to the menu boards in coffee shops everywhere is Oat Milk.
Oat Milk is made when steel-cut or whole grain oats are soaked in water and then blended and strained. And while, as with its “non milk” counterparts, the remaining “pulp” has the bulk of the food’s fiber and protein, the liquid (or milk) does contain nutrients.
However, because oats absorb water more easily than beans (Soy) as well as nuts and seeds (Almonds/Coconuts and Rice), when produced, Oat Milk packs a healthier punch than the rest.
As with anything, Soy Milk has its pros and cons. On the down side, some studies have shown links to breast cancer risk, male infertility and insufficient muscle growth. The upside includes increased bone and heart health. It also promotes a protein alternative for vegetarians or vegans. One cup of Soy Milk contains about 80 – 100 calories, four grams of carbohydrates (unsweetened), four grams of fat, seven grams of protein and one and a half grams of fiber.
Almond Milk is rich in vitamins and minerals and full of antioxidants. This, along with its low fat and caloric content, means that is good for the heart. However, it is hard to absorb by the body and lacks nutrients necessary for baby development. Also, as a source of tyrosine, it may aggravate migraine headaches. It can also negatively affect thyroid levels. One cup of Almond Milk contains about 30 calories, one gram of carbohydrates, three grams of fat, one gram of protein and less than a gram of fiber.
Coconut Milk has shown to be effective for losing weight, increasing heart health and boosting the body’s immune system. However, it is not recommended for women who are trying to get pregnant or people with digestive issues. One cup contains 552 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 57 grams of fat, five grams of protein and five grams of fiber.
Rice Milk is a great alternative to some of the other choices as it, along with Oat Milk, is one of the most hypoallergenic of all “Milk” products. It has no saturated fat or cholesterol. It is a good source of B vitamins and promotes cardiovascular health. However, since it is made from Rice, its high starch content makes it unsuitable for diabetics. One cup of Rice Milk contains about 200 calories, 45 grams of carbohydrates, less than one gram of fat, just over four grams of protein and less than one gram of fiber.
Oat Milk is an excellent for people with dietary restrictions against milk, gluten or nuts. Its high iron content can aid in the prevention of anemia. Often fortified with calcium, it helps to strengthen bones. Being high in protein and fiber, Oat Milk promotes muscle growth, bowel regularity, good cholesterol levels and stabilizes hunger. Conversely, Oat Milk is higher in fat than its cousins, with the exception of Coconut Milk. And, compared to cow’s milk, it is not a suitable substitute of milk for most babies and children. One cup of Oat Milk contains about 120 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrates, five grams of fat, three grams of protein and two grams of fiber.
There are obviously many choice for “milk” when it come to adding it to lattes and coffee. While there isn’t a real downside to many of the choices above, Oat Milk seems to the best option.
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