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Is oat milk good for me?

In recent years, oat milk has grown in popularity, becoming a go to alternative for those wanting plant based or dairy free milk options (1). Made from wholegrain oats, which are broken down via milling, mixed with water, strained and emulsified using oils (2). This milk substitute had been commended for its creamy taste and environmental benefits (3).However, oat milk has recently been receiving negativity on social media and is wrapped up in many myths. Today we will highlight the facts from the myths so you can drink your oat milk in peace!

 A jar of oat milk, on a chopping board with oats

Myth: Oat milk spikes your blood sugar

Fact: Oat milk will cause a change in your blood sugar levels (4), like anything you eat, but due to the nature of oats being a complex carbohydrate they break down slowly, causing a steady release of sugar into the blood, rather than sharp spikes (5). The oats in the milk are typically accused of causing blood sugar spikes however, only 0.2kg of oats are used to produce 1kg of oat milk (6) meaning a small ratio of oats to water are used and not enough to cause sharp fluctuation in blood sugar levels. Oats and oat milk also contain b-glucan which helps control blood sugar and even cardiovascular diseases (7). However, some brands of oat milk have added sugar which can cause greater effects on your blood sugar, so best to stick to the sugar free oat milks!


Myth: Oat milk causes acne

Fact: This ties in with the blood glucose myth! As we have established oat milk doesn’t cause dramatic spikes in your blood sugar. This myth plays off the fact that when blood sugar has been raised, insulin is needed to bring blood sugar back to normal levels (8). High levels of insulin can boost production of androgen hormones, which can result in excesses sebum, that has correlations with acne severity (9).


A woman's face with acne

Myth: Oat milk contains harmful inflammatory seed oils

Fact: Seed oils, such as rapeseed and sunflower oil are used in the production of oat milk to give the creamy rich texture (2).  Seed oils are high in omega-6 fats and a-linolenic acid. When your diet is high in omega-6 fats, your body doesn’t efficiently turn a-linolenic into omega-3 fats, which is essential in reducing inflammation (10). However, seed oils have a 2:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, which is lower than the recommended healthy ratio of 4:1(11). The average quantity of 0.035% of oils in the milk (6), is not enough to have harmful effects. Due to the different food laws in America seed oils are processed differently and tend to have more negative effects on your health… so this advice only applies to UK oat milks.


Myth: Oat milk doesn’t provide the same nutrition as cow’s milk

Fact: Although, oat milk and cow’s milk don’t have the same macronutrient (carbohydrate, fats and protein) and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) quantities as each other, they both contain roughly the same nutrients (12). This is because most supermarket oat milks (and any plant based milks for that matter) are fortified. This means that micronutrients, such as Calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins, are added into the milk to increase intakes of these nutrients in your diet and to make oat milk more nutritious (12). Oat milk can provide sufficient nutrients when part of a healthy balanced diet (13).


Myth: Oats are sprayed with pesticide that are harmful to our health

Fact: Pesticides are used worldwide to increase crop yield by protecting crops from insects, weeds, fungi and other pests. Pesticide reside is the small amount of pesticide that remains on the food, after it has been applied to the crop. The main pesticide used on oats is Glyphosate, which harbours concerns surrounding its toxicity (14). However, the European Food Safety Authority undertook tests and concluded that there are safe levels of Glyphosate which can be used on crops without causing harm (15). Another layer of protection for consumers is the UK monitoring of pesticides is undertaken on both domestic and imported goods, with products that exceed maximum residue levels being destroyed or removed from the market (16), making oat milk safe to consume. These regulations only apply to EU and UK markets so pesticide safety may be different in the States.


This article was written by Saskia Quarrie-Jones, a Level 6 Bournemouth University student. Find Saskia on LinkedIn by pressing here.



1.     Mintel (2021). Sales of oat milk overtake almond. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2023].

2.     Yu, Y., Li, X., Zhang, J., Li, X., Wang, J. and Sun, B. (2023). Oat milk analogue versus traditional milk: Comprehensive evaluation of scientific evidence for processing techniques and health effects. Food Chemistry: X, [online] p.100859. doi:

3.     McClements, D.J. and Grossmann, L. (2021). The science of plant‐based foods: Constructing next‐generation meat, fish, milk, and egg analogs. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 20(4). doi:

4.     Musa-Veloso, K., Noori, D., Venditti, C., Poon, T., Johnson, J., Harkness, L.S., O’Shea, M. and Chu, Y. (2020). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials on the Effects of Oats and Oat Processing on Postprandial Blood Glucose and Insulin Responses. The Journal of Nutrition. doi:

5.     BDA (n.d.). Carbohydrates. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2024].

6.     Röös, E., Patel, M. and Spångberg, J. (2016). Producing oat drink or cow’s milk on a Swedish farm — Environmental impacts considering the service of grazing, the opportunity cost of land and the demand for beef and protein. Agricultural Systems, 142, pp.23–32. doi:

7.     Butt, M.S., Tahir-Nadeem, M., Khan, M.K.I., Shabir, R. and Butt, M.S. (2008). Oat: unique among the cereals. European Journal of Nutrition, 47(2), pp.68–79. doi:

8.     Röder, P.V., Wu, B., Liu, Y. and Han, W. (2016). Pancreatic Regulation of Glucose Homeostasis. Experimental & Molecular Medicine, [online] 48(3), pp.1–19. doi:

9.     Hasrat, N.H. and Al-Yassen, A.Q. (2023). The Relationship Between Acne Vulgaris and Insulin Resistance. Cureus. doi:

10.  Jahreis, G. and Schäfer, U. (2011). Chapter 114 - Rapeseed (Brassica napus) Oil and its Benefits for Human Health. [online] ScienceDirect. Available at: [Accessed 24 Jan. 2024].

11.  Simopoulos, A.P. (2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, [online] 56(8), pp.365–379. doi:

12.  Walther, B., Guggisberg, D., Badertscher, R., Egger, L., Portmann, R., Dubois, S., Haldimann, M., Kopf-Bolanz, K., Rhyn, P., Zoller, O., Veraguth, R. and Rezzi, S. (2022). Comparison of nutritional composition between plant-based drinks and cow’s milk. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9. doi:

13.  NHS (2022). Dairy and alternatives in your diet. [online] Available at:

14.  Silva, V., Montanarella, L., Jones, A., Fernández-Ugalde, O., Mol, H.G.J., Ritsema, C.J. and Geissen, V. (2018). Distribution of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in agricultural topsoils of the European Union. Science of The Total Environment, [online] 621, pp.1352–1359. doi:

15.  Soares, D., Silva, L., Duarte, S., Pena, A. and Pereira, A. (2021). Glyphosate Use, Toxicity and Occurrence in Food. Foods, [online] 10(11), p.2785. doi:

16.  Mert, A., Qi, A., Bygrave, A. and Stotz, H.U. (2022). Trends of pesticide residues in foods imported to the United Kingdom from 2000 to 2020. Food Control, 133, p.108616. doi:


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