When compared to cow’s milk, almond milk, and soy milk, oat milk has the lowest overall carbon footprint, according to data published by Columbia University’s Climate School. A seven-ounce glass of carbon dioxide contains around 0.4 pounds.
Which milk is the least harmful to the environment?
However, each plant-based milk has advantages and disadvantages. Pea milk is the most environmentally friendly of the three because its environmental impact is nearly identical to that of oat milk. Both cashew and macadamia milk are superior to dairy milk and consume less water than almond milk; however, pick organic varieties to avoid pesticides. Sesame milk, which uses less water, is another environmentally good option.
Is oat milk better for the environment?
Have you seen a shift away from animal dairy products like cow’s milk and toward plant-based alternatives? Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more popular for a variety of reasons, including environmental concerns, food intolerance or allergies, religion, or simply a personal preference. There’s also data to show that eating a plant-based diet will help you live longer.
Oat milk is a popular plant-based’milk’ choice, probably because it has a smaller environmental impact. When compared to cow’s milk, oat milk produces 80 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and consumes 60 percent less energy. Oat milk is also ten times less water intensive than cow’s milk.
Despite the fact that oat milk looks to have numerous advantages, how does it fare nutritionally?
The importance of protein
Oat milk is far lower in protein than cow’s milk. To receive the same amount of protein from oat milk as we do from cow’s milk, we’d have to drink more than twice as much every day.
As we age, it’s critical to consume adequate protein to retain lean muscle mass. It’s also true that as people become older, their capacity to digest protein declines; women and men over 70 require 20% more protein than younger folks. Being aware of protein sources in the diet is beneficial for several reasons.
Dairy products are important in our diet for the calcium they provide, as well as being a good source of protein. Currently, less than half of Australians consume the recommended amount of dietary calcium.
Calcium is necessary for the healthy functioning of the heart, muscles, blood, and nerves, as well as for the maintenance of strong bones. When the body doesn’t get enough calcium from food, it pulls calcium from the bones and puts it in the bloodstream to keep things running smoothly. This can develop to osteopenia (poor bone mass) or osteoporosis over time (low bone density). This indicates that the bones are not as robust as they should be, raising the chance of fracture.
The recommended daily intake for younger adults is 1000 mg; for women over 50 and men over 70, the recommended daily intake is 1300 mg. Because plant-based milks are low in calcium naturally, they are sometimes (but not always) calcium supplemented. Look for brands that provide at least 120mg of calcium per 100ml to be comparable to dairy milk.
While oat milk has a lower protein and calcium content than cow’s milk, it also has a lower saturated fat content. One of the reasons why some people believe it is a healthier option is because of this. If your cholesterol is normal, full cream milk, yoghurt, and cheese can be part of a balanced eating pattern, according to the Australian Heart Foundation. Reduced fat dairy is a healthier choice if you have excessive cholesterol or a history of heart disease.
FIELD TO FACTORY
Soy milk is, without a doubt, the original plant-based milk. It has a longer history and is more popular than the others, owing to a taste, texture, and nutritional profile that is most similar to cow’s milk. Soybeans are legumes with Asian roots that are currently farmed all over the world, with a large concentration of fields in the United States’ central region, the bulk of which are used to manufacture animal feed. Soybeans are typically pressed, the insoluble fiber is removed, and other components (such as vitamins for fortification) are blended in.
Soy milk should, in theory, be one of the most environmentally friendly options. According to studies, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions connected with soybean production are substantially lower than dairy and are about comparable to almond and pea milk, while soybeans require less than a tenth of the water that almonds do. Soy milk outperforms almond milk by a landslide on both categories when the figures are modified to compare based on protein produced rather than liter by liter. Soybeans are legumes, which means they fix nitrogen in the soil, reducing the demand for nitrogen fertilizers.
Joseph Poore, a UK-based researcher, recently collated and evaluated data from over 38,000 farms in 119 countries on how food production affects the environment. He claims that soy’s environmental Achilles heel is that it takes a lot of space to grow the beans compared to almonds or rice. We’re growing so much soy these days that it’s destroying areas of the Amazon to cultivate it. Furthermore, the great majority of soybeans are produced in monocropped systems in the United States, and while they may not require as much nitrogen fertilizer, they do use phosphorus fertilizers, which are linked to runoff that causes dead zones.
They’re also Roundup-ready, which means they’ve been genetically modified to withstand high doses of the herbicide glyphosate, which pollutes ecosystems and has been related to cancer risk, particularly among farmworkers. Many large firms that make soy milk, however, utilize organic or non-GMO soybeans, and some, like Silk, mention that they solely source from the United States and Canada (so you don’t have to worry about rainforest devastation).
Soy is a fantastic option, especially if you’re getting your protein from milk. Check the source of the soybeans and/or buy organic or non-GMO.
Almonds are produced by trees, and many of these trees may be found in California. In reality, Florida provides nearly 80% of the world’s almond supply, and output has expanded over the last decade as more research on the health benefits of almonds have been released, increasing demand. Almonds are ground or pulverized, then blended with water and filtered to make almond milk.
It’s likely that you’ve heard that producing almonds necessitates a lot of water, and this is correct. Nuts, in general, have a high water footprint when compared to other plants, and the actual issue is that these thirsty nuts are grown in California, where severe drought is a persistent concern. According to a recent study, one California almond has a total water footprint of 3.2 gallons. While you could argue that almonds are worth the investment because they are so nutrient-dense, the process of turning them into milk removes the majority of the nutrients that all that precious water was used to grow. Even if all of the almonds in each carton were maintained undamaged, you would only obtain a small amount of nutrition.
Almonds don’t produce any more greenhouse gases or consume any more land than other alternative milks, but they drink a lot of water in a region where water is scarce. After all, you’re drinking a product that’s little more than water at the end of the day. Sure, eat almonds in moderation, but there are more sustainable milk alternatives.
Many firms currently produce oat milk, but Oatly, a Swedish brand, has been doing so for about 30 years and is the most widely available. Grain Millers provides the corporation with Canadian oats throughout the United States. Whole oat groats are combined with water and a natural enzyme combination in Oatly’s patented method. Oatly filters away insoluble fiber while leaving the heart-healthy beta-glucans after the enzyme breaks down the oats into liquid portions (a form of soluble fiber). Other businesses utilize a mixing and straining method for mechanical breakdown.
When compared to cow’s milk, the manufacture of Oatly’s oat milk results in 80 percent lower GHG emissions and 60 percent less energy use, according to an LCA study conducted in Sweden by Oatly. (The statistics for cow’s milk came from the Ecoinvent database, which was obtained from Canadian dairy producers.) It’s worth noting that this is most likely from conventional dairy producers, and it ignores the possible environmental benefits of organic and/or grassfed dairy systems.) It also utilizes around 80% less land, according to the study. Oats need the least amount of water of all the plants used to make milk. In terms of nutrients, oat milk is far more nutrient-dense than almond milk, but not as nutrient-dense as soy, pea, or hemp milk (but that varies depending on the brand). One issue is that oats are frequently contaminated with glyphosate at levels considered hazardous, according to a recent analysis, because growers spray Roundup on the grain right before harvest. For example, Oatly does not utilize organic oats in the United States, but its source claims that producers are not allowed to use glyphosate.
If you buy oat milk from a company that sources organic or glyphosate-free oats, it scores good grades on most parameters. Its most notable feature is perhaps its flavor and texture, which consumers (and baristas) prefer above other alternative milks. After all, no matter how environmentally green a food is, it won’t assist the earth if no one wants to eat it.
Pea milk is one of the newest additions to the market, with Ripple and Bolthouse Farms being the most popular brands. Ripple takes split yellow peas from the Midwest of the United States and Canada, mills them into flour, and then adds water, sunflower oil, and vitamins.
Because peas and soybeans are both legumes, pea milk has a lot in common with soy milk. Peas incorporate nitrogen into the soil and require less water than many other crops, lowering the need for nitrogen fertilizers. They’re also grown in locations with less water scarcity than almonds. Researchers determined that manufacturing Ripple pea milk produces equivalent GHG emissions to soy (which are less than half that of cow’s milk) in an LCA analysis done for Ripple (bearing in mind the preceding disclaimer on industry-funded studies). When compared to almond milk on a protein basis, the finished product is rich in nutrientsparticularly proteinso it wins by a long shot on both water use and GHG emissions. Peas, unlike soybeans, are not currently genetically modified to withstand herbicides. And, while Ripple’s peas aren’t organic, the dry, chilly conditions in which they’re cultivated allow them to be farmed with relatively few chemicals. Pea milks are still hard to come by in general, but Suja offers a certified-organic version.
Pea milk is equivalent to soy milk in terms of being a sustainable, high-protein option, and depending on the brand and variety, it may require fewer pesticides to produce. One drawback is that the flavor is a little grassier than other plant-based milks, making it more difficult for individuals who are acclimated to dairy to acclimatize.
Hemp milk has been accessible in the United States for some time, but it had to be imported due to restrictions prohibiting the cultivation of hemp in the country. Hemp production was recently allowed under the 2018 agriculture bill, thus the milk is sure to gain traction. Hemp seeds are a good supply of protein and healthy fats, therefore they’re a good source of nourishment. Hemp milk is made by blending them with water (and sometimes a few other things).
Because of its resilience and flexibility, hemp has been an important crop throughout history (for food, fiber and medicinal uses). While there hasn’t been a formal LCA study comparing hemp milk to other milks, research suggests hemp has a number of environmental advantages: Because of its hardiness, it is great in improving soil health and requires relatively little pesticides. The European Environmental Agency conducted a research that assessed the environmental effects of 16 typical crops across characteristics such as pesticides, erosion, and water use, and hemp was ranked in the top five. Hemp farming uses more water than oat, soy, or pea farming (though significantly less than almond or cow’s milk production). Finally, hemp milk is higher in protein than almond or oat milk, but lower in protein than soy or pea milk; it also contains beneficial fats.
Hemp is a well-known crop for its long-term viability, and its seeds make a healthy milk base. More data on hemp milk processing is needed to fully compare its environmental impact to that of other plant-based milks.
Is almond milk more harmful to the environment than cow’s milk?
Almonds and almond milk are both delicious (let’s be honest). This is a delicious nut whether roasted or raw. It’s wonderful that it’s the world’s second-most-consumed nut (only behind peanuts). However, as is customary, the promises of green consumerism (which is still consumerism!) are generating new markets. And these markets aren’t necessarily as long-term as we’re led to believe.
Almond milk is bad for the environment because of its high water use (and resultant droughting effect). When you consume it outside of its main producing countries, the harm is magnified due to transportation-related emissions. When deciding between almond and dairy milk, consider if you want to advocate for climate change (by choosing almonds) or for water shortage (by choosing dairy).
Choosing brands that use sustainable ways of cattle production or agroecological methods of irrigating water into California’s almond crops, on the other hand, can help lessen the impact of both types of milk. And the best way to find out is to ask companies to provide more evidence of their CSR efforts, including CSR reports and impacts.
There are more choices, which we haven’t looked at in depth in this article. However, while they outperform on some impact measures, they outperform on others. Rice milk, for example, consumes less water than almond milk but emits more pollutants. Rice, ahead of ruminants and animals, is one of the world’s greatest producers of methane emissions, according to a study on greenhouse gas emissions from rice farms. The same benefits and drawbacks apply to oat, soy, and even goat milk.
Is almond milk or dairy milk more environmentally friendly?
Milk is a basic food in many cultures throughout the world. However, dairy can significantly add to our food’s greenhouse gas emissions. It accounts for just over a quarter of the carbon footprint in normal EU diets, and up to one-third in some cases. 1
As people become more aware of this, they are turning to plant-based alternatives. Non-dairy milks are currently consumed by one-quarter of adults in the United Kingdom, according to polls (although not always exclusively). It’s much more popular among younger people, with one-third of 16 to 23-year-olds choosing it. 2
Soy, oat, almond, rice, and coconut milk are among the ‘plant-based’ milk replacements now available. This begs two questions: are plant-based milks truly better for the environment, and which is the best?
We compare milks on a number of environmental criteria in this graph, including land use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and eutrophication, or the pollution of ecosystems with excess nutrients. These are measured in milliliters of milk. 3 I discuss some of the differences in nutritional content of different milks at the end of this post, which are crucial to consider in particular groups.
Across all criteria, cow’s milk has a significantly bigger impact than plant-based alternatives. It produces three times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, consumes ten times the amount of land, utilizes two to twenty times the amount of freshwater, and results in significantly greater levels of eutrophication.
Switching to plant-based alternatives is a fantastic option if you want to lessen your diet’s environmental impact.
Which vegan milk is the best? It all depends on the impact we’re most concerned with. Almond milk emits less greenhouse gases and takes up less land than soy milk, but it requires more water and contributes to eutrophication.
Although all of the options have a smaller environmental impact than dairy, there is no obvious winner across the board.
What makes oat milk superior to almond milk?
- Gluten may be present in some oat milks, rendering them unsuitable for gluten-free diets.
- More sugar and preservatives may be present. This is done to extend the shelf life of the milk and improve its flavor.
How to make oat milk
You may have had McQueens oat milk before, but have you ever attempted to make it yourself? It’s easy to make your own oat milk, and it only requires one ingredient.
To produce your own oat milk, all you need is 100 grams of porridge oats. It’s easier than you think to make your own oat milk. You can control exactly what goes into it if you make it yourself.
- Fill a bowl halfway with water from the tap and add the porridge oats. Allow the bowl to sit for 4 hours or overnight after covering it with a tea towel. Do not store it in the refrigerator.
- After allowing the oats to soak overnight or for 4 hours, strain the mixture through a strainer, allowing the water to drain. Rinse the oats for a few seconds under the tap.
- Combine the oats, 750ml cold water, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is perfectly smooth, with no visible oats. The creamier your homemade oat milk is, the more you combine it.
- Place the sieve over a basin or jug and let the liquid to drain. Allow for 1 hour of straining time.
- Take the sides of the cloth together and squeeze tightly to remove the oat milk once the majority of the mixture has been drained.
- You can now bottle it and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to drink it. If the oat milk is too thick for you, add 50ml of cool water until it reaches the desired consistency.
Oat Milk vs Cow’s milk?
If you’re lactose intolerant and looking for a dairy-free, gluten-free milk substitute, oat milk is the way to go. The contents in both are dramatically different, with oat milk containing significantly less calcium than cow’s milk. Although certain oat milks contain calcium, it is recommended to get calcium from cow’s milk. Vitamin D and B12 levels are higher in oat milk. This isn’t to suggest that cow’s milk doesn’t include these essential vitamins; but, if vitamins are vital to you, we recommend choosing cow’s milk.
Oat Milk Calories
You might be shocked to learn that oat milk has a low calorie count. Although the number of calories in oat milk varies depending on the brand, the average number of calories in oat milk is around 130. With 39 calories, this is the least calorie-dense of our Oatly barista-style oat milk. Oatly full milk has 160 calories per 100ml, semi-skimmed milk has 46 calories per 100ml, and skimmed milk has 37 calories per 100ml.
Some people can’t or won’t drink cow’s milk because they don’t enjoy the flavor. Of course, oat milk is preferable. However, if you want to get all of the beneficial nutrients from cow’s milk, this is the way to go.
Which is the best milk alternative?
There is no clear winner because almond and oat milk both have their own set of advantages. Oat milk is also thought to have more calories than almond milk. Lactose-intolerant people will benefit from oat milk. It has 120 calories per serving against 60 calories in almond milk, so it may be the better choice if you’re looking to save calories.
Almond Milk vs Oat Milk The verdict
Both of these plant-based milks have numerous advantages. There are a range of options available depending on what you’re searching for in a plant-based milk. Whichever alternative milk products you choose, we’re confident you’ll enjoy them. Oat milk is one of the best tasting oat milks and is ideal for lactose intolerant individuals. Because of its creamy and nutty flavor, almond milk is ideal for cereal. The dispute between almond milk and oat milk has no clear winner; each have their advantages, and it comes down to personal preference.
Which milk is the most nutritious?
Hemp milk is prepared from crushed, soaked hemp seeds that are free of the psychotropic ingredient found in Cannabis sativa plants.
Protein and omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats are abundant in the seeds. As a result, hemp milk has a somewhat higher concentration of these nutrients than other plant milks.
Although hemp milk is almost carb-free, some brands include sweets, which raise the carb count. Make sure to read the ingredient label and get hemp or any other plant milk that hasn’t been sweetened.
On the ingredient label, sugar may be described as brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, or cane sugar.
The seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant are used to make hemp milk. While the drink isn’t psychotropic, it does include more healthful fats and protein than other plant milks.
What are some of the drawbacks of oat milk?
- Sugary: Commercially produced oat milk contains a lot of sugar, especially if it’s sweetened or flavored. That’s why it’s best to buy unsweetened options wherever possible to keep the quantity of sugar in your diet under control.
- Not as nutrient-dense as commercial oat milk: Homemade oat milk is not fortified and has less nutrients. The nutritional content of nutritionally dense whole grain oats is lost when the pulp is strained from the drink.
- Not a good substitute: While oatmeal is beneficial for babies, oat milk should not be used as a nutritional substitute for breastmilk or formula. This is not a viable milk substitute for babies since it lacks the nutritious source of full nutrition needed for growth and development.
- A lot of carbs and calories: Commercially produced oat milk can include up to 130 calories and 25 grams of carbs. So, if you’re trying to stick to a low-calorie diet, this beverage isn’t for you.
Is almond milk or oat milk better?
If you have a nut allergy or wish to enhance your vitamin B12 and riboflavin intake, oat milk is the preferable choice. If you’re trying to lose weight, almond milk is the way to go because it’s low in calories and fat. For additional information, go to Insider’s Health Reference library.
How nutritious is oat milk?
“Oat milk provides more vitamin D than cow’s milk, which has a variety of health benefits like encouraging healthy bone and dental health and boosting the immune system,” Mina explains. In addition, the plant-based beverage contains 50% vitamin B12, compared to 18% in cow’s milk.