Oat Milk VS Cows Milk: Which is Better for Fat Loss and Muscle Building, and Overall Health?

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Ever since regular old cows milk became unfashionable in around 2017 (probably), numerous contenders have tried to steal its crown as the health-conscious consumers’ milk of choice.

Enter a plethora of choices when it comes to dairy-alternatives from the likes of Soy, Almond, Coconut, and most recently, Oat.

Do people only like Oat Milk because it makes them sound cool when they order it with their Cafe Nero, or do they actually like the taste and or genuinely think it’s ‘healthier’ (whatever that means)?

To save you some time, these are the top 5 Milks/Milk Alternatives. Don’t @ me.

  1. Cows Milk. Tastes good (especially the blue one), goes with everything.
  2. Coconut Milk. Also tastes very good, not as versatile as Cows Milk
  3. Oat Milk. Good consistency, but something doesn’t feel quite right
  4. Almond Milk. Too watery.
  5. Soy Milk. Just why? Have you seen what happens when you put it in coffee (it looks like the gateway to hell is opening). 

Oh, there’s Rice Milk as well, but only serial killers drink that.

Anyway, back to the topic of Oat Milk; specifically Oatly Oat Milk, since they’re a brand that is spending loads on marketing at the moment.

Let’s do a side-by-side comparison with Cow (Cows Milk, obviously, not an actual Cow)

THE NUMBERS

PER 100MLOat (Semi)Cows (Semi-Skimmed)
Calories4650
Protein1g3.6g
Carbs 6.6g4.8g
Fat1.5g1.8g
Price (1l)£1.8080p (Tesco)

Do I even need to explain the results?

Oatly Oat Milk is over twice the price of Tesco Semi-Skimmed Cows Milk (fine, that’s a bit of an unfair comparison because it’s supermarket vs brand, but even if you take Cravendale cows milk, Oatly is still 75p more expensive).

Cows Milk also has pretty much the same calories, but more protein. That’s a good thing whether you’re trying to lose weight (protein is filling) or build muscle (protein helps build muscle).

In my mind, the debate is over, but the stupid anti-dairy zealots will of course claim that Oat Milk is ‘healthier’ (without actually explaining what healthy means).

WHICH IS HEALTHIER?

It’s very difficult to claim that one food is ‘healthier’ than another – there’s no one metric we can use to gauge ‘healthiness’ . What we can do is look at the vitamin and mineral content of Oat Milk vs Regular Milk.

PER 100MLOat (Semi)Cows (Semi)
Vitamin B120.38 iu0.9 iu
Vitamin D1.5 iu40 iu
Calcium 120mg123mg
Potassium151mg160mg
Phosphorus105mg97mg

It’s not looking great for Oat milk is it?

Cows milk has more of the key vitamins and minerals commonly found in milk, aside from Phosphorus, but who really cares about Phosphorus.

Based on this data, you can pretty confidently say that cows milk is objectively healthier than Oat Milk.


SO WHY WOULD YOU DRINK OAT MILK?

One of three reasons;
You like that taste

Good for you, enjoy your oaty water

You’re lactose intolerant

An excellent reason, Oat Milk is lactose-free, I hope Oats help you fart less

You’re Vegan

If you’re vegan because it’s part of your religion, or because you love animals, more power to you, however, if you’re vegan because you think you’ll be getting health benefits, you should probably reconsider.

Milk, or more widely, diary is a category of food that is forbidden in a vegan diet, however you can see from the raw numbers above that Cows milk is undeniably healthier, by all objective measures, than Oat Milk, and indeed any other ‘plant-based’ milk.

If health is your main concern, it might be time to start introducing Cows milk into your diet again.


IF IT ISN’T ALL THAT GREAT, WHY IS IT SO POPULAR?

Marketing.

Oatly has done a cracking job of promoting their diary alternative; it has cool, eye-catching packaging that sets it apart from Milk and even other milk alternatives; bold, daring ads, and their products are available in supermarkets which gets them in front of millions of eyes.

Oats are generally considered ‘healthy’ among the general public, so Oatly comes pre-ordained with a ‘health halo’ perception that’s re-enforced with it’s marketing messages.


Oatly Oat Milk Ad. It's Like Milk But for humans

This is a cool message that speaks to the dairy-free/paleo crowd and plays up to the idea that cows milk is meant for baby cows, not humans. The fact is, no food is ‘made’ for humans aside from purpose manufactured processed food products; and the dairy free/paleo communities are against those too. I guess the best thing for us is just to starve then.

Oatly Oat Milk Advert: We made this mural instead of an Instagram post

This one is pretty simple, it says Instagram on it; young people think Instagram is cool, so Oatly must be cool by proxy.


Oatly Oat milk Advert: Ditch Milk

I think this one is awesome, visually; it mimics the style of guerilla style street art/graffiti Banksy artwork so it has rebellious, counter-culture feel to it which will again speak to younger audiences (I assume that’s who they’re primarily targeting). This also has a sustainability element with the CO2 savings message at the bottom (another subject close to the hearts of millennials).Unfortunately the message is junk; ‘Ditch Milk’. Why? If people bothered to do some research like you have (Well done for reading this post, champ), they’d know that Oat Milk is inferior to cows milk from a health and muscle-building point of view, and equal from a weight-loss point of view.


SUMMARY

The Oatly marketing team deserve a pat on the back for some bang tidy work, and if you’re either Vegan, Lactose Intolerant, want to minimise your carbon footprint by 0.00000000000004% or really like the taste of blended oats AND are prepared to pay double the amount you would for cows milk, fill your boots (while you’re at maybe you should buy some boots made from oats),  but from a nutrition standpoint, Oat Milk doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Oat-er and out.

Want to lose weight, gain muscle, or just need help with your nutrition? Get in touch.

Joe is an online coach and qualified personal trainer of 15 years who helps busy, professional men and women lose weight and build muscle.

Having a 9-5 desk-job, Joe understands the struggles of juggling a hectic life with trying to maintain a good physique.

If you want to know more, check out the about page, or get in touch

7 Responses

  1. Louise Thomas

    Not vegan but I love this brand of oat milk. First tried it in a vegan cafe during lockdown for takeout, I was hooked straight away and it’s the only way I drink my latte now 😋

  2. cristy

    absolutely right I love this great info keep supporting the cows btw ima dairy farmer thank you sooo much

  3. Helen

    This article seems very one sided. You don’t appear to mention anything about the type of fat that is in dairy compared with that which is in oats; nothing about saturated fat. You also seem to have omitted the fact that antibiotics are used in cows milk and the impact that can have on the population and its health. You don’t mention anything about the environmental impact of cows and their “methane problem” or the impact of agricultural farming on local wildlife. In fact, you just seem to have a dig at Oatly and think you’ve been incredibly clever doing it, even though you’ve obviously omitted more than half of the argument for alternatives to dairy milk. You also omitted the fact that recent scientific studies show that dairy milks actually leach calcium from the bones – not so healthy for bones, but don’t let that get in the way of a good sabotage piece hey?

    • Joe

      Hi Helen, thanks for the response.

      This article is specifically about the macronutrient and micronutrient differences between the two types of milk; not the environmental impact, that’s definitely not my area.

      You mention antibiotics being used in cow’s milk – do you have links for any evidence?

      Could you also send me any links about the calcium studies, I’d be interested to take a look!

      Thanks

  4. Laura

    It is relatively easy to make your own oat milk at a fraction of the cost. 1 cup of oats to 4 cups of water: leave to soak for 30 mins, blend and then strain. You can add a drop of rapeseed oil and/or a soaked date, to give a better blend or add sweetness and other vitamins etc. Much better than shop bought milk or oat drinks and far, far cheaper.

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