What happens to your body when you drink oat milk every day

Oat milk and oat milk-based beverages are among several food trends that are about to take over 2020. The nondairy alternative to cow's milk has been all the rage among celebrities and influencers. Thanks in part to the Oatmilk Honey Latte, one of Starbucks' new non-dairy drinks, the milk has since become more mainstream.

There's another reason oat milk is trending, though. "Almost all nondairy beverages may be 'hot' right now because of the interest in plant-based diets," Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet and a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City, told Shape of oat milk's growing popularity. Yes, oat milk is definitely having a moment, but it doesn't seem like that moment is going to end anytime in the near future.

Because oat milk is easier to make and has a creamier texture than many other plant-based milks, it's become more popular than it's nut-milk counterparts, like almond milk and cashew milk. But oat milk has a lot more going for it than just being a delicious alternative to dairy. Oat milk can provide many nutritious benefits and, if you drink it every day, you may even start to notice some changes to your body.

You'll get more protein if you drink oat milk every day

Believe it or not, oat milk has a decent amount of protein. The thing is, even if you aren't a super active person or an athlete trying to bulk up, you need protein. "Protein is essential to good health," according to Harvard Health Publishing. But it can be hard to get in enough protein while also eating a healthy, balanced diet. Thankfully, oat milk typically has more protein than other plant-based milks. However, it still contains far less protein than dairy milk.

"If you're replacing cow's milk, which provides about 8 grams of protein per cup, with oat milk, which provides about 3 grams protein per cup, you may want to make up that protein from another food, such as a quarter cup of nuts or pumpkin seeds or a hard boiled egg," Cynthia Sass, a board-certified sports and performance nutritionist told BuzzFeed News. Of course, oat milk isn't the same as a protein shake, but compared to other milk alternatives, it has a good amount of protein.

Your carb intake will increase when you drink oat milk every day

In recent years, one of the most popular fad diets has been the keto diet. This is not a low-fat diet by any means. Instead, it calls for people to stop eating carbs while consuming more protein and fat. It's definitely not a good fit for everyone, but the diet has gotten a lot of attention and has many watching their carb intakes. While oat milk isn't straight-up carbs like bread or sugar, it does contain some.

"It is definitely higher in carbs compared to cow's milk or other nut milks," Vandana Sheth, a spokesperson for the Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics, told BuzzFeed News. "So it's higher in carbs than, say, unsweetened almond milk," she continued, "which typically provides 1 gram of carb per cup." While the carbs in oat milk don't make it unhealthy by any means, it definitely isn't ideal for someone trying to adhere to a low-carb lifestyle.

You'll get a ton of nutrients if you drink oat milk every day

One of the biggest fears people have about switching to a plant-based diet is that they'll lose out on the nutrition they were getting from meat and dairy, a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, confirmed. But with oat milk, you don't need to worry. In fact, if you drink oat milk every day, you'll actually be providing your body with a ton of nutrients that you might not have gotten without the dairy-free beverage.

Oat milk is typically fortified before it is bottled and sold at stores, which means the already healthy drink is made even healthier. "Oats also contain the B vitamins thiamin and folate, the minerals magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper, as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals in trace amounts," registered dietitian Kelly R. Jones told Shape.

You'll consume more fiber if you drink oat milk every day

While fiber may not be as important as protein or water for your body, it is definitely crucial to get enough fiber to keep things regular and to be as healthy as possible. According to Healthline, "Consuming adequate amounts of soluble, fermentable fiber is very important for optimal health because it optimizes the function of the friendly bacteria in the gut."

Unlike dairy milk, oat milk will help you boost your fiber intake. "Cow's milk has [zero grams] of fiber, almond and soy have 1 gram of fiber per serving — so oat milk with 2 grams of fiber is the highest," Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet and a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City told Shape. Women typically need between 25 grams of fiber each day, according to Healthline. So, while drinking oat milk every day isn't going to give you that much fiber, you'll still get more than if you didn't drink it, which is a definite bonus.

Drinking oat milk every day could lower your cholesterol

One of the most important benefits of drinking oat milk every day is that it may actually lower your cholesterol, which is pretty impressive for a beverage. Like Cheerios, oat milk may just be able to help you lower your cholesterol.

Oat milk has been found to be high in beta-glucans, a soluble fiber. What those beta-glucans do is crucial for your body's function. "Beta-glucans form a gel-like substance inside your gut, which can bind to cholesterol and reduce its absorption," Healthline explained. Therefore, it can reduce cholesterol levels

Additionally, a study conducted by the Division of Biomedical Nutrition at the University of Lund in Sweden found that "oat milk deprived of insoluble fiber has cholesterol-reducing properties." If you drink oat milk every day, you'll be getting plenty beta-glucans and, as such, you'll have an edge up on lowering your cholesterol.

Your bones will become stronger if you drink oat milk every day

If you grew up with your parents telling you to drink milk every day, you'll remember how they also told you that you'd grow up big and tall, thanks to the milk strengthening your bones. Your parents weren't wrong, but you won't necessarily lose all the nutrients necessary to strengthen your bones if you make the switch from cow's milk to oat milk. In fact, oat milk can help.

"Oat milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D — which can benefit your bones," according to Healthline. "Calcium is essential for strong and healthy bones because it's the main mineral used to form them. A lack of calcium in your diet may cause your bones to become hollow and more likely to fracture or break."

Oat milk contains 35 percent of the daily recommendation of calcium, Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet and a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City, told Shapewhich is quite a significant amount. 

You'll have a decreased risk of heart disease if you drink oat milk every day

Heart disease is a huge problem for many Americans. "Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the statistics, about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each and every year. Fortunately, drinking oat milk every day could actually lower your risk for heart disease.

Thanks to the beta-glucans in oat milk, you'll not only be able to lower your cholesterol, you'll also decrease your risk of developing heart disease, according to Healthline. "Some initial research has linked potential cholesterol-lowering benefits to beta-glucan in beverage form, but the advantages for your heart and immune system also depend on what else you eat each day," Good Housekeeping reported. So, in order to reap the most heart-healthy benefits, you'll still need to eat a healthy and balanced diet, but the alternative milk beverage can certainly help.

Your gut health will improve if you drink oat milk every day

One of the most important ways you can help your overall health is to have a healthy gut. It may sound weird, but gut health is super important to your overall bodily functions. According to Healthline, "The gut microbiome affects the body from birth and throughout life by controlling the digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system and other bodily processes." Fortunately, if you drink oat milk every day, you'll be doing your gut a favor. Obviously, there are other things you can do in addition to taking a few swigs of this nondairy beverage, but oat milk is a better choice than cow's milk when it comes to gut health.

According to one study, the beta-glucans found in oat milk have been shown to have a positive correlation on gut health. "A beta-glucans dietary intervention in healthy volunteers correlates with a saccharolytic shift on the gut microbiota metabolism," the study reported. That isn't to say that drinking oat milk is a cure-all, but it's definitely important and can help you get your gut health in check.

You may be consuming too much sugar if you drink oat milk every day

Many Americans consume far too much sugar — and that is a dangerous thing. "What we know is that added sugars put you at a higher risk for a poor lipid (fats) profile: Higher triglycerides, lower HDL (the good cholesterol) and higher LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) in the blood," Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington, told LiveScience. "A poor lipid profile increases your risk for coronary heart disease."

While drinking oat milk every day on its own won't significantly increase your sugar intake, it does contain more sugar than other milk alternatives. This is especially true if they're flavored or sweetened, according to HealthlineThe publication continued, "That's why it's best to purchase unsweetened options." Oat milk isn't terrible for you, of course, but if you aren't careful, you could be drinking far too much sugar with each beverage.

You could develop digestive issues if you drink oat milk every day

One of the most common health issues among Americans is gluten intolerance, or celiac disease. "In the United States, about one in every 133 people have celiac disease, which means approximately 2.4 million people have the condition," according to Very Well Health. If you drink oat milk every day, and you have celiac disease, it could cause some digestive issues.

According to Healthline, most commercial oat milk is not certified gluten-free. "Gluten-contaminated products may cause digestive problems for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity," the publication explained. However, it's totally possible to find oat milk that is guaranteed to be gluten-free, you just have to do your research and be vigilant. It can be scary, but as long as you find a trust-worthy brand or make your own oat milk using certified gluten-free oats, it will be safe to drink — even if you have celiac disease.

Your hair, skin, and nails will thrive if you drink oat milk every day

One of the biggest perks of oat milk, especially for women, is its ability to help your hair, skin, and nails grow and shine to their fullest extent. And there isn't a woman alive who wouldn't want stronger hair, skin, and nails, right? It seems that drinking oat milk every day can bring on those benefits.

Oat milk is high in B vitamins, according to Healthline, and those valuable B vitamins "may help elevate your mood, combat oxidative stress, and promote healthy hair, nails, and skin — especially if you're already deficient in these vitamins." Obviously, guzzling a serving of oat milk every day isn't going to give you Rapunzel-level hair, but it is full of vital vitamins that have a ton of look-good, feel-good benefits. Really, it might be worth drinking for that perk alone.

You may get adjusted to a plant-based diet if you drink oat milk every day

Just like almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk, oat milk provides an alternative for people who, for whatever reason, want to avoid dairy. Whether you're lactose intolerant, have moral objections, don't like the taste of cow's milk, etc., you may find oat milk to be a great substitute for dairy milk.

That said, if you drink oat milk every day, you'll may start to get used to a plant-based or vegan diet. "At the end of the day, [oat milk brand] Oatly was founded to try to help accelerate the adoption of a plant-based diet, which is really good from a sustainability and climate change perspective," Mike Messersmith, the New York–based general manager for Oatly, told BuzzFeed News. Oat milk can certainly make it easier to avoid animal products and make the switch to a plant-based diet. But, even if that style of living isn't for you, oat milk is still delicious.

You'll feel fuller longer if you drink oat milk every day

Whether you add oat milk to your coffee or just enjoy a nice, cool glass of the cow's milk alternative, you're getting a ton of benefits. Much like the oats that oat milk comes from, the dairy-free beverage is full of fiber, which has a lot of perks other than helping keep you regular.

According to Jim White, registered dietitian nutritionist, exercise physiologist, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia, oat milk is full of fiber. While it's not enough fiber for your whole day, it is an added source of fiber that can be super helpful for your body. "Fiber is important because it provides health benefits such as blood glucose regulation, binding of cholesterol, healthy bowel movements, and feeling of satiety," White told Health of the fiber in oat milk. The fiber content in oat milk certainly isn't a significant amount, but considering cow's milk has zero fiber, two grams will keep you feeling fuller longer.

Drinking oat milk every day isn't going to solve all your health problems

While oat milk is a great alternative to cow's milk — and may even have a richer flavor than other nut milks — it isn't magic. The dairy-free beverage definitely has a cult-like following, but that doesn't mean it's going to solve all your health problems. Not to mention, it's also more expensive than cow's milk and even some other nut milks.

There are a few downsides to oat milk, like the potential for gluten contamination and the higher sugar and carb content. Additionally, while you can certainly make oat milk at home, it won't be fortified with all the nutrients that store-bought oat milk has. That means you won't be getting as many vitamins and minerals as you would if you bought the beverage from your grocery store. At the end of the day, oat milk is a great choice for those who want to stop eating dairy, or just try something new!