Oat milk caution

I got this caution about oat milk in my email today from https://drbenkim.com/ and thought it prudent to pass it on. I can't find it uploaded to the blog just yet, so I am pasting the email content.

Dr. Ben Kim's Newsletter

February 12, 2024

In regularly reviewing blood work for many longtime contacts, some who use continuous glucose monitors, I've come to the view that it's best to avoid oat milk, even in unsweetened form.

I've consistently observed that when people who regularly drink oat milk go 90 days without it, their A1C level goes down. A1C is a simple blood test that indicates average blood sugar level over the prior 3 months.

Because oat milk is derived from oats, it's naturally high in starch. Without the fiber that it naturally exists with, the starch in oat milk causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar level.

For those who follow a plant-based diet, unsweetened almond milk is a far healthier choice. If taken in moderation, unsweetened organic soy milk is also a decent choice for most.

People who can tolerate casein and whey without negative effects can also choose the cleanest form of cow's or goat's milk they have access to - organic and unhomogenized is best.

For those who enjoy unsweetened oat milk and don't want to give it up, I suggest having small amounts at a time, ideally just after eating something with a good amount of fiber, as doing so helps slow the pace at which starch in oat milk enters the bloodstream, thereby decreasing stress on the body's sugar-regulating mechanisms.

Being physically active also helps to preserve ideal blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. An ideal approach is to do some strength-promoting exercise before eating a substantial meal, and going for a leisurely walk after eating - strength-promoting exercise primes the skeletal muscles to soak up sugar that enters the bloodstream, while walking after a meal encourages systemic utilization of excess amounts of glucose.

Striving to keep blood sugar within a healthy range, thereby preserving high insulin sensitivity is one of the best ways of protecting against degenerative diseases and promoting longevity. Please consider sharing these tips with loved ones.


  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We tried oat milk and didn't like it. I wonder if drinking organic oat milk makes any difference and whether the glyphosate sprayed on conventional oaks to dry them has any affect.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,505 admin

    @kbmbillups1 I'm not sure. I know Dr. Kim has oat milk recipes on his site, and he is all about natural foods. He is not a fan of conventional methods.

    Conventional oats are never ideal. Even spray drift would affect the quality of the grain & how one's body would react to processing it.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,019 ✭✭✭✭

    Good information. Oat milk is becoming very popular as a non-dairy option at coffee shops in my area.

    I wonder if the same holds true for rice milk?

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the article, that is very interesting and I wonder if making teas or tonics out of oat tops can have the same affect or if it is how the oats are processed?

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,155 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning wow---Thanks for posting! My hubby drinks oat milk a lot! Guess that will be stopping!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,623 admin

    I had a look into this and found an article which might help explain it a bit better. This is a snipet but I've included a link to the original article.

    "Oat milk contains a type of sugar called maltose, which has a glycemic index of 105, which is even higher than pure glucose.

    When oats are processed to create oat milk, enzymes are added to help break down the oat starch, causing these complex carbs to be broken down into quickly digestible simple carbs.

    Even when unsweetened, oat milk contains natural sugars that may not be ideal for anyone looking to prevent blood sugar spikes. It’s important to note that not everyone will have the same reaction to certain foods and ingredients."

    Besides this problem, there is also the issue that most oat milk is not organic and subject to sprays with glyphosate (and other chemicals). See the other discussion with regards to "Toxic Chlormequat".

    So to answer @Lisa K, it does seem to be the processing (adding enzymes to break down the starch/fibre) that is increasing the danger of blood sugar spikes. If you are making your own oat milk at home without the added enzymes that commercial producers add, then perhaps the glycemic index of the milk wouldn't be quite as high?

    @annbeck62 I looked up the glycemic index of rice milk and it is 86 which is higher than honey or sugar. Not as bad as the oat milk but still very high.

    I know that there are many people who can't have real dairy or that choose not to consume dairy (vegetarians, vegans) however, whole dairy milk has a glycemic index of only 31. So for those that can have dairy and are concerned with blood sugars, dairy seems to be the best choice.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks @Torey that makes sense and I am happy that I can keep drinking my Milky Oats tea! 😁

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 961 ✭✭✭✭

    That's unfortunate. I enjoy oat milk, though not all the time. I've been consuming more coconut milk these days. I prefer it to the taste of almond milk.