It’s not easy choosing an oat milk, and how heavily they are marketed is not a true test of how good they are. I’d like to share with you two recent experiences about oat milks that were told to me…
Happy Mum of Three: “I must let you know that finally after removing Oatly from my son’s diet, his bright red cheeks are no more, and his stools have a normal consistency. Why didn’t I think to look at the one product he consumed every single day? “dipotassium phosphate” must be the culprit! I’m going back to the philosophy of, if I don’t recognise an ingredient my family won’t eat it…I cannot thank you enough honestly from the bottom of my heart!”
Relieved Aunt: “My sister’s little girl had Oatly oat milk everyday 2-3 times a day as she thought it was healthier for her. She was covered head to toe in eczema, so my sister decided to change milk brand to see if that made any difference. So, she changed to another oat milk which is organic, and every single patch of her daughter’s eczema cleared up just from cutting out Oatly milk. In two weeks, she has perfect skin!”
What amazing stories!
To be clear, I am not “anti” any specific brand of oat milk and many people suit Oatly very well. But when you hear stories of children’s health turning around, simply by switching their oat milk to a different brand, wouldn’t you be curious to ask why and give it a try? Most of the kids we see in our clinic have delicate tummies, and are sensitive to even small changes in diet, and that’s why I found this all interesting and relevant.
So, what’s in some oat milks that stands out? They are all very carb-heavy (oats are a good slow-release carbohydrate, but they do not contain healthy fats or much protein like cow’s milk), many brands use refined vegetable oils like rape and sunflower and some are not gluten-free (which coeliacs need). I kept on scratching my head, until I started to research an acidity regulator called dipotassium phosphate. And it turns out that these phosphates are known to be part of the picture in a number of far-reaching health outcomes.
They are one family of many ultra-processed food ingredients (UPFs) that are now very common in our food chain and have the potential to drive inflammation to some degree in the body. And even low-grade gut inflammation can lead to weight gain, gut pain, mood swings and irritated skin over time.
Some of the other positive changes my clients and followers have relayed back to me when they have switched away from brands that use dipotassium phosphate include better behaviour, improved sleep, fewer itchy rashes, as well as fewer tummy aches. Pretty amazing really!
Obviously, these additives affect everyone very individually, and some people with cast-iron guts may be able to consume them in quantity without any ramifications – but if you or your kids are still struggling with your health and you drink quite a bit of oat milk, then maybe try another brand without dipotassium phosphate for a few weeks.
I still have not found the “perfect” like-for-like milk swap with cow’s milk – it really does not exist as far as I am aware! However, three commercial oat milks that seem to tick the box for being calcium fortified and dipotassium phosphate-free are: Rude Health Chilled Oat, M&S Plant Kitchen Oat and Alpro Unsweetened Oat. Also remember my calcium rich oat milk recipe! There are also many organic oat milks available, but they usually contain little to no calcium, so you will need to find calcium from other food sources or blend in a calcium supplement to the unfortified milk to top up the calcium content, which works really well.
- Dietary phosphate exacerbates intestinal inflammation in experimental colitis
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Food Additives: To Add Fuel on the Flames!
- Inorganic phosphate as a potential risk factor for chronic disease
- Phosphate additives in food–a health risk
- The prevalence of phosphorus-containing food additives in top-selling foods in grocery stores
- Public health impact of dietary phosphorus excess on bone and cardiovascular health in the general population
- The effects of maternal exposure to food additive E341 (tricalcium phosphate) on foetal development of rats