Although oat milk is one of the most preferred plant-based milks, alternatives like rice milk are slowly gaining popularity.
Oat milk and rice milk share a few similarities because they’re both made from grains. However, they differ in taste, texture, and most of their nutritional content.
This article will compare the two types of plant milks and explore the pros and cons of adding them to your diet.
Rice milk and oat milk are both high in calories compared to most non-dairy alternatives.
Rice milk contains about 115 calories per cup, while oat milk contains about 120 calories per cup.
Even though both plant milks are low in protein, oat milk has almost twice the protein found in rice milk.
A cup of oat milk contains about 3 grams of protein, while a cup of rice milk contains less than a gram of protein.
It’s important to note that the two can’t be significant protein sources like dairy or soy milk.
Rice milk has a lower fat content compared to most non-dairy alternatives. It has about 2 grams per cup, while oat milk contains about 5 grams per cup.
The good news is that both types of plant milk have unsaturated fats, making them suitable for people who need to manage their cholesterol levels.
Both rice milk and oat milk are high in carbs since they’re derived from grains.
Even so, rice milk contains more carbs than oat milk. It has about 22 grams of carbohydrates per cup, while oat milk has about 16 grams.
Rice milk also contains about 13 grams of sugar, whereas oat milk has 7 grams of sugar per cup.
However, oat milk has more dietary fiber at 2grams per cup. Rice milk has less than a gram of fiber per cup.
Rice milk and oat milk contain substantial amounts of calcium, making them great dairy alternatives.
One cup of oat milk contains 350mg of calcium, while rice milk offers 288mg per cup.
You should enjoy the plant milk you want to include in your diet.
Knowing what each milk tastes like might make it easier to narrow your options further.
Rice milk has a mild flavor compared to most dairy alternatives.
Some describe it as neutral, with sweet undertones. Its subtle sweetness is due to its high sugar and carb content.
Rice milk’s a great choice for people who want something light and mellow.
Like rice milk, oat milk is slightly sweet because it’s high in sugar and carbs.
However, it has a nutty flavor with an oaty aftertaste.
Some people liken its flavor profile to that of cow’s milk.
It might be a good option for people who miss dairy or want plant milk that closely matches its taste.
Oat milk has a thick creamy texture making it great for cooking and baking. It’s also a great option for beverages like macchiatos and lattes.
It’s one of the plant-based milks with the closest texture and consistency to dairy.
However, oat milk isn’t always smooth since the oat particles can separate and settle to the bottom of the container.
Fortunately, you can fix the pulpy or grainy texture by shaking the milk.
Unlike oat milk, rice milk has a thin watery consistency.
It’s not the best option for recipes like soups, sauces, and gravies because it lacks oat milk’s thick, rich texture. But it’s ideal for people who want a neutral non-dairy alternative for their recipes.
Both oat and rice milk are high in carbs, making them inappropriate for keto. They’re also not Whole30 and paleo-friendly because they’re made from grains.
Even so, they’re still healthy vegan milk alternatives.
The table below summarizes the diet-friendliness of these two kinds of milk.
Rice milk and oat milk are lactose, tree nut, soy, peanut, and egg free.
Although oats are gluten-free, they’re often processed in the same facilities as grains with gluten. As a result, there’s a high risk of cross-contamination, which could end up causing an adverse reaction.
That’s why rice milk is a better option for people with gluten intolerance.
If you’d still like to enjoy a cup of oat milk despite your gluten sensitivity, we advise that you go for brands made with certified gluten-free oats. You could also make oat milk at home to avoid such risks.
However, we recommend you avoid both types of milk if you have rice or oat allergies.
Oat Milk Pros
Good Source Of Calcium
A cup of oat milk contains about 25% of the recommended daily calcium intake - which is more than what you get from the same serving of rice milk or whole milk.
Calcium is essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
It also helps regulate normal heart rhythms, nerve functions, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
Has Unique Antioxidants With Multiple Health Benefits
Oats contain unique antioxidants called avenanthramides which give it anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, and anti-irritant properties.
These antioxidants might offer protection against cancer, aging-related diseases, and skin diseases. They may also prevent or limit the development of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Might Help Prevent Osteoporosis
As previously mentioned, oat milk can help you with your calcium intake.
Meeting the recommended calcium dietary allowance can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
Research also shows that the avenanthramides in oat milk can help prevent bone microdamage. And increase the activity of cells that moderate bone loss, essentially preventing osteoporosis.
Can Help Manage Cholesterol Levels
Oat milk is cholesterol-free and high in soluble dietary fiber.
A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed 67 clinical trials. The findings showed that soluble dietary fiber had cholesterol-lowering effects.
A study was also carried out to investigate the effects of oat milk on cholesterol levels. It consisted of men with moderate hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) who consumed oat milk for five weeks.
Researchers found that their LDL (bad) cholesterol and serum cholesterol levels were significantly lower by the end of the trial.
Beta-glucans are soluble dietary fibers with a multitude of health benefits. They are partly responsible for oat milk’s cholesterol-lowering properties.
Aside from that, they also make oat milk:
- Ideal for a diabetic diet: Beta-glucan fibers may help prevent sharp rises in insulin and blood sugar levels.
- Good for weight control: The fibers increase the volume of food in the gut by attracting water and increasing the thickness of digested food. As a result, they slow down digestion and increase satiety.
- Great for digestive health: Beta-glucans might improve your gut health. They can contribute to bowel regularity, prevent constipation, and increase the diversity of gut microbiota.
- An immunity-boosting drink: Research shows that beta-glucans can stimulate immune cells, protect against infection, and prevent cancer promotion and progression.
Oat Milk Cons
Unsuitable For Some Diets
Although oat milk is great for weight management, its high carb, and calorie content makes it inappropriate for low-calorie diets and keto.
Oat milk is also not paleo and Whole30 friendly.
Might Contain Gluten
As mentioned earlier, oat milk can be cross-contaminated because it’s processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains.
Therefore it’s not the best option for people with gluten-related disorders.
Not As Nutritious As Dairy
Despite its many health benefits, oat milk lacks some of the naturally occurring nutrients found in dairy.
It's also low in protein and doesn’t contain the essential amino acids required in your diet.
Rice Milk Pros
Good Source Of B Vitamins
Research comparing the nutrition in different milk and plant-based beverages showed that rice milk was higher in the following B vitamins than oat milk.
Vitamin B12: Rice milk contains about 63% of the recommended daily allowance, while oat milk offers about 50%.
Vitamin B12 is essential for creating red blood cells, producing DNA, cell metabolism, and nerve function. It can also help boost your energy and mood and improve brain function, among other things.
Thiamin: Vitamin B1 helps minimize and prevent heart, kidney, and circulation problems. It also helps revitalize the skin and boost collagen production.
Like vitamin B12, it boosts energy, improves brain function, and stabilizes one’s mood.
Niacin: Vitamin B3 can help manage cholesterol, blood pressure, migraines, skin health, joint health, and cognitive function.
Vitamin B6: This vitamin is essential for healthy immune and nervous systems. It’s also necessary for metabolism, and healthy brain development, among other functions.
Folate: Rice milk is lower in folate (vitamin B9) than the other B vitamins mentioned above. But you might still benefit from folate’s role in producing red blood cells and other vital bodily functions.
Combining rice milk with other foods might help you achieve the recommended daily allowance of the listed B vitamins.
Like oat milk, rice milk is also cholesterol free, making it great for people watching their cholesterol levels.
Rice milk’s high carb content makes it a great energy-boosting drink for healthy individuals.
However, you should avoid it if you’re on a low-calorie, keto, paleo, or Whole30 diet.
Great For Skin Care
Research shows that rice can help improve one’s skin health.
A 2018 study found that the antioxidants in rice could fight the effects of free radicals and also had anti-aging benefits.
Another study found that rice starch has healing effects on atopic eczema patients and people with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) damaged skin.
There’s also research on the use of rice as a natural remedy to cure skin disease-causing fungus.
As such, it’s safe to conclude that your skin health will benefit from rice milk’s vitamin and antioxidant content.
Rice Milk Cons
Not Suitable For People With Diabetes
Rice milk is not ideal for people with blood sugar issues because it’s high in sugar and carbs. It has a high glycemic index, so it can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels.
Low In Nutrients
Overreliance on rice milk can cause malnutrition.
Although it's high in B vitamins, it's low in other vitamins, protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
Might Not Be Good For Weight Loss
Rice milk might not be a great addition to your weight loss plan, depending on your diet. It’s nutritionally imbalanced, contains a lot of carbs, and is high in sugar.
Research shows that there might be a link between excessive rice consumption and obesity. Remember to take it in moderation, so you don’t hinder your weight loss efforts.
Oat Milk or Rice Milk?
Oat milk and rice milk have some things in common.
They are both healthy non-dairy options made from grains.
The two types of milk are high in carbs and calories and are low in fat and protein. They also aren’t suitable for keto, paleo, Whole30, and low-calorie diets.
Rice milk and oat milk both have reasonable amounts of calcium. And are ideal for people with lactose, tree nut, soy, peanut, and egg allergies.
Each milk offers unique health benefits because of its nutritional content but also has downsides.
Therefore, you should consider your preferences and nutrient and diet requirements to choose the milk that best meets your needs.