If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you will notice that there is many options for milk these days. Oat milk is not only a popular grocery store item, but it’s also made it’s way into coffee shops. A question I’m frequently asked about it though is, does oat milk make you poop?
After enjoying your fresh cup of coffee you may find yourself heading to the bathroom soon after. That’s because yes! Oat milk does make you poop. Due to its high fibre content, it can draw more water in to your bowels which increases the frequency of pooping.
But is oat milk a healthy option to choose? Read on to find out.
Basics of How We Poop
The process of pooping, defecation, or having a bowel movement, is the way our bodies eliminate indigestible food remnants and waste. During digestion, our bodies extract essential nutrients from food, and what remains as waste travels through the digestive tract.
This waste is further processed in the large intestine, where water and electrolytes are absorbed, forming poop. The rectum temporarily stores this material until we feel the urge to have a bowel movement. By contracting the muscles around the anus and coordinating the relaxation of sphincters, we can expel the feces.
Our diets heavily affect how often and the ease with which pooping occurs. A diet that is rich in fiber and drinking enough fluids make pooping easier and more frequent.
What Does Fiber Do?
Dietary fiber or simply called fiber, is a nutrient in food that helps to add bulk to your stool, increase the frequency of pooping, and make it easier to poop. Fiber is found in plant based foods like the skin of fruits and vegetables, beans, and legumes, and our body doesn’t absorb it so it simply is pulverized and excreted.
If you’re constipated then adding more fiber to your diet can help relieve the horrible symptoms associated with constipation. But there are two types of fiber that you should know about.
Two Types of Fiber
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes a gel-like substance in your digestive system. It’s found in foods like oats, beans, apples, and citrus fruits. What’s also amazing is that soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, stabilise your blood sugar, and help you feel full.
Insoluble fiber is simply a type of fiber that does not dissolve in water and stays intact as it passes through your digestive system. It adds bulk to your poop, helping to prevent constipation and promote regular movements.
What is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a plant-based milk alternative made from oats and water. It is created by blending oats with water and then straining the mixture to remove solid particles, leaving behind a creamy liquid.
Oat milk has gained popularity as a dairy milk substitute due to its naturally sweet flavor, creamy texture, and versatility in coffee, cereal, baking, and cooking. It’s a common choice for people with lactose intolerance, dairy allergies, or those following a vegan or plant-based diet.
Nutrition Facts of Oat Milk
Oat milk is an alternative to cow’s milk, but it doesn’t match up nutrition wise.
In a one-cup serving of unsweetened oat milk, you’ll get around 120-150 calories, 3-4 grams of fat (mostly unsaturated), 2-4 grams of protein, and 16-24 grams of carbohydrates.
Oat milk doesn’t have a high concentration of vitamins and minerals but it is fortified with some. Some of the nutrients you will find in it are Calcium (15% DV), Vitamin A (10%), Potassium, Riboflavin, Phosphorous and Vitamin B12 in small amounts.
Why Does Oat Milk Make You Poop?
Oat milk is made from oats and water making it a high fiber drink. Due to its high fiber content, with the oats already being partially broken down, it makes the body’s digesting process much quicker.
It can also have a mild laxative effect on some people because of its soluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance and adds bulk to your stool which helps to regulate movements.
The effect will vary from person to person, based on diet, health factors, and not everyone will experience the same outcome.
How Much Oat Milk Should I Drink Daily?
One cup of oat milk daily is likely enough to satisfy. It’s important to note that oat milk is not an equal substitution of cow’s milk in terms of the nutritional value. Making sure that you are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and protein, as oat milk will not supply adequate values of these nutrients.
Oat Milk Causes Diarrhea or Constipation?
Oat milk can have different effects on bowel movements for different people. The soluble fiber in oat milk may help with being regular and also help with constipation in some people because of its bulking effect on poop.
However, in other people, who are sensitive to oat milk, it can lead to diarrhea or digestion issues. It’s important to watch how your body responds to oat milk and think about how much you drink.
Other Milk Alternatives
Cow’s Milk Nutrition Facts
Cow’s milk is the ultimate source of nutrients.
One-cup of whole cow’s milk provides around 150 calories, 8 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat (including saturated fats), and 12 grams of carbohydrates, mostly in the form of lactose.
It’s a great source of calcium, providing you about 30% of the recommended daily intake, along with vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption. Cow’s milk also offers vitamins like B12 and riboflavin, as well as minerals like phosphorus and potassium.
Soy Milk Nutrition Facts
Soy milk is another popular dairy milk alternative with a good nutritional balance.
One-cup of unsweetened soy milk can typically provide around 80 calories, 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat (mainly unsaturated), and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
Soy milk is a good source of essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, especially when fortified. It’s naturally free from cholesterol and lactose, making it suitable for those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance.
Soy milk contains compounds called isoflavones, which some people believe have potential health benefits from reducing cancer risk to cholesterol lowering effects.
Almond Milk Nutrition Facts
Almond milk is a very popular dairy milk alternative because of its mild, nutty flavor and low calories.
One-cup of unsweetened almond milk typically provides about 30 calories, 1 gram of protein, 2.5 grams of fat (mainly unsaturated), and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.
Almond milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D to match the nutritional profile of cow’s milk but we don’t absorb these nutrients the same way. It’s naturally free from cholesterol and lactose, making it suitable for people with dietary restrictions or are lactose intolerance.
It’s really important to understand that if cow’s milk and almond milk have the same calcium or vitamin D content, the human body absorbs MORE from cow’s milk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any side effects of oat milk?
Yes, Side effects of oat milk may include stomach issues like bloating or gas. Too much of oat milk’s soluble fiber can have a mild laxative effect, this might cause loose poops or diarrhea. There also can be allergic reactions, like itching or hives in people who are sensitive to oats.
Can oat milk cause loose stools?
Yes, oat milk can potentially cause loose stools in some people. This is because of it’s soluble fiber which can have a mild laxative effect. While soluble fiber is basically helpful for helping you have regular bowel movements, excessive amounts of oat milk or having a sensitivity can lead to loose stools or even diarrhea.
Can I drink oat milk everyday?
Yes but taking it easy is key. Drinking oat milk in moderation gives you the benefits of its nutritional value, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, without overdoing your diet with calories or potential side effects like loose stools. One cup per day is a smart starting point.
Oat milk disadvantages
It typically contains less protein than cow’s milk, which might not meet the protein needs of some people who rely on milk as an important protein source. Some people may experience stomach issues with oat milk due to its soluble fiber content, leading to bloating, gas, or loose stools.
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Michelle Saari is a Registered Dietitian based in Canada. She has a Master's Degree in Human Nutritional Sciences and is a passionate advocate for spreading easy to understand, reliable, and trustworthy nutrition information. She is currently a full time online entrepreneur with two nutrition focused websites.