What's Really In Oatly's Oat Milk?

These days, the dairy alternative options appear to be limitless as the store shelves become more crammed. And it appears this noticeable change to our supermarkets will be expanding even more. According to Allied Market Research, the dairy alternative market is growing and projected to reach 35,804.6 million dollars by 2026. One of the more famous names in this market is Oatly. According to Oatly's website, the company was founded in 1990 and its products are based on Swedish research. The company claims to have a patented enzyme technology to "turn fiber-rich oats into nutritional liquid that is perfectly designed for humans."

Oatly sounds like it may have designed the perfect milk, right? Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. Twitter user Katherine Champagne expresses her doubts about the company's popular oat milk product via Best Life tweeting, "I'm still in awe that Oatly created super sugar grain juice, cut it with canola oil, and then successfully used (amazing) marketing to convince everyone that no, this is good." Champagne's tweet references a previous article written by Nat Eliason, a writer who believes Oatly's oat milk contains an extreme amount of sugar and compares the drink to soda, claiming it is, "Coke for the 2020s" (via Best Life).

The real beef is with the amount of sugar

According to Buzzfeed, Oatly's fortified oat milk contains 20% of the daily value of vitamin D, 25% DV of calcium, and 50% DV of vitamin B12. One cup of unsweetened oat milk is about 120 calories and is a vegan friendly beverage. This all sounds pretty healthy so far, but the real beef has to do with the oat milk's sugar content.

According to Nutritious Life, there are seven grams of sugar per 8oz. serving from the oats in Oatly's oat milk. This is far less than the 39 grams of sugar found in a 12 oz. can of coke, states The Daily Meal. Then again, we aren't pouring coke over our cereal or adding it to our coffee. The argument could be made that Oatly's oak milk users could be unknowingly consuming high amounts of sugar if they are consuming more than one serving per day.

There are concerns over the type of oil as well

Oatly has defended some of the backlash with a statement saying,"As part of this process, the enzymes convert some of the starch in the oats into sugar, similar to how the human body converts starch to sugar during digestion. Since these sugars are a result of our production process, the FDA considers them to be added, which is why they're labeled as 'added' sugars on our nutrition panels," they state, according Best Life. And the company goes on to note that, "Sugar is found in lots of foods, including cow's milk. Our non-flavored oat milks contain 7 grams of sugar per 8 oz. serving, which is less than the amount of sugar in cow's milk."

In addition to the amount of sugar found in this non-dairy beverage, there is also concern over what oils are in the product. Nutritious Life claims that Oatly's oat milk contains rapeseed oil, or canola oil. Although the amount is very little (2 percent) rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid. This acid can be toxic to humans if consumed in large amounts, claims The Seattle Times.

After learning about why there is a concerned buzz over Oatly's oat milk, we're still not sure it is the "Coke of the 2020's."  We do however, believe it is important to investigate the ingredients in the beverages we consume on a daily basis. And remember to enjoy all drinks, dairy or non-dairy, in moderation.