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How much sugar is there really in Oatly oat drinks?

There is no added sugar in any of our natural oat drinks – just the sugar found naturally in oats (maltose). In our process, we’ve found a way to break down the starch into maltose by using the very same enzymes that are naturally present in our gastrointestinal tract. This process also happens in our bodies when we eat oats, which means we’re ingesting the same amount of maltose whether consuming raw oats, oatmeal or oat drink.

Natural sugar is found in a lot of other food - one example is lactose in cow’s milk. There is 4 g maltose/100 ml in our oat drink which is comparable to the lactose in cow's milk (less than 5 g/100 ml).

Foods with lots of added sugar often have a lower nutritional value and according to dietary recommendations, we should eat less of those. As our oat drinks contain carbohydrates, fat, protein, fibers as well as calcium and vitamins, they provide energy from several nutrients. Therefore they should not be compared to foods that only contain empty calories.
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  • It says 7g “added” sugar on the packaging of the original oat milk. Do you add the sugar or is it still naturally occurring from the oats?
    Robert Gibb
  • Hi Robert,

    Thanks for the question!

    We do not add sugar to our unflavoured oat drinks. It is, as you mention, sugar that is naturally occurring in the oats. In different countries there are different laws about how sugar is declared on the nutritional information of a product which can make it very confusing.

    You can be confident that if sugar (or anything else) is added to a product, it will be in the ingredients list.

    All the best
  • Thank you, Rowena!
    Robert Gibb
  • Why does your package show 7g of added sugar? Don't you follow the packaging laws of the country you sell the product in. I am referring to US laws. Thank you!
  • Hi Roy,

    We do indeed follow the laws of the country our product is being sold in. It is only our oat drinks sold in the US that refer to the sugar in our unflavoured oat drinks as added sugar. This is not written on our products sold in the UK for example since, as mentioned above, the laws are different despite the recipe being the same.

    Sorry about the confusion!

    All the best
  • Well what does that mean ‘added sugar’?  What is it that the US law is making you disclose that free UK law does not?   And why is it so different from Approx who have an ‘unsweetened’ version which shows 0% sugar - is their product different or are they listing their sugar differently to Oatly?
  • Hi Mo,

    The FDA in the US recently released new guidelines regarding sugar labelling. This new guidelines state that any sugar created during a product's production process should be listed as "added sugar," even if the sugar is a result of that production process and is therefore not added as a separate ingredient.

    The sugar in our unflavoured oat drinks is a result of our production process, mentioned above, where we use enzymes to break down the starch in the oats to form maltose.

    Unfortunately we cannot comment on the products of other brands. However, I would definitely recommend you get in touch with them to find out more information about their product.

    I hope that clarifies this for you. If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to let us know!

    All the best

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