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Thursday, April 13th, 2023 3:17 PM

No Sugars

Is there such a thing as a no sugars oat drink or unsweetened oat drink?

Our Oatly No sugars oat drink is absolute magic if you want a less sweet-tasting oat drink. And yes, it is less sweet because it has no sugars. This much is true. So, what's the catch? Well, oats contain carbohydrates, or carbs for short. Just like all cereals and grains. But also foods like fruit, beans, lentils, rice, pasta, etc.


Carbohydrates consist of starch, fibers and sugars. So when carbohydrates enter your body, your body will break down the carbs into sugars (the fibers will go through your body mostly intact). Somewhere along the line, sugar is always involved when carbohydrates are involved. And we want to be absolutely transparent about that.


How does it work? 


Before the body can make good use of the food we eat, the food must be “digested” (i.e. broken down) into its basic nutrient components.


The digestive system works like a giant food processor. During digestion, starches and sugars are broken down both mechanically (e.g. through chewing) and chemically (e.g. by enzymes) into single units of sugars such as glucose and fructose, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body, to be used as energy in our cells.


And we all need energy, right? Dietary guidelines around the globe commonly recommend that approximately 50% of our total energy intake a day should come from carbohydrates.


Does this mean that Oatly regular oat drink has added sugar?


No. For our regular oat drink, some of the carbohydrates are turned into sugars during our production process. Just like our bodies use enzymes to break down carbohydrates into sugars, we use enzymes in our process to break down some (not all) of the carbs in the oats into sugars. Into maltose to be more precise. So what you’ll find in Oatly regular oat drinks are sugars derived from the oats we use in our products.


With Oatly No sugars oat drink your body takes care of the process of breaking down the carbs into sugars.


PS. In the US, due to regulatory reasons, we need to label our unflavored products with “added sugars” even though we don’t add any sugars or sweeteners. We use the same sweet process as mentioned above when producing Oatly oat drink in the US.


How your body turns carbs into sugar

  • You chew the carbs and break them down into smaller pieces
  • You swallow the food and the stomach mixes it with digestive liquids
  • The food enters the intestines where enzymes cut the carbohydrates into small sugar pieces (i.e. glucose and fructose)
  • The sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream for transportation to our muscles and other organs to be used as energy
  • Some of the sugars are used directly as energy, and some are stored in the liver and muscles for later
  • The body says “yay” and lives happily ever after (or until later when it needs more energy)



Buyken AE, Mela DJ, Dussort P, Johnson IT, Macdonald IA, Stowell JD, Brouns FJPH. Dietary carbohydrates: a review of international recommendations and the methods used to derive them. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Dec;72(12):1625-1643. doi: 10.1038/s41430-017-0035-4. Epub 2018 Apr 25. PMID: 29572552; PMCID: PMC6281563.


If you're still wondering more about oat drink and sugar... 

Is Oatly Oat Drink Like Soda? 


1 Message

8 months ago

Does this mean that no sugars are formed during the enzymatic step of the process? Are you skipping the enzymatic process? (Oatly 'No' Sugars)

64 Messages

Hi Klaudia, 


Good question! To create the "No" Sugars Oat Drink, we changed our oat base technology to keep the sugar level low while maintaining the oat fibers and proteins. For this product, we do less of the breaking down and leave that up to the digestive system. Hope this clears things up, but let us know if you have further questions. 



Ali at Oatly

1 Message

2 months ago

Could you please clarify the ratios involved? Meaning does the 7g of “added sugar” in 1 cup of Super Basic Oatmilk come entirely from the oats that create the 1 cup of oatmilk? I mean, if I make 1 cup of oatmilk at home using ¼ cup of oats and 1 cup of water, is there really 7 grams of sugar in there that my bodies enzymes are able to convert to maltose? Or is it that Oatly is creating a separate oat/enzymes solution to make maltose that is then added into the Super Basic Oatmilk? If the latter, it could be 50g or 100g or sugar per cup that is mixed into the oatmilk, but the statement “we don’t add any sugars” would still be valid per the Oatly explanation, no?

64 Messages

Hi Ricky-Bobby, 


Our oatmilks (aside from the flavored ones like the Chocolate) don’t contain any added sweeteners like cane sugar, which is why they’re not listed as an ingredient. The sugar in our oatmilk is produced during our enzymatic production process. Basically, we use natural enzymes to liquefy our oats, which enables us to create a really creamy product that retains a lot of the nutrition from the original oat (like protein, unsaturated fats, fibers, and carbs). As part of this process, the enzymes break the starches in our oats down into smaller components, including simple sugar like maltose. It’s comparable to how the human body uses enzymes to break starches down into sugars during digestion. You can read more about this process here.

In the US, FDA guidance on sugar labeling now provides that any sugar created during a product’s production process should be categorized as 'added', which is why these sugars are listed as 'added sugar' on our nutrition labels.


Hope this helps clear this up! 



Ali at Oatly