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Thursday, May 30th, 2024 3:24 PM

Oatly’s Nutrition Specialists React: TikTok Nutrition Claims

If you’re anything like us, we often wake up and first thing in the morning hop on a social media feed, where we see all sorts of news commentary, life advice and recipe ideas. It’s a fast way to learn quickly about new things and get inspired. But it can be tricky to fact-check information when it comes to you in quick soundbites and visuals.  


Here at OatlyFans, you may have noticed we are fans of the written word. This is why we’ve chosen to take some time to address something we think is seriously impacting the plant-based space: nutrition claims with no evidence. But also, nutrition claims or conclusions that misrepresent the science or evidence. Being the oat people, we’re starting with oats first. Let us know in the comments if there’s anything else you’d like us to address, though. 


Three of Oatly’s in-house Nutrition Specialists — a mix of dietitians and a nutritionist, all of whom also hold other impressive academic credentials — have kindly lent us their time to watch some TikTok videos and share their reactions. 


1. The maltose in oat milk spikes your GI (which causes energy crashes, sugar cravings etc.)


Reaction from Oatly Nutrition Specialists:  


The claims in this video are very generalized, as blood sugar response depends on a multitude of factors, including an individual’s insulin capabilities and other foods consumed at the same time.  


Here‘s our reasoning on why a splash of Oatly in your coffee will not – for the majority of people - have the dramatic impact described in the video. 


First, we want to say that you can’t look at the GI of a single ingredient. Just because maltose has a GI over 100 doesn’t mean all Oatly products will have a GI value over 100. The GI of a product is impacted by other ingredients in the product too.


For example, Oatly Barista Edition has a GI value of 61 (GI category medium). Not over 100. How do we know this? With the help of an independent, accredited laboratory, we studied both the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) of Oatly Barista Edition, to understand the impact on blood sugars.  
GI is measured in accordance with an international standard method (ISO) by having a group of people (with varying gender, age and body weight) consume an equal amount, 50 or 25 grams of available carbohydrates, from a single food on an empty stomach. The GL of a product considers both the blood sugar level response and the impact of average serving size. Thus, GL adjusts the value to consider a reasonable serving size of the food, meaning that the resulting GI and GL values will differ from each other.  


The GL of both a large glass (240 ml) of Oatly Barista Edition and a dash (100 ml) in your coffee are 9 and 4 respectively.That places them in the ‘low category’ meaning a very minor effect on blood sugar, on a par with cow’s milk.




It’s important to note that monitoring GI and GL can be of particular interest to people with diabetes. As there is evidence suggesting that limiting high GI foods helps keep blood sugar at a stable level in people who have diabetes.  


What is, however, correct in this video is that we do not add any sugar* to our unflavoured oat drinks - we don’t add any artificial sweeteners either. The sugars in our drinks are derived from the oats. Our enzymatic process breaks down some of the oat’s carbs into sugar (primarily into maltose), similar to what happens in your body if you eat oat porridge. This means that a glass of oat drink will have a pleasant, slightly sweet taste, with a sugar level of about 3.5g/100 ml oat drink, which is pretty much the same as cow’s milk (although the sugar in cow’s milk is called lactose).  


(Note: In summary, whether you drink your coffee with oat drink or cow’s milk may not matter for your blood sugar — but it matters for the planet, as oat drink in general has a much lower climate impact compared to cow’s milk. If you’d like a deeper dive on this topic, we have a related article here


*In the US, FDA guidance states that any sugars created during a products production process should be listed as ‘added sugar’. Thus, the sugar in Oatly products is labeled as added sugar, even though we don’t add any sweeteners. 




2. Oat drink disrupts your hormones:  


Reaction from Oatly Nutrition Specialists:  


Whilst it’s interesting to hear about anecdotal experiences, it is often impossible to find a scientific explanation supporting a “cause-and-effect relationship” between an exposure (e.g., consuming oat drink) and the effect (“hormonal acne”) and they are more likely to be unrelated.  


We have checked the scientific research and there are no papers supporting a relationship between oat drink and hormonal disturbances, like acne. Therefore, whilst it is possible that this is a very rare case, the more likely scenario is that this relationship is purely coincidental.  


PS. Searching the internet, you will likely find as many anecdotal experiences about cow’s milk disrupting hormones and causing acne which again, hasn’t been connected to conclusive scientific evidence either. 


A screenshot of a video chat

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3. The long-term use of Canola oil will give you cancer and is highly inflammatory due to Omega 6:   


Reaction from Oatly Nutrition Specialists:  


Where to begin with this! Firstly, the canola (rapeseed) oil that we use in Oatly products is food-graded and consistent with dietary recommendations. In fact, as nutritionists, we recommend it!  


Canola oil is one of the healthiest oils available. It has an excellent fat profile with a high proportion of monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. This helps to ensure our Oatly drinks are low in saturated fat, and many are also a rich source of unsaturated fats. 


The WHO recommends limiting the consumption of saturated fats and a shift in fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats. By replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats and omega-3's the risk of total and cardiovascular death can be reduced. Furthermore, oils (including canola oil) are recommended as part of a healthy dietary pattern that may be protective against a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer. 


Lastly, it’s not true that canola oil is inflammatory, indeed when we reviewed the research the evidence supports an anti-inflammatory effect. 


(Note: We understand that at the end of the day, dietary choices are incredibly individual and may vary based on allergies, health conditions etc., which is why we offer oat drinks with a range of characteristics, such as variable fat levels, like that found in dairy — including those without any oils for those looking for low-fat options. That said, we have confidence that rapeseed oil is a great option for our oat drinks from a nutritional standpoint. If you’re interested in reading more, check out our deep dive here.) 


We hope that these science-based perspectives will help you navigate similar video content on social media! Learning to identify misinformation about plant-based foods and understand why some claims may not be correct can be an effort-consuming process. We think it’s worth the effort to help people feel more at ease with plant-based eating, and thereby doing better for our planet. 






[1] WHO (2020). Key facts for a healthy diet. (Accessed Jun 2022). 


[2] Wang et al (2016). Association of Specific Dietary Fats With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. Aug 1;176(8):1134-45. 


[3] Sacks et al (2017). Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. Jul 18;136(3):e1-e23. 


[4] Zhuang et al (2019). Dietary Fats in Relation to Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of 521 120 Individuals With 16 Years of Follow-Up. Circ Res. Mar;124(5):757-768. 


[5] Naghshi S, et al (2021). Dietary intake and biomarkers of alpha linolenic acid and risk of all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. BMJ. Oct 13;375:n2213. 


[6] Wild CP, Weiderpass E, Stewart BW, editors (2020). World Cancer Report: Cancer Research for Cancer Prevention. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer. Available from: . 


[7] Kaluza et al. Questionnaire-Based Anti-Inflammatory Diet Index as a Predictor of Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 2018, 28, 78–84. 


[8] Kruse et al. Dietary rapeseed/canola-oil supplementation reduces serum lipids and liver enzymes and alters postprandial inflammatory responses in adipose tissue compared to olive-oil supplementation in obese men. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Mar;59(3):507-19. 


[9] Kruse et al. Dietary Rapeseed Oil Supplementation Reduces Hepatic Steatosis in Obese Men-A Randomized Controlled Trial. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2020 Nov;64(21):e2000419. 

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