Food & Nutrition

Is Drinking Oatly Oat Milk Really The Same As Drinking Coca-Cola?

On the rumor mill, we call the internet, there is a thing going around that Oat Milk – and Oatly Specifically – is just as bad for you as drinking Coca-Cola. Now, before you throw your hands up in indignation at the subject of this article, the answer isn’t quite as clear-cut as you would have previously thought. 

No, drinking oat milk is not quite as bad for you as drinking Coca-Cola, but we will walk through some of the reasons why this rumor has taken root online. 

So, lets get into it: 

 Oatly Whole Oatmilk


Oatly has risen with the trend of plant-based milk alternatives – it is the leading brand in Oat Milk. You’ll find it is the milk alternative of choice for baristas across the globe, down to the simple fact that it foams and performs in a very similar way to cows milk. Not to mention the fact that it’s certainly one of the most flavourful milk alternatives you can buy. Eww, Almond Milk. 

Obviously, there are big differences in Oat Milk’s from brand to brand, but we will focus on Oatly. Because it is the market leader, we will be using Oatly to compare Oat Milk with Coca-Cola. 

According to many, Oat Milk is also healthier than regular milk, is more sustainable for the environment, and is ethically more sound. For those people, it must have been horrifying to learn that drinking oat milk was as bad for you as drinking coke! But, while there is some smoke rising above the fire, not all is as it seems. 


Oat Milk Vs Coca-Cola 

The driving factor that has made this theory popular is that oat milk and Coca-Cola have a very a very effect on your glycemic load – which is your blood sugar impact). The article which broke the story suggests that Oatly may be worse. There are a few articles online about this subject, and each of them has their own take.

This one is the original (or so it seems) written as a guest post by Nat Eliason and this is from the Insider which is a rebuttal. We shouldn’t take either at face value, one because we have no idea who Nat Eliason is or his expertise, and Insider can be pretty partisan and opinion-led. 

So that you don’t need to go searching the internet for all the different takes on whether drinking oat milk is the same as coke, here are the basic footnotes: Oatly contains ‘gram-for-gram’ more sugar than coca-cola. But let’s dig into that for a second.


Why does Oatly contain so much sugar? 

The main accusation is that Oatly contains a significant amount of sugar, even more than they advertise and were intended – when your gut breaks Oatly down with enzymes it creates more sugars called Maltose. The sugar content on the packet is 7g of sugar per serving but as it enters your digestive system, the digestion process causes that figure to balloon. 

Of all the different sugars, maltose has the highest glycemic index (how much sugar is in your blood) with a 105 rating out of 100. The comparison is table sugar with 65/100 and high-fructose corn syrup, which is used to sweeten Coke, with 65-75/100. The accusation is that Oatly has a significantly worse impact on your body’s blood sugar levels, which is a problem. The article goes on to state that Oatly gas a higher ‘gram for gram’ impact on your ‘glycemic load’ than Coca-Cola, and has a 33% higher impact compared to regular milk (the sugar there is Lactose, which is measured 46/100 n the GI index). 

The argument against this is that using the Glycemic Load is not an accurate way of determining whether something is healthy or not; there are simply too many variables, and the initial article is a great bit of theory, but not reflective in reality. The first point is that usually oat milk is consumed with other foods and liquids, which changes the way it is absorbed into the body so a comparison is difficult. There are also so many other variables which look into the levels of blood sugar within each individual human – the only way to do this accurately would be to measure each person individually. You can do that yourself with  Zoe

The facts are too, that Coke contains a lot of other potentially harmful ingredients and very little nutrition. Everything from colourings, flavourings, and preservatives, to caffeine, sodium, and the dreaded refined sugar – that is not to mention phosphoric acid. Oatly in comparison contains a wide range of vitamins (specifically B vitamins), minerals (calcium, iron), antioxidants, and naturally occurring fibre. The sugar too is naturally occurring and is not processed like it is in Coke. 


Final Thoughts – Is Coca-Cola healthier than Oatly? 

To bring this all together and to answer the question of whether drinking Oatly is the same as drinking Coke? The simple answer is, no,  because the two aren’t comparable. The only comparison that makes Oatly look unhealthier than Coca-Cola is a theoretical blood sugar index model, but while this isn’t entirely accurate, it shouldn’t be ignored either. Oatly does contain and produce a lot of sugar – which may not be ideal for diabetics or if you wish to avoid sugar entirely. 

If you like Oatly, but you’re worried about how much sugar your body is absorbing, then you can check out Oatly’s ‘low sugar’ alternative. And ditch the coke. Drink more water. 

If you liked this post, or have your own thoughts, we have a comments section below for you to leave them.

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