As you all know I am a fan of oat milk and give it to my 20 month old instead of dairy milk due to a sensitivity. Aside from a brief shortage, all was going pretty well. Shes growing fine and appears nourished to the eye. However, I learned some information about an ingredient that is listed full fat Oatly and needed to share.
My best friend was visiting from Chicago and as usual most of our conversations veer towards food. She looked at me and said with hesitation, ” Caar, I have to tell you something about oat milk”. I knew it wasn’t good. A friend of hers had been doing some research on food for brain health and was an avid oat milk consumer. Unbeknownst to me, the full fat version of Oatly contains an ingredient called Rapeseed oil. I know, your thinking, “Is that a typo? She means grape seed oil. ” No, it’s rapeseed oil. Someone actually named a seed “rape”, wtf? If that isn’t a big red flag than I don’t know what is.
It turns out rape seed oil is actually very similar to Canola oil and the both are often confused. Canola was originally created from rapeseed by removing 2 ingredients from the rapeseed plant: glucosinolates and erucic acid. Erucic acid was removed because it was believed to be toxic in high doses. Erucic acid is regulated in foods today. However, Oatly comes from Sweden, and not US, where regulations are different. The label states there is less than 2%, which is the maximum allowed amount of rapeseed oil in a product.
I did some research and found conflicting information. There are many articles preaching the health benefits of rapeseed as a great oil alternative with good fats such as this one here. It does seem to be used more outside of the US, or at least labeled more often as rapeseed as compared to Canola.
The scariest evidence I found was about a test done on animals “showing that ingesting oils containing erucic acid over time can lead to a heart condition called myocardial lipidosis. This is temporary and reversible. Other potential effects observed in animals – including changes in the weight of the liver, kidney and skeletal muscle can occur when higher doses are consumed” ( https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/161109). The article goes on to warn that there could be a health risk for children under the age of 10 who consume products containing erucic acid regularly over time.
Well that’s enough for me, since I have been giving this to my daughter every day for the past 8 months. Talk about mom guilt. I beat myself up a bit for not looking into the ingredients more. At the same time, I am still learning about this product and the conflicting research. Either way, I made the choice to not give her the full fat version of Oatly any longer. We don’t need any erucic acid up in here.
Good news is that many US based companies have recently come out with oat milk such as Silk and Quaker among many others, which do not contain rapeseed oil! The low fat version of Oatly does not contain rapeseed oil either.
Moral of the story, check your ingredients and do some research. I will be on the look out for rapeseed from now on! While we can’t believe every scary tale we hear or read online, I’m going with my gut on this one.