Costco Shoppers Think You Should Avoid Its Kirkland Oat Milk. Here's Why

Yesterday, the Costco-centric Instagram account @costcobuys uploaded a post featuring Kirkland Signature's oat milk. For $8.49, you can buy six 32-ounce cartons from your local Costco. You could, but the question seems to be whether you should. While some did profess to enjoy the oat milk, most found the flavor of the Kirkland's version to be too sweet.

A glance at the product's nutrition label on Fooducate reveals why. For every cup, the oat milk has 7 grams of added sugar, or 29% the amount you are recommended to limit your daily intake to. Every carton, then, has had 28 grams of sugar added to it.

Oatly has suffered a similar castigation for its added sugar content. Last year, Food Navigator reported that due to a complaint lodged about how the production of oat milk creates simple sugars that are added to the drink, it removed the phrase "no added sugars" from its marketing. Last month, the rest of the world seemed to catch up with fans who had no idea that sugars were involved. However, nutritionists weighed in, suggesting that while diabetics should approach the drink with caution, other factors in the oat milk will mitigate the sugar.

Still, that does not explain what Kirkland Signature has hidden with the apparently hyper-sweetening "organic natural flavors" Fooducate lists as an ingredient. 

The truth about oat milk and sugars

All oat milk will contain a higher amount of sugars than other dairy and non-dairy options. This, as Refinery29 explains, is due to the fact that the carbohydrates of the grains used to make the milk break down into simple, natural sugars.

However, as mentioned by Food Navigator, these broken-down sugars are considered by many to be added sugars, so to discern whether the sugars are due to oats, sugar cane, or other sweeteners, you must rely on the transparency of the ingredient list. The overall takeaway that the dietitian Jorden Edinger, RDN, LD gives the Cleveland Clinic, however, is largely positive: "Oat milk can be enjoyed and included as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet that also includes plenty of colorful produce, healthy fats, and protein." While almond milk would be better for those keeping an eye on their carbs, oat milk could help those with nut allergies. 

Still, the market for oat milk has grown big enough that you do not need to subject yourself to overly sweet options like the ones offered at Costco. Sugar is one thing, a syrupy taste is another.