Gluten intolerance is an allergy that is being increasingly detected in many Western countries.
The problem is gluten, a protein, is used in so many different products and recipes. Of critical interest is whether gluten in present in oats.
Unfortunately the answer is complicated. Part of the problem is there is currently no effective test for all the different proteins and this has led to some confusion.
Products labelled gluten free in the USA and Europe would be labelled wheat free in Australia meaning there is no measurable contamination with wheat, rye or barley.
While there is a lot of well informed literature on the subject it is a bit of a maze.
Here’s a few starting points:
Coeliac Australia is advised by a Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), made up of Australia’s leading gastroenterologists, coeliac disease researchers, immunologists, dietitians and medical practitioners.
The advice is publishes is based on evidence from the MAC. It is based on current research and keeos the public informed on up to date best practice for diagnosis and management of coeliac disease.
There’s also a helpline phone number: 1300 458 836
The truth is that pure oats are gluten-free and safe for most people with gluten intolerance.
However, oats are often contaminated with gluten because they may be processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye and barley.
Studies show that most people with celiac disease or wheat allergy can eat 50–100 grams of pure oats per day without adverse effects.
One study followed 106 celiac disease patients for 8 years. More than half of the participants ate oats daily and none experienced negative effects.
Additionally, a few studies found that celiac disease patients in countries that recommended including oats in a gluten-free diet had better intestinal healing than patients in countries that did not.
Since pure oats are gluten-free, they're usually safe for people with a wheat allergy as long as they're not contaminated with wheat.
The summary is most people who are gluten intolerant can safely eat pure oats. This includes people with celiac disease.
We took a look at the Gluten Dude as he’s one of the best known bloggers on the topic. Bloggers can be notoriously ego centric but when you find a genuine impartial expert on a topic they are a valuable resource.
Here’s an example of the type of discussion takes on:
Last week, I got a private message on Facebook from a fellow celiac. In 2015, she emailed Company X (I’ll explain this in a bit), who makes granola labeled “Gluten Free”, if the oats used in their granola were indeed gluten-free. Their response:
“No, our oats are not “certified”. In researching this question, while oats are considered free of gluten, cross contamination with other crops in the fields or other ingredients in a commercial kitchen space could occur. We do our best to keep our granola as pure as possible, and we are considering within the year to use certified organic oats. Have a happy healthy day!”
My quick reaction: They had to research the question? Seriously? They have a product labeled gluten free and they had to research the question? Ok then.