Are oats gluten free? This may be a question some people may have when they first hear about a diet that includes oats as part of its regimen. The fact is, oats are completely gluten free. However, there are some cases where people with special health conditions or allergic reactions may want to avoid consuming oats altogether.
In the late 1990s, there was a major recall when 21 different cereals were put on the market all claiming to be gluten free. The reason why oatmeal was previously tested positive for celiac disease was because it was often contaminated with wheat gluten during the milling, harvesting and packaging phases. Oat groats resemble other grains such as barley, so the same machinery are used to make and package oatmeal which is then processed by three different phases. The end result of these three processing steps is gluten. Therefore, oats naturally contain gluten, but not enough to cause a negative reaction.
For most people, oats are fine to eat as part of a healthy breakfast or brunch and there are no significant health concerns associated with consuming oatmeal. However, individuals who have either Celiac Disease or a wheat allergy may want to stay away from oats as part of their diet. This is due to the high quantities of gluten that can be found in non-organic oats. Additionally, the gluten in non-organic oat can mimic the protein that is found in wheat, which may cause some people to have a wheat allergy.
However, is oatmeal truly gluten free? There are several brands of oatmeal available on the market today that is free from barley and wheat and some of these brands actually use honey as an added sweetener. However, many health food or natural food stores do not carry these types of cereals and baking products, so shoppers should check various websites online or in small specialty shops for gluten-free Cheerios. In addition, many health food or natural food stores will only carry a limited amount of gluten free Cheerios due to the cost, so shoppers need to keep an eye on their pantry and freezer in order to keep enough supply on hand.
Many of the smaller bakers of gluten-free oats have started offering oat bran muffins and oat breads as well as other specialty bread products in their stores. These specialty breads and products are made using the highest quality ingredients, so they still retain the benefits of being a healthy food. However, many health food or natural food stores do not carry these products, so shoppers need to find a local bakery in their area that sells these types of products. Some supermarkets do carry oat-free snacks and treats, but they are typically only found in the organic section, so shoppers need to keep an eye on their local grocery store coupons and their local newspaper coupons. In addition, many local oat and wheat farmers markets will only carry one brand of gluten-free oats, so it is up to the shopper to find an obscure brand so that they can get the best deal.
One thing to keep in mind is that although many gluten-free products and breads claim to be “gluten-free oats”, they may still contain trace amounts of wheat or other ingredient. In addition, many celiac disease patients experience digestive problems when consuming oats, which means that if they have this problem before purchasing a product that contains oats, they should definitely avoid it. When shopping for an oats-free snack or other product, read all of the ingredients to make sure that there are no trace amounts of wheat or other grain in them, and check the label to make sure that it is gluten-free. If possible, choose one of the many brands of oats that is safe to eat every day without having to worry about digestive issues.