Does oatmeal have gluten?

There is no wheat content in oatmeal. Thus, oatmeal or pure oatmeal products do not contain gluten.

A gluten free diet is one of the primary ways for celiac disease patients to avoid allergic reactions to gluten. Over the past many decades, oatmeal was not a part of such diets. Experts at that time were of the opinion that oats induced adverse gastrointestinal reactions similar to the toxic effects of barley, wheat, and rye in patients with gluten-allergy.

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Recent research has however indicated that oatmeal can be safely eaten by most adults and children suffering from celiac disease. It may however be noted that oatmeal can get contaminated when it is getting processed, especially in plants that also process barley, wheat, rye, and other gluten-containing food crops.

Recent studies about oatmeal containing gluten

The Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology had recently published a study which showed that subjects who ate oats as part of a gluten free diet did not experience an alarming rise in the levels of Immunoglobulin Ain comparison to the other test group which did not eat oatmeal. It was thus concluded that oats do not cause adverse reactions in celiac disease patients.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics announced in 2003 that people with celiac disease can safely eat oatmeal. However, the announcement also elucidated on varied related restrictions, including the fact that patients should consume only ½ a cup of pure oatmeal on a daily basis.

In recent times, scientists have made use of only uncontaminated pure oats to carry out research work. They concluded that only a fraction of people with gluten allergy do not possess the ability to endure oats. Further research is currently being carried out to find out the reasons behind such intolerance.

Another study involving the use/testing of 9 varieties of oats on celiac disease patients however indicated that certain types of oats did cause toxic reactions in them than other types, notwithstanding the factory that processed the oatmeal.

The positive results of the extensive research work and numerous studies have encouraged doctors and celiac organizations to currently advocate the addition of pure uncontaminated oatmeal in gluten free diets, albeit in moderate quantities. The Canadian Celiac Association’s professional advisory board has also laid down specific regulations. As per the statement issued by the board, children with celiac disease can safely eat 20 to 25 grams of pure dry rolled oats per day, while adult patients can consume up to 50 to 70 grams on a daily basis.

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Find the right kind of oatmeal!

Celiac disease patients need to remember that a majority of oatmeal products available in the markets are generally contaminated with other gluten-containing grains. Such adulteration can occur during harvest, storage, transportation, processing, milling, and/or packaging. It is therefore important for gluten allergy patients to consume only those brands of oatmeal, oats, and oat flour that are guaranteed by the producers as having no traces of gluten.

Some well-known growers and manufacturers who offer pure gluten-free oatmeal are listed below:

  • GF Harvest, previously called Gluten-Free Oats, has many gluten-free products in its kitty. It offers whole-kernel oats, oat groats, rolled oats, whole-grain oat flour, and granola. The company is also famous for its very popular gluten-devoid organic oat products.
  • Bob’s Red Mill has a variety of gluten-free oat foods, totaling to more than 50 types. A few examples include rolled oats, oat bran, quick-cook oats, thick rolled oats, and steel-cut oats.
  • Holly’s Oatmeal is known for its gluten-free oatmeal available in regular and eclectic flavors, including the delectable cranberry flavor. Consumers can also custom blend such oatmeal.
  • Cream Hill Estates guarantees that all its oatmeal products, such as oat flour, groats, and rolled oats, etc., are pure and 100% gluten-free.
  • NoNuttin, Montana Monster Munchies, Glutenfreeda Foods, Montana’s Gifts of Nature, and Avena Foods are also known for their uncontaminated gluten-free oatmeal products.

Oatmeal Use Guidelines

  • Oatmeal is full of nutrients and a great addition to a restrictive gluten-free diet. Patients should however consult a physician or a dietician before commencing the intake of uncontaminated oatmeal and oat products.
  • Ensure that celiac disease is under control and that the general health is stable before adding oatmeal to a gluten-free diet.
  • Consume oats in moderate amounts, always follow the dosage recommended by the nutritionist, and never veer from it.
  • In the initial days, be on the lookout for any health changes or abnormal symptoms. Immediately consult a doctor in case of adverse reactions.
    • It may however be noted that gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating,and/or changes in stool are common early on. These symptoms will automatically abate once the body adjusts to the intake of oats.
    • Drink lots of fluids, juices, and water to overcome the dehydrating effects of fiber-rich oatmeal.

Oatmeal Shopping Guidelines

  • Do not eat oatmeal in restaurants as they can get contaminated in the kitchen.
  • Always verify if the oatmeal product is gluten free by checking the label.
  • Do not shop from bulk bins as the same scoop could have been used for gluten-rich grains like wheat, etc.


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