Being a Fussy Foodie/ Gluten Free

Are oats gluten free?

A question I am often asked is are oats gluten free? Well the not-so-straightforward answer is it depends!
Confused? Hopefully you won’t be after you have read this simple summary.

So are oats gluten free? Firstly, we need to clarify whether you have Coeliac Disease (i.e. a true allergy to gluten) or if you are gluten intolerant (i.e. you avoid wheat, rye and barley products for symptom relief of problems such as bloating, diarrhoea, etc.)  

Coeliac Disease

It is thought that completely pure, uncontaminated oats would be unlikely to trigger a reaction for most people with Coeliac Disease BUT (and this is a big but) during processing most oats and oat products on the market will be contaminated with gluten from wheat, rye or barley. The amount may be tiny but for someone with an allergy (which Coeliac Disease is) even a minute amount of gluten can cause bowel damage  and increased risk of health problems, even if symptoms are not obvious.

VERDICT:  Avoid oats unless advised otherwise by a doctor / specialist

Gluten Intolerance

If you don’t tolerate gluten in the diet but you do not have coeliac disease oats should be absolutely fine to include in your diet and can actually help with irritable bowel symptoms. Oats contain soluble fibre, which helps to soften stools and may ease bowel symptoms, whereas insoluble fibre (e.g bran, wheat) can be an irritant for some people.

VERDICT:  Oats are beneficial and should be included in the diet

I hope this answers the question of are oats gluten free?

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura
    June 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Just after I wrote this article someone enquired about whether oat milk is suitable for those on a gluten free diet. So I checked out the Oatly website – and I’m still not sure!! Here’s what they say…

    “Only top-quality oats are used. You’ll find as little as 6 other types of grain per 30 000 oats. However, we do recommend that you consult your doctor first”.

  • Reply
    sue
    October 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    re oats – to be gluton free can Scotts porridge oats and ready brek be ok then if having a gluton intolerance?
    Thanks in anticipation for your reply

  • Reply
    Beth
    October 31, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    It is generally accepted Coeliacs can only take 2 parts per million of gluten, hence if ‘6 other types of grain per 30000 oats’ are present then no oat milk is not gluten free.

  • Reply
    JohnB
    September 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Until I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, I was not truly aware of the amount of contaminants, bulking-out, and – put simply – adulteration that modern food suppliers give us. It is nothing short of a scandal. You soon learn the lessons about “pure food” – but you also learn quickly that, although most supermarkets advertise the availability of pure food (like GF oats) individual stores in a chain (such as Tesco, Asda) often decide not to stock such products. Following a coeliac diet (especially when also diabetic) is a real struggle for product availability.

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Just FYI, Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, not an allergy

  • Reply
    Anita
    March 26, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Thank goodness – I can actually try having porridge for breakfast [which I love]. I’m not a bread eater but because I’ve just been diagnosed with coeliac disease, thought I’d bake some because I was sick of just having a banana for breakfast. What a disaster [3 times – I’m a slow learner!]. I thought I couldn’t eat oats but I’m going to give it a try.
    A huge thank you.
    Anita

  • Reply
    bbc
    October 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    The unanswered question, are oats gluten free? It’s not useful to ask about tolerance levels if you are looking for said answer for your own interests.

    Whilst not exactly the same as gluten on a molecular lever, oats contain avenin. Avenin behaves like gluten and can cause similar effects in the gut as gluten.

    If oats feel like they have gluten in, and maybe cause side effects related with gluten, I’m led to believe it’s the avenin.

  • Reply
    Barbara Odonnell
    March 23, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I haven’t been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease but i have been put on a gluten free diet.i startyed with a rash last July which my doctor said it was an alegic reaction to somethiong but we didnt know what.. ive been taking anti histamines twice a day since then and seen a dermatologist twice , in due to see a consultant neext month, i come out with very very itchy tiny spots that when i touch them the itch seems to go right to the centre of my body i dont know if its a gluton intolerance or not but i itch andf itch sometimes till i bleed i need to know what is causing this as it is affecting my life

    • Reply
      Christopher zelnis
      September 23, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Hi I have this rash it gets very bad if you have wheat I seen my doctor and he’s gave me tablets DAPSONE.He said that I am one in a hundred to have this and they work but if I forget to take them they come back with a vengeance doctor said I’ll be on these for 6 year and I have to have blood tests too it’s starts with a test once 1 week then every 2 week then it go’s to once a month. Just to see if the tablets are ok for your body as these are for people who have leprosy hope this has helped you in anyway

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