Oats are a satisfying and fiber-rich grain which, in many cases, are used as a substitute for wheat in sweet snacks and breakfast foods. Pure oats are inherently gluten-free, as oat proteins differ from the proteins found in wheat, barley and rye which have a toxic effect on people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
For those who are on a gluten-free diet but aren’t celiac or highly sensitive to gluten, normal oats should not have an adverse effect. In the FDA’s gluten-free labeling requirements, oats are not listed as a prohibited grain.
The problem for people who are highly sensitive to gluten and those with celiac is that oats, wheat and barley are usually grown next to eachother in the fields and are processed on the same equipment, leading to the possibility of cross-contamination.
Luckily, there are more and more brands that are coming out with gluten-free oats, a designation that means that the oats have been grown and processed in dedicated facilities that are free of cross-contamination.
Research has shown that most celiac patients can tolerate a moderate amount of oats, although there is a small percentage of people with celiac for whom a protein in oats called avenin triggers an immune response similar to gluten. However, to be safe, when buying oat products, look for the “gluten-free” wording on the label or a gluten-free certification.
Below are some of our favorite products containing gluten-free oats:
- Boulder Granola’s gluten-free/dairy-free original granola
- Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal which comes in a variety of fruity and sweet flavors
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats