Oats And Oatmeal Contain Gluten – Really?
Oats are naturally free of gluten but often get contaminated with gluten from other grains. So, what should gluten sensitive individuals do? Well, let us find out!
Gluten – what is the problem with it?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. However, it can pose a serious threat to those people who have gluten intolerance. Gluten can be tricky to digest for some people who have gluten intolerance or celiac disease. If a person has celiac disease, their body launches an autoimmune response that damages the intestine lining. However, this problem is not there in most individuals, they can eat gluten without any second thought. But those who have gluten sensitivity, even a tiny bit can result in trouble. So, such people need a gluten free diet to avoid health implications.
Oats – Are they gluten free?
Pure oats are free of gluten and are considered safe for most individuals having gluten intolerance. Now the question is- Do Oats And Oatmeal Contain Gluten? Yes, oats are most often contaminated with gluten as it is processed in the same machinery that processes grains like wheat, barley and rye (they contain gluten).
Studies state that most people with celiac disease and wheat allergy can consume up to 50 to 100 g of oats a day without facing any adverse effects. Also, a few studies have found that celiac disease sufferers who included oats in their gluten free diet had better intestinal healing when compared to those patients who did not.
Pure oats are free of gluten and are safe for those who have gluten sensitivity. But you need to be sure that the oats you are about to eat are not contaminated with gluten containing grains.
At times oats are grown alongside gluten containing crops and the same equipment that is used for gluten containing grains is used for oats too. This can lead to cross contamination.
As already mentioned, mostly the same equipments are used for processing and packaging oats and gluten containing grains. That is why it is not surprising to find that oat products have levels of gluten that exceed the standard set for gluten-free foods. The worst part is that something as little as 20 ppm of gluten is enough to cause a reaction in a person having celiac disease!
Many companies have come forward to grow and process oats in gluten free fields and with separate machinery. Such oats can be called gluten free!!
Avenin in oats can cause problems for some
After the contamination risk is ruled out, there is still trouble as there are some people with celiac disease that cannot tolerate pure oats as it contains a protein called avenin. It can cause problems as its structure is similar to that of gluten. The majority of gluten sensitive folks don’t react to avenin but a small percentage of celiac disease patients can react to avenin. Such people cannot have even gluten-free oats!
Oats in a gluten-free diet
Oats are generally healthy and when they are 100% gluten-free you can easily include them in your diet. Please read labels and satisfy yourself before buying oats if you are gluten-sensitive. It would be even better to ask your doc if you can include oats in your gluten-free diet.
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