Do oats contain gluten? We take a look at the facts.

January 6, 2017 10:06 am Published by 1 Comment

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you need definitive answers as to which foods do and don’t contain gluten. It should be straightforward, but it’s often not. And the answer to this question – do oats contain gluten? – isn’t quite as simple as you might think! Read on and we’ll try to untangle all the facts about oats and gluten.

Gluten or not? We take a look.

Do these oats contain gluten?

Do oats contain gluten? No, they don’t

Do oats contain gluten? Not in their natural form.

No gluten here…

Wheat, barley and rye contain a protein called gluten. Oats do not contain gluten. ‘Relatives’ of wheat, barley and rye – such as spelt, einkorn and kamut – contain gluten. Oats still do not.

Do oats contain gluten? Yes, they do

Oats don’t naturally contain gluten, but by the time they reach your porridge bowl, they often do. This is because farmers tend to use the same fields, machinery and methods of transportation for oats as for their other crops, which do contain gluten. Oats may be grown in fields containing residues of previous crops, or grown in fields next to other crops, with plenty of scope for contamination; oats may be harvested by machinery that’s just been used for wheat, or transported in a vehicle or container that’s just been used for barley. While basic measures are obviously taken to ensure that your bag of oats isn’t in fact a bag of oats+wheat+barley, the kind of intense cleaning you’d need to eradicate any trace of gluten doesn’t usually happen.

If contamination doesn’t happen at the farm, it might well happen in the factory or manufacturing facility where the oats are packaged or processed.

A bag of oats thus contains gluten.

Do oats contain gluten? Oh no, they don’t

These oats are guaranteed to be free of gluten

Gluten-free porridge oats: as it says on the label

Lots of manufacturers and farmers are well aware of the problems contamination can cause and thus they make sure that it doesn’t happen. Farms use dedicated fields, machinery and transport options for gluten-free products; factories operate entirely on gluten-free lines. The oats that come out of these facilities are tested to ensure that they adhere to gluten-free guidelines (currently, that they contain gluten in no greater quantities than 20 parts per minimum). At Naturally Good Food we sell these certified gluten-free oats, both porridge and jumbo oats, organic and non-organic, in a range of pack sizes. We also sell gluten-free processed products that contain certified gluten-free oats, such as these oatcakes.

Oh yes, they do

(It is panto season after all….) There’s one extra complicating factor. Oats contain avenin – a protein that’s very similar to gluten (it’s sometimes described as being a ‘type’ of gluten). About 5% of people who react badly to gluten also react badly to avenin. This type of gluten is found in all oats, including those certified gluten-free.

Crystal clear?

It may be a forlorn hope, but perhaps this blog has helped to clear up some of the issues surrounding gluten and oats. The current guidelines from Coeliac UK encourage people to include gluten-free oats in their diet from the very start – stopping only if problems occur. This way, you’re not unnecessarily ruling out the nutritional benefits of oats (including their great supply of soluble fibre and steady source of energy). If you’re interested in exploring our gluten-free section for oats and other products, click here. And if you’re unconvinced, do remember that there are plenty of grains that can be used in place of oats – click here to see all our gluten-free grains.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: , , , , ,

This post was written by Yzanne

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *