Oats: Gluten Free or Not?


The Gluten Free Position on Oats

Recent research indicates that, in moderation, oats may be safe for people with gluten sensitivities. Oats, although technically a gluten free grain, are usually processed in facilities that also process wheat or other glutenous grains, causing gluten cross-contamination. Several celiac organizations recommend avoiding oats on a gluten-free diet due to this.

Research suggests that pure, uncontaminated oats, (such as “Bob’s Red Mill pure/ tested wheat free Oats”) in moderation are safe for most persons with celiac disease.

Oats add soluble fibre and added nutrients to the gluten free diet that are otherwise lacking or have limited availability. Some studies indicate that compliance with the gluten free diet is increased when oats are included.

Some persons using oats may notice increased abdominal discomfort, gas and stool changes. This may be due to the increased fibre from oats. Introducing oats slowly may decrease this discomfort. Rarely, some persons with celiac disease may have a hypersensitivity to oats themselves. There is insufficient research to suggest if this is related to a gluten-like reaction or an allergic reaction.

The Gluten Intolerance Group Medical Advisory Board suggests consulting with a health professional before incorporating oats into a gluten-free diet.