Advice about eating oats as part of a gluten-free diet varies from country to country.
Oats contain avenin, which is a protein similar to gluten. However, research has shown that most people with celiac disease can safely eat avenin. However, a small percentage of the celiac population are intolerant to avenin so even gluten free oats are unsafe for them. Unfortunately there is no test at present to ascertain whether you are intolerant to avenin.
Problems can occur if oats are produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye, as the oats can become contaminated with these other grains. Only oats which are uncontaminated can be eaten by people with celiac disease.
There are a very small number of people with celiac disease who may still be sensitive to gluten-free, uncontaminated oat products.
It’s up to you to decide whether to include gluten-free oats in your diet. Some people prefer not to try them. However, they:
- can add variety to the gluten-free diet
- are a good source of soluble fiber, which helps to keep a healthy gut, can help to treat high cholesterol and can help to keep blood sugars stable.
Gluten-free oats may be introduced to the diet at any stage, however, a small percentage of people with celiac disease are sensitive to gluten-free oats. If you have ongoing symptoms or any concerns whilst including gluten free oats in your diet, please review their use with your health professional who can monitor you and give you specific advice.
Adapted from Coeliac UK