People with celiac disease or who are sensitive to gluten should be especially careful with the food they eat. Any slip could cause a fatal digestive episode. To avoid this type of experience, it is advisable to be aware of foods free of this protein.
Oatmeal is gluten free
Pure oats are gluten-free and safe for most people with gluten intolerance. However, it is often contaminated with gluten because it can be processed in the same facility as grains that contain gluten, such as wheat, rye, and barley.
Studies show that most people with celiac disease or a wheat allergy can eat 50 to 100 grams of plain oatmeal per day without adverse effects. In addition, some countries recommend including this cereal in a gluten-free diet. Some studies indicate that people who take it with celiac disease have better intestinal healing than people who avoid it.
Pure, uncontaminated oats are also safe for people with a wheat allergy. So it is not only beneficial for those sensitive to gluten.
could be contaminated
Although this grain itself is gluten-free, it is often grown alongside other crops. The same material is routinely used to harvest crops in neighboring fields, generating cross contamination if one of those cultures contains gluten.
The sowing seed can also be impure and contain a small number of wheat, rye or barley seeds. Additionally, products made from oats are often processed, prepared, and packaged in the same facility as products that contain gluten. So it’s no surprise that studies looking at regular oat products identified gluten levels that far exceed the standard for gluten-free foods.
One study found that products contained more than 200 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, on average. Just 20 ppm of gluten may be enough to cause a reaction in someone with celiac disease. This high risk of contamination means that it is not safe to include conventionally grown oats in a strict gluten-free diet.
Specifically, several companies have begun processing oats with clean equipment and growing them in designated gluten-free fields. These oats may be marketed as gluten-free and must contain less than 20 ppm gluten. Still, even gluten-free labels may not be completely reliable. One study found that gluten levels exceeded safe limits in 5% of products labeled gluten-free.
However, 100% of the oat products passed the test, which means that in most cases you can trust labels that certify that oats and oatmeal do not contain this protein.