I recently received a question from a friend asking where they can get Gluten-Free Oats from… and it made me think that perhaps other people are looking for the same thing as well.
So as a bit of a ‘research lover’ I set out to find some more information…
Firstly, what are Oats?
Wikipedia defines Oats as:
“The oat (Avena sativa), sometimes called the common oat, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name. While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed.”
Irina Macri describes them as:
The oat plant is a species of cereal grain, grown for the edible seeds or ‘groats’. Once the husk is removed from the groat, it may be left whole, or processed into rolled oats (steamed and rolled flat), oatmeal (chopped into small pieces), or ground into oat flour.
So are they ‘gluten-free’?
This is where things get complicated…
The term ‘gluten’ is used to collectively describe the parts of grain storage protein (‘prolamins’) from wheat, rye, barley and oats that are toxic to people with coeliac disease. The prolamins from each grain are called something different: Wheat – Gliadin; Barley – Hordein; Rye – Secalin; Oats – Avenin. In people with coeliac disease, ingestion of these prolamins results in an immune reaction.
The current tests for gluten in food can measure gliadin, hordein, and secalin but not avenin, as it is a slightly different protein. Accordingly, the Australian Food Standards Code prohibits the use of a ‘gluten free’ claim on oat containing products.
The Australian food standard differs to the regulations in Europe and the USA, where oats can be marketed as ‘gluten free’. More accurately, these ‘gluten free’ oats are the equivalent of oats labelled ‘wheat free’ in Australia, i.e. there is no measurable contamination with wheat, rye or barley.
Another question people ask is “Are Oats Paleo?”
“Many people avoid oats on the paleo diet because (like other grains and legumes) they contain antinutrients which contribute to leaky gut, cause inflammation, weaken the immune system, and trigger autoimmune disease.” Read more here.
In our household there half of us can eat oats and the other half don’t. We don’t have anyone with an ‘immune reaction’ to gluten, just intolerances, and I personally don’t eat them as I need to avoid grains. We get our oats through our local co-op (at a bulk price) and love them. Take a look at them here at Honest to Goodness.
If you can eat Oats and enjoy your porridge be sure to take a look at my Pecan Spice Porridge with Chia recipe here.
To read more in-depth information about Oats & Gluten check out these great links:
Organic Door – “Why Can’t Oats be Labelled Gluten Free In Australia?”
Australian Gluten-Free Life
Coeliac – Oats and the Gluten Free Diet
Marks Daily Apple – “Are Oats Healthy?”
Eat Drink Paleo – “Are Oats & Oatmeal Paleo?”
Take a look at these “Gluten-Free” & “Low-Gluten” Oats available:
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated or sponsored by any of the above mentioned companies or products. These views are my own.