Oats and Coeliac Disease

One common confusion surrounding coeliac disease is whether it’s okay to eat oats.
Are oats gluten free?

Oats are naturally gluten free; however they are commonly cross contaminated with gluten. This can occur in the field or during processing due to contact with wheat, barley or rye crops. So no – standard oats are not suitable for people with coeliac disease.
What are gluten free oats?
Gluten free oats, such as the ranges by Bob’s Red Mill and Semper, are certified gluten free. This means they have been carefully prevented from cross contamination in the field and during processing. They have been formally tested and contain no more than 20 parts gluten per million. Coeliac UK has a useful list of uncontaminated oats which can be found in their directory.
What is avenin?
Avenin is a protein found in oats which has a similar structure to gluten. Some people (a very small amount) with coeliac disease react to this protein too so cannot tolerate oats (even gluten free ones).
Can people with coeliac disease eat gluten free oats?
Unfortunately there is no simple answer. The majority of people coeliac disease can safely eat gluten free oats and the current national advice is that they can be included from diagnosis. A very small amount of people still get symptoms when they eat gluten free oats. If this is you or you are concerned speak to your GP or registered Dietitian who can give you individualised advice.
Why are oats good to include in a gluten-free diet?
Oats are great to increase variety into your gluten-free diet. They are a whole grain and rich in soluble fibre. When eaten in the right amounts this soluble fibre can help maintain normal cholesterol levels and also help keep blood sugar levels stable after eating.
Where can you find gluten free oats?
You can find Semper Organic Gluten Free oats online at Ocado and Amazon.Bob’s Red Mill have a varied range of gluten free oats, from traditional rolled oats, quick cook oats, pinhead oats, oat bran and oat flour. Check out the range at Ocado,Holland and Barrett and Amazon.
Recipes and inspiration!

To give you some inspiration we are going to share our favourite oat based gluten-free breakfast recipes over the next few weeks. From simple home-made granola (trust us you will never want to buy it again) to Swiss style Bircher muesli (a perfect make-ahead on the go breakfast).
For those of you who cannot tolerate oats why not try Bob’s Red Mill 4 grain porridge? It is also gluten-free and does not contain oats – we will be sharing the best way to cook this too, soon.
We’d love to hear your experiences with gluten free oats, and your favourite recipes! Please share them with us by posting a comment, or via our facebook and twitterpages.