Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?

0 Comments | June 8, 2014

Is Oatmeal Gluten Free? 

Is oatmeal gluten free, or does it pose a risk for people with celiac disease? It’s possible for this seemingly innocent food to cause an adverse reaction. It depends on a number of different factors.

  • A small percentage of the celiac population does have a sensitivity to avenin (the form of glutinous protein found in oats). These people must avoid oats just as they would wheat, barley, and rye.
  • Oats are often contaminated with gluten from wheat. The two grains may be grown in adjacent fields, processed on the same threshing and milling equipment, and stored or transported in the same containers. Unless the equipment is thoroughly cleaned after each contact with wheat, some of the wheat dust can mix in with the oats.
  • Instant oatmeal can have many different additives that contain gluten. These might be listed as thickeners or flavorings.

The safest way to ensure oatmeal has no gluten is to buy oats that are labelled as gluten free. These oats are processed using special procedures to reduce the risk of contamination from wheat. Adding fruit, butter, brown sugar, or other items after cooking is a smart way to enhance the flavor. Of course, cooking steel cut oats can take longer than cooking instant oatmeal. Fortunately, instant varieties of oatmeal in many different flavors are now available in gluten free brands.

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