OK In Health - Gluten Free Goodness

Oats! To Eat or Not to Eat? - June 2018

Can oats be a safe part of a gluten free diet

By Cathy Lauer

Are oats gulten-free

That is the question plaguing many celiacs and those with gluten intolerance. For those newly diagnosed it is a question that they get mixed answers about and adds to the confusion they already feel. It is also a question that our editor has been asked often at events she attends and is unsure of the proper answer to give people. Armed with Health Canada and the Canadian Celiac Association’s position on oats this will hopefully help you to make an informed decision for yourself.

The following are excerpts from the Canadian Celiac Associations position on oats in the gluten free diet followed by Health Canada’s position on the topic.

 

“The safety of oats in individuals with celiac disease has been extensively investigated. Clinical evidence confirms that consumption of pure, uncontaminated oats is safe in the amount of 50 to 70 grams per day (1/2 – 3/4 cup dry rolled oats) by adults and 20 to 25 grams per day (1/4 cup dry rolled oats) by children with celiac disease. Studies looking at the consumption of oats over five years have confirmed their safety. However, the studies looking at safety of oats in celiac disease have involved a small number of subjects, the oats used were pure, free of gluten contamination and the amount allowed per day was also limited.

In Canada, pure and uncontaminated* oats are now being produced. Individuals with celiac disease who wish to add oats or oat products to their diet must ensure that the oats they are eating are free from gluten contamination.

A small number of individuals with celiac disease may not tolerate even pure, uncontaminated oats. To ensure that persons with celiac disease are not intolerant to pure and uncontaminated oats, proper clinical follow up with the physician is advised when introducing oats to a gluten-free diet.”

“Historically, the safety of oats in a gluten-free diet has been an issue of debate. Based on an extensive review of the scientific literature, Health Canada has concluded that the majority of people with CD can tolerate moderate amounts of pure oats, uncontaminated with other cereal grains such as wheat, barley and rye. The literature also suggests that pure oats can be beneficial to those individuals with CD who tolerate it, and its palatability may help to increase compliance with a gluten-free diet. Pure oats are an important source of proteins and carbohydrates, especially fibre, and would permit a wider choice of foods for celiac individuals when selecting foods within the grains and cereals category.”

As you can see, in spite of all the research that has been done, there is not a 100% guarantee that you will be able to eat pure oats. If you have a naturopath you may want to get a Vega test done to determine if you are also sensitive to pure oats. This may help you to decide for yourself if you want to eat it or not.

Fortunately for those who can have pure oats there are suppliers that are Canadian. One is in Saskatchewan, Only Oats by Avena Foods and the other in Quebec, Pure Oats by Cream Hill Estates. Both companies have very strict rules and regulations that they must follow to ensure that their oats is in fact pure and gluten free. Both sell their oats in a variety of different cuts from whole grain oats to oat flour depending on what you are planning to do with it. Only Oats has also developed a line of baking mixes for cookies, pancakes and muffins. Their web site also includes a recipe section for you to check out. What a bonus for those who can have pure oats in their diet.

I have baked with pure oats for other people and it is a really great addition to the gluten free flour mix as well as a great way to add fibre. The taste and texture are also improved by the addition of pure oats flour and pure oats flakes. We unfortunately are among the cannot-have-oats minority. After one of my pure oats baking experiments for a friend my youngest daughter and I decided to taste test the products. My daughter experienced a severe gastro intestinal reaction after eating only 2 cookies and my throat was tight for several hours after eating only 1 cookie. Lesson learned! After noting our reaction my older daughter decided not to try the cookies as she is the most sensitive to gluten. Smart girl! Being the experimenter that I am I was willing to give it another try so the next time I made cookies for my friend I pulsed the oats in the food processor before making the cookies thinking that maybe the whole flakes did not cook long enough before I ate them (I have an allergy to raw foods) Alas, although the tightness in my throat was not as severe as the first time the answer was pretty clear. No oats!

I am not advocating using yourself as a guinea pig to try out pure oats. If you have left it out of your diet on your doctor or naturopath’s recommendation then I would advise you to stick to that advice. If however you have never tested positive for an allergy or sensitivity to pure oats why not talk to your doctor and then follow the Canadian Celiac Associations recommendations regarding oats and see if you can successfully add it back into your diet. Just be sure you are using a pure oats so if you do have a reaction you will know it is truly the oats and not a reaction to wheat or gluten in a contaminated brand of oats.

For those wishing more information on the pure oats companies or to read the research by Health Canada you can follow the links provided below.

Canadian Celiac Association - www.celiac.ca/?s=oats

Health Canada - www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/allerg/cel-coe/oats_cd-avoine-eng.php

Cream Hill Estates – Pure Oats www.creamhillestates.com/en_oats_celiac_disease.php Avena Foods - Only Oats www.avenafoods.com

Happy Baking!

 

References

  • Health Canada
  • Canadian Celiac Association
  • Avena Foods
  • Cream Hill Estates



Cathy LauerCathy's Bio: Cathy Lauer has been cooking/baking gluten/dairy free for 17 years. She has written 3 all baking cookbooks and has a gluten free baking blog/store. In her spare time she loves to garden in a big way with fruit, vegetable and flower gardens. She is a classically trained singer and loves to read and collect recipe books. She homeschools her youngest son (11) and has 3 grown children and is grandmother of 2. Cathy's Gluten Free Creations Ltd. Gourmet Gluten Free Baking. Cookbooks and Baking Mixes. 250-758-5232 - Cathy Lauer Website - Email


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