Whether oats can be consumed as part of a gluten free diet has been somewhat controversial as oats contain Avenin, a protein that distantly related to the protein in wheat.
In the USA and Europe, oat containing products can be labelled as gluten free. The Australian Food Standards however, do not allow use of the term gluten free for oat containing products, instead using the term ‘wheat free’.
For those with Coeliac disease, a strict gluten free diet needs to be followed to prevent long term complications of this autoimmune condition. Whilst pure oats are safely tolerated by most with Coeliac disease there is the potential for oats to trigger a harmful immune response in some. It is for this reason that in Australia, current recommendation is that oats not be included as part of a gluten free diet. For those with Coeliac disease wishing to reintroduce oats into their diet, they should do so under medical supervision.
For people with an intolerance to gluten, the consumption of oats may result in gastrointestinal symptoms however, it is not life-threatening and will not cause damage to the small bowel.
For more information on Coeliac disease, visit Coeliac Australia.
Disclaimer – This article is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Always consult a registered health professional regarding any health-related diagnosis or treatment options.