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Oats

  • Most people with coeliac disease can eat gluten free oats.
  • Many standard oats are produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye, which makes them unsafe due to cross contamination.
  • A very small number of people are still sensitive to uncontaminated oats.

Oats contain avenin, which is a protein similar to gluten. However, research has shown that most people with coeliac disease can tolerate gluten free oats.

However problems can occur if oats are produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye, as the oats can become contaminated with these other grains. Only uncontaminated oats can be eaten by people with coeliac disease or sensitive to gluten.

A very small number of people with coeliac disease may still be sensitive to gluten free, uncontaminated oat products.

It’s up to you to decide whether to include gluten free oats in your diet – some people prefer not to try them. However, they do offer important benefits:

  • they can add variety to the gluten free diet
  • oats provide a good source of soluble fibre, which can maintain a healthy gut and may help to treat high cholesterol and keep blood sugars stable.

Oats and oat products that are not contaminated with other grains are listed in our Food and Drink Information.

Gluten free oats can be introduced to the diet at any stage. If you have ongoing symptoms or any concerns whilst including gluten free oats in your diet, please review their use with your health professional who can monitor you and give you specific advice. 

Labelling of oats

Oat products are often labelled as '100% oats', 'pure oats' or 'organic' oats. These terms do not tell you whether or not the product is free from contamination with gluten. We list uncontaminated oats in our Food and Drink Information.

It’s a legal requirement for grains which contain gluten, including oats, to be listed in an ingredients list if they have been used as a deliberate ingredient, regardless of the amount used. Read more about what to look for on food labels to help you find out what is suitable for you.

Uncontaminated oats that test at 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten or less may be labelled ‘gluten free’.

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