It is usually easy to tell when certain foods like bread, pizza and cookies are gluten-free. Gluten-free foods and flour-based foods always differ in taste, color and texture. But, how can you tell if oat-based products are gluten-free? Is regular oatmeal truly gluten-free? Can you substitute oats when baking? Here we will discover just how safe oats are for Celiacs and whether or not to use them in day-to-day life.
Pure rolled oats do not actually contain gluten. However, most brands of oats and oatmeal are are cross-contaminated with tiny particles of wheat or rye because they are manufactured in gluten-filled facilities. Therefore, most oats cannot be safely consumed by those who have gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.
Fortunately, there are now special gluten-free oats on the market. These are made in a completely gluten-free facility specifically for gluten intolerants and/or Celiacs. So, when you are shopping for oats and oatmeal, just make sure that the product has “gluten-free” clearly printed on the front of the package.
Also, when you are baking at home, all you have to do is substitute the regular oats used in the recipe for gluten-free oats. These special oats look and feel identical to the oats made in a gluten-filled environment, so they will work perfectly with any cookie recipe. In addition, there is almost no difference between them in taste and texture.
Most of the leading oat brands sell the gluten-free alternative. For example, Bob’s Red Mill sells special gluten-free oats, but, be sure to check the label before you buy a bag as this brand also offers regular oats. The same goes for Quaker’s brand oats. There are also specific gluten-free brands such as, GF Harvest and Glutenfreeda Foods, which manufacture oats in their purest form.
Keep in mind, though, that gluten-free oatmeal may not be the solution for you if you have a severe case of Celiac disease. As well as being allergic to gluten, a small percentage of Celiacs react to avenin, the main protein found in oats. If this is the case, you may be forced to cut oats out of your diet along with those other gluten-filled grains.
Oats are definitely a confusing prospect in a gluten-free diet, especially if you have Celiac disease. It can be very hard to tell which kinds of oats are gluten-free and which kinds are not.
The one method that is recommended by all is to read the labels of oat brands carefully and to try eating different ones in order to find out what works for you.