The Oat Controversy
Oats are a species within the grass tribe Aveneae, which is in the Pooideae subfamily along with Triticeae (contains wheat, rye, barley and many other genera). Oats are the most closely related cereal species to Triticeae cereals. Some, but not all, cultivars of oat contain the pathogenic proteins that provoke a response in gluten sensitive individuals and those with celiac disease. Alternatively, oat seeds appear similar to seeds of wheat, barley and rye; cross-contamination between these grains is difficult to resolve.
Some doctors argue that oats themselves are in fact gluten-free, but simply get contaminated by other products in transportation and handling. Others insist that oats may inherently contain gluten. For people with celiac disease, it may be best to simply avoid eating oats, but for those with very mild gluten-sensitivities, some are able to get by with eating them. Other options available include ensuring that when at the store you buy the brands that specify that the oats are gluten free, and therefore safe to eat for those with sensitivities and those with celiac disease. The cross contamination of gluten-free food with gluten is high, and not limited to just oats, but for all products, so buyers should be careful to read the label and ensure that the product was not made on shared equipment, prior to purchasing it.Further information: Oat-sensitive celiac disease
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