Are you gluten-free? Are you an oat lover? If so, you probably eat them pretty frequently. When you do, do you experience gut problems afterward? If you can answer yes to that too, then you’re in the right place. 

Oats, gluten free of course,  are commonly recommended to include in a gluten-free diet because of the many nutritional benefits they offer. For individuals with celiac disease or other similar conditions, they are a great natural source of fiber, as well as zinc, magnesium, thiamine, and phosphorus. They can also help to slow down a person’s appetite and reduce inflammation. 

Besides the nutritional and health value, they’re an easy meal when you’re on the go, are fairly cost-effective, and can be found at most grocery stores. Although they may be convenient and considered gluten free, some people can still have some gastrointestinal problems after eating oats. The problem isn’t that the gut can’t tolerate the oats; it’s a bit more complicated than that. After going gluten free, the gut has to take time to heal before things can go back to normal in your body. The oats have to be broken down in order for a body to get any nutrients from them; if the gut isn’t healed, it isn’t going to be strong enough to complete this process in an efficient manner. 

An article from 2014 by the Celiac Disease Foundation specified symptoms that may occur post-oat consumption including (but not limited to) bloating, cramping, or other types of gut discomfort. Specifically, the avenin in the oats will trigger a reaction from the gluten reactive T-cells which causes the types of aforementioned gut problems. 

Also referenced is a study conducted to examine these reactions, among other reactions that can happen after consuming oats. The study utilized store-bought oats and measured what type and how severe a reaction was in participants if any occurred. Overall, they found evidence corroborating the aforementioned commonly experienced side effects; however, it was only noted in 8% of participants in the study. 

In a general sense, there are a number of reasons why people experience problems after eating oats. From the study, the researchers suggested that eating over the recommended daily source could lead to increased symptoms. Additionally, the large amount of fiber oats adds to a diet – one of the most notable benefits – can also cause discomfort in the gut. 

Perhaps the most intriguing cause is a phenomenon called the “nocebo” effect. Harvard Health describes this as the opposite of the placebo effect. If a person believes that something negative will happen to them, there’s a higher chance that it will. Participants in the research study who fell under the “nocebo” category could have entered with a negative attitude about the research, perhaps anticipating the problems they might have after consuming oats. 

While the study determined that consuming oats does not cause a major enough reaction to eliminate them from a diet completely, monitoring the amount eaten and any side effects that happen is still advised from celiac disease researchers. 

Having problems after consuming oats is not simply a biological issue, it also has roots in the food production industry. In 2016, the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease (NASSCD) provided a statement on including oats in a gluten-free diet and their classification as gluten-free food. While they acknowledge that including oats in a diet has many nutritional benefits, individuals must ensure that the oats they are getting are actually fully gluten-free. The current process used to manufacture oats is in a combined environment with other types of gluten, such as wheat and barley. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but how they are processed in the field, in the packaging facility, and handled on the way to the grocery store matters. Improper procedures can lead to cross-contamination in the oats, which exposes a person to gluten that can harm their digestive tract. 

The push for food companies to improve the inspection and processing of gluten-free food is nothing new. Those who eat gluten-free for a medical condition such as celiac disease have long been advocating for better quality products for years. Having companies use better processes to eliminate as much gluten as possible from the oats will serve as a preventative factor for those who consume them regularly. By being aware of where food is sourced and how it is made, those who are gluten-free will also be able to better track their own health and be more prepared if they do experience problems. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends searching for pure oats, although most commercially available oats contain trace amounts of gluten that can contribute to gut problems. 

This is why we offer pure gluten-free oats that are tested to 5ppm, we work with a co-packer with ingredients from reliable sources, and their facility is dedicated gluten free, ensuring Eating Gluten Free Oats are gluten free, at an extremely clean environment from the field to the package. 

At the end of the day, a gluten-free diet is necessary for those with conditions like celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Adding foods like oats can provide a variety in a limited diet which is a bonus for many, especially those just starting a gluten-free diet.  Remember to be informed and aware of the side effects you can experience from eating too much of them, or oats that aren’t gluten free.  And if you are searching for certified gluten-free oats, we have them stocked in our online store. Visit annae31.sg-host.com to learn more about our products and living a gluten-free lifestyle.