So what's the deal with oats and celiac disease?
The following transcript is taken from The Healthy Celiac Podcast. If you would prefer to listen to this episode, you can do so here.
This is one of the most controversial topics in Australia. There's just so much misinformation being spread. Now, the thing is we have different rules for oats here in Australia, compared to other countries. I mean, we've got different regulations in Australia for gluten as a whole as to what America does. So in Australia, we are not allowed to have any gluten at all in any of our products that are labeled gluten free . Whereas in America, they're allowed to have 20 parts per million in their labeled gluten free food. We really have very, very strict rules here in Australia. So in Australia oats are not allowed to be labeled gluten-free and oats are not allowed to be in any products whatsoever that have the gluten-free label on them.
Now I did a little bit of a Google search the other day, and I typed in gluten-free oats, just out of curiosity. And I found three different websites in Australia that were selling gluten-free oats, and they were advertising them as gluten free oats. It was even written on the packaging. So this is disgraceful because this is very confusing. And this is why people here in Australia ask the question all the time, because they don't know what's going on. They don't really know what the truth is.
Many people are under the impression that oats contain gluten. Now that's actually not exactly true. So let's talk about this and get to the bottom of it. So oats are not gluten free because there's a lot of risk of cross-contamination. So in America you can buy what's called uncontaminated oats, right? There's also wheat free oats, which means they haven't been cross-contaminated with any of the other grains that contain gluten, because that's what apparently happens is these crops are in high rotation with each other. And there's this high risk of a cross-contamination happening between, you know , wheat let's say, for example, and the oats. So that's where that risk of cross-contamination comes in.
But the thing here in Australia, why we don't allow oats is because there's a percentage of people with celiac disease who cannot tolerate oats and their bodies actually react to the protein, which is Avenin in oats. And it reacts in the same way as what it would, if it was a gluten grain . So if you were having wheat, barley or rye, your body would react the same if you were having the oats. So it does cause that auto immune response, even though it's the protein Avenin and it is slightly different to gluten, but it still falls under that same category. So here's where it's interesting in Australia, you can have, what's called an oats challenge. You can do an oats challenge, which is under medical supervision. So that way you can test whether you are having an immune response to the oats, and then if you get the all clear, you can eat oats. So doesn't that tell you that there's absolutely no way that there's gluten in, right? If you were to buy uncontaminated oats, after you've done an oats challenge, then you've been medically told it's safe to have the oats. Does that make sense?
So if you are here in Australia, you can't eat oats whatsoever. Even if they're labeled uncontaminated oats, even if they're labeled gluten-free oats and you've somehow, you know, bought them online perhaps from one of these naughty websites, that's illegally advertising their products, right? You are not to eat them unless you have done an oats challenge. Am I on my soap box here? I think I might be so I'll step back, down off my soap box. ;) So if you're in America and you're eating oats and you still feel like you're getting glutened, this could be why.... you could be reacting to oats.
If you're allowed to eat them in your country. You know, not just America. I know there's many other countries that allow it as well, but you know, perhaps because it's not something that you're told that you've got to cut out oats , you've never thought about it. So you need look at what you're eating and cut back on the oats. See if that makes a difference and go from there.
Just to recap. Oats are not gluten-free because of the risk of cross-contamination.
Uncontaminated oats or wheat free oats are safe for anyone that has done an oats challenge. So stay away from oats , unless you've done an oats challenge, and that's not just you doing an oats challenge without medical supervision. That's you doing it with your doctor, with your gastroenterologist because they need to double check that there's no immune response going on because you might still feel okay, but there's still damage going on in your gut as in your body is attacking itself. So please don't go and test it for yourself. You need to do it medically supervised and not risk any health implications.
Now I hope I've explained this well enough for you. If you have any questions, please shoot me through a DM over on Instagram here. Thank you so much for reading and I will talk to you very, very soon. See you next week. Bye.