Oats & The Gluten Free Story

How to introduce oats into the Coeliac Diet? 
*Based on new information released Sep 2023 from Coeliac Society 

Ps note this is Kylie's summary

Dr Kim Faulkner-Hogg - Gluten Free Nutrition - Coeliac Disease & Food Intolerance Dietitian 

  • Defining Gluten 3 ways
  • History of oats in the gluten free diet
  • Oat protein and how it differs from wheat
  • Describing a T-cell reaction
  • How are specially produced oats grown
  • Oats not in foods labelled gluten free

Time to start re-educating people around the benefit of oats in the Coeliac diet - only 5-8% have an immune T-cell reaction. 

Bakers Definition of Gluten 

Elastic substance that forms when water is added to flour...which stretches and traps the gas...allowing the product to rise and be light and porous. 

Scientific Definition of Gluten 

Gluten is the main storage protein of grains. Gluten is a complex mixture of hundreds of related but distinct proteins, mainly Gliadin in wheat, Hordenin in Barley, Glutenlin (Orzein) in Corn & (Zein) in Rice, Avenin in Oats.

The first gluten free diets: not strict were introduced between 1940's and 1970's. Largely patients were encouraged to avoid wheat, rye & barley products, oat inclusion or exclusion varied from hospital to hospital.

Oats Timeline 

  • 1940's -70's Dr Willem-Karel Dicke linked gluten to CD 
  • 1970's First gluten free food standard 
  • 1990's Australian new food standard in Australia, no detectable gluten from wheat, rye, barley & oats <3ppm
  • 1990s Oat research in CD increased
  • 2000's Revised GF food standards internationally around oats <20ppm

Incidentally: Gloriously Free Oats introduced to Australia in 2009 after the US certified pure oats to be gluten free. 

Should Oats be called Gluten Free?

There has been a debate for some years on whether to continue to refer to oats as gluten containing. Oats intolerance is rare byt us a reason for villous atrophy and inflammation in a small number of CD patients - 5-8% of people with CD have an immune reaction to oats displaying a specific small intestinal T-cell response to oat peptides that cannot be explained by contamination (of oats) with other cereals. 

Incidently this is what Gloriously Free Oats have been sharing for 14 years from overseas studies.  

Ushering in a Sea-change for Oats

- 90% of people with CD could tolerate special oats

-it is now considered that the nutritional benefits of oats to overall health, outweighs the risk to the few. 

- health professionals are being encouraged to more openly discuss oats, and any role they may have, in the diets of those with coeliac disease.

**Unfortunately there are no plans to call them gluten free which is disappointing as we feel this still causes more confusion with CD patients. 

What are specially produced oats?

Oats is a rotational crop and is usually grown in rotation to wheat, rye and barley. This has been the source of contamination. Along with the use of the same harvesters, storage bins etc.

  • Pure oats in comparison are grown from pure self stored seed on the farm, not seed from commercial supply chains. 
  • In ground at least 2 years free from growth of wheat, rye or barley crops
  • Have a gluten free rotational crop, eg. GF Oats farms grow lupin
  • Usage of clean designated equipment
  • Specially allocated new storage bags for transport to prevent contamination. (GF Oats use dedicated truck that carry our product exclusively)
  • Processed and packaged in gluten free facilities
  • Tested to be <3ppm 
  • FANANZ do not have legislation for these oats to date

Kylie: Other brands outside GF Oats use the mechanical sorting of oats which means they use optical screening to remove contaminates by size or colour, this has been problematic in the US as many contaminations have happened and their standard is <20ppm so they can comply to this on most occasions, however Global Oats Protocol do not approve of this process due to the risks to Coeliac patients specifically. Most oat lines are contamination with glutenous grains.

R5 Elisa Test (used to test each batch by GF Oats) 

Detects gliadin chemistry of wheat, the test can only detect if there is any gluten contamination from wheat, rye or barley. It is not a statement about oat Avenin.

This was a very thorough presentation presenting the facts about oats. 

Part 3:Getting Oats on the menu for People with coeliac disease - Jason Tye-Din














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