Oatmeal is one of the most consumed cereals in the world, because its nutritional contribution is varied and very complete. And although the importance of this food is indisputable, not everyone can consume it. Many people who eat a gluten-free diet eliminate it from their diet, but the question of whether oats have gluten is complex to resolve.
Therefore, if you have celiac disease or are curious about the subject, at RecetasGratis we want to answer one of the most common questions and explain why some people are intolerant to oats. Keep reading!
What is gluten
Gluten is the name given to a protein set contained in cereals, which are called albumin, globulin, prolamins and glutenins. Specifically, prolamines contain two amino acids called proline and glutamine that are considered the main causes of celiac disease.
So far, it has been proven that the only prolamins toxic to people with celiac disease are gliadin from wheat, secalin from rye, and hordein from barley. However, the prolamines of other cereals that until now are considered safe for celiacs are still being studied: orzein from rice, kafirin from sorghum, zein from corn and avenin from oats.
All cereals have gluten, but some have low levels that can be consumed by celiac patients, such as oats and rice. Despite this, oats used to be classified in the group of toxic cereals, although much current research considers it suitable for a certain level of gluten intolerance.
Finally, it is important to note that what we know as “gluten-free diets” are not, since if they include cereals, there is always the presence of prolamines. However, the Codex Alimentarius accepts certain foods with small amounts of gluten as they are considered harmless for celiac patients. Many countries rely on this code to produce food gluten free or without TACC.
Advice: No TACC means: no wheat, no oats, no barley and no rye.
Is oatmeal suitable for coeliacs?
Much is debated on whether or not oats should go into a gluten-free diet. However, there are more aspects in favor than against.
For example, it is important to note that by removing gluten from the diet, the body of celiac patients returns to normal, but it also loses an important nutritional contribution. For that reason, if a gluten-intolerant person can digest oatmeal, it is a good idea to include it in their diet to compensate. Of course, the amount of oatmeal must be set by a doctor.
As we said before, oats contain gluten, but this does not mean that it is not suitable for many celiacs. Let’s see why there are cases in which a celiac can eat oats and why there are others in which they cannot:
- Contains very little gluten. Oats have very low levels of promalins, which means that this food, along with rice, contains the least amount of gluten compared to other cereals. For this reason, oats can be consumed by celiacs who do not have high levels of gluten intolerance.
- It has a molecular structure very similar to wheat. This could be the cause of unfavorable reactions in sensitive celiac patients. Although oats do not affect many celiacs, it can affect the most sensitive, since their organisms are highly intolerant and confuse the molecular structure of oats with that of wheat. This is called cross reaction (This also happens with milk and corn).
- The oats have been in contact with wheat or other cereals that are toxic to celiacs and are contaminated. This is called cross contamination and it happens when the product, during its production or distribution, became contaminated with gluten (be it from wheat, barley, etc.). In this case, oats are not suitable for any celiac.
Advice: Among celiacs, there are different levels of gluten intolerance.
Is there gluten-free oatmeal?
Inevitably and due to its composition, oats contain avenin. Fortunately, many celiacs are able to process it, but this does not mean that they should lower their guard.
As we said earlier, oats can suffer cross contamination at some point in its production chain, so if you want to enjoy gluten-free oats that are harmful to celiacs, you should check that the packaging specifies that the product does not contain gluten. These types of products have been made with safety standards that guarantee that there is no cross contamination and, therefore, they are safe to eat. It is important that you look for the official certifications from your country.
Properties and benefits of oats
Oatmeal is a whole grain cereal. Its grains are characterized by maintaining the three parts that compose it (germ, endosperm and bran). According to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN), oats are a very complete food, capable of providing a wide variety of essential nutrients for life:
- It contains compounds such as complex hydrates, fiber, unsaturated fats (healthy fats) and proteins (6 of the 8 amino acids, essential for health and life).
- Micronutrients such as potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, selenium, B vitamins (B1, B5, B6), vitamin E.
- Bioactive components: phenolic acids, flavonoids and phytosterols. It also has two unique phytochemicals, called avenanthramides and steroidal saponins.
- It provides 361 calories in every 100 grams.
Of course, all its nutrients are transformed into various properties that benefit the body. Know the benefits of oats:
- Helps control blood glucose, thanks to the fiber and magnesium present in oats.
- Regulates cholesterol and triglycerides. Beta-glucans increase the production of short-chain acids, thereby lowering blood cholesterol levels.
- Produces a feeling of satiety. Reduce your appetite, preventing you from snacking on unhealthy and calorie-filled foods, as fiber expands in the stomach and fills you up.
- It is ideal for the nutrition of athletes. Oatmeal improves sports performance, as it contains vitamins B5 and B1, essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates. In addition, it provides minerals, proteins, healthy fats, among others.
- It favors weight loss and combats obesity. Due to all the factors mentioned above, oatmeal is slimming and is related to the decrease in body weight and the Body Mass Index (BMI).
Gluten-free oatmeal recipes
Oatmeal is a versatile food and goes a long way, not only for its nutritional value, but for its contributions in the kitchen. Oatmeal can be in both sweet and savory dishes. In addition, it can be part of breakfasts, lunches or dinners. It is used to coat food, thicken it, be used as flour, etc.
In short, this cereal gives a lot of play in the kitchen, for this reason we have selected for you a group of delicious and easy recipes so that you can make the most of its properties.
Of course, do not forget that for a diet gluten freeYou must make sure on the product label that the oats are “gluten-free” and approved by the laws of your country.
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