The suitability of oats as part of the gluten-free diet has been a source of controversy, with some groups pointing to research suggesting oats are safe and others pointing to other research demonstrating oats are dangerous to those with celiac disease. Close inspection of available medical research clearly shows that oats, even “gluten-free” oats, should not be included in the gluten-free diet at this time.
Until the early 1990’s, oats were excluded from the gluten-free diet, along with wheat, barley and rye. Then, a few pilot studies suggested oats may not cause the harm previously thought. The idea was proposed that people with celiac disease would find their diet more palatable, and would benefit nutritionally, if they were allowed to eat oats.
Heavy contamination of many oat products with wheat, rye, and particularly barley, was a concern. Companies began to produce so-called “gluten-free oats.” These oats were tested for the presence of wheat, barley and rye. They are vigorously marketed as “safe” for celiacs. However, studies show that even “uncontaminated oats” (oats not containing wheat, barley or rye) are toxic to an unknown number of people with celiac disease.
Early studies proclaimed oats to be safe, but they have since been judged faulty with poor validity. Nevertheless, they opened the floodgates to (more…)