Gluten intolerance is a serious condition that can cause symptoms ranging from fatigue to damaged intestines. Unfortunately, there are many foods on the market today that contain gluten. Although some foods are clearly labeled “non-gluten”, others can be hard to detect. One such food is oatmeal. This article aims to answer the question millions are asking every day: “Does oatmeal have gluten?”
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a large protein found in the seeds of wheat. It has also been associated with rye and barley. It is common, therefore, for cereals and breads to contain gluten. Contrary to popular belief, gluten is not an unhealthy substance. It is harmful only to those who are intolerant.
How to Tell If You Are Gluten-Intolerant
If you haven’t been diagnosed as intolerant, there are several telltale signs that gluten might be bad for your health. Symptoms include feeling tired after eating foods with gluten; bloating, constipation, diarrhea; fatigue, confusion, dizziness; swollen and painful joints, as well as headaches. These symptoms usually appear as a result of eating gluten foods. Try removing them from your diet for 2-6 weeks to see if your condition improves.
Does Oatmeal Have Gluten?
The answer is yes and no. When oatmeal is made from pure oats, it does not contain gluten at all. However, if oats have been mixed with other grains, it will contain trace amounts of the substance. The bad news is that even small amounts of gluten can affect intolerant people significantly, especially those suffering from Celiac disease.
Oatmeal has gluten only when wheat, rye or barley has been added to it. Adding these grains to oats is common practice in the food industry. Therefore, to find oatmeal without gluten, you have to read the package labels very closely. Generally, if the package does not say “gluten-free”, you should automatically assume it contains gluten and avoid it.
Oatmeal and Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an extreme form of intolerance. When people suffering from this disease eat gluten, it damages their small intestine. As a result, they cannot absorb the nutrients needed by the body. Without proper absorption, patients end up malnourished and extremely ill. For Celiac patients, the question “does oatmeal have gluten” has far-reaching consequences than those with mild intolerance.
If you have Celiac disease, oatmeal is safe to eat provided you are 100% sure it is gluten-free. If you are not certain, it is advisable to stick other gluten-free breakfast foods like eggs, fish, plain yoghurt, fruit and low-fat meat.
There are also people who suffer from non-Celiac sensitivity. This is when your intolerance to gluten produces symptoms very similar to Celiac disease. In this case, you should also opt of pure oats or gluten-free foods instead. Gluten can be dangerous for intolerant people. Speak to your physician about dietary recommendations.
The next time you go shopping for oats and you’re wondering if your favorite brand of oatmeal has gluten or not, remember this: If it doesn’t say gluten-free, it probably isn’t.