Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gluten-free oatmeal. Or is it?

I finally got a chance to try gluten-free oatmeal to try and add different soluble fibers back into my menu. This was from Bob's Red Mill who is usually pretty reliable with quality and accuracy. These oats have been ELISA tested. Interestingly, they had to put on a disclaimer on the package that it "Some celiacs react to even the purest of oats"...why? Because there is still SOME gluten in it! Wha? Why not call it "gluten-reduced" instead? I tried the steel cut version out, and even thought I'm not a celiac I still had a gluten reaction to it after one bowl. I guess it's sorta the same situation as decaffeinated coffee -- it's not TRULY caffeine free, there are still small amounts. *sigh*. I had hoped for better from Bob's.

I'll close with a line from The Princess Bride, "Get used to disappointment."

Has anyone else have better luck with other gluten-free oat products? Or have other celiacs been okay with this product? I'd love to make oatmeal cookies again.

Thanks for sharing.


This just in! This post sparked a conversation with Beth, co-president for Cream Hill Estates, a producer of pure GF oats. Apparently all gluten is not the same -- here's her explanation:

The term “gluten” is a catch-all word used to describe the storage proteins found in all cereal grains, including corn, rice, wheat, barley, rye, oats, etc. These storage proteins have many similarities from one variety of grain to another, but each grain variety is also composed of other unique gluten components that distinguish it from the other grains. Wheat, barley and rye (WBR) (plus half a dozen or so other closely-related cereal grains) have similar amino acid sequences (portions of the gluten protein chain, or “peptides”) to which people with CD/DH are intolerant. Oats, and even more-so corn and rice, are more distantly related to these WBR grains and thus do not contain the offending peptides.
Here's link to the entire article for exhaustive detail about pure oats.

So what does this mean? That there is gluten in oatmeal, corn and rice, but just a different type that does not impact most celiacs. However, because the Cream Hill Estates audience is celiacs, Beth was not aware that there are people like yours truly with a true allergy (rashes, respiratory distress, mild anaphylaxis) to the other types of gluten as well. She also agreed that they could be more clear with the labelling. So the answer is: you'll have to try gf oatmeal for yourself to see if it is tolerable for your specific diet.


Jennifer Gluten Free in Georgia said...

There are a small percentage of people who follow the gluten-free diet that cannot tolerate gluten-free oats. Doctors do not know why, but it isn't because they contain gluten.

I have been GF for 12 1/2 years and have no problem with GF oats; however, both my friend and her daughter cannot tolerate them like you.

Danny said...

My mom and I've been Wheat Free,Gluten Free,Dairy Free and Casien Free since Jan '08 and find it hard to eat out but we do it.I may have Celiac Disease and have to get a saliva test to get tested.A blood test won't work cuz I've been off wheat and gluten too long.My mom will cough and her throat will close up. if she eats wheat and gluten by accident and has to carry an Epi-Pen.We're alergic to soy and my mom's alergic to walnuts.The oats are grown near wheat which is why you have a reaction. Have you tried Scottish Oats?My mom and I can't eat them cuz we have a reaction to them.God Bless,Danny If you need anything you can follow me on Twitter. My Twitter is @dannysmyhero.

mntonc said...

I honestly never comment on blogs or anything, but oddly enough, I happen to be eating Bob's "gluten free" oats right this minute and I'm also baking homemade granola bars with them! I am a VERY sensitive celiac and I have been eating these for the past few months with no problems. Good luck!

Maggie said...

Always had an adverse reaction to oats when I was younger. Lately, since going GF, have been able to tolerate small amounts when snacking on the Main Street gluten-free granola. Too gun-shy to actually try to eat a whole bowl of oatmeal though. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I am keeping my fingers crossed for the gluten free oats, I love my oats in the evening! I was recently diagnosed with multiple food sensitivities and am trying to adjust to my new diet. I also started a blog about it trying to give and gain feedback. My allergies are very different from yours but the similarly also all over the place. Check my blog out, if you like
I rant as well as post some newly found or created recipes. My kitchen is my office :)

Heidi said...

Here is an interesting article regarding GF oats and the avinin protein. The article does a good job explaining why some people react even to uncontaminated oats. The article also lists the various celiac organizations' official viewpoint on adding gluten-free oats to a celiac diet.


Deide said...
They are from Wyoming and guarantee that they are wheat free. Their oats are the only ones I can eat. I don't get a reaction from them either and I'm pretty sensitive...

Lessa R. said...

A couple of comments:

1. there is no food or drink, including water, that is safe for 100% of the human race.

2. just because you had a reaction to the oats doesn't mean they contain wheat gluten. you may be allergic to oats

3. if you're anaphylactic to wheat (and what's "mild anaphylaxis" - this ICU nurse has never heard that term) then you're sensitive at a level far beyond celiac disease, which is not a food allergy and does not cause anaphylaxis

4. it does a real disservice to the celiac community for individuals to scream "I had a gluten reaction" every time they feel ill. I've seen products that have been tested repeatedly to be GF get slammed and manufacturers get hate letters because someone had a tummy ache and diarrhea. A reaction proves that an individual did not tolerate a food, or the food had bacterial contamination, or they were coming down with stomach flu, or.... A reaction is not proof of gluten. My son, who is celiac, has severe gluten-like reactions to about 8 foods that we know of; keeping a food diary enabled us to learn what he can tolerate, and was much more productive than claiming X food contained gluten every time he felt ill.

Food Allergy Queen said...

Hi Lessa, thanks for your comment! I appreciate that you took the time to write and voice your concerns.

While I appreciate your defense of the manufacturers of gluten-free products, and are upset about people spreading misinformation (as am I), I'd like to state that I am also a consumer who has the right to speak out if I feel a product has been marketed unclearly or been mislabeled. I was diagnosed by an allergist for over 15+ food items and have been working with him for many years, so am very familiar with my range of reactions to various foods. I may indeed be allergic to oats themselves -- however my reaction to the gf oats has been the same as to other gluten-containing products (wheat, oats, barley, spelt) which are symptoms of anaphylaxis (here described by FAAN): rashes, throat closure, coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Therefore I felt confident to deduce that I was reacting to the gluten in the oats. Not all anaphylaxis is life-threatening, but I carry an Epi-pen prescribed by my doctor, just in case.

If you had read the addendum on this post, you'll have seen that a manufacturer of gluten-free pure oats, Cream Hill Estates, contacted me and taught me that ALL grains contain a type of gluten. However, the type of gluten in Cream Hill Estate gf oats usually does NOT affect celiacs, but is STILL present and may affect others with a non-celiac gluten allergy. She and I agreed that the Gluten-Free label would be more clear if there was a disclaimer of some sort that said "Tested for safe use for celiacs, may impact others with gluten allergies. Test in small amounts for yourself."

That way, people like me would have more accurate information and could decide for themselves if they wanted to purchase something that may or may not work for their personal diet. And that's my intent, to share information that I've learned.

Thanks, the FAQ

Sharon O. said...

Well, I found myself here due to trying to find an answer about having reactions to gluten free oats/granola. In the last 2 weeks, I have tried 3 different brands of gluten free granola cereals, and have had stomach aches from all three. Realizing the common denominator of all three is oats, I guess I can cross them off my list. I am sure it is me and not the manufacturers.