The short answer is no…and maybe. Let’s first take a step back for a quick review of what gluten is.
Gluten is a protein composite mostly found in foods made of wheat and related grains like barley and rye. However, gluten can also be found in non-food items like cosmetics, hair care products, and even dermatological products. These products are mostly topical based lotions or skin care products.
Gluten by and of itself may not be a problem; however, some people are not able to properly digest it. That’s when there is a problem. That problem usually shows up as Celiac disease, a gluten allergy or gluten intolerance. The symptoms range from mild discomfort to life-threatening.
Some people avoid gluten for medical reasons; others avoid it because they desire a sort of lifestyle diet to improve their health. Either way, the decision to avoid gluten is a personal one.
Now, let’s talk about oatmeal.
Oatmeal is not wheat, so the logical conclusion is that oatmeal doesn’t contain gluten. Case closed!
But….not so fast!
From field to table, oatmeal goes on a journey. A food manufacturing journey. And sometimes it will meet up with gluten-containing food such as wheat which can cross contaminate the oatmeal and leave some gluten behind.
This is where the gluten problems can begin.
Lucky for you, many of the food manufacturers are taking care to label their oatmeal so you can understand how it’s prepared and how much, if any, gluten it may contain.
If you have Celiac, and an urge to eat a hot (or cold) bowl of oatmeal, look for labels marked Gluten free with the proper certifications.
If you are avoiding gluten for lifestyle or health reasons, then how much and what kind of oatmeal you eat is your choice. You may find the health benefits of oatmeal far outweigh the chance of cross contamination.
You should always read the labels for any foods you purchase because the way the food is processed and/or packaged may change. Another source to double-check is the company’s own website for the latest nutritional and allergy information.
As of this writing, oatmeal brands deemed gluten-free include:
- Bob’s Red Mills which produces three different varieties of gluten free oatmeal
- GF Harvest which tests its seeds down to three parts per million
- GlutenFreeda Foods
- Holly’s Oatmeal
- Montana Gluten-Free
We all want to eat the healthiest foods for our own body type and bioindividuality. This means something different for each person. However, in the world of oatmeal, you can enjoy a little bowl of warm comfort either with or without trace amounts of gluten by simply taking time to read the labels and seek out the highest quality food for your life.