Health Canada has completed its review of recent scientific research on the safety of pure oats, uncontaminated with other cereal grains such as wheat, barley and ryes for people with celiac disease.
Most current scientific research suggests that the majority of people with celiac disease can tolerate limited amounts of pure oats.
These studies have increased interest in the possibility of adding oats to a gluten-free diet, as this would permit a wider choice of foods for individuals with celiac disease and provide an important source of proteins, carbohydrates and fibre.
However, Health Canada also recognizes that some individuals with celiac disease may be intolerant to even pure oats and that there is limited information on the long term outcome for these individuals. For this reason, Health Canada is recommending that individuals with celiac disease consult their health professional and ensure proper initial and long term medical follow-up if introducing pure oats into their diet.
Celiac disease is an inherited medical condition where the surface of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, a group of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. This damage causes the body to be unable to absorb nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health. Currently, lifelong avoidance of gluten in the diet is the only effective way to manage this disease.
The gluten in wheat flour helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. For this reason, gluten is widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods, significantly limiting food choices for those with celiac disease.
Pure oats are grown and produced using methods to minimize the presence of wheat, including spelt and kamut, barley, rye or triticale. This helps to make sure that gluten from other grains is not mixed with the pure oats.