Although NICE guidelines (The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) now advise that gluten free oats can be introduced by a coeliac into their diet at any stage – it should still be done via the guidance of your dietician or healthcare specialist to ensure they are suitable for you. As a small number of coeliacs are unable to tolerate oats (1 in 20), as they contain avenin, a protein which is similar to gluten.
And to ensure there is no risk of cross contamination from the production process, only oats labelled gluten free should be included within a gluten free diet.
When I was first diagnosed with coeliac I was advised to avoid oats for the first 6 to 12 months, then gradually introduce them. I think this is a good plan, as if you have felt well on your gluten free diet, any upset after introducing gluten free oats, would be a clear indication that they don’t agree with you.
On the other side of the world, Coeliac Australia go one step further, recommending that a gastroscopy is done before and 3 months after gluten free oats have been included into your diet. I like the thoroughness of this, as it confirms from the ‘inside’ if oats are OK for you.
Personally, I have questioned in the past if gluten free oats were really for me. As, when I first introduced them it would have been really hard to know if they were causing me a problem, as I was not symptomatic at the time. However, due to maintaining my gluten free diet over the years, I now react severely if I accidently eat gluten. Recently I tried introducing gluten free oats in small amounts again, as I knew at this stage any problems would be obvious. And I’m delighted to report back all is well! Which is great as oats are good for you, and I’m rather partial to gluten free chocolate hobnobs!!
*A few specialist gluten free products include gluten free oats as an ingredient.