Oatmeal is a good alternative food to replace bread or rice for the carbohydrate source. It has a lot of nutrients. It is rich in fiber, which is good for your digestive system. Even though it looks like a perfect daily staple food for you, a person with Celiac disease will have more consideration before they enjoy this food.
One of the usual questions that came out from people with this condition is about its gluten content.
The Gluten in Instant Oatmeal
Is instant oatmeal gluten-free? The answer is depending on how it is processed. If you take pure oats, freshly picked from the field, you can relax because the oats don’t have any gluten content at all. It is 100% gluten-free.
However, you need to see it as the pure oats that are planted and harvested correctly, the way that lets it be free from gluten.
Unfortunately, many of the oats products that are supposed to be gluten free, contaminated during the processing stage, and make it have gluten in them.
How about instant oatmeal? Due to the long processing stage, most of the instant oatmeal is not gluten-free. Even those products that claim and even printed on its package that it doesn’t contain gluten, there is a risk that it has the gluten content in it. Why can it happen?
First of all, it is all because of the processing stage that we already mentioned. Mostly, the instant oatmeal product uses a similar facility with the other products of that brand. Therefore, the risk of contamination is higher.
The other reasons are the oats themselves. Many farmers that plant oats use the same field as they used to plant the other plants. Or, they even plant the oats in the same field as other plants. These other plants often have high gluten, which also can contaminate the pure oats.
Moreover, mostly, farmers also use the same equipment for harvesting the oats as when they harvest other plants.
This process causes the cross-contamination that happens a lot on the oats-based product, including instant oatmeal.
Therefore, we can say that the main problem why this question came up is cross-contamination. It is difficult to find a product that guarantees to remove this aspect to provide gluten-free content. It includes gluten-free instant oatmeal.
For example, the Quaker brand has a gluten-free instant oatmeal product. But, they use regular oats that don’t use the method to plants and harvest that prevent cross-contamination.
Even though they use the method that it said can separate the oats with another ingredient that has gluten in it, it is still risky to eat it, especially if you are sensitive and have low gluten tolerance.
Can I Eat Oatmeal If I Have Celiac Disease?
The answer to this question maybe is the most important information you should know. According to the Celiac Support Association, there is a way for people with Celiac disease to enjoy the oatmeal.
First of all, of course, you should choose the gluten-free type of oatmeal. Even though we said it has the risk of cross-contamination, you can still enjoy it with several precautions.
For example, you should wait until your health returns to its normal condition, before eating oatmeal. Most physicians would advise you to wait for at least one year of the full gluten-free diet before you eat the oatmeal.
If you feel something uncomfortable after eating it or the symptoms of the disease occur after you eat oatmeal, you need to wait for several weeks before you can eat it again.
The Celiac Disease Foundation recommends you to pay attention to the portion or how much you eat oatmeal.
Even if you eat the said-to-be safety to eat, the gluten-free oatmeal, you can only eat ½ cup of dry rolled oats.
Mostly, this amount is still tolerable for people with celiac disease. It is also the same for other oat-based products, such as granola bars.
However, Beyond Celiac also suggested that you should be careful because it is almost impossible to determine how much oat that will induce the reaction in your body. So, choose only the pure, uncontaminated, and gluten-free product, which also has certification for its gluten-free feature.
In short, before you decide to eat oatmeal, the gluten-free one, you need to consider the portion and your body condition. A correct portion and healthier condition will help you to enjoy it without any symptoms or problems.
However, if you feel anything weird after you eat it, it is recommended to see your doctor. Or, you also can stop eating it for your safety.
As for you who don’t have Celiac disease, but are in the middle of gluten-free diets, you can freely enjoy the gluten-free instant oatmeal. Even though it has a small amount of gluten in it because of cross-contamination, you can still enjoy it.
More importantly, it won’t be any problem for your diet program.
Gluten-Free Substitute for Oatmeal
If you don’t want to take any risk of eating instant oatmeal that has been cross-contaminated, we have several alternative grains you also can enjoy, instant oatmeal style.
- Amaranth – is a delicious nutty grain that is rich in protein. It has a strong flavor, so adding fruits, like bananas, will give you an enjoyable deliciousness.
- Teff – it has a similar taste to chestnut or maybe hazelnut. It is rich in iron and calcium. Try to add some cinnamon for your breakfast.
- Buckwheat – you can find the seed form of this plant and enjoy it like oatmeal. It is one of the best antioxidants and is rich with magnesium. It is not only safe for people with Celiac, but it also helps you to control bad cholesterol.
Instant oatmeal, even gluten-free, always has a risk of contamination, which makes it not gluten-free anymore. Therefore, before you eat it, make sure you prepare it carefully. Take caution of the effect that may happen. And, if anything, it would be better if you avoid it for your safety.