Why can I NOT tolerate GF oats?

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN

Q: Why can I NOT tolerate GF oats?  The reaction I have is not as severe like when I've inadvertently gotten into gluten in the past but I still react w/mild GI symptoms.  Mainly gas and bloating.  I REALLY miss eating oats and they are not considered an allergen so I have to check the ingredients even when it's labeled gluten free.


There can be several reasons for your GI symptoms with oats. A small number of celiac patients react to the protein called avenin in oats.  Another issue can be the high levels of soluble fiber in oats. Soluble fiber can cause gas and bloating in some individuals depending on the amount they are consuming.

However, one of the biggest issues with oats is that a lot of sources of oats have had cross-contact with gluten-containing grains - even some that are labeled gluten-free. Some companies use mechanical or optical sorting to remove wheat, barley and rye from commercial oats. However, this method is sometimes not adequate to remove all gluten. At NCA we recommend sources of oats that have used the “purity protocol” as well as oats that have been rigorously tested. The purity protocol includes oats that have been grown in dedicated gluten-free fields, as well as processed, transported and stored separately from wheat, barley and rye. We also recommend that the oats are batch tested to confirm gluten-free status.  Oats need to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten to be considered gluten-free.

Always discuss with your doctor or dietitian before introducing oats.

Here is a link to information about oats:


Here is a list of companies that use the purity protocol:


Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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