There’s a lot of confusion around this topic. For years, we have been told that oats are not gluten-free and that wheat gluten intolerant people and coeliacs should avoid oats completely. In Australia there are no ‘gluten-free’ oats, however in other countries there are and some recipes call for ‘gluten-free’ oats. Why is this? While it is true that oats do contain gluten, it’s a different type of gluten to the other gluten-containing grains. Let me explain.
What type of gluten is in oats then?
Gluten represents a specific number of proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, and triticale. Spelt is an “heirloom” variety of wheat and should be considered as “wheat” for the purpose of this article. The types of proteins that make up gluten is different from grain to grain. For example, the “gluten” protein in wheat is Gliadin, in barley it’s Hordein, in Rye it’s Secalin, in Triticale (a wheat-rye hybrid) it is both Secalin and Gliadin. In oats, the gluten protein is called Avenin also known as ‘Oat Gluten’.