I’ve been at this dietitian thing for a very long time and for just as long, there’s been an ongoing debate as to whether or not oats can be part of a gluten-free diet; some say absolutely not, while others a qualified yes. This IS an important issue as gluten intolerance is serious stuff when it comes to health and gluten avoidance for those who need it is a nonnegotiable; providing more gluten-free options is always a welcomed idea
Introducing Quaker Oats Gluten Free Oats
So why the debate? Oats are naturally gluten-free but are often processed in plants where other gluten containing grains have been processed increasingly the likelihood of cross contamination. So for some health professionals and individuals with gluten intolerance, the answer was to avoid oats because the risk for cross contamination wasn’t worth it. Others on the other hand felt that as long as the oats were processed without risk of contamination; oats were go to go. Problem is, many weren’t 100% confident that the oats claiming to be gluten-free were in fact gluten-free.
However that’s no longer the case. Quaker has officially launched the first gluten-free oatmeal made with 100% whole grain oats. Made in a facility that has been certified by the Canadian Celiac Association, the new Quaker gluten-free oats are a fantastic option for those with Celiac disease or non-Celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity. [If you’re concerned that you might be at risk for Celiac or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, consider getting the Nutrigenomix 45-Gene test to see if you are genetically predisposed].
How do they do it?
According to Quaker, they source only the highest quality oats which are screened when they arrive at their main mill in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Only the those grains that meet Quaker’s specifications go on to gluten-free processing where they undergo strict sorting and screening. Their system aggressively seeks out and removes any gluten-containing grains that might have ‘snuck in’ during harvesting and transport in a dedicated ‘cleaning house’ [as part of the mill] for gluten-free products.
The equivalent of 3000, 4- gram servings worth of groats (dehulled oats) are sampled from the lot and examined; analytical testing is performed on any sub-samples that are suspected to contain grains other than oats to ensure each lot meets Health Canada’s and Quaker’s standards for gluten-free. Only if the samples pass is the lot used for gluten-free processing, if they don’t pass, the oats are re-purposed for use in non-gluten-free products.
During the milling process, dedicated cutting and flaking equipment is used and the oats are transported to the packaging line in dedicated containers; only gluten-free oats are processed with this equipment. Any and all addition ingredients (sugar, salt etc) that are added during packaging have been pre-screened and validated to be gluten-free. Once packaged, they test samples of the finished product to further ensure that consumers can confidently purchase and used these products while following a gluten-free diet.
Whole grains and healthy eating
Whole grains have long been seen as a staple to healthy eating. Unrefined and properly prepared, they are a good source of carbohydrate and contain a decent amount of protein. With the germ and bran comes fiber, magnesium, chromium, vitamin E, potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins. For those with insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and diabetes, grains and grain products, whether they’re whole or refined, are still a source of concentrated carbohydrate and need to be taken into consideration when managing blood sugar; both have the potential to raise blood in a significant way. At least now with Quaker gluten-free oat products, those with Celiac or non-Celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity have another option when it comes to including whole grain in their diet.