Oat flour is made from oats that have been ground into a fine powder. Oats are naturally gluten free, so oat flour is also naturally gluten free. And aside from the health benefits of eating oats, the flour offers baking benefits, in that it can be used as an ingredient in recipes calling for wheat flour or other grain flours. Oat flour is gluten free, but you have to be sure not to cross contaminate the things that you make with it.
Yes, natural, uncontaminated oats are gluten-free.
Oat flour can be gluten free
Oat flour is a grain flour that is made from ground oat groats, the whole oat grain. It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in baking. Oat flour is gluten-free and can be substituted for wheat flour in many recipes. It will give baked goods a different texture and flavor than those made with wheat flour, so it’s best to experiment with small amounts until you get the desired result.
The gluten-free diet excludes all foods containing wheat, rye or barley because these grains contain proteins that trigger celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Many people on a gluten-free diet also avoid oats because they are often contaminated with wheat during harvesting or processing.
There’s a high risk for cross-contamination when oats are grown, transported or packaged
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, many products made from oats have been found to be cross-contaminated with wheat during production or transportation. Gluten contamination of oats may come from:
- The use of shared equipment in processing facilities
- Inadvertent cross-contamination during the growing process (depending on how closely the fields are planted)
- Cross-contamination during transportation
- Grains used in livestock feed
Oats have several health benefits, including improving blood sugar control and lowering cholesterol levels
Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Oats also contain beta-glucans, which help to lower blood glucose levels after eating by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive system into the bloodstream.
Oats are also rich in B vitamins, especially niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2), which help convert food into energy within cells. Oats can be used as an ingredient in breads, crackers, cookies, granola bars and other baked goods. They can also be added to smoothies (powdered versions are available), oatmeal or even yogurt for a healthy boost of nutrition.
If you choose to bake with gluten-free oat flour, don’t expect your baked goods to turn out exactly the same as when you use wheat flour
Oat flour is a great gluten-free option for baking. It contains no wheat, and it’s made from oats a grain that’s naturally low in gluten. The texture may be slightly different, but it’s still delicious. Oats are naturally low in gluten, but they can also be contaminated with wheat during processing.
You can make your own oat flour at home if you want
It’s easy to find in most grocery stores, but sometimes you may want to skip the added salt and oil that commercial brands use. Even better, making your own oat flour allows you to control the level of roasting and grinding, so you can get just the right texture for your recipes.
- To make your own oat flour, simply grind raw oats in a blender or food processor until they become powdery.
- You can grind them as much or as little as you want; the more you grind them, the finer the texture will be once cooked or baked into breads and cookies.
Foods labeled “gluten-free” must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten
Food labeled “gluten-free” must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines “gluten-free” foods as those that are safe for people with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a condition in which consuming gluten a protein found in wheat, barley and rye can damage the lining of the small intestine and interfere with absorption of nutrients from food.
The FDA’s definition of a “glutten-free” food is one that contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Some people with celiac disease may be sensitive to even very small amounts of gluten. Because most foods contain trace amounts of gluten, however, it’s impossible to guarantee that any product is completely free of it.
Oats are naturally gluten-free, and no processing is required to make them so. Oat flour also does not contain gluten, but it does require that the oats be ground into a fine powder. The resulting flour is still naturally gluten-free, without any processing needed to make it so. That being said, some oat varieties contain gluten. Currently, those that do are cross-contaminated and therefore not recommended for those with Celiac Disease or similar intolerances.