People tend to investigate into the nutritional constituents of what they consume, then the question “Is Oat Milk Gluten Free?”. Gluten is one food extract or component that many people avoid but this gluten is found in most food and cosmetic products. Why do many people avoid gluten? According to Selvi Rajagopal, M.D, a specialist in internal medicine and obesity with John Hopkins Medicine.
“Gluten is a protein found in the wheat plant and some other grains,” This protein is found in grains like wheat, rye, barley, spelt, durum, emmer, semolina, farina, farro, graham, khorasan wheat, einkorn, and triticale. It can also be found in some grains like oats and soy due to cross contamination or processing with other grains.
Gluten naturally occurs in plants but they are most times extracted and added to food or products for their function, which is to bind and hold processed foods together and give them shape. They also add protein and texture to foods. Many people are confused as to if gluten is bad for the body or not. Our body has enzymes that help us to break down food, these enzymes are known as digestive enzymes and one of them is the protease.
Protease is the enzyme that breaks down proteins but it does not break down gluten completely. When these gluten are not completely digested, they move to the small intestines. While some people are fine with these undigested gluten in their body, others develop unpleased symptoms and have autoimmune responses. This autoimmune response is called celiac and it can damage the small intestine. Eating foods that contain gluten triggers the sickness and its symptoms.
IS OAT MILK GLUTEN FREE?
Oat milk is a plant based milk that is used for many things like cooking, baking and for breakfast. One question many people ask is if oat milk is gluten free, well it may not be 100 percent free.
Like we earlier explained, oats are naturally gluten free, but they are grown near wheat and processed in facilities that also handle wheat products, they’re frequently cross-contaminated with gluten.
Unprocessed oats have no gluten in them but during processing, facilities used in processing other gains with gluten are also used, this makes it possible for oat milk and other products made from oats to be gluten free. This makes it possible to be contaminated with the protein.
A Canadian study in 133 oat samples discovered that 88% were contaminated with more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten the general cutoff for a food to be considered gluten-free.
National Institute of Health published a research by researchers in the United States assessed 78 foods labeled gluten-free, 20.5% had gluten levels over 20 ppm.
To confirm and ensure that their products are not vulnerable to gluten, these manufacturers use third-party testing labs. The manufacturers are responsible for testing the products.
There are so many oat milk brands with less than 20ppm of gluten, some of these brands have gluten-free labels, so you don’t need to worry about doing extra research.
Some of these brands are:
This brand claims their oat milk is low in sugar and free of gluten. Since 2014, the firm claims their products have less sugar by 57% by introducing new unsweetened options. Their flavour options include vanilla, mushroom and oat, protein boost and other options.
Their oat milk has oats produced and harvested in North America. It is also free of carrageenan, sugar, gums, stabilizers and dairy.
Most people called this brand “just right” because they have varieties of flavour for their oat milk and they are all certified gluten free. Apart from being gluten free, they are also free from lactose, soy, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, tree nuts, and peanuts. Their oat milk also boast of soluble fiber and 2 grams of protein. Planet Oat have different flavors like vanilla, extra creamy and dark, original chocolate. They are not also overly sweet or too oat.
Mooala produces a gluten free oat milk with coconut oat milk and no added sugar, the milk has good source of fiber and calcium. The brand is both gluten and dairy free in case you are avoiding dairy products.
Elmhurst started with diary products in 1925 before switching to plant-based milks in 2017. Their oat milk brands is certified and have gluten-free label, ensuring that the gluten content is less than 20ppm.
They have varieties of flavour like plain, chocolate, and unsweetened. Their oat milk is made with only five ingredients which are (whole grain oats, filtered water, natural flavors, salt, and cane sugar.
Happy Planet have oat milks that are gluten-free. They have flavours and varieties like barista oat milk, Original, vanilla, chocolate, and many others.
Oatly manufactures their oat milk with gluten-free oats, their milk is also suitable for a dairy-free diet. They have different flavors and varieties like chilled barista edition, full fat, low fat, and many others. They are prepared from liquid oats with no added sugars and is high in unsaturated fat, simulating all of the benefits of whole milk.
Note: Oatly is one oat milk brand whose U.S. products are certified gluten-free. Planet Oat, Califia Farms, and Elmhurst all state that their oat milk is gluten-free but don’t have third-party certification
IS OAT MILK GLUTEN FREE IN UK?
Many people are confused on how to know which oat milk is gluten free in the Uk. The only and best way to know gluten free is that only oat milk specifically marked as gluten free are actually gluten free. So, any product that is not marked gluten free is not advised to be consumed for those on gluten free diet.
This means that they do not meet the strict gluten free standards of being below 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. There are other products that are labeled low gluten, these ones are said to have low amount of gluten in them. But they are not advised to be taken by people with celiac or gluten allergy. Low gluten oat milk is not gluten free.
There are many brands of oat milks in the UK that are marked specifically gluten free:
• Alpro Barista For Professionals Gluten Free Oat
• Glebe Farm Oat Milk
• Rude Health Gluten Free Oat Drink
• Plenish Oat Milk
You should note that it is only these specific products which are gluten free and they are clearly marked as such. It is also important that you note that Oatly is not gluten free in the UK. It may interest you to know that Oatly is in fact certified gluten free in the US. We hope that with time they will consider certifying their European and Asian products, as this would make life considerably easier.
IS OAT MILK GLUTEN FREE IN AUSTRALIA?
Unlike in the UK or US where oat milk and other oat products are certified gluten free, the Australian Food Standards Code prohibits the use of a ‘gluten free’ claim on oat containing products. This is because the Australian food standard differs to the regulations in Europe and the USA, where oats can be marketed as ‘gluten free’.
According to the Food Standards Australian New Zealand ( FSANZ ), for a food to be called gluten free in Australia, there must not be any detectable gluten in the food. While in the US, UK or other European countries, oat milk are labeled gluten free and safe for everyone to consume if they contain less than 20ppm.
IS OAT MILK GLUTEN AND DIARY FREE?
Oat milk is made from oat grain and this grain is completely dairy-free and safe to enjoy on a dairy-free diet. Since the oat is the only ingredient and there is no added animal milk, we can say it is safe for a dairy-free diet. Oat milk is also lactose free, lactose is a protein found in cow’s milk. Oat milk is made with oats and water, so the product is naturally lactose-free and safe for people who avoid lactose in their diets.
NUTRIENTS IN OAT MILK
Oat milk has become a versatile plant-based milk that can be gotten in different varieties and flavour. Oat milk is packed very rich and packed with many nutrients.
1. Protein: 3g
2. Calcium: 2% DV
3. Calories: 90
4. Total Fat: 1.5g
5. Iron: 2% DV
6. Potassium: 2% DV
7. Saturated Fat: 0g
8. Cholesterol: 0mg
9. Sodium: 190mg
10. Total Carbohydrate: 17g
11. Total Sugars: 6g
12. Added Sugars: 6g
13. Dietary Fiber: 2g
14. Vitamin B12: 50%
15. Riboflavin: 45%
16. Phosphorus: 20%
17. Vitamin D: 20%
18. Vitamin A: 20%
Oat milk can be gluten free if there is no cross contamination during the processing. If you have problems consuming food with gluten, you can always check to make sure your chosen product is made with certified gluten-free oats. Apart from being gluten free, oat milk is also lactose and diary free. You can consider preparing your own oat milk at home to reduce the chances of contamination with gluten.