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People with celiac disease have to avoid most grains, but oats may be an exception that’s safe, according to a recent research review, so long as the oats are uncontaminated by traces of other grains.

More studies are needed to see whether so-called pure oats available in the real world don’t provoke celiac symptoms. If proven safe, oats could provide celiac sufferers some of the benefits of eating grains that they miss out on following a gluten-free diet, researchers say.

“Oats, compared to other cereals, are a source of good quality proteins, vitamins and minerals and they improve palatability and the texture of gluten-free food,” said study coauthor Dr. Elena F. Verdu.

“For a person diagnosed with celiac disease, adding oats to a gluten-free diet could not only increase food options but also help them follow a better gluten-free diet and have a higher quality of life,” said Verdu, a gastroenterology researcher at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects roughly one of every 100 people in the U.S. For sufferers, consuming even trace amounts of the gluten protein in wheat, barley and rye can trigger an immune response that damages the intestines. Over time, this immune attack can lead to malnutrition, osteoporosis, chronic inflammation and a variety of other problems.

People with celiac disease are also at heightened risk of heart disease and some recent research suggests that might be in part because avoiding gluten causes them to miss out on the heart-protective benefits of eating whole grains.

Oats don’t contain the same celiac-provoking protein found in other grains, the study team writes in the journal Gastroenterology. However, Verdu told Reuters Health, issues have been raised regarding potential adverse reactions to oats by celiac patients, and this has reduced the enthusiasm of adding oats to the…



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