Are oats a safe addition to gluten-free eating and baking?

Dear Beth,

I have been placed on a gluten and dairy free diet due to an intolerance of both and since then have been virtually pain free.  Being that fresh fruit is so plentiful now, I have been eating it for breakfast and know when the weather cools off in the Fall I will go back to cereals.  I just read that oats is a no-no for gluten intolerance.  Is that so?  Please advise.

Dear Reader,

The answer is “yes” and “no.”  The problem is that some oats are grown in fields that are rotated with wheat and thus some amount of contamination occurs in the fields and in the harvesting and milling process. In the last few years, scientists and physicians have reported that the amino chain in oats is different than that in wheat and therefore does not produce the same adverse reaction in celiac patients if they eat pure oats.  Following that news, several companies began growing and harvest oats in fields where no wheat is grown.  These are pure and safe for most celiac patients.  While a small segment of the celiac population may have an additional reaction to oats, these should be okay for most.   But, according to your note, you are gluten intolerant.  Before you get started, discuss this with your doctor as only he or she understands these intolerances and if they might make you more or less sensitive to oats.  There are several brands of gluten-free oats on the market, including some instants and flavored ones!   Enjoy!  Beth