Dairy free oat milk is one of the most popular types of plant-based dairy in everything from breakfast cereals to bread.
Plant milk made from nuts, seeds, coconut, rice, and soybeans is largely gluten free, so you might expect the same from oat milk. However, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, oat milk may not be good for your health. Is oat milk gluten free?
Benefits of oat milk
Rich source of Vitamin B
Oat milk and cholesterol
This type of milk is high in beta-glucan, which forms a gel-like substance inside the intestines that may reduce cholesterol absorption. Which leads to lower levels of cholesterol in the blood, especially harmful ones.
Benefits for bone health
Commercial oat milk is usually fortified with more calcium and vitamin D. This is due to the importance of calcium in maintaining and strengthening bones, to prevent weakness and osteoporosis. This is in addition to the role of vitamin D in helping to absorb calcium from the digestive system.
Rich source of fiber
As this milk contains soluble dietary fiber, it is an ideal choice to include in your healthy diet. This is because fiber plays an important role in maintaining the health of the intestines and digestive system.
Saturated fat free
One of the benefits of oat milk is that it is free of saturated fats, which makes it low in calories. And an optimal choice for those who follow a diet.
Controlling blood sugar levels
Soluble fiber and complex carbohydrates slow the whole food conversion into sugars. It does this by delaying the drop in blood sugar levels before meals and slowing its rise after meals. This reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to the American Cancer Society, oats are beneficial for both men and women. Lignan helps prevent cardiovascular disease. It also helps reduce the chances of developing hormone-related cancers such as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
Is oat milk gluten free?
Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley and other foods .
While it’s safe to eat for most people, it inflames and damages the lining of the small intestine in people with celiac disease and people with gluten sensitivity. Hence, anyone suffering from these diseases should avoid gluten.
Oats are naturally gluten free. However, because it is often grown near wheat and processed in facilities that also handle wheat products, it is often contaminated with gluten.
Thus, oat milk is also susceptible to contamination.
A Canadian study of 133 samples of oats found that 88% were contaminated with more than 20 parts per million of gluten the general limit for food considered gluten free.
However, one item was certified gluten free and tested negative for gluten.
When researchers in the United States evaluated 78 gluten free foods, 20.5% of them had gluten levels in excess of 20 parts per million.
Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not analyze foods for gluten content. Instead, it is up to the manufacturers to test the products themselves.
Some manufacturers use third-party testing labs to ensure that their products are below the gluten threshold. These companies have a certificate, usually shown as a small stamp on the package, that guarantees that the product is gluten free.
If you can’t eat gluten, you should only buy certified gluten free oat milk.
Gluten free oat milk options
If you don’t have a health reason that requires you to avoid gluten, any type of oat milk is safe to drink.
However, if you are on a gluten free diet, you should read labels carefully to find certified gluten free products.
Oatly is one of those oat milk brands that has been certified gluten free in the US. Planet Oat, Califia Farms, and Elmhurst all state that their oat milk is gluten free but has no third-party certification.
How to make oat milk?
It’s also easy to make gluten free oat milk, using only two ingredients — certified oats and water.
This is a basic recipe:
1 cup of rolled oats (81 grams) and 3 cups of water (710 ml).
Mix the oats with 3 cups of water using a blender on high speed, for 30-45 seconds.
Pour the mixture over a cotton cloth to separate the oat milk from the oats. Then store it in an airtight bottle. Put it in the fridge, for up to 5 days. For an extra flavor, you can add a teaspoon of vanilla, honey, or cinnamon, and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
How is gluten free milk made?
Oat milk is made by soaking whole oats in water, grinding the laxative mixture, and straining it from the solids. The manufacturer may add other ingredients such as sweeteners or vitamins before homogenizing the drink to make it creamy and milk-like.
Oats are an especially good source of beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that gives oat milk its thick texture and may promote heart health by lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol. Notably, studies show that oatmeal drinks have the same effect.
One cup (240 ml) serving of oat milk provides:
-Protein: 3 grams
-Fat: 5 grams
-Carbs: 16 grams
-Fiber: 2 grams
While oats are a gluten free grain, many are tainted with gluten which means not all oat milk is gluten free.
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should only purchase oat milk that is certified gluten free by an outside organization.
Otherwise, you can make this thick, creamy vegan milk at home using certified gluten free oats and water.