Are Oats Low FODMAP?

It’s just about impossible to enter a supermarket that does not sell products containing oats ranging from hearty breakfast rolled oats to traditional meatloaf dinners. While Monash University, which developed the FODMAP program over a decade ago, classifies oats as low FODMAP, it’s a highly divisive topic that requires an in-depth review.

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Oats are classified as a low FODMAP foodstuff, in limited amounts ranging from ¼ to ½ a cup, which are dependant on the type of oats, and the country it is produced in. Although oats are classified as low FODMAP, the Avenin oats or gluten protein could aggravate IBS symptoms in some instances.

While oats have been given the FODMAP “green light,” certain types, like instant oats, may exacerbate IBS symptoms, even for those who have not been diagnosed with severe gluten intolerance like coeliacs disease. Therefore, read on if you would like to know more about this insightful topic and how you could mitigate the potential risk factors.

Monash University: Low FODMAP Oats Classification

Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has since gained profound insights regarding gut health and how a tailor-made diet can significantly alleviate painful IBS symptoms.

If you love oats, you would be delighted to hear that your favorite breakfast or diner ingredient has been classified as low FODMAP, albeit with limited amounts on the handy Monash University App.

Tread cautiously, though — oats are not all created equally, and while you might not be gluten intolerant, it can exacerbate agonizing IBS symptoms.

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To illustrate my point, the university garnered critical acclaim for their research into why case study subjects who did not suffer from coeliac disease are intolerant to gluten in wheat products.  

The Monash FODMAP App refers to different types of oats, ranging from cooked, instant, and rolled oasts to groats to make matters more complicated. Their permitted daily allowance varies dramatically depending on the country you reside in.

The Difference Between Instant, Steel-Cut, Groats Or Oats

It’s essential to clearly understand the main differences between the various types of oats on the market and how to incorporate them in a low FODMAP diet.

While instant and steel-cut oats have not been classified as low FODMAP food, I have included them in my brief overview to avoid any potential confusion.

Whole Grain Oats: Groats

Whether it be oats, wheat, or barley, all whole-grain products are referred to as groats.

By the time you spot groats on your supermarket shelf, it would have been steamed to remove the unpalatable hull, yet they would still be classified as a whole grain foodstuff as their endosperm and brans are still in place.

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The Monash app allows for 60 grams (¼ cup) per day of groats as a savory grain bowl meal or side dish.

Good Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Like groats, rolled oats (or oat flakes) are traditionally steamed to remove their hard shells. However, they are then flattened with hefty rollers to create their flattened or compressed shapes.

While the Monash App allows for approximately ½ cup uncooked rolled oats per day, their country-specific weight allowances range between 52 grams to 65 grams.

On a side note — should a recipe refer to oats, they probably refer to nutritious rolled oats. Alternatively, they would specify which type of oats is required.

Quick Oats

Quick oats are produced in the same manner as groats or rolled oats. However, the final step in the manufacturing process differs as the oats are broken into dusty, smaller pieces to hasten their cooking process.

Monash has given quick oats the green light as part of a low FODMAP diet, with a daily allowance of a ½ cup per day.

Although similar to their rolled oats weight estimates, there has been much-heated debate about the ideal daily amounts.

Steel Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats, commonly known as either Pinhead, Irish, or Scots Oats, are produced like all our previous types.

However, they are not rolled but cut into tiny three-dimensional, nugget-sized oats pieces to produce a hearty form of oats that takes far longer to cook than other variants.

Instant Oats

Similar to most types of oats, instant oats are rolled, albeit more severely, to create compact oats, which are shredded into smaller-sized pieces to create a powdery substance to make an instant hot meal.

Though you could add limited amounts of instant oats to a smoothie, their compact, dense consistency would elevate their FODMAPS.

Gluten-Free Oats: What You Need To Know

Gluten can be potentially harmful to those suffering from severe forms of gluten intolerance like coeliacs disease. Therefore, the great debate about whether oats are truly gluten-free is a valid concern that needs to be scrutinized.

Although many oat brands are marketed as gluten-free, the product might have been contaminated by adjacent wheat crops during the harvesting process.

It is also essential to note that countries vary dramatically in their approach to classifying oats as gluten-free or not. 

While US oats manufacturers may classify oats as gluten-free if it contains gluten levels of 20ppm, countries like Australia are far stricter and only permit 3ppm amounts of gluten.

Oats may also not be classified as gluten-free in Australia due to the avenin oats protein, which is categorized as gluten.

Consequently, oats may not be marketed as gluten-free in Australia, even if produced with stringent processing measures to eliminate gluten contamination.

Studies have also proven that Avenin, an oat protein similar to gluten, could activate gluten sensitivity in-vitro and negatively impact those with coeliac disease.

Therefore should you find that you are sensitive to gluten-free branded oats after taking part in the oats challenge for a week weeks, it might be best to look for an alternative low FODMAP?

So, Are Oats Low FODMAP?

It certainly is possible to enjoy oats on a low FODMAP program if you adhere to their daily allowances. However, you could be sensitive to the Avenin oats protein without knowing it. Therefore, it’s imperative to consult with a dietitian while on the FODMAP diet to identify your potential IBS triggers.