Oat Beverages & Celiac Disease: Why We Are a Bit Concerned

Oat Beverages & Celiac Disease: Why We Are a Bit Concerned

Bottom line: If you drink oat-based beverages, please choose products you trust made using gluten-free oats. Gluten in liquids adds up very quickly.

Background: The part per million level of a product is obviously important BUT it doesn’t tell the whole story. The amount of gluten ingested depends on BOTH the ppm level AND the weight amount of product eaten. Each 1.0 ounce/28.35 gram amount of product ingested at the 20-ppm level provides about 0.57 milligrams of gluten.

What does this mean in the real world? Gluten Free Watchdog recently tested an oat “milk” NOT labeled gluten-free. It contained a level of gluten of approximately 12 ppm. This seems fine, right? BUT have you considered how many ounces by weight you drink of various beverages?

Gluten in liquids adds up quickly because of the weight amount consumed. The 8-ounce (by weight) glass of oat “milk” in the photo testing at a 12 ppm level of gluten contains about 2.7 milligrams of gluten.

How much would you have to consume of other products to ingest approximately 2.7 milligrams of gluten at a 12-ppm level: (Please note: The following products have NOT been tested)

The entire 8-ounce box of cookies!

The entire 8-ounce box of pasta!

8 (EIGHT) 1-ounce bottles of this herb!

To reiterate: If you drink oat-based beverages, please choose products you trust made using gluten-free oats. Gluten in liquids adds up very quickly. 

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Comments (10)

  • Dick Lunde Reply

    It has never made sense to me that the gluten content of food is expressed in ppm, but other things (e,g., fat or sodium or calcium) are expressed in grams or milligrams per serving.

    April 5, 2021 at 3:57 pm
  • Celiac Dad in TX Reply

    It would be helpful if this article included the oat milks that have been tested by y’all to be safe 🙂

    April 5, 2021 at 7:36 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      We have only just started testing oat “milks.” The recommendation at this time is to avoid oat beverages not labeled gluten-free.

      April 5, 2021 at 7:53 pm
  • Angelica Reply

    Thank you for explaining the ppm to mg difference.

    April 7, 2021 at 4:26 pm
    • Jeff O'Neill Reply

      Let us know when you get up to date and change that to “don’t eat oats”.

      -a Celiac’s patient who reacts to ‘certified’ ‘gluten free’ oats

      Appreciate your work nonetheless. It seems impossible for science to catch up w the practical realities of this disease but it is very helpful for us all. 🙂

      May 25, 2021 at 7:36 pm
  • Jo Gould Reply

    I do not drink oat milk. But I have wondered if I need to avoid Starbuck’s lattes now that they use it in their coffee offerings. Is the amount of potential oat milk (ordered in coffee by others) that contaminates the foamer for my order with regular cow’s milk enough for me to worry about being glutened? So far I haven’t been to Starbucks since I only go when I’m traveling and the pandemic has kept me home. But I’d like to know if I need to avoid them in the future.

    April 14, 2021 at 10:31 pm
  • Linda Reply

    Is there any recommendations yet for oatmilk? I haven’t been diagnosed or tested for celiac, just gluten sensitive; however, I do react to Quaker Oats Sven though the box claims they’re gluten free and I do react to my family accidentally leaving crumbs etc.

    January 2, 2022 at 3:07 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      GFWD will be posting about oat milk in the near future.

      January 10, 2022 at 7:17 pm
  • joseph poole Reply

    Has anyone heard of Spelt (wheat) and barley based vegan milks? Such vegan milks should be tested for gluten, plant milk website claims that such milks are gluten free on the following urls: https://plant-milk.org/spelt-milk, and https://plant-milk.org/barley-milk as answers to substitutes/alternatives. They must think that with the logic of the vegetable starches dissolving out of custom dough balls without the vegetable proteins, then the vegan milks are gluten free. Milks are supposed to be gluten free. Who knows if the certain plant milks are ingredients crafted to remove gluten?

    June 12, 2023 at 4:20 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      I just checked the Bright Barley website and it reads, “Are Bright Barley Drinks Gluten-Free? No, barley naturally contains gluten, and who are we to mess with a supergrain that’s been doing its nutritious thing since 10,000BC? But our drinks are wheat free, yeast free, nut free and, of course, dairy free. I’m not able to find the spelt drink on the Provamel website. Whoever wrote the articles for plant-milk.org should be corrected.

      June 12, 2023 at 7:35 pm

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