Oat milk is quickly becoming one of the more popular plant-based milks for everything from breakfast cereal to baking.
Plant milks made from nuts, seeds, coconut, rice, and soy are 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 the best choice.
This article explains whether oat milk is gluten-free.
Many Brands Are Contaminated With Gluten
Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley.
While it's safe for most people to eat, it inflames and damages the lining of the small intestine in people with celiac disease and possibly those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Thus, anyone with these conditions must strictly avoid gluten.
Oats are naturally gluten-free. However, because they're often grown near wheat and processed in facilities that also handle wheat products, they're frequently cross-contaminated with gluten.
Thus, oat milk is likewise susceptible to contamination.
A Canadian study in 133 oat samples discovered that 88% were contaminated with more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten — the general cutoff for a food to be considered gluten-free.
When researchers in the United States assessed 78 foods labeled gluten-free, 20.5% had gluten levels over 20 ppm.
Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't analyze foods for gluten content. Instead, it's up to manufacturers to test the products themselves.
Some manufacturers use third-party testing labs to ensure that their products are under the threshold for gluten. These have a certification — usually shown as a small stamp on the packaging — that ensures the product is indeed gluten-free.
If you can't consume gluten, you should only buy oat milk that's certified gluten-free.
Although naturally gluten-free, oats are frequently cross-contaminated with gluten. Therefore, there's a good chance that your oat milk isn't gluten-free unless it's certified as such.
Gluten-Free Oat Milk Options
If you don't have a health reason that requires you to avoid gluten, any kind of oat milk is safe to drink.
However, if you follow a gluten-free diet, you should read labels carefully to find products that are certified gluten-free.
Oatly is one oat milk brand whose U.S. products are certified gluten-free. Planet Oat, Califia Farms, and Elmhurst all state that their oat milk is gluten-free but don't have third-party certification.
Gluten-free oat milk is also easy to make yourself, using only two ingredients — certified gluten-free oats and water. Here's a basic recipe:
- Soak 1 cup (80 grams) of certified gluten-free oats in water — enough to cover them — for about 15 minutes.
- Drain the oats and blend with up to 4 cups (945 mL) of water for about 30 seconds. Use less water if you prefer a thicker beverage.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Chill before serving.
Several brands offer gluten-free oat milk. Nonetheless, if you can't find certified products, you can make your own oat milk with certified gluten-free oats and water.
How is Oat Milk Made?
Oat milk is made by soaking whole oats in water, milling the softened mixture, and straining the liquid from the solids. The manufacturer may add other ingredients like sweeteners or vitamins before the drink is homogenized to make it creamy and milk-like.
Oats are a particularly good source of beta glucan, a soluble fiber that gives oat milk its thick consistency and may boost heart health by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. Notably, studies suggest that oat beverages have this same effect.
A 1-cup (240-mL) serving of oat milk provides:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
Oat milk is made by soaking and milling oats, then separating the liquid. Oat milk's creamy texture is owed to its beta glucan, a healthy type of soluble fiber.
The Bottom Line
While oats are a gluten-free grain, many are cross-contaminated with gluten — meaning that not all oat milks are gluten-free.
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should only buy oat milk that's certified gluten-free by a third-party organization.
Otherwise, you can make this thick, creamy plant-based milk at home using certified gluten-free oats and water.
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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