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Wheat vs. Gluten, Oats

Ask Dina:

I'm new to the wheat free diet and am learning what contains wheat. What about oatmeal? What is the difference between wheat and gluten?

Dina's Response:

Many foods contain wheat products. Some, like pasta and bread, are obvious sources of wheat. But other sources are not so obvious. Wheat may be an ingredient in sausage, icings, and commercial sauces. It’s impossible to know without seeing the food label or being very well-informed about hidden sources of wheat in the food supply. My book, Food Allergy Survival Guide, contains information on what foods always or may contain wheat, and has over 150 recipes free of wheat and gluten, including quick breads, cakes, cookies, and pie crust.

Pure oats are a grain that is separate from wheat, so oats are wheat free. However, oats and wheat are often harvested together and milled in the same processing facility. And due to the similar shape and size of the wheat kernel and oat groat, cross-contamination is always a possibility. If you’re severely reactive to wheat or gluten, it may be wise to avoid oats as well, unless you can find an oat manufacturer who uses wheat-free facilities from harvesting to packaging. Note that some people who cannot tolerate wheat may not be able to tolerate oats either. There is a similar, yet not identical, protein in oats that some people react to.

Wheat is a type of grain, and gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, and some other grains. Gluten is the component that gives bread dough its elasticity, and gives bread its chewy texture. Gluten is extracted from grains and used in the manufacturing of many foods.

Some people are allergic or sensitive to wheat, and others react specifically to the gluten. Since the primary source of gluten is wheat, the diet to manage either condition is similar to the other. Gluten intolerance requires a more strict diet because there are some items that are wheat-free but may contain gluten. Examples are barley malt, seasonings with added gluten, and malt vinegar.

January 26, 2005 in Ask Dina | Permalink


do you have any additional info regarding the biological link between wheat and oats and whether oats should be strictly avoided by sensitive people? thanks

Posted by: | Aug 26, 2006 8:49:52 PM

Hi, I'm allergic to nuts and I love the Smart Start Kellogs cereal as well as other products that contain nuts. Are oats, which are contained my favorite cereal, in the nut family?

Thx, Sharon

Posted by: Sharon Richardson | Mar 24, 2007 12:21:05 AM

i find it informative

Posted by: Josephine V. de Leon | Apr 19, 2007 3:04:16 AM

thats equavilent to 4 cheese sandwhiches

Posted by: Dr Cindy Pan | Jun 22, 2007 10:51:11 PM

Could you please tell me (not for any dietry reasons, but just generally) the difference between Wheat and Oats.

Posted by: Frank Couch | Oct 1, 2007 3:20:37 AM

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Posted by: cqkgjytmwg | Nov 26, 2007 1:44:09 PM

my son on a gluten free diet but he loves Nature Valley bars Oats and honey. The recipe states rolled oats doesn't metion wheat. Is it okay for me to give it to him

Posted by: gina | Feb 13, 2008 8:41:38 AM

Try this I have had a wheat free diet for about two years I go back and forth between eating right and making myself sick. This website is helpful for those that are Gluten Free. A way to test is if you are WF vs GF is a test for Celiac Disease. It is expensive and if you have had stomach pains you need to get checked because the disease breaks down you intestines. (Or just go with Gluren and see if you pains go away) Try this link http://www.foodallergytalk.com/wheatgluten.htm

The hardest part for me is the gluten bread in to store contain corn and potatos which I can not have. Those without are nasty. I am not gluten free so I do eat wheat free gluten flour. Mixing those flours to make bread that tastes good is a challenge and time comsuming. Banana's, eggs and lesathin, xathum gum are good for making the bread stick together Google is a good tool.

Good luck hope everyone likes veges

Posted by: Courtney | Jun 15, 2008 6:26:42 PM

Hi i want more information about the wheat and its functional group or character and how muvh is it valuable in cosmetics.

Posted by: vrushali | Jul 14, 2008 2:47:34 AM

My fourteen months old daughter is allergic to wheat. I want to know whether there is a test to find out oats and other gluten grains okay for her?

Posted by: | Sep 2, 2008 11:30:30 AM

Hello All! I just wanted to basically post this...As you all know it's SO hard being wheat/gluten intolerant and the best thing about it is loosing the weight and eating healthier. The hardest part is learning how to eat and what is safe to eat without making yourself sick. If you do the homework, you'll discover great recipes with the foods you can eat and all the restaurants that serve gluten free menu as well as the many stores that carry gluten free food products. I found a place and it has made me a very happy woman. It's call Gluten Free Creations and you can even order wheat and gluten-free baked goods online. (www.glutenfreecreations.com) I wish you all the best and remember...EAT RIGHT and BE WELL!

Posted by: | Sep 18, 2008 10:51:59 PM

the only difference between wheat and oat is that wheat is fertilized with the feces of a cow and oat is fertilized with the semen of the honey bee

Posted by: | Feb 9, 2009 1:41:31 PM

My son is allergic to oats. Does that mean he should be avoiding foods that contain wheat?

Posted by: april | Feb 20, 2009 7:29:11 AM

What type of physician do I go to to have them tell me if I need to be wheat free or gluten free? An allergist? What kind of test is it? If I need to be gluten free, does that include Oatmeal, Rice, Millet?

Posted by: Susan | Aug 22, 2010 1:39:40 PM

I am not allergic to wheat but it has been suggested that I stop eating wheat by my bowen therapist as this could be the cause of me being tired all the time. I enjoy oats for breakfast and was wondering if they where wheat free

Posted by: June McIntosh | Nov 7, 2010 5:15:56 PM

Thanks for this wonderful and concise article, Dina. I may be sensitive to wheat, oats, or both... but at least this answered my basic questions about what is what. Now, I know. Thank you!

Posted by: Leroy Jenkins | Aug 14, 2011 1:00:57 PM

Reading comprehension is as important as the ability to discern between wheat and oats, if not more so.

As stated in the article above, yes, both wheat and oats are grains. That's where the similaritites of their cetegorization end. Why? Well, as stated in the above article, wheat consists of a protein called gluten, and oats do not. Also, there is no wheat in oats as oats are not wheat, which was also clearly explained in the above article.

As for allergies: you can be allergic to almost anything. If you think you're seriously allergic to something, you should see an allergist.

Posted by: Rocky | Oct 19, 2011 9:19:19 PM



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