Breakfast and Oats

What are Oats?

The common oats (Avena sativa) are a class of cereal grain that has long been used as human food thanks to its unique composition and high nutritional value. They were first cooked as porridge, then later gained popularity and started being used in a variety of food products, such as breakfast cereals and baked goods. Oat-based dairy alternative products, such as oat milk, yoghurt, and ice cream also become popular oat products.

Raw oats need to be processed to become edible, and this process determines the different types of oats available: whole oat groats, steel cut oats, rolled oats, oat bran, oat flour, and oat flakes.

Oats are naturally gluten-free; however, they are usually processed in facilities that also process gluten-containing cereals, which can contaminate oats. Therefore, it is necessary for coeliac patients to read the labels and ensure that the oat products do not contain gluten.

Besides being a valuable food, oats are also an ingredient in the cosmetic industry, frequently found in hair and skin care products, as well as in makeup.

Main benefits of Oats:

  • Versatile and nutritious cereal
  • Naturally gluten-free source of fiber, iron, andproteins
  • Source of carbohydrates, which play a role in post-workout muscle function recovery
  • Source of beta-glucans, which help reduce blood cholesterol levels and blood glucose spikes after a meal
  • Source of oat grain fiber, which leads to an improvement of bowel function by increasing fecal bulk

References

Hareland G.A et al. Oats. in Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Academic Press; 2003: 4213-4220.

Fritz RD et al. Oat safety for celiac disease patients: theoretical analysis correlates adverse symptoms in clinical studies to contaminated study oats. Nutrition Research. 2018;60:54-67. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2018.09.003.

EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies), 2013. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to glycaemic carbohydrates and recovery of normal muscle function (contraction) after strenuous exercise pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2013;11(10):3409, 10 pp. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3409.

EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to beta-glucans from oats and barley and maintenance of normal blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations (ID 1236, 1299), increase in satiety leading to a reduction in energy intake (ID 851, 852), reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses (ID 821, 824), and “digestive function” (ID 850) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2011;9(6):2207. [21 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2207.

EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to oat beta-glucan and lowering blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2010;8(12):1885. [15 pp.] doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1885.

EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to oat and barley grain fibre and increase in faecal bulk (ID 819, 822) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2011;9(6):2249. [13 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2249.

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