Objective: There has long been doubt about the need to exclude oats from a gluten-free diet (GFD). The objective of this study was to review the literature in order to arrive at a firm recommendation.
Material and methods: Electronic databases were searched up to February 2006 using the terms "oats" and "coeliac disease".
Results: Twenty relevant studies were found and presented. Early studies were small and uncontrolled and mostly indirect. In 10 studies involving 165 patients, only 1 patient was shown to have histological damage as a result of consuming oats.
Conclusions: Coeliac patients can, to some advantage, include oats in a GFD although there may be the occasional patient who is also oats sensitive. Previous conflicting results may have been partly due to contamination of oats by wheat. Lest contamination is present and exceeds the safe threshold, we recommend that coeliac patients should only add oats to their GFD when they are established on a conventional GFD, and stop eating oats if they develop any symptoms.