Toxic Elements Were Found In Popular Oat Brands. Do You Buy Them?
Oats are often recommended as part of a healthy diet. They contain multiple beneficial vitamins and minerals, fiber, and are said to help prevent heart disease (Whole Grains Council, 2016). The Whole Grains Council claims that oats help lower bad cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and may reduce the risk of some cancers. Despite all of these seemingly magical properties, there have also been claims that oats do more harm than good.
The majority of oats purchased in grocery stores contain gluten, which often come into contact with to the oats while being processed in facilities shared with gluten-containing foods. It only takes one sixteenth of a teaspoon to cause a gluten reaction in a person with Celiac Disease, so even this trace amount is enough to damage a Celiac’s intestinal villi. All oats, even those processed in gluten-free dedicated facilities, contain avenin, which has been reported to cause an autoimmune response similar to gluten in some individuals with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity. A study by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that some oats and oat-based cereals contain ochratoxin A, a mold-related toxin. Animals exposed to this toxin in experiments developed kidney tumors and cancer (American Chemical Society, 2016).
According to WebMD, all types of oats can cause intestinal blockage if not chewed properly, and should be avoided by people with problems chewing and swallowing. The website further suggests that not just those with Celiac Disease but individuals with any disorder of the digestive tract should avoid oat products because the phytic acid in oats causes them to digest more slowly and can lead to intestinal blockage (WebMD, 2016). Oats have a high glycemic index, leading to a spike in blood glucose levels in those with diabetes. This spike in blood glucose can also cause cravings and lead to overeating. This contradicts the popular notion that oats can help a person lose weight (WebMD, 2016). Further, processed, non-organic oats are loaded with pesticides, including Malathion, piperonyl butoxide, metolachlor, DDE p,p’,
This contradicts the popular notion that oats can help a person lose weight (WebMD, 2016). Further, processed, non-organic oats are loaded with pesticides, including Malathion, piperonyl butoxide, metolachlor, DDE p,p’, propiconazole, and chlorpyrifos-methyl according to many organic and holistic resources such as SuperTastyRecipes.com. The USDA does not deny that these pesticides are found in oats but disagrees with how the data is interpreted. According to Food Safety News, the USDA has reported that the levels of pesticides in oats do not actually pose a threat to health (Food Safety News, 2016).
In researching the safety of oats, it can be difficult to get a straight answer that both the organic and holistic groupies and organizations that benefit from the sale of oats, like the Whole Grains Council and, some may argue, the USDA itself.
RELATED ARTICLE: How Gluten Affects Your Health and 5 Things You Didn’t Know About It
Different types of oats vary greatly in their quality and health benefits. This is generally based on what was done to the oats in processing. The healthiest oats are organic, steel-cut oats. The toasted groats are only cut into chunks and have no further processing. Stone ground oats are similar to steel-cut, but are ground into smaller pieces. Old-fashioned and instant oatmeal are the least healthy due to the amount of processing these foods go through before being sold (Supertastyrecipes.com, 2016). Despite all the negatives, oats also have many beneficial properties.
Oats also contain beta glucans, which at least one study has shown, can help the immune system fight against bacteria and parasites and help control blood pressure and may help reduce the risk of Type II diabetes (WGC, 2016).
Most studies showing the benefits of oats were done on oats in their purest form, however, and cannot account for any changes made to the oat in processing. All of these studies are listed on the Whole Grains Council website, and there is controversy over how trustworthy the Whole Grains Council is in determining the benefits of grains due to an obvious bias (Wanjek, 2013).
Based on what you read, oats could either be the best thing for your health, or a toxic, unhealthy food. However, no matter who you ask, organic, unprocessed oats are best in terms of safety and health.