- What's really in oats? Oats and oat-based cereals are healthful sources of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber, particularly when the whole grain is used. The fiber includes beta-glucan, which can help lower levels of bad cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. However, in the past, some oat-based cereals have been found to be contaminated with ochratoxin A, a potential carcinogen and kidney toxin. (See Background). ConsumerLab.com tested oat-based cereals to find out whether they exceeded contamination limits for this toxin. (See What CL Tested For).
- Do oats contain gluten? Although oats don't naturally contain gluten, oat cereals may become cross-contaminated with gluten from wheat products during processing, a potential concern for some people. ConsumerLab.com tested products against the FDA standard for "gluten-free," as well as its own, more stringent "ultra gluten-free" standard (See What CL Tested For).
- Which oats are best for gluten-free diets? Although none of the cereals contained ochratoxin A at a level of concern to adults or older children, testing of one product indicated that it may be best to limit its use by small children. Significant amounts of gluten were found in some products (as much as 95 ppm of gluten). Products labeled "gluten-free" met the FDA standard (no more than 20 ppm of gluten) but not necessarily CL's ultra gluten-free standard (5 ppm) (See What CL Found).
- Which are the best oats overall? ConsumerLab.com compared products on quality and cost for each category of cereal (steel-cut oats, rolled oats, oat bran, etc.) to come up with its Top Picks.
- Cautions with oats and oat bran: Although the oat products tested appear to be generally safe, levels of ochratoxin A may vary over time: be particularly cautious with oat bran products. If you have celiac disease, be aware that some oat cereals contain high amounts of gluten, although this is much less likely if a product is labeled as gluten-free (See Concerns and Cautions).
Oat Cereals Review
Find the Best Oatmeal, Oat Bran, Steel Cut Oats, & Cold Cereals. Popular Oat Cereals Tested -- Beware of Unexpected Gluten.
Oat and buckwheat cereals compared in this report
365 Organic Quick Oats
Arrowhead Mills Organic Oat Bran Flakes
Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran
Bob's Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Oats
Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
General Mills Cheerios
Gerber Oatmeal Cereal
Hodgson Mill Old Fashioned Oat Bran Hot Cereal
McCann's Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal
McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal
Mother's Oat Bran
Old Wessex Ltd All-Natural Creamy Oat Bran
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Original
Quaker Oat Bran
Quaker Oats Old Fashioned
Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats
Trader Joe's Rolled Oats
Wolff's Kasha - Medium Granulation
In addition the results of its expert testing, ConsumerLab uses only high-quality, evidence based, information sources. These sources include peer-reviewed studies and information from agencies such as the FDA and USDA, and the National Academy of Medicine. On evolving topics, studies from pre-print journals may be sourced. All of our content is reviewed by medical doctors and doctoral-level experts in pharmacology, toxicology, and chemistry. We continually update and medically review our information to keep our content trustworthy, accurate, and reliable. The following sources are referenced in this article:
- Aberg, Diabetes Care 2020
- Arentz-Hansen, PLOS Medicine 2004
- Aune, BMJ 2011
- Bennett, Clin Microbio Rev 2003
- CDC 2017
- FDA 2016
- Frolich, J Cereal Sci 1998
- Ho, Br J Nutr 2016
- Lee, J Ag Food Chem 2015
- Palumbo, Lett App Microbiol 2011
- Peterson, J Cereal Sci 2000
- Song, Gastroenterology 2015
- Song, JAMA Oncol 2017
- Vidal, Food and Chem Tox, 2013
- Wolever, Br J Nutr 2019
- Wolever, Eur J Clin Nutr 2019
You'll get all of the following information about oat cereals in this comprehensive review:
- Which oat cereals passed or failed testing
- Which oat cereals offer the best quality and value and are CL's Top Picks
- Amounts of ochratoxin A and gluten found in each oat or buckwheat cereal
- If oat cereals that claim to be gluten-free really are
- How to save money by finding top-quality, lowest cost cereals
- Unexpected ingredients in some oat cereals
- How to avoid problems with oat cereals
- The health benefits of oat cereals
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