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Initially Posted: 08/23/2016 | Last Updated: 05/19/2020
Oat Cereals Tested by ConsumerLab.com

Oat and buckwheat cereals compared in this report

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365 Organic Quick Oats

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Arrowhead Mills Organic Oat Bran Flakes

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Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran

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Bob's Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

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Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Oats

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Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats

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Coach's Oats

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General Mills Cheerios

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Gerber Oatmeal Cereal

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Hodgson Mill Old Fashioned Oat Bran Hot Cereal

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McCann's Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal

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McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal

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Mother's Oat Bran

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Old Wessex Ltd All-Natural Creamy Oat Bran

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Quaker Instant Oatmeal Original

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Quaker Oat Bran

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Quaker Oats Old Fashioned

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Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

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Trader Joe's Rolled Oats

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Wolff's Kasha - Medium Granulation

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Summary

  • 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).
You must be a ConsumerLab.com member to get the full test results for 20 cereals (including 19 oat cereals and 1 buckwheat cereal) selected for testing by ConsumerLab and CL's Top Picks among cereals.

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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