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Are Oats & Oatmeal Paleo?


Oats are generally thought to be pretty healthy and nutritious and are marketed to the mainstream as a healthy food. However, like other grains and pseudograins, oats contain antinutrients – like phytic acid, lectins and avenin – which we try to avoid on the paleo diet. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the humble oat.

What are oats and where do they come from?

The oat plant is a species of cereal grain, grown for the edible seeds or ‘groats’. Once the husk is removed from the groat, it may be left whole, or processed into rolled oats (steamed and rolled flat), oatmeal (chopped into small pieces), or ground into oat flour.

Oats are a common livestock feed, but humans also like to eat them in muesli, granola, porridge, and baked goods. You can even brew beer from them!

Are oats paleo?

Oats are marketed as a health food as they are high in soluble fibre and complex carbohydrates. For a cereal, oats also have a reasonably high amount of protein (here’s a full nutritional breakdown).

However, we avoid oats on the paleo diet because (like other grains and legumes) they contain antinutrients which contribute to leaky gut, cause inflammation, weaken the immune system, and trigger autoimmune disease. Oats are also often contaminated with gluten from contact with other crops.


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