A systematic review of the literature related to the inclusion of oats in the gluten-free diet for patients with coeliac disease to assess whether oats can be recommended. A computerised literature review of multiple databases was carried out, identifying 17 primary studies, 6 of which met the criteria for inclusion in this review. None of the six studies found any significant difference in the serology between the oats and control groups. Two studies, however, identified a significant difference (p<0.001; p = 0.039) in intraepithelial lymphocyte counts between the oats and control groups. Oats can be symptomatically tolerated by most patients with coeliac disease; however, the long-term effects of a diet containing oats remain unknown. Patients with coeliac disease wishing to consume a diet containing oats should therefore receive regular follow-up, including small bowel biopsy at a specialist clinic for life.
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Competing interests: None.
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