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Food Intolerance - TrophoScan®

Oat: Health benefits and risks from its consumption

Oat belongs to cereals and is scientifically known as Avena sativa. Oat is grown mainly in North America and Europe. It is a very good source of fiber, especially beta-glucan, and is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Oats are the only source of a special group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are believed to have significant protective effects against heart disease.

Due to its beneficial effects on health, such as lowering glucose and cholesterol, oat has gained particular scientific interest.

Oat is usually pressed into flakes and can be eaten whole, in pastries, in bread, in muesli, and in various other products. Oat bran (consisting mainly of the fiber-rich outer shell of the grains) is often consumed separately in various recipes, in muesli, or in pastries.

Nutritional elements

Oats have a balanced nutritional composition and one serving (30 grams) of oats contains 117 calories. Raw oats consist of 66% carbohydrates, 17% protein, 7% fat, and 11% fiber.

The following table contains detailed information on the nutrients of oats:

Nutritional elements: Raw oat, per 100 grams
Calories 389
Water 8%
Proteins16.9 g
Carbohydrates 66.3 g
Sugars -
Fibers10.6 g
Fats 6.9 g
Saturated 1.22 g
Monounsaturated 2.18 g
Polyunsaturated 2.54 g
Omega-3 0.11 g
Omega-6 2.42 g
Trans fat -

Carbohydrates make up to 66% of oats. Oats have very low sugar content, while only 1% comes from sucrose. About 11% of the carbohydrates in oats consist of fibers and 85% of starch.


Starch, the ingredient with the highest content in oats, is made up of large chains of glucose molecules. Oat starch is different from the starch found in other cereals because it has a higher fat content and a higher water absorption capacity.

There are three types of starch in oats, in terms of ease of digestion.

  • The rapidly digested starch (7%), is broken down rapidly and is absorbed as glucose.
  • The slowly digested starch (22%), is broken down and absorbed later.
  • The resistant starch (25%), acts as a kind of fiber. Resistant starch “resists” digestion, feeds the friendly bacteria of the intestinal microbiome, and improves intestinal health.

Oats consist of 11% fiber. Most fibers in oats are soluble and consist mainly of fibers called beta-glucans. Oats also contain insoluble fiber, including lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. Oats contain more soluble fiber than other cereals, resulting in slower digestion, increased satiety, and appetite suppression.

Beta-glucans are unique among fibers, as they can form a viscous solution (gel-like) at a relatively low concentration. In raw, whole grain oats, the amount of beta-glucan ranges from 2.3 to 8.5%, found mainly in the bran.

Beta-glucans are known to lower cholesterol and increase the excretion of bile acids in the gut. They are also believed to lower blood sugar and insulin levels after a high-carbohydrate meal.

Daily consumption of beta-glucans has been shown to lower cholesterol, especially "bad" LDL cholesterol, and therefore may reduce the risk of heart disease.


Oats are a good source of quality protein, ranging from 11-17% by dry weight, which is higher than most cereals. The main protein in oats is called avenalin (80%), which is not found in any other cereal and is similar to some legume proteins.

A secondary protein is called avenin and is a prolamine like wheat gluten. However, pure oat is considered safe for most people with gluten intolerance.


Whole grain oat contains more fat than other cereals, ranging from 5-9%. It consists mainly of unsaturated fatty acids.

Vitamins and trace elements

Oats are high in vitamins and minerals. The most important are:

  • Manganese: This trace element is important for the growth and metabolism of the body.
  • Phosphorus: An important metal for bone health and the health maintenance of all tissues.
  • Copper: An important metal that is often lacking in the western diet. It is considered important for the health of the heart.
  • Iron: As a component of hemoglobin, the protein responsible for the transportation of oxygen to the blood, iron is absolutely essential in the human diet.
  • Selenium: An important antioxidant, involved in various processes in the body. Low selenium levels have been linked to an increased risk of premature death and impaired immune and mental function.
  • Magnesium: Often missing from the diet, this element is important for many processes in the body.
  • Zinc: A metal that is involved in many chemical reactions in the body and is important for overall health.
  • Vitamin B1: Also known as thiamine, this vitamin is found in many foods, including cereals, beans, nuts, and meat.

Oats also contain smaller amounts of vitamins Folic (natural vitamin B9), Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, and Vitamin B6. Also, while it contains small amounts of Potassium, it does not contain any Sodium.

At Diagnostiki Athinon, food intolerance in oats can be tested by the following tests:

Health benefits of oats

Studies have repeatedly confirmed that oat, either as flakes or bran, can lower cholesterol levels, which in turn can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Oat can also lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

1. Oat can lower cholesterol

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, especially oxidized LDL cholesterol. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of oat in lowering blood cholesterol levels, which is mainly due to their beta-glucan content.

Two mechanisms have been proposed for how may oats contribute to the reduction of cholesterol.

First, beta-glucans can slow the absorption of fats and cholesterol by increasing the viscosity of the digestive tract contents.

Second, beta-glucan binds cholesterol-rich bile acids in the gut (bile acids are produced by the liver to aid digestion). Beta-glucan then carries them along the gastrointestinal tract and eventually out of the body. Normally, bile acids are recycled (reabsorbed) in the digestive system, but beta-glucan inhibits this recycling process, leading to lower blood cholesterol levels.

It is now accepted that eating foods containing at least 3 grams per day of beta-glucans can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

2. Oat and type 2 diabetes

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically in recent years. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by abnormal regulation of blood sugar, usually as a result of reduced sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Beta-glucans, the soluble fibers from oats, have been tested in patients with type 2 diabetes and have shown beneficial effects in controlling blood sugar. Moderate amounts of oat beta-glucans have been shown to moderate both blood glucose levels and the insulin response after carbohydrate-rich meals.

In patients with type 2 diabetes and severe insulin resistance, a 4-week diet with oats resulted in a 40% reduction in the insulin dose required to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Many studies show that beta-glucans may favorably alter insulin sensitivity, delaying or preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Boiling oats reduces their anti-diabetic effect, but can be significantly restored if ground before cooking.

3. Oat and obesity

The feeling of satiety plays an important role in energy balance. It practically stops us from eating and prevents us from eating again until hunger returns.

Satiety disorder has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. In a study that ranked 38 common foods based on their effect on satiety, oat rated 3rd  overall and is rated 1st  in the breakfast food group (boiled potatoes rated 1st overall).

Water-soluble fiber, such as beta-glucans, can increase satiety by delaying gastric emptying, increasing stomach distention, and promoting the release of satiety hormones. Studies in humans have shown that oats, rich in beta-glucans, can increase the feeling of satiety and reduce appetite compared to other ready-made breakfast cereals and other types of dietary fibers.

In addition to the increased feeling of satiety, oat is low in calories and contains a lot of fiber and other nutrients, making it a great addition to an effective diet for weight loss and maintaining optimal levels of health.

4. Oat and gluten-free diet

The gluten-free diet is the only solution for people suffering from celiac disease, and for many others with gluten sensitivity and intolerance. Oats do not contain gluten, but a similar type of protein called avenin.

Clinical studies have shown that consuming a moderate or even large amount of pure oats can be tolerated by most patients with celiac disease. Oats have been shown to enhance the nutritional value of gluten-free diets by increasing the intake of both trace elements and fiber.

The biggest problem with oats in a gluten-free diet is its contamination with wheat because oats are often processed in the same facilities as other cereals. Therefore, it is important for patients with celiac disease to eat only oats that have been certified "pure" or "gluten-free" and which relate only to the manner of its preparation

5. Other health benefits of eating oats

Oat consumption from infants before the age of 6 months has been associated with a reduced risk of developing childhood asthma.

Some studies show that oat can boost the immune system, boosting the body's ability to fight microbes, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

In the elderly, consuming oat bran fibers can improve the quality of life and reduce the need for laxatives.

Adverse effects

Oats are usually well-tolerated, with no adverse effects on healthy individuals.

Avenin-sensitive individuals may experience symptoms similar to those of gluten intolerance and should exclude oat from their diet.

Oat can be contaminated with other cereals, such as wheat, barley, and rye, making them unsuitable for people with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) or allergies to other cereals. It is important for people who are allergic or intolerant to wheat or other cereals to buy only oats that have been certified as gluten-free.

Food intolerance

The Grass Family (Poaceae) includes Barley, Wheat, Rye, Oats, Corn, Rice, Sugar Cane, Lemongrass, Bamboo, Millet, and also - in terms of food intolerance test - gluten.

Oat (23) (Avena sativa) is used after chopping its seeds into flakes or bran or as flour. Oats are eaten whole or can even be used as an ingredient in pastry recipes, such as oatmeal cookies, biscuits, and oatmeal bread. It can be ground into flour and used in the production of biscuits, but because it has a very low content of gluten-like proteins, it is not suitable for breadmaking, due to the lack of gluten in its protein profile. Oat can be consumed in breakfast cereals (alone, in muesli, or granola). In England, oats are used to make beer and porridge. The seed can germinate and be used in salads (sprouts). Oat is the most nutritious cereal choice. It is high in vitamins B1, B2, and E and minerals. Oatmeal inhibits rancidity and is used as an additive in foods such as vegetable oils and margarine. Oats are also one of the key ingredients in whiskey. Roasted oat seeds are used as a coffee substitute. From oat is derived edible oil and is used in the preparation of breakfast cereals. Oats are often an important ingredient in cosmetics, creams, and skin cleansers.

Oat allergens have not yet been found. Extensive cross-reactions are expected between different species of the genus as well as with other species of the Poaceae family. The magnitude of the cross-reactions is closely related to their taxonomic relationship and the following order of relationship seems to apply: wheat, triticale, rye, barley, oats, rice, and maize. There are various gluten-like proteins in oats at very low concentrations and recent studies showed that there are no side effects in patients with celiac disease, even after chronic consumption of oats. Oats have previously been implicated as a cereal that affects people with celiac disease. Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of moderate amounts of oats is safe and well-tolerated by adults with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. However, there are concerns that although oats themselves are safe, they may have been "contaminated" with wheat, rye, or barley.

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) is a gastrointestinal hypersensitivity to food, that occurs in infants and is typically caused by cow's milk or soy, but sometimes by other foods, including oat. Symptoms of FPIES are not immediate (average 2 hours) and include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration. FPIES is not caused through breastfeeding or because of the food consumed by the mother but occur when the responsible food is given directly to the newborn.

Food intolerance to Oat (Code 23) is tested on Trophoscan® 40+, 100 (Mediterranean), 200, 300, and 400 as well as Trophoscan® Asian and Vegetarian. Oat antigens are a mixture and have been isolated both without prior heat treatment* of the antigens and after heat treatment.

Diagnostiki Athinon's TrophoScan® is the most valid, reliable, and effective way to test food intolerances, by measuring the levels of total IgG antibodies in the blood against potentially allergenic foods. The presence of these antibodies has been associated with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (irritable bowel, celiac disease, and other disorders), migraines and other neurological disorders, disorders of the immune system (autoimmune diseases, susceptibility to infections, etc.), obesity and weight loss difficulty, skin diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthralgias, and other chronic diseases.

TrophoScan® has been designed and created entirely by Diagnostiki Athinon. The food antigens used for the test have come from Greek products and from products that we can find and consume in the Greek market. It has been shown in various studies that there is a difference in the antigenic composition of food depending on the variety of food. Even the maturity of a fruit or vegetable can play a role in the antigenic composition.

*The heat treatment of antigens we use in Diagnostiki Athinon before the isolation of the antigens is a unique process before the beginning of the process of isolation of food proteins. It is made in foods that are commonly cooked (e.g., meat, poultry, fish) and undergo a thermal laboratory preparation equivalent to cooking, so that their antigenicity is even closer to the actual antigenic structure of the food we consume.

Antigens isolated in this way have been proven to be more effective (making the ELISA system much more sensitive) in recognizing and binding antibodies of all classes (IgA, IgG, IgE, IgM). Only TrophoScan® test of food intolerance across Europe uses this approach to the investigation of Food Intolerance. Food processing results in the formation of neo-allergens.

At Diagnostiki Athinon, food intolerance in oats can be tested by the following tests:


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