Oatmeal and Gout: Pros, Cons, and Recommendations

Purine content in oatmeal increases risk of a gout attack

Oatmeal is a high-fiber cereal grain packed with antioxidants. However, people with gout (also known as gouty arthritis) should limit their intake to reduce the risk of a flare-up (gout attack). Oatmeal can make gout worse because it contains moderate amount of purines (50-150 mg purine per 100 g). Excess purine intake causes high uric acid levels (hyperuricemia) and result in uric acid crystals in your joints, which can be extremely painful and even disabling. People with gout should therefore consume foods that contain purine in moderation.

Oatmeal porridge in bowl

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Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

Oatmeal is associated with cardiovascular health benefits, namely the consumption of whole grain oats is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. It is rich in vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium, and zinc

Oatmeal can help people trying lose and maintain weight loss thanks to its high water content and amount of soluble fiber. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important lifestyle factors for gout treatment.

Oatmeal: Nutrition Facts

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raw oats contain the following nutrition information per 100g or 3.5 ounces:

  • Calories: 379
  • Protein: 13.15 g
  • Carbs: 67.7 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 10.1 g
  • Fat: 6.5 g
  • Calcium: 52 mg
  • Iron: 4.25 mg
  • Magnesium: 138 mg
  • Potassium: 362 mg
  • Sodium: 6 mg

Oatmeal and Gout

Oatmeal is not as high in purines as other foods like seafood, organ meats, and alcohol, but experts say it's within the moderate purine range and recommend that gout patients eat no more than two servings per week. A single serving of cooked oats is half a cup or 4 ounces (125 ml).

Moderating and reducing the amount of purines consumed can help maintain healthy uric acid levels and prevent gout attacks. The recommended daily intake of dietary purines in Japan is less than 400 mg to prevent gout and hyperuricemia.

One study included oatmeal in their purine-rich vegetables group and found no association between a moderate intake of purine-rich vegetables and increased risk of gout. This finding is consistent with the categorization of oatmeal as a moderate purine food.

A Better Oatmeal

You should keep oatmeal in your diet because of its many health benefits, but if you have gout, you need to make some modifications to how and how much you eat to prevent a gout attack:

  • Limit servings. Oatmeal should only be consumed twice a week maximum
  • Keep portions under control. Add a measuring scoop to your bulk dry oats for accuracy
  • Be mindful of different oatmeal varieties. Processed oatmeals may contain other ingredients that add to your total purine intake like barley, wheat, or rye
  • Reduce other purine-rich foods in your diet. Deep fried foods and alcohol are high in purines without adding the health benefits of oatmeal
  • Watch the toppings. Popular oatmeal pairings like cream, sugar or honey, and sweetened yogurts are high in purines
  • Add gout-friendly foods and spices. Cherries, in particular (frozen or fresh), are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to gout patients
  • Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is essential for your kidneys to efficiently excrete excess uric acid
  • Talk to your doctor about gout medications. While dietary changes are your first line of defense, some cases of gout require medication to block the production of uric acid. These include xanthine oxidase inhibitors (XOIs), allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim), and febuxostat (Uloric)

Other Foods to Eat to Manage Gout

Instead of oatmeal, you can try:

  • Fresh fruit smoothies made with plant-based milk
  • Homemade oat and cherry muffins
  • A Mediterranean breakfast

A Mediterranean diet involves choosing fruit, nuts and seeds, whole grains and cereals, potatoes, herbs and spices, and extra-virgin olive oil. It has consistently been associated with disease reduction; and one study even linked the diet to reduced risk in gout attacks.

A Word From Verywell

Maintaining a gout diet means taking into account the total purine content of your daily menu and making some modifications. Eating a gout-appropriate diet is the easiest way to avoid a gout attack and something that is within your control. While you don’t need to avoid oatmeal, especially because oatmeal is packed with nutrients and benefits your heart health, you should consider how the purine content adds up with the rest of what you’re eating. If you’re unsure about what to eat to manage gout, talk to your doctor or dietician.

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Article Sources
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