Oats are relatively low in purines, which may mean that oatmeal is suitable for people with gout. However, this can depend on several factors, such as the quantity a person eats.

Oats contain fewer purines than high purine foods, such as organ meats. However, some sources classify them as moderate in purines.

Oatmeal could still aggravate gout if a person eats oats in high quantities, if the rest of their diet is high in purines, or if the oatmeal contains other ingredients, such as sweeteners.

Read on to learn more about whether oatmeal is good for gout, as well as other cereals a person can try and ideas for low purine breakfasts.

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Research from 2019 classifies oats as low in purines. Per 100 grams, dry oats contain 50–100 milligrams (mg) of purines. This may mean oatmeal is a good breakfast option for people with gout.

However, there is some inconsistency between sources. Other experts state that oatmeal is a medium purine food that people can eat occasionally.

Gout attacks occur due to a buildup of uric acid, or urate, in the body. Urate comes from purines, which are present in many foods.

Following a low purine diet can help reduce gout attacks in some people. However, whether oatmeal is OK for a person to eat will depend on:

  • the amount they eat
  • the other ingredients in the oatmeal, such as milk or sweeteners
  • what the rest of their diet consists of

It is also worth noting that diet alone does not always manage gout. People can have different levels of tolerance for purines, and if a person is not undergoing treatment, they may experience gout flare-ups even when they follow dietary guidelines.

As part of a balanced, low purine diet, plain oatmeal may not trigger symptoms. But if a person adds high purine ingredients to the oatmeal or eats a diet with high purine foods in it, oatmeal could add to uric acid levels.

All foods contain purines to varying degrees. As a result, they are not something that people can avoid entirely. Figuring out a person’s own purine limit may help them manage their symptoms and understand how much oatmeal they can eat.

There is also some uncertainty around whether purines from plant foods affect uric acid levels. While it is well established that purines from meat increase the risk of gout attacks, some available research suggests that the moderate consumption of plant-based purine-rich foods, such as oats, does not always raise uric acid levels.

The research states that plant-based sources of purines do not have a negative effect in people without hyperuricemia, or high uric acid. But more research is necessary to determine the impact on people who do have hyperuricemia.

If a person finds they cannot eat oatmeal without triggering gout symptoms, they may be able to tolerate another low purine cereal, such as:

  • Rice cereals: Rice has a lower purine content than oatmeal, and there are several ways people can eat it as a breakfast cereal. They may try puffed rice, rice flakes, or rice porridge, for example.
  • Whole grain wheat cereals: These include shredded wheat or wheat biscuit cereals. Wheat cereals that are processed, such as wheat bran, have a higher purine content, so people should only eat these occasionally.
  • Buckwheat: Research from 2019 lists buckwheat porridge as a low purine breakfast option.

Because it contains oats, oat milk also contains some purines. It is unclear exactly how many purines it contains. However, because oat milk typically contains ground oats diluted in water, it may have a lower purine content than oats per gram.

Other low purine milk options include:

Some plant-based milk brands may add sweeteners that are high in fructose to the milk, which could worsen gout. It is important to read the label before choosing one.

Here are some examples of gout-friendly, low-purine breakfasts:

  • a whole grain, unsweetened cereal with almond milk, topped with cherries and nuts
  • a fruit smoothie with banana, frozen blueberries, chia seeds, and a low purine protein powder
  • whole wheat toast with poached eggs and avocado
  • tofu scramble with turmeric, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, served on whole wheat toast or in a whole wheat burrito

Black coffee is a suitable drink to have at breakfast for people with gout. Tea may also be OK, although a 2017 review of 7 studies notes that there is not much research on the impact of green tea on uric acid levels.

A person should also aim to drink enough water throughout the day, as this can reduce uric acid levels.

Oats are relatively low in purines, so oatmeal may be a good breakfast option for people with gout. However, they do still contain some purines, and some sources state that oatmeal is moderate in purines rather than low.

As a result, whether a person tolerates oatmeal could depend on their personal purine limit, how they prepare the oatmeal, and what else they eat during the day. Other low purine cereals include rice and buckwheat-based cereals.