Food With Gout

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Have you ever wondered what foods you should avoid if you have gout? Are there certain foods that are better for your condition than others? If so, then this blog is for you.

If you have gout, then you may have already heard that eating certain foods can help to control your symptoms. However, it is important to know which foods to avoid as well. This post will help you identify those foods and understand why they should be avoided if possible.

The first thing that we need to consider when talking about food and gout is how the body breaks down protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids and when our bodies digest these proteins they break down into amino acids which then enter our bloodstreams where they can be used directly by our cells or broken down further into smaller peptides (smaller chains of amino acids). These peptides are then broken down into monosaccharides (single sugars) before being absorbed into our bodies for use as energy or stored for future use as glycogen or fat storage depending on their size and chemical makeup.

When someone has gout, their body has trouble breaking down these peptides because it lacks an enzyme called

Food With Gout

What is the gout diet?

Gout is caused by high uric acid levels in your blood. Extra uric acid forms sharp crystals that settle in your joints, causing swelling and pain. But you can help reduce the amount of uric acid in your body by maintaining a low-purine diet. Reducing uric acid levels can help prevent new crystals from forming, reducing gout attacks.

What is a low purine diet?

Purines are chemicals that are naturally found in certain foods and drinks. When your body breaks down these chemicals, uric acid is the byproduct. A low-purine diet reduces the foods and drinks with the highest purine content to reduce uric acid. It also encourages some select foods that may reduce uric acid levels in your body.

Who can benefit from a low purine diet?

Anyone with high uric acid levels in their blood (hyperuricemia) can benefit from reducing high-purine foods. This may help to prevent gout in people with hyperuricemia who haven’t yet developed the disease. It may also help prevent existing gout from progressing and prevent other complications of hyperuricemia, such as kidney stones.

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What foods make gout worse?

The top 10 foods and drinks that trigger gout are:

  • Sugary drinks and sweets. Standard table sugar is half fructose, which breaks down into uric acid. Any food or drink with higher sugar content can trigger gout.
  • High fructose corn syrup. This is a concentrated form of fructose. If you start looking at labels, you’ll find high fructose corn syrup in all kinds of packaged food products that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.
  • Alcohol. Even though not all alcoholic drinks are high in purines, alcohol prevents your kidneys from eliminating uric acid, pulling it back into your body, where it continues to accumulate.
  • Organ meats. These include liver, tripe sweetbreads, brains and kidneys.
  • Game meats. Specialties such as goose, veal and venison are among the reasons why gout was known in the Middle Ages as the “rich man’s disease.”
  • Certain seafood, including herring, scallops, mussels, codfish, tuna, trout and haddock.
  • Red meats, including beef, lamb pork and bacon.
  • Turkey. This leaner meat is nonetheless high in purines. Especially avoid processed deli turkey.
  • Gravy and meat sauces.
  • Yeast and yeast extract.

What are the best foods to eat when you have gout?

While eating particular foods won’t be enough to make gout go away, studies suggest that certain foods and drinks may help reduce uric acid in your body. For example:

  • Milk. Some early research suggests that drinking skim milk may help reduce uric acid and gout flare-ups. It speeds up the excretion of uric acid in your urine and also reduces your body’s inflammatory response to uric acid crystals in your joints.
  • Cherries. Scientists are currently researching the benefits of cherries and cherry juice for managing gout symptoms, and early results are promising. Cherries have known anti-inflammatory properties, and they may also help reduce uric acid in your body.
  • Coffee. You may have heard that coffee is acidic, but the type of acid in coffee is very different from uric acid. In fact, drinking coffee daily can reduce your uric acid levels by several means. It slows the breakdown of purine into uric acid and speeds the rate of excretion.
  • Water. People who drink five to eight glasses of water a day are less likely to experience gout symptoms. This makes sense since your kidneys use water to excrete uric acid in your urine. Water is also good for kidney health. Impaired kidney function is one factor that can contribute to gout.

However, many healthcare providers prefer to focus on general dietary guidelines rather than particular foods. They suggest that you:

  • Vary your protein sources. Certain meats and seafood are higher in uric acid, but if you eat a wide range and stay away from the worst offenders listed above, you’ll do all right.
  • Enjoy fruits and vegetables. Most are low in purines, but even the ones that are higher have not been shown to affect gout symptoms. And the benefits are worthwhile.
  • Enjoy grains (except oats). Rice, pasta, bread and cereals are all gout-friendly (except oats). Beware of added high fructose corn syrup in packaged products, and choose whole grains (at least half of the time) to help control blood sugar.

RISKS / BENEFITS

What are the advantages of a low-purine diet?

  • Reducing uric acid. People who are disposed to hyperuricemia may be able to manage their condition with diet to prevent complications such as gout and kidney stones from developing. People who have already been diagnosed with gout or kidney stones may be able to prevent new uric acid crystals from forming in their joints or kidneys or at least slow the process down.
  • Reducing weight. Avoiding high-purine foods such as red meats and sweets may help you reduce weight as a secondary benefit. Gout is highly associated with excess weight gain and related metabolic syndromes such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Weight loss statistically lowers your risk of developing gout, and it helps relieve symptoms of gout by taking stress off your joints.
  • Reducing medication. Diet is not as effective as medication for managing gout, and it’s not supposed to replace it. But paying attention to your diet may help minimize your need for medications.

What are the disadvantages of a low-purine diet?

  • It’s limiting. For people with hyperuricemia, a low-purine diet is a long-term lifestyle change. It also happens to target many favorite indulgences, including sugar, sweets and alcohol. For some people, giving these up indefinitely may seem unrealistic, especially when it’s only a complementary therapy. Like most diets, you do have to stick to it to reap the benefits.
  • It limits omega-3 sources. Seafood is among the most important dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and the low-purine diet limits many of these. Omega-3s have many known health benefits — in particular, alleviating inflammation and joint pain from arthritis. Many Americans don’t get enough omega-3s, and limiting seafood can make it even harder. However, fish-oil supplements are ok on this diet. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are also good sources and relatively low in purines.
  • It’s not a cure. Diet may move the needle a little on uric acid levels in your blood, but not as much as medications do. The best approach is to combine them. Some people argue that the benefits of the diet aren’t proven to be worth the trouble when compared with medication. But medication alone is often not enough to manage gout effectively. In these cases, many people appreciate having something they can do proactively to reduce their symptoms.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A low-purine diet is designed to help manage hyperuricemia and its complications, such as gout. But the diet is also a reasonable lifestyle to adopt for general health. It reduces sugar, alcohol and meat and emphasizes plants and alternative sources of protein. This has plenty of benefits outside of reducing uric acid, and it won’t deprive you of any important nutrition. If you’re at risk of developing gout, or of living through another gout attack, a low-purine diet may be worth a try. Ask your healthcare provider if it’s a good option for you.

is cheese bad for gout

Full-fat dairy products like whole milk and ice cream are often discouraged for people with gout. However, studies have shown that increasing the amount of dairy products you eat, including cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, may reduce your risk of developing gout.20 Jun 2011


Author

Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

December 16, 2020

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause pain in the feet and joints. It results from the buildup of uric acid in the joints, which can feel painful if it progresses as reported by MedlinePlus.

Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines, which are compounds that are found in some foods.

Anti-inflammatory and pain medications are common for treating gout, but what you eat can affect symptoms, too. In general, losing extra pounds and avoiding certain high-purine foods may help prevent flare-ups.

Lower your risk of diabetes at no cost

Foods to Avoid with Gout

Certain foods can lead to flare-ups of gout due to their high purine content. Other foods can contribute to gout by increasing the risk of weight gain.

The following are some foods that you may want to limit if you have gout or are at risk for it to prevent gout triggers:

1. Red Meat, Poultry and Organ Meat

Organ meats are considered unhwlathy for gout

Red meat, such as beef and pork, and poultry, such as chicken and turkey, are also high in purines. Organ meats include liver, kidneys, tongue, sweetbreads, pâte, and tripe. They are the foods that are highest in purines.

Keeping serving sizes of meat to 3 ounces and having meat only once a day, if at all, can help reduce the amount of purines that you get. You can also substitute plant-based proteins for meat and poultry. Veggie burgers, vegetarian hot dogs, chili with tofu and beans, and peanut butter sandwiches are all lower-purine choices.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol and Prediabetes

Alcohol itself is not high in purines, but it can make gout worse. For one thing, beer contains purines. For another, alcohol causes the body to produce more purines and therefore more uric acid. Finally, alcoholic beverages can be high in calories and cause weight gain, which can cause flare ups. It is best to avoid alcohol or limit yourself to 1 (for women) or 2 (for men) drinks a day.

3. Sugar-Sweetened Foods

foods that can trigger gout

Sugar does not have many purines, but it may contribute to other conditions that can cause gout or make it worse. People who eat more added sugars tend to have a higher body weight and greater risk for prediabetes and diabetes. 

Sources of added sugars tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories. They can include sugar-sweetened beverages, ice cream, cakes, pies, candy, other desserts, and sugar-sweetened cereal and flavored oatmeal and yogurt. Eating fresh fruit for dessert and snacks, and mixing it into oatmeal, yogurt, and cereal, can help satisfy a sweet tooth without added sugars.

Tips for a Healthy Gout Diet

  • Choose plant-based proteins, such as beans, tofu, or lentils, instead of red meat and organ meat.
  • Low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, are also good protein sources.
  • Eating fruit instead of dessert or sugar-sweetened snacks can help reduce sugar consumption and increase vitamin C consumption.
  • Most refined grains have whole-grain counterparts, such as whole-grain breads, oatmeal and whole-grain breakfast cereal, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice.
  • It is easy to get an extra serving of vegetables by piling them on sandwiches or adding them to soups or stews.
  • Caffeine can interfere with sleep, so it is best to avoid consuming caffeinated coffee and other caffeinated beverages within six hours of bedtime.

Foods to Eat When You Have Gout


Certain types of foods can reduce gout symptoms by lowering inflammation, being low in purines, or helping with weight control according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

1. Fruit

Fruit

Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin that helps reduce the risk of gout flare ups. Many fruits are rich in vitamin C, including citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, cantaloupe, and strawberries. Most types of fruit are low in purines as well.

2. Vegetables

Vegetables

Some types of vegetables are high in purines, but they do not appear to cause flare ups. Many other types of vegetables are low in purines. Instead, vegetables can aid in weight control because they are low-calorie. Vegetables that are high in vitamin C include bell peppers, radishes, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower.

3. Dairy

Milk

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are low in purines, and they are a good fit for a diet to manage or prevent gout. They are good protein alternatives to meat, and reduced-fat dairy products are lower in saturated fat than full-fat ones.

4. Coffee

Does Coffee Help or Hurt Weight Loss?

Do you depend on a cup of coffee to fully wake you up in the morning? That can be a healthy habit, with a few conditions.

  • Total daily caffeine consumption stays under 400 mg, or the amount in a few cups of coffee.
  • Your caffeine intake stops at least 6 hours before bed and does not interfere with sleep.
  • The coffee does not come with a load of cream, sugar, or sugary syrup.

Coffee is linked to a lower risk for gout as well as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. And that energy jolt you get? It boost metabolism, and research supports that coffee drinkers have lower risk for obesity.

5. Whole Grains

Whole Grains

Like vegetables, whole grains can be high in purines, but, as with vegetables, the benefits of eating whole grains outweigh the possible increase in uric acid.

A study from the NCBI showed that whole grains are linked to lower systemic inflammation, and that can reduce episodes of pain from gout. In addition, people who eat more whole grains compared to refined grains tend to have lower risk for obesity.

Gout and Prediabetes


Prediabetes is a condition with higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar due to insulin resistance. People with gout are more likely to have diabetes, and people with diabetes are more likely to have gout. This may be because people with diabetes tend to have high levels of uric acid, and people with gout tend to have high levels of inflammation that is linked to diabetes.

Prediabetes is a condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes within several years, but making certain lifestyle choices can usually prevent type 2 diabetes. Many of these same choices are good for gout, too.

  • Losing weight
  • Reducing consumption of red meat
  • Limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods
  • Including reduced-fat dairy products
  • Drinking a moderate amount of coffee

In addition, being overweight and eating a diet high in red meat or sugar-sweetened foods increase risk for prediabetes. Prediabetes usually does not cause symptoms, so recognizing these risk factors may be a clue that it is time to get blood sugar tested. 

Finding out that you have prediabetes as soon as possible gives you a chance to take steps to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you qualify, Lark Diabetes Prevention Program can help you lose weight gradually and make healthier nutrition choices. These same changes can reduce the severity of gout, too.

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