Eating To Prevent Gout
Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid. This is a waste product made by the body. It builds up in the body and forms crystals that collect in the joints, causing a gout attack. Alcohol and certain foods can trigger a gout attack. Below are some guidelines for changing your diet to help you manage gout. Your healthcare provider can work with you to determine the best eating plan for you. You can learn which foods affect your gout more than others. Reactions to different foods can vary from person to person. Know that diet is only one part of managing gout. Take your medicines as prescribed and follow the other guidelines your healthcare provider has given you.
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How Does Food Affect Gout
If you have gout, certain foods may trigger an attack by raising your uric acid levels.
Trigger foods are commonly high in purines, a substance found naturally in foods. When you digest purines, your body makes uric acid as a waste product .
This is not a concern for healthy people, as they efficiently remove excess uric acid from the body.
However, people with gout cant efficiently remove excess uric acid. Thus, a high-purine diet may let uric acid accumulate and cause a gout attack (
However, there is one exception to this rule. Research shows that high-purine vegetables do not trigger gout attacks .
And interestingly, fructose and sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of gout and gout attacks, even though theyre not purine-rich (
For instance, a study including over 125,000 participants found that people who consumed the most fructose had a 62% higher risk of developing gout .
Summary: Foods can either raise or lower your uric acid levels, depending on their purine content. However, fructose can raise your uric acid levels even though it is not purine-rich.
Foods With A High Glycemic Index
The glycemic index measures how specific foods affect blood sugar levels.
Some carbohydrate foods with a higher GI score can spike blood sugar and contribute to weight gain â a risk factor for gout.
A found that eating lower GI foods lowered uric acid, which may help prevent gout flares.
People can help to manage gout by avoiding or limiting the following high GI foods:
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and rice
- cakes, biscuits, cookies, pancakes, and sweet treats
- higher GI vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, bananas, and watermelon
- low-fiber, high-sugar breakfast cereals, such as puffed rice, cornflakes, and frosted flakes
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Gout Diet: Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid With Gout
If you have gout, you know how painful it can be. Odds are,youre stumbling around during a gout flareup because the condition probablyaffects your big toe. Such a little digit does a big job of helping you moveand balance yourself. Often, when your toe hurts, you can be prettysignificantly disabled.
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs whenyour body either makes too much uric acid or cant get rid of it. Sometimes thefoods you eat can influence whether your gout flares up. You dont want to makethings harder for your body, so it pays to know what to eat and what to avoid.
This holiday season, treat your big toeand therest of your bodyright. Make sure to pass on high-purine foods and insteadpile your plate with foods that may reduce the likelihood of a gout attack.
High Risk Does Not Always Mean High In Purines
High content, moderate content, high risk, and low risk are some of the ambiguous terms experts use to describe gout-causing foods and their purine content. It causes confusion because classifications based on content amounts can vary from each source. It is not uncommon to see the same type of food, like lobster, listed as high in purine by one source, but then listed as a moderate-risk by another.
Not to mention, different purine studies or tables have different data and results. A more simplified approach will taken instead of sounding like a technical report on determining purine content.
Several major health authorities consistently state the following food groups as high risk or high in purine content.
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Should I Avoid All Rich Foods
No. Patients often ask me about desserts, as well as entrees with rich sauces, says Dr. Burg. Its a common myth that these foods cause gout. When eaten in moderation, desserts and other rich foods do not affect gout flare-ups. But moderation is the key word. Rich foods might not cause flare-ups directly, but they can cause weight gain. And obesity is a major risk factor for gout attacks.
At some point, the misconception spread that people with gout should avoid dairy. But in fact, certain dairy products especially milk can help you remove uric acid from your body, Dr. Burg adds.
Health Conditions Responsible For Gout Flare Ups:
Sometimes, stress due to health conditions like pneumonia or medical procedures such as visiting the hospital or undergoing a surgery may also increase your uric acid levels. If you are visiting the doctor or have fallen sick or are going to the hospital for a surgery, make sure that you tell your doctor that you have gout.
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Consume More Of These Foods
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is important for good health, and there are quite a few foods that have low levels of purine, including:
- Whole grains
- Plant-based fats and oils
Stone fruits like cherries are capable of lowering uric acid levels. Research indicates that vegetables, even those with higher purine levels, dont trigger gout attacks.
Types Of Beans And Their Effect On Gout
As I have mentioned, there are a lot of different types of beans. Some of them are better, more beneficial for gout patients, while others are not so great. As such, I will explain the most common types of beans and how they react to gout. Basically, I will divide them according to the purine level when a meal is prepared. It ranges between 19 and 80 milligrams per a serving.
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Sneaky Gout Triggers: Yeast Extract Msg Fructose Sauces
Yeast extract and MSGâYeast extract plus other additives is basically MSG . MSG powder contains purines that immediately metabolizes to uric acid. Although there is proof linking yeast to purine content via alcoholic beverages, only a few sources warn yeast extract as a high-risk gout trigger.
MSG and yeast extract are flavor-enhancers in several products such as processed meat, canned food, bouillon, sauces, soup mixes, gravies, and salad dressings. Since the ingredient percentages are not typically listed or shared, it is very risky for people with chronic gout .
Manufactures will camouflage MSG by listing these these sub-ingredients instead of yeast extract, protein isolate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed yeast, and soy extracts.
MSG is not only associated with gout. It is also linked to other health problems and allergies. Known side effects from MSG overconsumption are heart palpitations, headaches, numbness and drowsiness.
Fructose â Even though there is plenty of evidence that fructose causes the body to produce purines, most major sources did not account for it as a major gout trigger. Research from 2016 linked fructose consumption to increased uric acid levels which leads to gout flares.
Sauces â Popular sauces that may cause or contain purines are fish sauce, worcestershire sauce , oyster sauce, barbecue sauce , and Maggi seasoning .
Is Meat A Risk
Meat causing gout is a wrong belief, in fact, there is no study that can prove this. It could be a provided factor why you experience gout attacks, but it still depends on your diet and factors.
For an instance, there is a study where 47,150 people with meat on their diet were being monitored for 12 years. After being studied, those who were diagnosed with gout are only about 730 of them.
Upon inspection, those who have developed gout had one serving of meat a day. And those who have taken two servings have 41% of the risk of developing gout than those who ate less.
And based on this study, only those who consume a large amount of meat can increase the risk of having gout. So yes, gout and pork are good as long as there is less consumption of meat.
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How To Eat To Help Control Your Gout
There are several things you can do as part of an eating plan for gout.
Gout Flare Ups Caused Due To Certain Vegetables
Not just meat and alcohol, but some vegetables also contain high to moderate amount of purines and may increase your uric acid levels and cause gout flare ups. These would include ladies finger, tomatoes, green chillies, and red lentils. Most of the lentils for that matter contain a high to moderate amount of purines and hence, must be removed from diet, if you are prone to gout flare ups.
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What Causes Gout Flare Ups & How To Get Rid Of It
Gout is a common condition that affects many people. It is painful and the first flare ups of gout can be shocking. Gout flare ups are actually painful inflammation of the joints. They are caused by the uric acids. The uric acids are sharp needle like crystals that build up in the bone joints. Though many people think that the gout flare ups occur out of nowhere, they are actually caused by a number of factors that trigger the condition over time. Amongst these, the most common ones are certain foods, medicines, drinks and sometimes, even stress can be a major cause.
Healthy Fats Can Minimize Symptoms Of Gout
Certain healthy fats decrease the number of recurring flare-ups. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential fats that humans must consume because the body can’t make its own. There are times when gout medications manage the disease but do not lower the recurring gout attacks. Omega-3s are well-known anti-inflammatories that are helpful in managing other arthritis conditions, too. However, not all sources are as effective. Two or more servings of cold-water fish, such as mackerel or salmon, are better at lowering recurrent gout attacks â by at least 33 percent â compared to fish oil supplements.
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About Uric Acid And Hyperuricemia
Now that you have known what exactly leads to the gout flare ups, you must have a brief idea of how the uric acid functions in the body. Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down the purines. The purines are a substance that can be found from certain foods that we eat, or are also available in the body cells. This amount of uric acid that is produced during the breaking down of the purines is eliminated from the body through kidneys or through urine. However, in some cases, people either produce too much of the uric acids or the kidneys fail to eliminate even the normal amount of uric acid that is produced. This is when hyperuricemia occurs and as a consequence, people get gout flare ups.
Organ Meats Are Extremely High In Purines And Should Also Be Avoided
Organ meats, known as Offal, contain by far the most purines of any food in the human diet.
The most common forms of offal in the Western diet include liver , brain, heart, kidneys, and a mixture called Pâté.
Purine Content of Food :
Consider that values listed are per 100 grams, so portion sizes must be taken into account Meat portions we eat tend to be heaviest.
Previous studies have not differentiated between intake of conventional meat and offal, so recommendations have to be the same. Given the strong link between meat intake and gout which is based on purine content alone offal should definitely be avoided too.
Somewhat contradictory to the purine-gout theory, consumption of purine-rich vegetables is not associated with an increased risk of gout .
Researchers speculate this could be due to a lower bioavailability of purines in vegetabes, as well as other nutrients which may offset the harmful effects of their purines.
Summary: Organ meats are some of the highest purine foods and should be completely avoided if you suffer gout attacks.
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When To See A Doctor
Gout attacks can occur suddenly and usually happen in one joint at a time, such as the big toe.
Other commonly affected joints include other toes, the ankle, and the knee.
Symptoms of a flare are typically very noticeable and include:
- Intense pain
- Limited range of motion
If you experience any of the above, contact a physician as soon as possible.
Without proper treatment, these symptoms can lead to worsening pain, more frequent episodes, or permanent joint damage.
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How To Get Rid Of Gout Flare Ups
If you have had gout flare ups earlier and want to prevent it further, it is very important that you have a check on your diet or what you are eating. Avoid or eliminate all the foods that are high in purines or may increase your chances of gout flare ups.
Indulge in a healthy lifestyle. Eat properly. Avoid gorging into rich, oily or fatty food and rely on lean, fat free, healthy foods. Do not drink at all if possible. Otherwise, make sure that you do not indulge in more than two drinks per day. Drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy body weight. This will help you to cope with the gout pain, if any occurs.
|Written, Edited or Reviewed By:Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc.This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimerLast Modified On: August 29, 2018|
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Why Is Diet Important When You Have Gout
Purine is a chemical that naturally occurs in your body. Its also found in some foods. When your body breaks down purine, uric acid is produced.
If theres excessive uric acid in your body, it could form crystals. Those crystals can cause pain and inflammation in your joints. This is the metabolic disorder called gout.
One way to maintain healthy uric acid levels in your body is by limiting or avoiding foods that are high in purines.
According to a 2016 study , the long-term goal is to keep uric acid levels to fewer than 6 mg/dL .
Keeping uric acid levels below the 6.8 mg/dL saturation point reduces chances of a gout attack by preventing formation of new crystals. It also encourages existing crystals to dissolve.
Do I Need To Stop Eating Meat If I Have Gout
No, but practice moderation, Dr. Burg reiterates. Avoid organ meats such as liver, though, because they have higher levels of purines, which can cause flare-ups. Moderate intake of lean meats such as chicken and turkey should not affect your condition. Seafood such as shrimp and lobster tends to be higher in purines, as well, so dont make them a regular part of your diet.
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Foods You Can Eat In Moderation
Aside from organ meats, game meats and certain fish, most meats can be consumed in moderation. You should limit yourself to 46 ounces of these a few times per week .
They contain a moderate amount of purines, which is considered to be 100200 mg per 100 grams. Thus, eating too much of them may trigger a gout attack.
- Meats: These include chicken, beef, pork and lamb.
- Other fish: Fresh or canned salmon generally contains lower levels of purines than most other fish.
Summary: Foods you should eat with gout include all fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, eggs and most beverages. Limit your consumption of non-organ meats and fish like salmon to servings of 46 ounces a few times weekly.