What To Eat And Avoid For Gout
Food choices plays an important role in managing gout, the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the United States. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and gets deposited as crystals in one or more joints, triggering sudden swelling and pain. Uric acid is a by-product of the breakdown of purines, naturally occurring compounds in the body and in certain foods, which is why diet can be important for controlling gout attacks.
We asked rheumatologist Hyon K. Choi, MD, a gout expert and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, what people with gout should know about diet.
What foods can trigger a gout attack?
alcohol and purine-rich foods, particularly red meat and seafood.
If I have gout, should I avoid high-purine foods or are they OK in moderation?
Generally, moderation is sufficient, particularly if you are effectively treated with a uric acid-lowering medication.
What is a healthy diet for people with gout?
Are there specific foods or nutritional supplements I should add to my diet if I have gout?
The foods in the DASH diet are all expected to have an antigout as well as cardiovascular benefit. A piecemeal approach to modifying dietary factors has often been ineffective and impractical. In contrast, a healthful dietary pattern, such as the DASH diet, reflects the way foods are consumed. Moreover, unlike the conventional low-purine approach, another important advantage of the DASH diet is its palatability, which is important for sustainability.
Best Diet For Gout: What To Eat What To Avoid
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Gout is a type of arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the joints. It affects an estimated 8.3 million people in the US alone (
Fortunately, gout can be controlled with medications, a gout-friendly diet and lifestyle changes.
This article reviews the best diet for gout and what foods to avoid, backed by research.
Avoid Sweets And Sodas
Unlike fruit with its natural sugar, artificial sugars are widely recognized as gout flare dangers. Consuming too many sugary sodas has been found to provoke attacks, but no association has been found with artificially sweetened sodas. Other foods loaded with high-fructose corn syrup can also bring on gout pain.
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Be Choosy About Carbs
Carbs can be helpful or harmful to your gout health. The most helpful carbs are found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Sweet potatoes, beans, apples, and popcorn can all be served in wholesome and delicious ways as part of a healthy gout diet.
Other carbs come as natural and refined sugars. Candy, sports drinks, some breakfast cereal, and some pasta sauces all contribute to dietary sugar from unhealthy carbs.
Meal Plan To Reduce Uric Acid
The following table shows a 3-day meal plan that can help to control uric acid levels in the blood
1 slice of papaya + 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1 cup of green juice made with cabbage and orange
Whole wheat rice with broccoli + a grilled tilapia fillet + 1 guava fruit
Sweet potato mash + 1 bass fish fillet, boiled in herbs + salad with lettuce, arugula, grated carrot and olive oil + 1 cup of cashew milk
Whole grain pasta with pesto sauce + 1 chicken breast, grilled + salad with cabbage and carrot, stir-fried in olive oil + 1 slice of melon
1 tapioca stuffed with cottage cheese + 3 walnuts + 2 small slices of pineapple
1 cup of coffee with skim milk + 1 slice of whole grain bread + 1 scrambled egg
1 Greek yogurt + 10 cashews + 1 slice of watermelon
This meal plan is just an example of what you can incorporate into your daily diet. To treat gout, you should be monitored by a doctor and consult a registered dietitian to formulate a personalized and balanced meal plan.
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Processed Foods And Refined Carbs
The modern Western diet is often high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates. In addition, processed foods and refined carbohydrates have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.
A 2017 study looked at gout incidence in people who followed either a Western diet or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. The researcher found the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of gout, whereas the Western diet was associated with a higher risk of gout.
To help prevent gout symptoms, its best to limit highly processed foods and beverages and foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as sweets, baked goods and pastries, chips, crackers, cookies, candies, soda, ice cream, white breads, and some pre-made frozen meals.
Eating highly processed foods and refined carbohydrates in moderation will not only help with your gout, but your overall health as well.
Foods To Eat And 7 Foods To Avoid For Gout
Having gout can be seriously impactful. A type of inflammatory arthritis, gout is a condition that affects your joints through the formation of uric acid crystals, caused by excess uric acid in your system . These needle-shaped acid crystals then create swelling in your joints and cause painful episodes that can last for as much as two weeks.
While anybody can experience gout, certain lifestyle factors can both increase your likelihood of developing the condition and worsen your symptoms when you have it. And with cases of gout rising around the world , it’s important to be aware of how to manage the condition. Family history of gout, as well as other risk factors like diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, and hypertension, can all raise the chance of you having it at some point in your life. But one huge aspect of gout risk and management is your diet. Certain foods we might choose to eat can ease symptoms of gout and some can make it seriously worse. Let’s take a look at some of the top foods to eat and avoid for this tricky condition.
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What Is The Recommended Diet For Gout Sufferers
There are no foods that can completely prevent the symptoms of gout, but a diet low in purines may help to reduce the frequency of attacks. Following a nutritionally balanced, healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and rich in unprocessed foods can help to reduce the risk of gout attacks. Care needs to be taken with certain vegetables such as asparagus, beans, cauliflower, lentils, mushrooms and spinach as these contain medium levels of purines.
While these dont need to be avoided completely, portion size is important a moderate intake should not increase the risks of gout. All other vegetables should be eaten freely. There is also evidence to suggest that a high consumption of low-fat dairy products , limiting sugary drinks and having a daily vitamin C supplement of 500mg may reduce the risk of gout. Speak to your GP before starting new supplements or altering your diet to manage gout.
It is important to note that it is the quantity of purine-rich food consumed that is more important than the purine content in each food. However, if a patient is keen to measure quantities of food, a maximum total daily purine intake of around 200mg is recommended.
Weight Management And Exercise
The Arthritis Foundation emphasizes how important it is for people with gout to manage their weight.
Obesity is a risk factor for developing gout. If a person with gout has excess weight, losing a few pounds can help them:
- reduce pressure on painful joints
- lower the risk of heart disease
- build strength and flexibility
To achieve this, the person should ask a doctor about a suitable diet to help them manage their weight and an exercise plan.
Anyone who smokes should also ask a doctor to help them with a plan to quit.
The Mediterranean diet contains plants, grains, and healthy fats. It may help people manage their weight while encouraging them to eat healthily.
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Can Losing Weight Help Gout
If you are overweight, gradual weight loss can help lower uric acid levels and reduce the risk of gout attacks. However, it is important to avoid fasting or crash dieting, where you go without adequate food for long periods and lose weight rapidly. This type of dieting can actually increase uric acid levels and trigger a gout attack. A combination of balanced healthy eating and regular physical activity is the best way to lose weight safely. Talk to your doctor or see a dietitian for advice.
Risky Foods To Avoid With Gout
A gout attack is not pleasant.
The pain is so bad that sufferers are often hospitalised for days, if not weeks.
More importantly, gout is typically indicative of other more serious health issues behind the scenes Like a window into the state of an individuals metabolic health.
Unfortunately the occurrence, or recurrence of gout is only getting worse.
Rates are on the rise from China to the UK, and it is now the most common inflammatory arthritis in the US .
Information online about gout treatment can be particularly confusing, and even contradictory at times.
This is because we dont yet completely understand the mechanism behind gout But we do have a lot of big clues.
The following is a list of the top 6 foods to avoid with gout, explaining what we know and how it applies to you.
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High Purine Vegetables Are Ok
Some vegetables and plant foods, such as peas, beans, lentils, spinach, mushrooms, oats, and cauliflower, are high in purines. However, several studies have shown that they do not increase the risk of gout.
In fact, the opposite seems to be true, with a vegetable-rich diet being associated with a lower risk of gout compared with the lower consumption of vegetables. Therefore, you do not need to limit or avoid any vegetables on a gout-friendly diet.
How To Eat To Help Control Your Gout
There are several things you can do as part of an eating plan for gout.
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What Foods Should You Eat
Although a gout-friendly diet eliminates many foods, there are still plenty of low-purine foods you can enjoy.
Foods are considered low-purine when they have less than 100 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces .
Here are some low-purine foods that are generally safe for people with gout (20,
- Fruits: All fruits are generally fine for gout. Cherries may even help prevent attacks by lowering uric acid levels and reducing inflammation (
- Vegetables: All vegetables are fine, including potatoes, peas, mushrooms, eggplants and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Legumes: All legumes are fine, including lentils, beans, soybeans and tofu.
- Nuts: All nuts and seeds.
- Whole grains: These include oats, brown rice and barley.
- Dairy products: All dairy is safe, but low-fat dairy appears to be especially beneficial (
- Beverages:Coffee, tea and green tea.
- Herbs and spices: All herbs and spices.
- Plant-based oils: Including canola, coconut, olive and flax oils.
Where Can I Get Advice About My Diet
An accredited practising dietitian can provide you with personalised advice to give you the confidence to eat in a way that is best for you. APDs are university-qualified experts in nutrition and dietetics and are committed to the Dietitians Association of Australias Code of Professional Conduct, continuing professional development and providing quality services.
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Aspirin And Diuretics Significantly Increase Gout Risk
Not exactly foods to avoid with gout, but the ingestion of some common medications sharply raise the risk of a gout attack.
Specifically, low doses of aspirin, which one in three middle-aged Americans takes regularly to help prevent heart disease .
The emphasis is on low doses because aspirin has a dual effect on uric acid levels. Very high doses above 3,000 mg promotes excretion of uric acid , whereas low doses prevent excretion .
In a study of 49 elderly patients, just 75 mg of aspirin per day increased blood uric acid levels by 6% within one week. A daily dose of 150 mg kept levels high during the second week, before coming down with 300 mg doses in the third week .
Considering the typical dose for heart disease prevention is 81-325 mg per day, it is no real surprise this dosage is associated with a doubling in gout risk. In fact, even the use of a low-dose aspirin for two consecutive days increases risk of recurrent gout attacks .
Im by no means recommending you cease your medications if you have gout, but its important to understand the pharmaceutical triggers. First speak with your doctor and closely monitor uric acid levels before making any changes.
And if you need a temporary painkiller, choose paracetamol or ibuprofen. No aspirin.
A Good Diet For Gout Should Not Include Soft Drinks Or Fruit Juice
Added sugar is a big problem in the modern diet.
Generally speaking, the sugar that is added to our food and drink products are 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
While glucose molecules are metabolised in the cell, fructose is metabolised in the liver. Further explanation is out of the scope of this article, but they behave very differently in the body.
Fructose intake, and not glucose intake, is strongly linked with gout.
Soft drinks and fruit juices tend to have the greatest amount of added sugar, and therefore the greatest amount of added fructose.
In fact, gout occurrence in the US has risen in line with fructose consumption since 1970 .
In a large study of over 46,000 men, researches found that two or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks a day was associated with an 85% increased risk of gout .
The largest consumers of sugar-sweetened soft drinks actually had a risk of gout comparable to the risk seen with three to five servings of alcohol.
Unfortunately the researchers did not account for family history of gout, which may or may not have changed their findings somewhat.
The strange thing out of all this, however, is that soft drinks dont typically contain purines.
Fructose is thought to be the culprit linking added sugars with gout. It appears to share the same mechanism as alcohol: fructose accelerates the breakdown of purine-containing nucleotides like ATP. This in turn drives up uric acid levels 90120-5/abstract” rel=”nofollow”> 13, 14, 15).
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What Foods To Avoid
Many of the foods you want to avoid are meats and seafood. Meats such as chicken, pork, beef, or lamb are usually okay in moderation however, if you find they cause symptoms you will want to avoid them altogether. Salmon, as part of a gout diet, is also usually tolerated well in moderation.
- Yeast:beer, nutritional yeast, large amounts of bread, others
- Game meats: venison, veal, bison, others
- Organ meats: liver, tongue, tripe, others
- Fish: including sardines and anchovies
- Other seafood: shellfish, roe, others
- Sugary drinks: sodas, fruit juice, others
- Sugar substances: honey, nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, others
List Of Foods To Avoid With Gout
Red Meat: Red meat is extremely high in purines and the body breaks it down with more difficulty than other foods. This can not only cause an increase in uric acid but can also be detrimental to your gastrointestinal health as well as blood circulation. Avoiding red meat over the years is a common recommendation from dieticians and clinicians alike, as red meat can cause more harm than it provides – especially at older ages. This sometimes may not seem like a problem for those that lead extremely active lifestyles, as their metabolic burn can break down all necessary foods and amino acids in order to avoid the buildup of certain problems such as uric acid.
Organ Meat: Organ meats are usually offered at a discounted rate from the grocery store for a reason. They are not only less popular because of their appearance and availability, but because our bodies have adapted to cooked foods. Organs, in general, are extremely difficult to cook, meaning they contain many fibers and purines within them that are extremely difficult to digest within our body. This can not only lead to gout but other issues that are present with less fiber in your life, such as constipation and problems with your large/small intestines.
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