What Is Uric Acid
Uric acid is a waste byproduct of purine breakdown in the body. Purines are naturally produced in the body, as well as found in some foods. As purines are broken down, uric acid is created. Normally uric acid is either reabsorbed in the body or excreted via the urine and feces.
When there are more purines in the body than it can process, uric acid builds up in the bloodstream. This is called hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia can cause gout and/or kidney stones in some people, while others have no signs or symptoms at all.
Verywell / Alexandra Gordon
Treatment for gout often includes medications, diet modification, and lifestyle changes, such as managing weight and quitting smoking. The foods you eat can have a direct impact on gout flares.
During a gout attack, modifying your diet may help decrease the length of the flare. Continuing to follow a gout-friendly diet, specifically a low-purine diet, may help prevent the risk of future gout attacks up to five fold.
Achieve A Healthy Weight
Obesity may be a primary consideration to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood. Insulin resistance is commonly seen in those who are obese and it may be involved in the development of gout. Insulin resistance has been shown to decrease the amount of uric acid that is cleared in the urine. A condition known as the âmetabolic syndromeâ is a cluster of symptoms which includes insulin resistance, along with tummy obesity, high blood pressure and abnormal blood fats â for example, high cholesterol. This condition is strongly associated with high uric acid levels, which can be improved with slow, gradual weight loss.
Weight loss has been shown to improve insulin resistance and therefore reduce uric acid levels in the blood. However, it is important to avoid strict diets such as low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets. These may increase consumption of purines, a compound that breaks down into uric acid. Additionally, rapid weight loss through strict dieting can result in breakdown of tissue. This can temporarily cause a rise in uric acid levels. A gradual, safe weight loss of 1-2 lbs a week can help to achieve an optimal body weight.
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Foods To Avoid With Gout
When a patient asks Bernadette Siaton MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center who treats gout, what foods they should avoid, she doesnt recommend specific foods.
Instead, she encourages her patients to eat a low-fat, low-sugar, healthy and balanced diet.
That type of diet is beneficial for most people, even in the absence of gout, Dr. Siaton says.
Weight loss is recommended for people with gout who are overweight or obese, even if gout flares are rare or nonexistent, according to the 2020 American College of Rheumatology Guidelines for the Management of Gout.
Still, gout is a disease that results from excess uric acid burden in the body.
Some foods have high purine content, and when the body breaks down purines, uric acid is the end result, Dr. Siaton says. I tell patients to stay away from foods high in purines.
With that said, here are some foods and drinks you generally should avoid to keep gout at bay.
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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.
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What Can You Drink If You Have Gout
Foods arenât the only thing that can affect uric acid. What you drink matters, too.
Itâs a good idea to drink lots of fluids — 8 to 16 cups a day. At least half of what you drink should be water. Vitamin C also can help lower uric acid, but studies also show that the high fructose in OJ may boost uric acid levels, so drink it in moderation. Caffeinated coffee can cut uric acid, too, as long as you donât overdo it.
Stay away from sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice. You also may need to limit or avoid alcohol as well. Talk with your doctor to find out whatâs right for you.
While a healthy diet can help control how much uric acid is in your system, you may still need medicine to prevent future attacks. Talk with your doctor about all your treatment options.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Gout
Gout is a very painful condition and a typical gout attack usually develops over a two to three hour period and often resolves within two weeks. The NHS advises that you always see a doctor if you experience the symptoms of gout, which include sudden, severe pain in any joint or red, hot, swollen skin over any joint.
Draw Down The Nightshades
Some people with arthritis find that eating tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers trigger arthritic swelling and stiffness. “Eating nightshade plants can irritate the joints I see that quite a lot in my practice,” says Turner.
The inflammatory reaction may be due to a buildup of a bitter-tasting chemical found in nightshade plants called solanine, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, giving up nightshades come with a downside: you’d miss out on some highly nutritious foods, the Cleveland Clinic notes.
The form of arthritis known as gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body and crystals of uric acid accumulate in the joints, causing swelling and pain. Uric acid is the result of the breakdown of chemical compounds in certain foods called purines. “Gout is its own little beast,” says Turner. The worst foods to eat if you have gout are “foods high in purines like organ meats, alcohol , sardines, and sweet beverages like soda and juices with high fructose corn syrup,” she says. Even certain vegetables, like cauliflower and asparagus, are higher in purines than others and may cause inflammation in a joint.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
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Theres More To Gout Than Too Much Uric Acid
Before we dive into the list of foods to avoid with gout, its important to get to the root of what causes too much uric acid and who is at a higher risk.
First, no one is exempt from getting gout. Some people are just more sensitive to purine-rich foods and drinks and thus churn out more uric acid. Genes can play a significant role, so if you have a relative with gout, you might be at a higher risk.
Second, putting on weight through adulthood is associated with a higher risk of gout, according to research published in 2021 in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
In an earlier study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, overweight people were 85 percent more likely to have higher uric acid levels than people at a healthy weight.
Are Some Types Of Alcohol Better Than Others
It seems that gout attacks are more common in beer and spirits drinkers than in people who drink wine. Many beers contain large amounts of purines, which can lead to elevated uric acid levels in the blood. However, there is no scientific proof that only certain types of alcoholic drinks can lead to gout attacks.
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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.
List Of Foods To Avoid With Gout
Its not always safe to cut certain foods from your diet and you should speak to a doctor before doing so. However, if you have gout, limiting high-purine foods is generally recommended. These include:
- oily fish, such as mackerel, herring or sardines
- shellfish, such as scallops, mussels, crab or prawns
- other seafood, such as trout, haddock, fish roe or caviar
- game meats like venison or rabbit
- offal , such as kidney, heart or liver
- foods containing yeast extract, such as pretzels or Marmite, or meat extracts, such as stock cubes or gravy granules
- refined sugar foods this includes biscuits and cookies, or cereal bars. Eating these foods can increase your risk of weight gain
Some vegetables, like asparagus and spinach, have a relatively high purine content. However, studies suggest a diet containing these vegetables doesnt increase the chance of a flare-up of gout.
You dont need to limit foods that are low or moderately low in purines.
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What Foods Should You Avoid
If youre susceptible to sudden gout attacks, avoid the main culprits high-purine foods.
These are foods that contain more than 200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces .
You should also avoid high-fructose foods, as well as moderately-high-purine foods, which contain 150200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces. These may trigger a gout attack.
Here are a few major high-purine foods, moderately-high-purine foods and high-fructose foods to avoid (
- meats: These include liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and brain
- meats: Examples include pheasant, veal and venison
- Fish: Herring, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, haddock and more
- seafood: Scallops, crab, shrimp and roe
- Sugary beverages: Especially fruit juices and sugary sodas
- Added sugars: Honey, agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup
- Yeasts: Nutritional yeast, brewers yeast and other yeast supplements
Additionally, refined carbs like white bread, cakes and cookies should be avoided. Although they are not high in purines or fructose, they are low in nutrients and may raise your uric acid levels (
Summary: If you have gout, you should avoid foods like organ meats, game meats, fish and seafood, sugary beverages, refined carbs, added sugars and yeast.
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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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Gout can be very painful indeed
How come gout hurts, where does all that pain come from? Simple, when the uric acid accumulate in the blood and tissues it can crystallise out into a joint, forming a multitude of tiny, jagged, needle-shaped crystals. This triggers an intense inflammatory response that causes a painful arthritis attack called a gout attack. Have you ever stood on a pin or a needle, perhaps some broken glass and got annoyed and irritated by this? Then you will know how a gout sufferer will feel they can be most irritated and annoyed like a child who has just stood on a pin cushion. Pain has a way of bringing out the worst in many people! As I mentioned, gout commonly strikes the big toe, but other joints can be affected, including the instep, ankle, knee, wrist, elbow and fingers. Acute pain is generally the first symptom and then the affected joint becomes inflamed : red, swollen, hot and extremely sensitive to the touch. I have many times seen a case of gout in the clinic that the patients doctor referred to as osteoarthritis, when in fact it had all the makings of gout. Signs and symptoms such as a needle-like pain affecting the small joint, male patient who enjoys alcohol drinker, crayfish and roe , enjoys barbeques and steaks, etc. Common things happen to people commonly, I have often said.
The Ultimate List Of 14 Foods To Avoid With Gout
You may have come across the word Gout quite frequently in your life, but never really understood what it refers to. Gout is in fact an agonizing form of arthritis which aim at and attack any joint of a persons body and cause trouble, mostly the joints of the feet. What happens is that uric acid crystals tend to grow and form a home in the joints which is one of the primary causes since it calls for swelling as well as an unbearable pain.
What may cause the birth of such an unimaginable situation would be certain foods that carry a higher concentration of purine in them ultimately causing your uric acid level to shoot up. This, as a result leads to gout, a condition caused due to intake of certain nutrition.
Even if you are suffering from this condition or you happen to digest certain foods that have gotten you close to gout being a part of your life, you can still make some necessary changes in your life right now that help you fight this disease in no time without having to go through any trips to the doctor.
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Steer Clear Of Sodium
Even super-sweet cereals can have high amounts of sodium. âSome have more than 500 milligrams per serving — a third of the dayâs recommended limit for most people,â Smith says.
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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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.
Foods To Eat And To Avoid For Gout
Gout is a form of arthritis, an inflammatory condition affecting primarily joints and the tissues around them. It is characterized by swelling, localized redness, burning sensation, pain and other symptoms.
Gout occurs as a result of high levels of uric acid that crystallize over time and form deposits in joints and the tissues around them, resulting in visible inflammation and pain.
For the most part, gout is a genetic form of arthritis. However poor dietary and lifestyle habits are known to both cause and worsen an already existing gout.
Anti-inflammatory foods like cherries and sour cherries and turmeric are good to eat and can help manage and prevent gout attacks, while processed foods, red meats, seafood like shellfish and oily fish are known to increase uric acid and trigger gout episodes.
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What To Eat To Treat And Prevent Gout
Avoiding certain foods high in purine and managing weight may help prevent the painful symptoms of gout and stop it from developing in the first place. Understanding how food affects gout and what to eat can help someone manage their symptoms.
Gout is a form of arthritis that can happen when too much uric acid in the body causes crystals to form in the joints, resulting in pain and inflammation.
Diet plays an important role in gout as certain foods can cause excess uric acid, or hyperuricemia.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that eating a healthy diet and avoiding becoming overweight can help someone manage their symptoms.
This article looks at how a person can eat to manage and prevent gout, including which foods to eat and which foods to avoid.
When planning a diet for gout, someone should aim to limit or avoid the following types of foods.