Diet for Gout

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Gout Diet: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

Gout Diet: Foods To Avoid

The newer theories about gout (a type of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the body which form crystals in the joints, resulting in pain and inflammation) recognize the fact that the disease is not simply a result of high-protein intake. For example, we have discovered that uric acid levels are high in those patients with syndrome X, otherwise known as insulin resistance. This means that excessive carbohydrate consumption, particularly of refined flour and sugar, foods that in previous times were solely the domain of the wealthy, can also raise the uric acid levels and precipitate gout. This fact also explains the frequent finding of obesity in those suffering from gout.

Another overlooked factor is the fact that traditional peoples always balanced protein intake with plentiful fat intake as well as gelatinous soup broths. Thus, gout is better understood as a situation of excessive protein intake compared to the fats and gelatin intake, two factors which balance the protein intake. This is why people with historically high protein intake who also ate lots of fats and soup broths, with no refined carbohydrates, rarely if ever suffer from gout.

Finally, it will probably come as no surprise that the specific nutrient that seems to prevent the buildup of uric acid is vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is particularly associated with the kidney. In fact, gout can be seen as a problem of the kidneys not being able to excrete enough of the uric acid to prevent the buildup, rather than simply a matter of excessive protein intake.

This simple explanation, however, does not account for all the facts about gout. For example, high-protein intake is not necessarily connected with obesity so why are many gout patients overweight?. Also, we now know that gout attacks can occur with almost any change in diet, even to a better diet, or even to a lower-protein diet. In fact, it seems that the precipitating factor is often change, even the particulars of the change. And finally, there is a connection with fat, as your doctor suggested, although the solution is not to eat less fat.

What Should You Scratch From Your Grocery List?

Diets which are high in purines and high in protein have long been suspected of causing an increased risk of gout .

Not all purine-rich foods were associated with an increased risk of gout. There was no increased risk associated with a diet which included peas, beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, or spinach - all of which are considered high in purines.

Also, low-fat dairy products decrease the risk of gout and overall protein intake had no effect. Ultimately, diets shown to be connected to gout are the same kinds of diet linked to cardiovascular disease.

It may seem like it gets confusing. Seafood typically is recommended as part of a diet which is healthy for the heart?, but yet research has revealed that there is a strong, undeniable link between seafood and gout.

More importantly, how does a person begin to sort the myths from the facts and decide what to buy at the grocery store?

According to the University of Washington, Department of Orthopedics:

  • Obesity can be linked to high uric acid levels in the blood. People who are overweight should consult with their doctor to decide on a reasonable weight-loss program.

  • Fasting or severe dieting can actually raise uric acid levels and cause gout to worsen.

  • Usually people can eat what they like within limits. People who have kidney stones due to uric acid may need to actually eliminate purine-rich foods from their diet because those foods can raise their uric acid level.

  • Consuming coffee and tea is not a problem but alcohol can raise uric acid levels and provoke an episode of gout.

  • Drinking at least 10-12 eight-ounce glasses of non-alcoholic fluids every day is recommended, especially for people with kidney stones, to help flush the uric acid crystals from the body.

Johns Hopkins lists foods which are:

  • Very high in purines

    • Hearts

    • Herring

    • Mussels

    • Yeast

    • Smelt

    • Sardines

    • Sweetbreads

  • Moderately high in purines

    • Anchovies

    • Grouse

    • Mutton

    • Veal

    • Bacon

    • Liver

    • Salmon

    • Turkey

    • Kidneys

    • Partridge

    • Trout

    • Goose

    • Haddock

    • Pheasant

    • Scallops

Experts at Mayo Clinic suggest that medications for gout have reduced the need for dietary restrictions, but some modification can decrease the severity or frequency of gout attacks.

Dietary modification may also be preferred by people who cannot tolerate gout medications.

Gout Diet: Foods To Eat

What Should You Have In Your Shopping Cart To Help Prevent Gout Attacks?

With proper treatment, people who have gout do not usually progress to the chronic tophaceous phase of gout. What is the proper treatment of gout? Medications can be prescribed to help control gout and there are lifestyle recommendations. People with gout are advised to:

  • Avoid alcohol or drink alcohol in moderation

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids

  • Maintain an ideal body weight

  • Lose weight if overweight but avoid fasting or quick weight loss schemes

  • Avoid eating foods high in purines

Dietary restrictions suggest what people should not eat, but what should people eat? What foods will help control gout attacks? The American Medical Association recommends the following dietary guidelines for people with gout, advising them to eat a diet:

  • high in complex carbohydrates (fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables)

  • low in protein (15% of calories and sources should be soy, lean meats, or poultry)

  • no more than 30% of calories in fat (with only 10% animal fats)

Recommended Foods To Eat

  • Fresh cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and other red-blue berries

  • Bananas

  • Celery

  • Tomatoes

  • Vegetables including kale, cabbage, parsley, green-leafy vegetables

  • Foods high in bromelain (pineapple)

  • Foods high in vitamin C (red cabbage, red bell peppers, tangerines, mandarins, oranges, potatoes)

  • Drink fruit juices and purified water (8 glasses of water per day)

  • Low-fat dairy products

  • Complex carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pasta, rice, as well as aforementioned vegetables and fruits)

  • Chocolate, cocoa

  • Coffee, tea

  • Carbonated beverages

  • Essential fatty acids (tuna and salmon, flaxseed, nuts, seeds)

  • Tofu, although a legume and made from soybeans, may be a better choice than meat

Foods considered moderately high in purines but which may not raise the risk of gout include: asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, spinach, whole grain breads and cereals, chicken, duck, ham, turkey, kidney and lima beans.

It is important to remember that purines are found in all protein foods. All sources of purines should not be eliminated.

The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer .  The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. .It should not replaced professional advise and consultation.  A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions 

Epidemiologic Factor
Clinical Presentation
Conservative Treatment
General Treatment
Diet for Gout

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