3 Critical Foods To Avoid for Gout
Those who suffer from gout know that the science behind its development within the body isn’t entirely known.
What we do know, however, is that purines play a HUGE part in increasing your chances of a flair up. Purines are a compound found in many of the foods we eat and they then become uric acid when they’re broken down in our body.
When a body’s uric acid levels are pushed past their boundaries, uric acid crystals begin to form within the joints of your body.
These little shards of buildup are what causes the characteristic pain of gout.
Thankfully, some of the solution can be found in the problem. Since purines are what creates these painful crystals to build in the joints, you need to avoid the consumption of certain foods (and liquids) to reduce the amount of uric acid within your body.
Where am I getting this information? From one of the leading researchers in the field, Dr. Hyon Choi. Most of the studies I refer to were conducted by Dr. Choi.
I’ve categorized a variety of food and drink into three easy-to-remember categories so you don’t have to run through a large list every time you’re going grocery shopping. The list is broken down into these three groups: alcohol, meats, and fructose.
If you’re looking to reduce your risk of gout, then these are the groups to stay away from.
Purine is found in a lot of these groups but it’s sometimes the power of the consumable to stop or increase the breakdown of this compound that makes it something you’ll want to stay away from.
Here we go, three consumable groups that you should avoid to reduce your chances of gout.
3 Critical Foods To Avoid for Gout
#1. Alcohol (Mainly Beer)
It’s clear that alcohol consumption has a significant chance of increasing your risk of gout, specifically in beer and hard liquor.
In a study of almost 5,000 men and women, results showed that even drinking as few as two to four beers a week could increase your risk of gout by 25% for men.
On top of that, consumption of two to four beers a day increased your chances by 200% for men. For a woman, the risks of drinking two or for more beers a week triples your chances of suffering from gout.
While not as drastic in its effect, hard liquor consumption–at least two or more drinks a day increases your risk by 60%.
Wine didn’t seem to have any adverse effects and if you include its other health benefits, it’s definitely the drink of choice for those looking to avoid the risk of gout.
Why does alcohol increase my risk of gout?
There are two things at play here, one of which is the simple fact that purine is found in yeast that brewers use to create beer.
But in addition to that, alcohol greatly decreases your kidney’s ability to filter the excess purine from your body.
Hard liquor is the lesser evil here, being that it’s only reducing your body’s ability to lower its purine levels on its own.
Beer, on the other hand, is doing double duty because it both contains purine and inhibits the body’s ability to cut back on purine. That’s why beer is the more potent for increasing the risk of gout than hard liquor.
Beer is a heavy contributor but you’re only running a higher risk of gout if you’re pairing alcohol with any of these foods.
#2. Meat (Beef, Chicken, Pork)
While the caveman inside all of us may be gritting his teeth at this information, meat is a major player for increasing your chance of gout.
As far as we can tell, purine is the prime suspect for uric acid crystal buildup and no other food is as rich in purine than most meats.
What makes meat so high in purine?
The reason behind this is simple: animal foods are incredibly dense and can contain many more cells than, say, plant foods. With an increase in cells comes larger amounts of space for purine to contain.
To use simple numbers, someone who eats a daily serving of meat is 21% more likely to suffer from gout. Again, this is across the board. Beef, pork, chicken, lamb–they all increase your chances.
Something of note is that seafood also has a dangerous effect on increasing the risk of gout, though to a lesser extent than meat.
It was reported that a 7% increase in risk can be linked to those who consume a daily serving of seafood. A significant increase, no doubt, but meat is the true culprit here.
I’ll never say that fruits are bad for you, but there are certain fruits and other everyday foods that can increase your chances of gout because of their high fructose content.
This also goes for fruit drinks and soft drinks that rely heavily upon this natural sweetener.
But get this: There aren’t any purines found in most natural sugars.
If there’s no purine, how can fructose be so harmful?
Just like with alcohol, it’s not so much about the purine contained within, but the impeding factor it has on the body’s ability to filter and process purines.
In this case, fructose is a quickener to the body’s breakdown of nucleotides, meaning it’s increasing the amount purine released at a quicker rate. Imagine it like filling a tea kettle faster than you can pour it out.
So you may be wondering, what contains fructose? The answer is more encompassing than you think.
For the most part, fructose makes up half of the sweetener found in most of our sweetened products with glucose taking up the other half. It’s usually augmented into what we know as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
HFCS is found in the following products:
- Breakfast cereals
- Nutrition bars
- Fruit juices and fruits
- Soft Drinks
- Assorted Candy
- Salad Dressing
- The list goes on!
HGCS is found in so many products because of its price and availability that it’s hard to find everyday products that don’t contain it in some form.
Looking above, it’s hard not to see a correlation between HFCS’s introduction into the western diet and the significant increase in gout sufferers. As fructose became more rampant, as did those who suffered from a heightened purine breakdown.
In a study of nearly 50,000 individuals, it was found that those who consume two or more sugar-sweetened drinks run an increased chance of developing gout by 85 %.
Fruit drinks are even included on this list! As most fruit drinks are fructose heavy (duh), they’re hot topics for increasing your risk of gout.
This goes for consumption of large amounts of fruit as well!
A purine-rich diet is a surefire way to increase your chances of gout, along with other health problems. Although there’s still much to learn about how gout works and how we can best combat it, you cannot deny what studies have shown thus far.
To decrease your consumption of purine-rich food and drink or food and drink that affects the body’s ability to breakdown purine will have a direct link on your chances of developing gout.
While there are other keys to decreasing this risk, a healthy and proper diet is your greatest asset in the long run.