Gout & Weight Loss: Can Losing Weight Trigger a Gout Attack?
Anybody who has had a gout attack knows it’s something they never want to experience again, so it’s important to understand the risk factors. One of the #1 causes of gout is being overweight or obese.
You see, gout attacks happen when you have too much uric acid in your body, and being overweight increases your uric acid in two ways.
- Producing too much uric acid
- Slowing down the uric acid excretion process
So the logical next step in preventing a painful gout attack would be to lose the weight. But there’s a catch. If you start your weight loss journey the wrong way, losing weight can actually trigger another gout attack. How you lose weight can make or break your success.
Read on to learn what not to do when you want to lose weight for gout prevention.
Losing Weight Too Fast = Gout Attack
Sudden weight loss and crash diets both increase your chances of developing gout.
Well, when you lose weight, your body starts to metabolize more body tissues. This means more purines will be turning into more uric acid. Also, fasting (AKA: not eating for long periods) can lead to gout since you can quickly get dehydrated and raise your uric acid levels.
Also, be wary of a high-fat/high-protein diet like keto or Atkins for your weight loss when gout is your main concern. These diets include high amounts of foods that are incredibly high in purines. Plus, a low carb diet may actually make your kidneys more sensitive to uric acid changes.
How to Lose Weight the Gout-Safe Way
The goal, then, needs to be slow and steady weight loss.
Experts say that you should aim for about 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss each week. Of course, you may lose some more weight at the beginning if you are very overweight. Your doctor will be able to tell you exactly how many pounds to shoot for per month/per week if this applies to you.
When you have significant numbers to lose, this slow process may seem disheartening, but it’s the only way to keep your body healthy. Here’s how you can make it happen.
1. Eat Well/Hire a Nutritionist
You are going to need to go on a diet overhaul. Cutting out foods like sugar, processed foods, and trans/hydrogenated fats will not only help you lose weight, but they will also help your body lower inflammation. Since gout is an inflammatory condition, this is a win/win.
Make sure you are not including too many high purine foods in your diet. Purines are what turn into uric acid. Your body makes purines on its own, so there’s no way to cut out purines entirely. But limiting the amount of high purine foods you consume regularly is a necessary step. These include:
- Organ meats
- Game meats
- Red meats
- Dark-skinned poultry
- Some seafood
As you can see, this means cutting down some of your meat consumption. If you’re not sure how to make healthy, tasty, filling meat-free meals, check out this video. You will see a whole week of vegan dinner options and how to make them:
A nutritionist or dietician can help you set a plan designed for safe weight loss that’s also appropriate for gout sufferers. Their services may be a good investment for you at the beginning.
Keep Reading: 7-Day Gout Diet Plan: Top Foods to Eat & Avoid for Gout
2. Exercise/Hire a Personal Trainer
Getting into a regular exercise routine is key here.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you get either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly (this includes things like swimming or walking quickly) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly (this includes things like running or a cardio class). Make sure you spread out those aerobic activity minutes – doing it all in one day is not the goal.
Then you also need to be doing strength training at least twice per week. You can lift weights or use the resistance machines (body weight exercises like push-ups count).
All in all, you should be shooting for 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
Hiring a personal trainer – especially at the beginning – can help you make sure you are doing all the exercises correctly. Plus, they can help you make sure you have an appropriate plan depending upon your weight and age.
3. Cut Out the Alcohol
Not only is alcohol high in calories, but it is also one of the biggest factors leading to gout attacks.
Alcohol is high in purines (beer, especially). The diuretic nature of alcohol can leave you with concentrated uric acid and not enough urine to balance it out. Plus, alcohol can make it harder for the body to excrete uric acid.
If you do want to enjoy some alcohol, do it rarely and stick to a glass of wine. It has the lowest chance of other types of alcohol to leave you with a gout attack.
While You’re at It…Take Some Supplements
As you continue your journey of losing a safe amount of weight each week to get healthy and lower your chances of a gout flare-up, it can be helpful to get an extra helping hand. There are some all-natural supplements and herbs that can help your body process uric acid correctly. Your top choices include:
- Cherry Extract
- Celery Seed Extract
- Chanca Piedra
- Hydrangea Extract
Safe Weight Loss for Gout
Keep in mind that these steps for safe weight loss are not just going to help you prevent a gout attack, they are going to keep you healthy over the long haul. How you eat and how you move your body affects every single organ, every single body system. Doing it properly is the key to success – for gout and beyond.