Gout: 8 Foods that Can Cause It

· June 29, 2014
Gout is a very uncomfortable and even dangerous condition that happens when you have high levels of uric acid. Find out which foods can be contributing to this in the article below.

Gout is a painful inflammation in the joints caused by the accumulation of uric acid. It can attack the feet, knees, and ankles, but most of all, the big toe. Episodes of gout can last for months and those most at risk are adult men and people who are obese. Here are the 8 foods that cause gout.

SeafoodSeafood

What some call ‘fruit of the sea’ can be very harmful to the health of those who suffer from gout. This is due to the fact that seafood contains high levels of a substance called “purine” which your body metabolizes into uric acid.

If you are not suffering from gout, you can allow yourself to eat certain types of seafood, but don’t go overboard. Keep in mind that doctors recommend ingesting no more than 4-6 pieces per week.

Herring

Herring

Herring, as opposed to the types of fish that you are allowed to eat in small quantities, is strictly forbidden for patients with gout. Therefore, it must be completely taken off your menu. Likewise, avoid anchovies and tuna.

On the other end of the spectrum are crab, lobster and shrimp, which are relatively safe. In other words, don’t overdo it, but don’t completely eliminate seafood and fish from your diet either.

Read also: High Uric Acid: 5 Common Causes

Beer

Beer

Experts have proved that beer doubles the risk of suffering from gout in those who are prone to this disease. This is true basically for two reasons: one, it increases the levels of uric acid in the body and two, it prevents your body from easily flushing the purine out of your system.

Wine is a better option, but not in excess. A glass of wine at dinner would be an acceptable amount, although many doctors strictly forbid alcohol altogether if you have gout.

Red Meat

Red Meat

Red meat contains a high amount of purine, in addition to other chemicals that can increase your cholesterol levels and cause weight gain. It’s better to eat white meat (chicken or fish), and once in a while, a little red meat. In addition, some specialists advise against pork and beef altogether, but a little beef each week is acceptable.

Turkey

Turkey

Together with goose, turkey is a purine-rich food, so they are better avoided if you have gout. Those prone to this disease must reduce their intake of farm-raised poultry and wild game to a minimum. The “safer” options are chicken and duck, with leg meat being preferable to breast meat.

Sweetened Beverages

Sweetened Beverages

Avoid drinks that contain corn syrup or fructose, diet soft drinks and bottled juices. These drinks contain many sweeteners that cause increased production of uric acid. The daily consumption of drinks that contain sugar or fructose increases the overall risk of suffering gout for women.

Asparagus

Asparagus

In this group, you will also find purine-rich foods such as cauliflower, spinach and mushrooms. If you like all of these foods, you can reduce your consumption rather than cutting them out completely. Also, keep in mind that vegetarian diets promote the excretion of purines.

You might also like: Alternatives for Replacing Animal Protein in Your Diet

Liver

Liver

Liver is in the “strictly forbidden” category, together with kidneys and sweetbreads. In other words, avoid eating the organs of a cow, lamb or any other similar type of animal. These foods are not good for your health in any way, let alone for those who suffer from gout.

What can you eat when dealing with gout?

There are many foods that help to treat gout, and here they are:

  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Coffee
  • Fruit
  • Citrus

Drink 12-16 glasses of fluids per day, which can include: water, tea, natural juices and coffee, or any liquid (with the exception of sugary soft drinks and beer) which promotes circulation and the removal of waste through the urine.

Remember that gout can be diagnosed through your symptoms or by the detection of increased levels of uric acid in the blood. If the testing is inconclusive, it will be necessary to have your synovial fluid analyzed. X-rays can be beneficial in detecting chronic gout, but not for slight or acute cases.

Images courtesy of Guian Bolisian, Alfa, Gideon, Lindsey G, soyculto, jdolenga, stu_spivack and Curt Gibbs.
  • Andrés, M., Sivera, F., Falzon, L., Buchbinder, R., & Carmona, L. (2014). Dietary supplements for chronic gout. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010156.pub2
  • Choi, H. K., Atkinson, K., Karlson, E. W., Willett, W., & Curhan, G. (2004). Purine-Rich Foods, Dairy and Protein Intake, and the Risk of Gout in Men. New England Journal of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa035700
  • Choi, H. K., & Curhan, G. (2008). Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men: Prospective cohort study. BMJ. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39449.819271.BE
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