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Ask Tufts Experts October 2019 Issue

Q. I was recently diagnosed with gout. Which foods should I avoid?

Image stockdevil | Getty Images

If you have gout, avoiding high-purine foods may help prevent the build-up of painful uric acid crystals in the joints.

A. Helen Rasmussen, PhD, RD, senior research dietitian in the Metabolic Research Unit at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, answers: “Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was considered ‘the disease of kings and the king of diseases.’ Gout was common among affluent individuals, who were typically overweight and consumed mostly meat and alcohol, shunning fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

“The metabolism of compounds called purines raises the level of uric acid in the bloodstream. When uric acid levels rise, sodium urate crystals can develop in joints like the knees and toes, causing pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling.

“Limiting intake of foods that increase uric acid levels can help—as can managing weight, diabetes, high blood lipids, and high blood pressure. If you have gout, try these tips to help prevent attacks:

-Cut back on or eliminate all types of alcoholic beverages (no more than one alcoholic drink a day for women and two for men).

-Limit intake of high-purine foods, especially red meat, organ meats (like liver, tongue, and sweetbreads), and shellfish. Poultry, pork, and some fish are also considered moderate sources of purine.

-Cut back on or eliminate sugary beverages and other sweet foods, especially those with high-fructose corn syrup and agave syrup.

-Drink plenty of water.

“Additionally, losing weight (if overweight) helps reduce the uric acid in the blood and can reduce pressure on hips and knees, relieve pain, and slow the progression of arthritis.”

Comments (3)

Great information. Thank you so much.

Posted by: Lilyg | September 26, 2019 7:28 PM    Report this comment

Orthodox Medicine and Pharma , for some reason, refuse to offer a simple solution. Antacids... Simple Chemistry tells us that when a system is acidic, add antacids to neutralize. Ever since my Nutritionist told me this I have control any attack by immediately taking about 500mg twice a day. My cynical brain wonders if this is because they cannot make money this way?????

Posted by: kered | October 1, 2019 2:29 PM    Report this comment

Strangely enough the food that gives me the most excruciating gout pain is lentils. So I guess a cookie-cutter article about gout isn't covering all the bases. I expected more from this health agency which is why I subscribed. I wonder if there is recent research. Perhaps outbreaks of gout are an more complex. I also wonder if there is a causal relationship between meat and gout.

Posted by: Vlngrl | October 1, 2019 2:54 PM    Report this comment

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