What foods to avoid for gout and why


Gout is one of the oldest recognized forms of arthritis , with a history dating back to the Middle Ages. It was originally known as the "disease of the rich" because it was associated with abundant food and alcohol, which were generally not available to the lower classes.

Today, people of any socioeconomic level suffer from it. The types of food you eat can directly affect the symptoms and severity of gout. In particular, foods high in purines tend to cause more flare-ups.

According to a 2014 study, among people with gout, acute purine intake increases the risk of recurrent gout attacks up to five times.

Get Medical Information / Alexandra Gordon

What is gout?

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects one joint (usually the big toe joint ) or several joints at the same time. It occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood , causing uric acid crystals to accumulate in joints, fluids, and tissues throughout the body, often causing severe inflammation, redness, and pain.

What are purines?

Purines are chemical compounds that are found naturally in food and also in your body. The natural purines in your body are called endogenous purines, and the purines found in the food you eat are called exogenous purines. Exogenous purines are broken down in the body by the digestive system.

Uric acid is formed as a by-product when the body processes exogenous and endogenous purines. Most of the uric acid is reabsorbed by the body, while the rest is excreted in the urine and feces.

If the body has more purines than it can handle, uric acid builds up in the blood and causes a condition called hyperuricemia . Hyperuricemia leads to the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the body, which often leads to kidney stones or gout, although some people have no signs or symptoms.

People with hyperuricemia or gout are advised to avoid or limit their intake of high-purine foods to reduce the body's purine load. Foods high in purines include some sugary foods, red meat, organ meats, shellfish, yeast, and alcoholic beverages.


Sugar seems to increase uric acid levels. Fructose is a natural form of sugar found in some foods. Fructose, as well as high fructose corn syrup added to some foods, can increase serum uric acid levels. Avoiding or limiting foods high in these sugars can help reduce gout symptoms.

Some fruits are naturally high in fructose, although the link between fruits and gout is unclear. If you have gout, you don't need to give up all fruits. However, some fruit juices may need to be avoided or limited.

Make sure you only have one serving of fruit at a time, such as a small apple or orange, 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of juice, 1 ounce (whole palm) of dried fruit, or half a cup of fresh fruit. Triggers for gout can be individual, so pay attention to the fruits (and amounts) you eat and whether they trigger a gout attack.

Sugary drinks can increase uric acid levels in the blood. A 2020 review of studies found that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is significantly associated with an increased risk of gout and hyperuricemia in adults. Avoid sugary drinks like soda or soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks.

Carbonated and sugary drinks.

Soda and sugary drinks are considered empty calories because they do not contain healthy nutrients, but they add a lot of calories to your diet.

For example, a 12-ounce can of cola contains about 150 calories and 40 grams, or about 9.5 teaspoons, of added sugars. Additionally, sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay.

Processed foods and refined carbohydrates

The modern Western diet is often rich in processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Additionally, processed foods and refined carbohydrates have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.

A 2017 study examined the incidence of gout in people who followed a Western diet or Dietary Approaches to Fight Hypertension (DASH) . The researcher found that the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of gout, while the Western diet was associated with an increased risk of gout.

To prevent gout symptoms, it is best to limit highly processed foods and beverages, as well as foods rich in refined carbohydrates such as candy, baked goods and baked goods, potato chips, crackers, cookies, candy, soda, ice cream, bread white, and some kinds of semi-finished products. frozen food.

Eating highly processed foods and refined carbohydrates in moderation will not only help with gout, but it will also improve your overall health.

Red meat and offal

Red meat and offal are rich in purines. Eating these foods increases uric acid levels in the blood and increases the risk of gout and gout attacks.

Limit your intake of red meat (including beef, venison, and bison) and organ meats (including liver, heart, panettone, tongue, and kidneys). Chicken contains moderate amounts of purines, so it should be eaten in moderation.

Protein is important to the body, and while you may need to limit your protein intake from some animal sources, you can still get protein from other sources. Low-fat dairy products reduce the risk of gout and are a good source of protein in the diet. Other protein foods that you can eat include eggs, nuts and nut butters, beans, and tofu.

Meats to avoid:

  • Beef, pork and chicken liver
  • Meat organs of other organs, such as the kidneys or the heart.
  • Wild game

Limit the amount of meat:

  • Red meat (beef, pork, lamb)
  • Domestic bird
  • Meat-based soups and sauces
  • Processed meats like salami and prosciutto

Fish and shellfish

Certain types of shellfish are high in purines and should be avoided with a proper gout diet. Other shellfish are moderate in purines and should be limited to one or two 2-3 ounce servings per day.

Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon are generally considered a healthy and nutritious supplement to the diet, primarily due to their heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids . However, due to their higher purine content, it is currently recommended to limit your intake of these foods if you have gout.

That said, a 2019 study found that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a lower risk of recurrent flare-ups of gout, in contrast to supplemental omega-3 fatty acids. More research is needed to elucidate these effects.

Seafood to avoid:

  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Mackerel
  • herring
  • Mollusks
  • Cod
  • Scallops
  • Trout
  • Haddock

Limit shellfish:

  • Locust
  • Crab
  • Shrimp
  • oysters
  • Clam
  • Salmon

Beer and liquor

Drinking alcohol has long been associated with gout. Therefore, in case of gout, it is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol. In particular, beer, spirits, and other grain alcohols.

Frequent alcohol consumption is known to cause chronic hyperuricemia, which increases the risk of gout and gout attacks. For this reason, it is recommended to completely avoid some alcoholic beverages, such as beer, while others, such as wine, should only be consumed in moderation.

Alcohol to avoid:

  • Strong liquor
  • Beer
  • Other grain alcohols

Limit alcohol:

Drop and wine

While it was previously thought that it was best to avoid all types of alcohol for gout, recent research has shown that drinking wine in moderation may not contribute to an increased risk of gout.

A study on the effects of wine on gout showed that wine consumed with meals and in moderation does not cause chronic hyperuricemia. Moderate wine consumption is counted as one 5-ounce drink per day for women and two 5-ounce drinks per day for men.


Some yeast and yeast extracts are high in purines and should be avoided for gout. Food supplements and foods containing them should be avoided to reduce uric acid levels. Yeast extract can sometimes be found in foods like certain soy sauces, canned soups and stews, frozen dinners, and savory snacks.

Vegetables rich in purines are normal

Certain vegetables and plant foods, such as peas, beans, lentils, spinach, mushrooms, oats, and cauliflower, are rich in purines. However, several studies have shown that they do not increase the risk of gout.

In fact, the opposite appears to be true: a diet rich in vegetables is associated with a lower risk of gout compared to a lower intake of vegetables. Therefore , it is not necessary to limit or avoid the consumption of vegetables for gout. -a friendly diet.

Weight control

In addition to reducing flare-ups of gout symptoms, following a proper gout diet can have other health benefits. Eating a diet low in processed foods, sugar, and alcohol, rich in vegetables, whole grains, and other plant-based foods can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Research published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases shows that a higher body mass index is a risk factor for gout and that people who are overweight and obese are at significantly higher risk for gout. Also, people with diabetes, high cholesterol, or both had a higher risk of gout and flare-ups in people with advanced gout.

Maintaining a healthy weight can also be less taxing on your joints, slowing the progression of joint damage. If you are looking to lose weight, a slow and steady approach is best for your health as you are more likely to maintain this healthy lifestyle change in the long term.

Get the word of drug information

Some people may find it difficult or unrealistic to follow a proper diet for gout, especially if the foods to avoid are those that you eat frequently. Work with your healthcare providers and start with small changes that make you feel stronger.

Remember that gout triggers can be individual and what triggers the flare in one person may not be significant to another. Be patient and remember your long-term goal of leading a healthy lifestyle without gout symptoms.

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