Gout Food Guide
Diet Suggestions for Gout
Gout is a disease characterized by high uric acid levels in the blood (hyperuricemia) which crystallize and deposit in soft tissues and joints.
Gout has historically been thought to be related to dietary intake of purines, which are protein compounds that are building blocks of amino acids. More recently other theories have been presented to explain the causes and distribution of this disease, especially pinpointing high fructose corn syrup and fructose as culprits.
There are several strategies to address gout from the nutritional and supplemental perspective. One common theory holds that reducing dietary purines will reduce or prevent gout symptoms. Purine rich foods include meat, seafood and certain vegetables. However, not all foods high in purines have the same impact on gout. Meat and fish have a more deleterious effect on gout than purines derived from vegetables and dairy. Nutrition Supplements containing Pure Cherry Extract, Protease and Pantothenic Acid have been proven to provide key nutrients to help support conditions associated with GOUT.
Another approach that is gaining in popularity is eliminating intake of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and fructose. Fructose and HFCS are found in a vast array of processed, packaged foods, as well as fruits. Some people with gout also find benefit in reducing or eliminating refined carbohydrates from the diet, including things like sugar, white flour, white rice, and any food with a high glycemic index.
This approach of treating gout along the same lines as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome or diabetes, goes along with the observation that gout occurs more commonly in overweight or obese individuals in communities where intake of high carbohydrate, processed foods is significant. While weight loss should be encouraged, do not lose weight too quickly as extreme or rapid weight loss can increase the amount of uric acid in the body. Finally, some alternative healthcare practitioners are having success treating people with gout by also addressing intestinal Candida issues in their patients.
Purine Avoidance should be practiced by anyone experiencing gout. The list of foods containing purines is long and somewhat confusing. Research indicates that probably the most important purine-rich foods to avoid are meat, fish, and shellfish. Anchovies, sardines, organ meats (liver, kidneys, brain), shellfish, and gravies are particularly high in purines. People with gout should also avoid alcoholic drinks.
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Fructose Avoidance Avoidance of these substances should be incorporated into the dietary strategy of those with gout. HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is found in numerous commercially prepared products: some brands of juice, soda, ketchup, applesauce, candies, cookies, breads, crackers, breakfast cereals, some yogurts and ice creams, baked beans, relish, pancake syrup, jelly, salad dressings, sauces, processed meats like hot dogs and deli meat, and more. Always read ingredient lists to identify the presence of HFCS. Restaurant food tends to be high in HFCS, especially fast food. Fructose is also sometimes added to packaged foods as a sweetener. Fruit contains fructose, and therefore fruit and fruit juice should be ingested in moderation (1-2 servings per day at most). High fructose fruits and other foods include apples, oranges, raisins, honey, dates, figs, grapes, pears, and plums.
Schlesinger, N. Dietary Factors and Hyperuricaemia. Curr Pharm Des. 2005;11(32):4133-8.
Choi, HK. Atkinson, K. Karlson, E. Willett, W. Curhan, G. Purine-Rich Foods, Dairy and Protein Intake, and the Risk of Gout in Men. N Engl J Med 2004; 350:1093-1103.
Sample Menu Ideas
please note: not everyone with gout will be able to eat all of the foods listed below. These are merely ideas based upon the above principles.
Refined Carbohydrates include bread, cookies, crackers, and pasta made from refined (white) flour and sugar. Refined carbs convert to glucose very quickly in the bloodstream, and this blood sugar spike can be difficult for the body to handle, particularly in someone who has insulin resistance. Therefore, refined carbohydrates should routinely be avoided in people with diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. More and more people with gout are also noticing improvements in their condition with adherence to a diet low in refined carbohydrates.
Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes are examples of “good” carbohydrates that contain plenty of fiber to blunt the blood sugar spike that can occur after carb ingestion. These foods also provide a wealth of necessary vitamins and minerals, of course. Whole grains include such things as whole wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, triticale, and steel cut or rolled (not instant) oats. These grains are the gluten-containing grains. Healthy whole grains that do not contain gluten include brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, teff, millet, amaranth, and gluten-free oats, among others. As mentioned above, fruits should be eaten only in moderation if you have gout. For people trying to reduce refined carbohydrates, some vegetables are higher in carbohydrates than others and should be minimized. White potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste/sauce, and onions are examples of veggies that tend to cause higher elevations in blood sugar than others.
Any dietary suggestions for gout must be tailored to the individual. Not everyone with gout necessarily needs to avoid the same foods, so experiment to find which foods are triggers for you. For example, some people with gout may tolerate peas and other legumes, eggs, and dairy without a problem, while for others, daily ingestion of legumes, egg,s and dairy will increase symptoms. The key for some of these foods may be ‘moderation.’ (I.e., one egg a week rather than one egg a day!) In addition, the diet one eats during an acute gout attack will likely need to differ from the regular maintenance diet. It can be helpful to keep a detailed “diet and symptom diary” to monitor food intake and correlations with flares of gout symptoms.
Cooked oatmeal, teff, or millet with cinnamon, pecans, ground flaxseed, milk or non-dairy milk alternative like unsweetened coconut milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk, or almond milk. Sprouted whole grain toast with butter or nut butter.
Hummus with celery sticks, carrot sticks, rye crackers. Corn tortilla with black beans, lettuce, brown rice, a little cheese. Lentil soup with brown rice. Salad with mesclun greens or Romaine lettuce, chopped bell peppers, cucumber, walnuts, bean sprouts, sunflower seeds, etc. Sandwich with sliced natural deli turkey breast, rye bread, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts.
Whole grain pasta with olive oil, lemon, garlic, pine nuts, capers. Veggie burger made with lentils, soybeans, vegetables, served over a cooked grain or whole grain bun. Baked chicken breast with side of veggies and quinoa. Stir fried veggies with chicken or turkey, served over rice or rice noodles. Vegetable soup, bean soup, split pea soup, or vegetarian chili.