Nine Foods to Avoid With Gout
For centuries, gout was called a “rich man’s disease” because it most frequently afflicted wealthy, overweight men. In years past, most “lower class” people could not afford expensive products like meat and butter. Only the wealthy could purchase the expensive, fat-laden foods, such as marbled steaks and organ meats, that were popular at the time.
As people with gout know all too well, crippling pain can occur when high levels of uric acid accumulate in the blood and cause crystals to form around a toe or other joint. This acid is formed in these joints when purines, which occur naturally in the body, break down.
Reducing your intake of foods that are high in purines, like the meats that were so popular with the wealthy men of days gone by, helps to control your production of the acid and reduce the likelihood of an attack of gout.
Take note of these foods to avoid for gout sufferers.
What Not to Eat When You Have Gout
Gout is quite a tricky condition to manage especially when it comes to diet. Eat the wrong kind, and you may just find yourself suffering from an unbearable gout attack. To help you out, I have listed the top foods you must absolutely avoid if you have gout:
- Sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup
- Organ meats
- Fried and processed foods
- Canola Oil
I’ll explain why these foods are not good for your gout and provide you with some alternatives for the types of food you can eat to help you manage your condition better.
Sugar, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup
Ah, sugar. Many of us are addicted to it but why are we to blame? It’s found in just about any kind of food – your soft drink, juice, ice cream, bread, coffee, cereal, yogurt, and dressing. Heck, even your ketchup probably has sugar in it! It’s no wonder why so many Americans suffer a number of diseases related to sugar.
As a gout sufferer, sugar is one of those things that you need to watch out for; otherwise, you run the risk of worsening your condition.
Dr. Hyon Choi conducted a 12-year study of men drinking different kinds of food and beverages including soft drinks, fruits, and fruit juices. He found out that the more a subject drank sweet drinks that were high in fructose, the higher their risk was of developing gout.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should completely avoid sweet foods. You can still consume fructose coming from fresh fruits, but you should take no more than 25 grams of sugar.
Pay attention to what you’re eating/drinking and do all you can to avoid sugary foods and drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices, cookies, cereals, and more. At first, it’ll be hard to avoid, but you’ll be surprised by how fast your body adapts to a diet that’s low in sugar.
Just about any kind of seafood including shrimps, lobster, oysters, mussels, scallops, and crab, is not good for gout. If you like to eat seafood, a study conducted in 2004 might just convince you to stop eating it.
The research, they found that men who ate seafood had a 51 percent increased risk of developing gout and each weekly serving led to a 7 percent increased risk. This is because seafood increases your uric acid levels.
It’s probably one of the dirtiest foods you can eat. Lobsters are scavengers that eat the waste of other animals and other pollutants. Shrimps are scavengers too, and they live off eating flesh from dead creatures. Tuna also carries high mercury levels.
So to avoid exacerbating your gout symptoms, it’s best to avoid seafood altogether.
Organ meats include kidneys, liver, heart, brains, tongue, tripe, and many other animal parts. This is another type that you must entirely avoid as it is high in toxins that can trigger a gout attack.
For example, the liver is responsible for safely removing toxins or storing it if removal is not possible. By eating it, you’re eating all the toxins the animal wasn’t able to expel in its lifetime. Organ meats are also high in saturated fats and cholesterol which is not good for your gout as it raises your blood’s uric acid levels.
Remove organ meats completely from your diet to prevent your gout symptoms from worsening.
Pork is another scavenger animal that eats just about anything including garbage. If you want to improve your gout condition, you’re better off not eating pork products like bacon, hot-dogs, sausages, ham, and pork chops.
Also, consider the fact that today’s meat is full of antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, herbicides, high levels of adrenaline, and nuclear wastes. Your kidneys would be required to work harder just to process these dangerous compounds which in turn affects its ability normal eliminate uric acid.
Fried and Processed Foods
Do you know why more and more people are suffering from gout? It’s because fried and processed foods have become so easily accessible. They’re at your nearest convenience store, the mall, in stands, and in your neighborhood. You can even cook it in your home.
Fried and processed foods are just not good for your gout as they take a toll on your kidneys. They’re also quite addictive just like sugar. If you can avoid fast food and other processed foods, please do.
Next Page: More foods to avoid eating with gout, and foods you can eat to help manage gout.
Foods to Avoid Eating With Gout (Cont.)
Alcohol – especially beer – is one of the biggest triggers for gout. It contains a large number of purines which turn into uric acid and lead to gout symptoms.
One study published in the online journal BMC found that patients who drank alcohol more excessively were at higher risk for gout.
In another study published in the online publication, The Lancet, they found that men who drank the most alcohol daily doubled their risk of developing gout. Those who drank beer had a higher risk by 50 percent for every serving while those who drank hard liquor had an increased risk of 15 percent for each serving.
If you want a drink, opt for wine instead. The same study showed that those who drank less than two glasses of wine daily did not increase their risk their gout.
If you want beer, choose the non-GMO ones. Most of today's mainstream beer contain GMO corn syrup which can have hazardous effects on your health. Corn syrup is similar to high fructose corn syrup which increases uric acid levels and causes gout attacks to occur.
Marketed as one of the healthiest cooking oils, canola oil deserves a second look in your gout diet as there is a growing number of reports regarding its negative effects.
Canola oil comes from rapeseeds which have been modified to have lower erucic acid, so it’s “safe” to consume by humans. What was once used for cosmetics, candles, soap, biofuels, and even insecticides (that’s right!) is now heavily marketed as a healthy alternative to other cooking oils. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most of the hype for canola oil comes from the fact that it supposedly has omega-3s and omega-6 and that’s low in saturated fat.
If you look at how canola oil is produced, you might want to turn away from it forever after reading is. It first uses a toxic solvent called hexane to extract oil from the rapeseeds before it is degummed, neutralized, bleached, winterized, and deodorized.
Now I don’t know about you, but my body wants nothing to do with a food product that’s as heavily processed as that! It’s unnatural, and the fact that it’s genetically modified means you should be more wary of it.
In one study published in the Springer Link, they found that mammal’s kidneys and liver were affected after consuming genetically modified soybeans and corn. If you care about your gout condition, you should be avoiding anything that can affect your liver and kidneys as these two are essential for processing uric acid properly.
A good alternative would be extra virgin olive oil. Don’t believe people who say you can’t cook with olive oil because you definitely can if you buy the right types. Check the label always making sure it has:
- “COOC” (California Olive Oil Council)
- ”D.O.P”/”D.P.O” (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta)
- “D.O” (Denominacion de Origen)
- “A.O.C.” (Appellation D’origine Controlée)
This guarantees that you are purchasing real extra virgin olive oil.
You’ve probably already read articles in the past that warn you of the dangers of MSG or monosodium glutamate.
There’s a good reason why this flavor enhancer is negatively portrayed in the media. It’s found in many of today’s foods, and although it temporarily satisfies your taste buds, it harms your health in the long run. It causes a long list of health issues such as fatigue, dizziness, muscle and joint pain.
If you have gout, you also want to watch out for MSG as it contains guanylates which, when metabolized in the body, turns into purines.
By now, you already know that high-purine foods are a big no-no in your gout diet. As if that’s not bad enough. MSG comes in different names which can make it quite confusing for the regular consumer.
The FDA requires manufacturers to disclose whether a product has MSG or not. However, corporations are sneaky and will use alternative names for it instead.
Seemingly harmless labels such as yeast food/extract, gelatin, textured protein, calcium glutamate, magnesium glutamate, or monosodium glutamate all contain processed free glutamic acid.
There are over 40 more labels for MSG, too many to mention here but can check this list and use it as reference the next time you go grocery shopping.
It sounds like a lot of hard work to avoid a common ingredient such as MSG. Also, most restaurants, no matter how good their food is, may use MSG in their dishes unless you tell them not to.
Your best bet is to start making your own recipes using whole foods and spices, and avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
Salt is another popular ingredient found in most of the dishes that we eat, but did you know that certain types of salts are bad for gout? Table salt is one of them.
Table salt has been processed at 1,200 Fahrenheit and is mostly made up of sodium chloride which comes from crude flake leftovers! So not only does the high temperature kill all of the salt’s benefits, but it’s also made of a something that could potentially worsen your gout symptoms.
Table salt is bad for your health and can contain additives that cause addiction which means the more you consume it, and the more your body will be addicted to it.
Instead, use sea salt in your recipes. It’s much healthier compared to table salt, but then again, you should still try to minimize salt intake in general just to be safe.
One study published in National Institutes of Health shows that those who consumed more salt had a higher risk of hypertension as well as higher uric acid levels and albumin content in their urine.
Albumin is a protein manufactured by the liver and should remain within the bloodstream. If it leaks into your urine, that’s a sign that your kidneys are damaged. And if your kidneys can’t properly excrete uric acid, your gout symptoms might only get worse and potentially develop into tophi. Not fun!
Save yourself the pain and use sea salt, Himalayan salt, or NoSalt. NoSalt is an excellent substitute for salt as it’s made from potassium, which is naturally salty, but offers benefits for your gout by regulating acid levels, helping crystals dissolve, and prevent them from forming.
Foods You Can Eat to Help Manage Gout Better
If you like meat, go for ones that are lean where the fat is taken off. Beef, goat, lamb, rabbit, and deer are examples of good meat that you can eat at least twice a week as they contain 70 percent to 75 percent fat.
Don’t believe the hype that you need a lot of protein to build muscle. You do, but not much of it. Four ounces of meat a day is often enough.
Keep gout attacks away by drinking half a gallon of water a day. Water helps dilute uric acid and prevents dehydration which has been found to trigger acute gout attacks.
If you eat meat, water helps flush out the harmful toxins you consume. So the next time you feel thirsty, don’t go for a beer, soft drink, or juice. Instead, grab a glass of water. Your kidneys will thank you.
Complex carbohydrates can be found in the healthiest food items like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Even if you eat vegetables high in purine such as asparagus, peas, cauliflower, and spinach, your risk of suffering a gout attack does not increase.
Low-purine foods you can eat which are beneficial for your gout include cherries, dark berries, tofu, salmon, peanuts, eggs, lettuce, coffee, whole wheat bread, and rice.
This by no means an exhaustive list, but it should give you a general idea of what you should completely cut out from your gout diet to prevent your gout symptoms from worsening.
I do my best to avoid these foods myself, and I’m happy to say that gout attacks have been less frequent compared to before. Are there other foods that you would recommend a gout sufferer should avoid? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Now you know what to avoid, learn about what are the good foods for gout you should include in your diet.