Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout
Foods to Avoid With Gout
Gout is a type of painful arthritis that can affect one or more joints, but typically occurs in the feet. It is traditionally treated with anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers. Certain foods trigger an attack; being mindful of what you eat can have a significant impact on your symptoms.
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Purines, Uric Acid, & Gout
Gout is caused when uric acid crystallizes and builds up in the joints. Uric acid—which serves as an antioxidant and protection for the lining of our blood vessels in normal levels—is created during the breakdown of an organic substance found in foods called purines.
The key to the “gout diet” is avoiding foods high in purines, which are listed on the following slides.
Organ and Other Meats
Purines are highest in organ meats, including liver, sweetbreads, kidneys, brains, tongue, and tripe, so all organ meats should be completely avoided. All meats contain moderate amounts of purines, so limit intake of all meats to four ounces per day. Examples of meats to be limited include pork, chicken, duck, goose, ham, rabbit, sheep, turkey, lamb, veal, and venison.
Purines are also high in other animal-based foods, such as gravy, bouillon, and chicken soup.
Fish and Seafood
Fish and seafood are also common sources of purines. The worst offenders for people with gout are scallops, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel. Other fish moderately high in purines include tuna, carp, codfish, halibut, perch, salmon, snapper, and trout.
Avoid other seafood such as oysters, lobster, crab, and shrimp also contain high levels of purines and should be consumed in small amounts.
Even though it may be contrary to everything else you’ve heard, whole grains such as whole wheat breads and cereals have higher purine content than refined grains. Wheat germ, bran, and oatmeal are all high in purines. Instead, eat refined grain bread (white bread), pasta, and white rice to limit your purine intake. If you want whole grains, limit to no more than two servings per week.
Sugars are low in purines, but a diet high in refined sugars is linked to other conditions that may worsen gout symptoms, such as obesity and diabetes.
If you need to get your sweet on, choose fresh fruits. While some have high amounts of natural sugar, they also contain other vital nutrients your body needs.
Alcohol (Beer in Particular)
Beer contains purines (brewer’s yeast is particularly high in purine content). While other alcoholic beverages may not contain very many purines, they can increase purine production in the body, which, in turn, leads to higher uric acid levels. Studies have shown that drinking beer during a gout attack can significantly increase the intensity of symptoms.
Excessive alcohol use (more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women) can increase risk of a gout attack.
Some vegetables are rich in purines and should be limited to no more than two servings (1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked) per week. They include:
More Gout Information
Sticking to a strict diet can help ease symptoms of gout, but because purines are present in so many foods it may be difficult to adhere to. Still, avoiding certain foods is an important part of an overall gout treatment plan.
To learn more about gout, explore Healthline’s Gout Learning Center.