If you find yourself asking: Can I eat chocolate if I have gout? We understand. But it’s not a simple yes or no.

Any gout problems that might occur by eating chocolate are, in most cases, less about the chocolate itself and more about what’s been added to it to make it sweet and delicious.

Typical milk chocolate bars that are found in the candy aisle of a supermarket aren’t a good choice if you have gout.

While it varies on brand, size, and type, one Hershey’s Chocolate bar can contain upwards of 8 teaspoons of sugar.

Consuming high-fructose corn syrup (a sweetener found in many processed foods and soft drinks) has long been associated with gout. Most prevention recommendations involve reducing the amount of this sweetener in your diet.

Additional research from 2013 also linked gout with another common sugar: sucrose.

Based on the amount of sugar that would be consumed, chocolate in candy-bar form isn’t a good snack choice for someone with gout.

What about other types of chocolate?

Dark chocolate

You may be used to hearing about the health benefits of eating dark chocolate, but while you may get more chocolate, you’re typically consuming the same amount of sugar in any other chocolate bar.

According to the American Heart Association, a dark chocolate bar with 70 to 85 percent cacao can still contain about 24 grams of sugar — or 6 teaspoons.

White chocolate

White chocolate isn’t always recognized as true chocolate because it contains no cocoa solids. In fact, it’s basically cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar.

A white chocolate bar will have about the same amount (or more!) sugar as a milk or dark chocolate bar.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, two chocolate sources that have zero total sugars are:

If you’re considering purchasing either cacao nibs or unsweetened cocoa powder, check the label to make sure that the brand under consideration doesn’t add sugar.

Chocolate that’s not filled with added sugar and sweeteners can offer some benefits to people with gout.

  • Chocolate can lower uric acid crystallization, according to a 2018 study. Lowering uric acid crystallization can be key to controlling your gout.
  • Chocolate has polyphenols associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Inflammation reduction is helpful in providing relief from a gout attack.
  • The antioxidants in chocolate, according to a 2007 analysis, may lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a risk factor for gout.
  • Antioxidants may also help improve kidney function and reduce renal injury, according to a 2017 study. Your kidneys are essential in eliminating uric acid and preventing gout attacks. Currently, there’s no direct evidence on chocolate’s antioxidants supporting kidney function, so more research needs to be done.
  • According to a 2017 review, chocolate contains theobromine which can positively influence our moods. A good mood might help you better handle your gout flares.

As long as you choose a chocolate product that doesn’t include ingredients that might trigger a gout flare, eating chocolate might actually help your gout by:

Talk to your doctor about how your diet can affect your gout, including whether or not you should eat chocolate, which type, and the recommended quantity.