The consumption of too much sugar is associated with a number of health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. A particular type of sugar, fructose, is linked to gout.

Found in honey and fruit, fructose is a natural sugar. Made from corn, the man-made sweetener high fructose corn syrup is either 55 or 42 percent fructose, and the remainder of the ingredients are glucose and water.

When your body breaks down fructose, purines are released. As these chemical compounds are broken down, uric acid is produced. Uric acid can form painful crystals in the joints causing gout.

Fructose can generate uric acid within minutes of being consumed.

A 2011 article drew a parallel between the growth of the consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and the doubling of the prevalence and incidence of gout.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) between 1988 and 1994 found consistent links about the impact of high fructose corn syrup sodas (and the nutrient fructose) and gout in men.

This survey also indicated that sodas without high fructose corn syrup were not associated with serum uric acid. This added support to the belief that the increased consumption of fructose can lead to an excess of uric acid in the blood.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, a 2008 study indicated that men who drink two or more sugary sodas every day are at an 85 percent higher risk for gout than men drinking less than one soda a month.

The risk of gout for women drinking one can of sugary soda a day was 74 percent higher than women who rarely drank sugary soda, according to a 2010 study that analyzed data from 78,906 women over 22 years.

Fructose occurs naturally in juices like orange juice. The Mayo Clinic suggests that if you have gout, you should limit the amount of naturally sweet fruit juices you drink.

According to a 2010 study, the risk of gout for women drinking orange juice daily was 41 percent higher than women who rarely drank orange juice.

  • Do not eat foods or drink beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Limit the amount of naturally sweet fruit juices you drink.
  • Avoid added sugars such as honey and agave nectar.

There have been some studies, including in 2011 and 2012, that suggest cherries might potentially help treat or even cure gout.

But according to the Harvard Medical School, more large-scale, high-quality clinical studies are needed to determine if cherry consumption can help gout.

The consumption of natural sugar fructose and the man-made sweetener high fructose corn syrup appear to increase the risk of gout. A gout-friendly diet combined with a few lifestyle changes can help control uric acid levels and reduce flare-ups from gout.

Talk with your doctor regarding dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to help treat your gout.