Foods to Avoid in Gout - Slideshow
Gout is a painful form of arthritis which causes swollen, red, hot and stiff joints. It occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood.
Crash diets, eating too much purine rich foods, producing extra acid in the body or not eliminating extra acid from the body can trigger a gout attack.
Beer and other alcoholic beverages are bad for gout
Excess alcohol consumption (including beer) can trigger attacks of acute gout according to several studies. A British study found that 7 alcoholic drinks in 48 hours can bring on an acute attack of gout. However, moderate drinking of wine does not increase the risk of gout.
Avoid anchovies, sardines in oil, fish roes, herring, and mussels
Avoid foods that are rich in purine. Purine is converted into uric acid in the body which interacts with sodium to form mono-sodium urate (MSU) which crystallizes in the joints. The body's immune system sees these crystals as foreign invading bodies and attacks them. This results in development of inflammation, swelling, red or purple skin, tenderness and intense pain in the affected area. However, certain fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, or plant products such as flax, olive oil, or some nuts may possess some anti-inflammatory benefits.
Yeast is a high purine food additive
Too much of yeast in the intestine, caused by overeating sugar, refined carbs and yeasty foods, drives out the beneficial bacteria that help dissolve the uric acid in the large intestine. Uric acid builds up, thus, increasing the risk for gout. For example, 100g of Brewer's yeast contains 2300mg of purines (uric acid) and Baker's yeast has a uric acid level of 680mg per 100g of yeast.
Meat and seafood are high risk foods for gout
All meats are high protein foods and most of them are purine rich foods that have long been known to be risk factors for gout. In a study, Choi and colleagues from Rheumatology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, found that higher levels of meat and seafood consumption are associated with an increased risk of gout in men. So, it is better to avoid organ meats such as heart, spleen, liver and kidneys; and meat extracts and pork, lamb, and beef; as well as seafood, consomme and gravies.
Stay away from cream sauces
Cream sauces including hollandaise and alfredo, and foods containing cream like ice cream or rich desserts are best avoided for people with gout as they cause heavy build up of uric acid leading to gout episodes.
Cut back on fried foods and foods containing trans fat
Fried foods and trans fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oils increase the chances of hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (excess of fats in the blood including triglycerides and cholesterol) associated with gout. So, cut back on processed and fried foods like French fries; shelf-baked goods like crackers and cookies; and butter substitutes like margarine.
Acid forming foods increase the chances of gout
Acid forming foods, such as carbonated soft drinks and fizzy drinks, artificial sweeteners, flour, white rice, white breads, black tea and coffee, lower the body pH. And at a low pH, uric acid is less soluble and more difficult to excrete. This increases the chances of gout attacks. Again, the increase of uric acid in the body causes new crystals to precipitate, while sudden changes in uric acid levels in the blood cause the old crystals in the joints to shed their coating. This too results in gout attacks.
Say no to sugar sweetened soft drinks
Sugar sweetened soft drinks and fructose is strongly associated with an increased risk of gout, especially in men, according to a study from Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, University of British Columbia. Fructose rich fruits like apples and oranges, and fruit juices were also associated with a higher risk of gout. However, diet soft drinks did not increase the chances of gout.
Pistachio, cashew and almond should be avoided if you have gout
These nuts are loaded with phosphorus. And it is known that phosphorus and sulfur in high levels increase acid load to the body increasing the chances of acute gout. For example, phosphorus content of almond is 523mg per 100g; for cashew it is 490g per 100g; and for pistachio it is 485mg per 100g. In comparison, broccoli crown contains phosphorus at 66mg / 100g and chicken breast has 189mg of phosphorus per100g of meat.
Table salt refined is bad for gout
When the refined salt including iodized salt (sodium chloride) is consumed in high amounts, the body starts using the available non-degradable proteins to get rid of the excess salt. Thus more uric acid is produced. As the body cannot dispose uric acid, it binds with the sodium chloride to form new crystals that are deposited in the joints causing aggravation of gout.
Jams, jellies, custard with white sugar are acid forming foods that cause gout
In addition to these foods, foods such as pastries and cakes from white flour, chocolate, coffee also have a pH of 5.0 to 5.8 and are grouped under acid forming foods. Acidic foods decrease the elimination of uric acid through urine, thus, causing its accumulation and increasing the risk of gout episodes. Incidentally, uric acid levels for males should be 3.5-7.2 mg/dL and for females 2.6-6.0 mg/dL.
Diets for weight loss can trigger gout attack
Obesity can be linked to high uric acid levels in the blood. People who are overweight should consult with their doctor to decide on a reasonable weight-loss program. Rapid weight loss diets can cause excess lactic acid buildup, which hinders uric acid excretion by the kidneys thereby triggering a gout attack. Crash diets may also cause a loss of potassium, which can increase urate levels in the blood. Some dieters also use diuretics which can deplete the body of potassium and other minerals, triggering a gout attack.
According to the American Medical Association, a balanced diet for people with gout should consist of foods that are:
High in complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables)
Low in protein (15 percent of calories and sources should be fish (but not seafood), tofu, lean meats, and poultry)
No more than 30 percent of calories from fat (10 percent animal fat)
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