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The Gout Diet

Dietary restrictions and recommendations are among the most common conversations between gout patients and their clinicians. The link between various dietary components and increased risks for gout has been well researched in recent years.

Low-Purine Diet

Significant and consistent associations have been made between gout and certain foods. High-purine foods and beverages to avoid include:

  • Beer (including light beer) and grain liquors
  • Red meat
  • Seafood – especially shellfish, like shrimp, lobster, mussels, anchovies and sardines
  • Organ meats, such as liver, kidneys and sweetbreads

Instead, it is recommended for patients to eat more low-purine foods, including:

  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Nuts
  • Grains

A 2004 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, conducted by Dr. Hyon Choi, found that each additional serving of purine-rich red meat was associated with a 21 percent increase in the risk of gout in men over age 40. The study also found that each additional weekly serving of seafood (particularly shellfish) was associated with a 7 percent increase in risk. Protein, purine-rich vegetables and moderate wine drinking were found not as harmful to gout sufferers as once believed. In addition, the study found that low-fat dairy products, specifically skim milk and low-fat yogurt, may actually decrease the risk or provide some protection against gouty arthritis.

Low-Fructose Diet

Gout patients should also be encouraged to maintain a low-fructose diet, since there is a correlation between a diet high in fructose content and gouty arthritis.

The Gout & Uric Acid Education Society recommends that patients limit table sugar, table salt and any products with high-fructose corn syrup, including:

  • Soft drinks and juices
  • Cereals, store-bought baked goods, ice cream and candy
  • Processed foods at fast food restaurants

Many fruits have naturally occurring high fructose levels, so they should also be limited to one or two cups per day.