Goodbye to Gout

Gout is actually a form of arthritis, sometimes called gouty arthritis. The cause of gout is thought to be a build-up of uric acid, a substance in the blood that should be excreted from the body via the kidneys.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from the painful symptoms of gout, you will probably be prescribed NSAIDs (in the absence of kidney or digestive problems) or another form of drug to lower urate levels. Other measures include a low purine diet, weight loss in the case of obesity and lowering alcohol intake.

Reduce intake of purines and protein

Certain foods are rich in naturally occurring substances called purines, which are metabolised into uric acid. Purines are not bad for you as such – in fact they are essential, but excessive consumption is associated with increased risk for gout. The same is true with excessive consumption of protein. The most concentrated sources of purines are red meat, organ meat and oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, and herring), as well as lentils, peas and beans.

The table below shows you the richest foods:

Food Source Purine Content
Anchovies 411
Sardines (tinned) 399
Herrings (tinned) 378
Sardines (fresh) 345
Pork liver 289
Salmon 250
Mackerel (tinned) 246
Chicken liver 243
Blackeye beans 230
Lentils 222

If you are actively suffering from gout, it is best to limit your intake of these until the gout has gone away. Your ability to tolerate purine-rich foods, in moderation, will probably return once you are following a low GL diet.

Cut back on alcohol

The more alcohol you drink, the greater becomes your risk. Port and also red wines have been associated with gout for many years, however, a more recent study finds that beer is worse. Published in The Lancet, this study involved 50,000 men and found that while drinking alcohol is linked with an increased risk of developing gout, the consumption of beer had the strongest association, followed by spirits, then wine.1

Also, make sure you drink plenty of water which helps to flush out excess uric acid and improve kidney clearance. Exercise also helps.

Avoid high-fructose drinks and foods

Fructose, the sugar in many fruits, cannot be directly used for energy and thus has to be converted into glucose by the liver. This process creates uric acid, which then promotes gout.2

Also, the uric acid impedes the production of a substance called nitric oxide which keeps your blood pressure low. So too much fructose is also associated with high blood pressure. But most fructose is turned into LDL, making LDL cholesterol, and then put into storage as fat.

Normally fruit in nature is supplied with lots of fibre, so you feel fuller and don’t eat too much. But mankind, in his infinite wisdom, has learnt how to extract only the juice, or the fructose, and add it into foods. So, drinking any juice, including apple or orange juice, gives you quite high levels of fructose. Most fizzy drinks are absolutely loaded with ‘high-fructose corn syrup’ which is the worst sugar of all.

That’s the theory but where’s the evidence? Three recent trials have confirmed this link. The first, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, studied almost 5000 adolescents and found that the more sweetened drinks they drank, the higher their uric acid level and their...

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