Gout is a form of arthritis that is intensely painful. It is associated with a diet high in red meats, seafood and alcohol. Meat and seafood contain purines that turn into uric acid that inflames the joints. Medications make the uric acid level lower so you don’t have to follow a strict diet of no meat, seafood or alcohol. It is still a good idea to maintain a good weight so you have a lesser chance of getting gout.
If you are using diet to control your gout, you need to consume very little meat, seafood and alcohol. You also need to reduce the amount of organ meats, anchovies, asparagus, mushrooms and herring, all of which create purines and uric acid in the system. It’s important to remember that the diet alone will not cure gout or treat an active inflammation. It will only prevent the attacks from occurring.
You need to lose weight as part of the diet to control gout. Avoid fasting and low fluid intake, which can make gout worse. Drink as much liquid as you can because it will flush uric acid out of the system. Avoid high protein diets because they will make more purines and uric acid than your body can handle.
Here are some ground rules. Cut down on meat, fish and poultry because animal proteins contain a great deal of purines. Avoid the foods mentioned above as well and do not eat any lobster, tuna, shrimp or scallops. Eat no more of purine-containing meats and seafood than 4-6 ounces per day.
Choose more plant-derived proteins such as you’ll find in legumes and beans, which do not contain purines and which help reduce saturated fats. Fats indirectly cause gout by making you fatter. Alcohol interferes with the excretion of uric acid through your kidneys. Alcohol will also add calories to the diet. Instead, you should drink as much fluid (non-alcoholic) as possible—at least 16 8-ounce glasses per day.
Your dairy products should be fat-free or low fat in nature. Skim milk, low fat milk and low fat yogurt are good choices. Try drinking about 16-24 ounces of dairy products that are low fat in nature each day for good health. Complex carbohydrates are also good, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads and pastas. Avoid refined carbohydrates, including cake, candies and white bread.
Sugar can take the place of healthier foods that you need to eat and drink to keep gout down to a minimum. Sugary foods can make you fat because they contain a great deal of calories and are considered calorie dense. Doctors don’t know if eating sugar directly contributes to gout other than by making you fat. Four to six cups of regular coffee per day seems to reduce the risk of gout in men only.