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Gout (Gouty Arthritis) (cont.)

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What foods should people with gout avoid?

An excess of uric acid causes gout. Uric acid is formed when chemical products from food we eat, called purines, are broken down. Therefore there has been a great deal of interest in dietary management of gout by avoiding foods high in purines. However, a diet very low in purines is extremely difficult to follow, because purines are a natural part of many healthy foods. Even when a diet very low in purines is followed strictly, the uric acid level in the bloodstream is only slightly lowered. Therefore, a strict low purine diet is not recommended in the management of gout. However, diet is important in the management of gout. The following dietary principles are important in the management of gout: Gout is associated with obesity, and significant weight loss can dramatically improve the management of gout. A diet low in saturated fat, with increased protein and replacement of refined carbohydrates (for example, sugar, white bread, potatoes) with complex carbohydrates (such as vegetables and whole grains) reduces the serum uric acid. A calorie-reduced diet incorporating these principles is also helpful for weight loss. The risk of gout increases with the consumption of seafood and red meat. The consumption of low-fat dairy products decreases the risk of gout. Drinking beer and liquor increase the risk of gout. Drinking wine does not appear to increase the risk of gout. In one study, consumption of fresh cherries was associated with a 35% decreased risk of gout! Some people believe that black cherry juice or dried cherries have the same effect, but this has not been proven. Drinking beverages sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup increases the risk of gout.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/3/2013

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