Top Foods to Avoid When You Have Gout

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

In addition to being the start of another academic year, September is National Fruits and Veggies month! Public awareness of eating healthier has grown in the last several decades, encouraging people to invest in better diets. This is particularly important if you have a condition like gout, since what you eat and drink can directly affect your joint pain. That also means, though, that you can potentially control the problem by managing your diet. There’s quite a list of foods to avoid when you have gout, but steering clear of purine-rich options may help you prevent an attack in the long run.

Purines are a common compound found in most foods, though they are significantly higher in some foods than others, such as animal products and fat. Purines break down into uric acid when the body processes them, so high amounts of them in your body drive up your risk for an attack. By controlling your diet and avoiding certain foods, you can help prevent or reduce painful problems in the future.

 Here are the top foods to cut back or cut out of your regular diet to prevent gout attacks:

  • Red Meat and Turkey – Organ meats in particular have a high purine content, but limit all red meats and turkey to no more than four to six ounces a day.

  • Fatty Fish and Seafood – Herring, anchovies, tuna, shrimp, lobster, and scallops all have high purine contents. Either keep these foods to a minimum, or eliminate them altogether in favor of safer options, like salmon.

  • Saturated Fats – Saturated fat decreases your ability to get rid of uric acid, so controlling your fat consumption may help prevent inflammation problems. Sharply limit fatty snack foods and meats.

  • Alcohol – Like fat, alcohol inhibits your body from eliminating uric acid. Beer is particularly bad. Minimize how much alcohol you drink, and consider giving up beer altogether.

  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup – Most carbs don’t seem to affect the condition, but fructose does. Cut back on drinks sweetened with corn syrup, like soft drinks and most juice.

Though it seems like there are a lot of foods to avoid when you have gout, just remember that controlling your diet is better than waking up at night in pain. Instead, celebrate Fruits and Veggies Month by eating other foods, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, legumes, and nuts. If you do develop a gout attack, let us know at Parker Foot & Ankle right away. We’ll help you eliminate the inflammation. Call our Houston office at (281) 497-2850 or send us an online request to make an appointment with us.

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