Does diet effect gout?

Being overweight increases the risk of developing gout and losing weight reduces the risk of gout. Research suggests that reducing calories and losing weight even without a purine-restricted diet lowers uric acid levels and reduces the number of gout attacks. Foods and beverages that often cause gout attacks include offal, game meat, some types of fish, fruit juices, sugary soft drinks, and alcohol. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is the best way to combat gout.

Foods that are low in purines that can help lower uric acid in the body include fruits (especially those that are high in vitamin C), vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and low-fat dairy products. However, the truth is much more complicated. Up to 4% of American adults have gout each year, and rising rates of obesity increase our risk. But don't believe everything you hear when it comes to diet and gout tips.

Diet matters, but not always in the way you think. Rheumatologist Scott Burg, DO, shares more information about this common condition. It's a common myth that these foods cause gout. When consumed in moderation, desserts and other rich foods do not affect gout outbreaks.

But “moderation” is the key word. Rich foods may not cause exacerbations directly, but they can lead to weight gain. And obesity is one of the main risk factors for gout attacks. Yes, it's a good idea to give up alcohol.

Alcohol molecules in the body tend to increase uric acid levels, so drinking can push you to the limit and cause you to have an attack. If you've been recently diagnosed and start taking medications, try to stop drinking alcohol at first. Your doctor may allow you to add a small amount back to your diet over time as your uric acid levels drop. Lifestyle measures, such as dietary changes, can help lower levels of uric acid, the chemical substance that is deposited in joints and causes gout.

However, for most people, dietary changes alone aren't enough to prevent gout. To lower uric acid levels enough to stop attacks, medications are usually needed. Even so, making changes in what you eat can cause fewer outbreaks of gout. Most cases of gout can be prevented or controlled with healthy lifestyle changes, such as a proper diet for gout.

Following a low-purine, gout-friendly diet recommended by your healthcare provider or a dietitian may help ease symptoms of gout. People with gout can help themselves by adding citrus fruits and other vitamin C-rich foods (such as strawberries and peppers) to their diet. In addition to diet, there are several lifestyle changes that can help you reduce the risk of gout and gout attacks. If you're at risk of developing gout or experiencing another gout attack, it's worth trying a low-purine diet.

Others, such as Dr. Hyon Choi, an internationally recognized expert in gout, and a rheumatologist at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver General Hospital and an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, think that some people can be helped by diet alone, especially if they have a single mild attack.

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