A List Of Gout Foods To Avoid
Here’s a list of foods to avoid with gout, together with some healthy gout foods that can help relive your symptoms, lower uric acid levels, and possibly even eliminate the condition completely.
Dr John McDougall, a prominent promoter of hygienist and naturopath health principles, recommends that his gout patients follow a low-fat gout diet with no animal products whatsoever. He also supplies them with a list of gout foods to avoid and advises that they eliminate highly allergenic plant foods such as wheat, corn and citrus fruits, claiming that benefits will be seen within a few days. He believes that the things we eat can cause arthritic disease by contributing to the formation of ‘complexes’ within the immune system – complexes acting much like slivers of wood stuck under the skin, causing severe inflammation of the joints and gout symptoms.
Most doctors are of a less radical persuasion when it comes to suggesting a list of foods to avoid with gout, however, recommending that their patients cut down on purine based gout foods and monitor the effects. It is only when gout symptoms flare-up and persist regardless of your efforts that you should look for animal based gout foods to avoid altogether and, if that fails, cut out wheat, corn and citrus fruits, as Dr McDougall recommends – these plant foods are widely recognized as having allergenic properties and being of some detriment to people with arthritic disease. Of course, if you would prefer to follow his recommendations at the outset, good for you. You should soon know whether your diet was the problem.
You probably already know that you should eat lots of fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts. The following short sections should clarify the foods you can eat, and the gout foods to avoid, which uric acid foods you would be best advised to cut down on, and those that are better for you. I will just add that the World Health Organization recommends that we each consume five portions of fruit and five portions of vegetables a day. As ten portions is a lot for most people to achieve (even thought they aren’t on the list of foods to avoid with gout), I suggest that you try to eat a total of at least five portions a day in some combination of fruit and vegetables. Each of the following healthy gout foods is equivalent to one portion:
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of a very large fruit such as melon or pineapple
- one large fruit such as orange, banana or apple
- two medium fruits, such as kiwi fruits, plums or satsumas
- 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz) berries or cherries
- a large bowl of salad
- 90 g (3 oz), cooked weight, green vegetables
- 80 g (2| oz), cooked weight, root vegetables such as carrot or swede – don’t include potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams
- 70 g (2 1/2 oz), cooked weight, small vegetables such as peas or sweetcorn
- 80 g (2 3/4 oz) pulses, such as lentils
Gout Foods To Avoid In Order To Reduce Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
Sugar is high on the list of foods to avoid with gout.
Scientists and researchers have observed that people with gout eat far more sugar than others (sugar is found in high quantities in all uric acid foods which you should be avoiding). They also discovered that sugar actually increases the amount of uric acid in the blood, which gives us yet another cause of the development of gout. So uric acid foods to avoid are those which are high in sugar.
Unfortunately, our diets today are often high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as biscuits, cakes and pastries. Sugar contains no nutritional value at all. In fact, sugar consumption has been linked with many disorders, from diabetes to heart disease and cancer. You probably know that sugar converts into energy. What you may not know is that we can actually obtain all the sugars and energy we need from fruit and complex (unrefined) carbohydrates, such as grains and lentils, which convert into sugar in the body as nature intended. So anything high in sugar (which will be surprisingly more than you realize – check food labels) should be on our list of foods to avoid with gout.
Reducing Salt Is a Great Way To Start Your Gout Diet
Salt is another of our gout foods to avoid.
Salt is commonly used as a preservative and added to most processed, pre-packaged foods – cornflakes, for example, are high in salt. As a result, people who eat a lot of processed foods may be consuming more salt than they realize, especially when that used in cooking and at the table is taken into account. Try using herbs and spices for flavoring, but in moderation. Sea salt contains more minerals than ordinary salt, but it is still salt – so use sparingly.
Reducing Meat And Dairy Produce
Gout foods to avoid – large quantities of red meat (offal) and shellfish
It is only people who eat large amounts of purines who should try to reduce their purine intake. Red meat, particularly offal (sausages, pies etc), and shellfish contain perhaps the highest levels. You should, therefore, try to eat a piece of offal meat weighing about 85 g (3 oz), or the size of the palm of your hand, no more than twice a week.
If you then suffer a flare-up of gout, it would obviously be best to add offal and shellfish to your list of foods to avoid with gout, and cut them completely from your diet. Poultry and fish are good sources of protein and oils, but they do contain purines. Limit your consumption of these gout foods to avoid – fish high in purines, such as herring, sardines, scallops, mackerel, roe, shrimp, mussels and anchovies, and eat poultry no more than twice a week. If, after doing this, you continue to suffer attacks of gout symptoms, you would be well advised to eliminate all meats, poultry and fish from your diet, replacing them with other forms of protein, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso.
Meat and dairy products contain arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that contributes to the inflammation experienced in arthritic conditions. In one study, 5 arthritis sufferers reported a complete absence of symptoms after following a fat-free gout diet for seven weeks. Interestingly, when fats were reintroduced into their diets their symptoms returned. It is recommended, therefore, that people with gout cut down on the amount of meat and dairy produce they eat, whether purine intake appears to be the cause of their hyperuricemia or not.
Be Wary Of Reducing The Wrong Sort Of Fats In Your Gout Diet
Fats, or fatty acids are the highest concentrated supplies of energy available in foods, one gram of fat providing us with nine calories of useable energy. However, as you may be aware, some fats are beneficial to health, while others are capable of raising cholesterol levels.
They can also cause a condition called hypertriglyceridemia, which is a known cause of gout.
Fats can be categorized as follows:
Saturated fat. This type of fats are believed to play a role in the development of heart disease. It is largely from animal based food supplies and is usually solid at room temperature. Several years ago, scientists believed that margarine was actually healthier than butter – but that opinion has been reversed recently and is now known to not be the case.
Butter provides us with lots of oils and vitamin A, but should be used sparingly. Whereas margarine is a man-made or artificial product and contains a lot of additives, and should be treated accordingly!
Unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat, including polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat, helps protect the heart and other vital internal organs. Omega 3 and omega 6 oils are naturally present in oily fish, nuts and seeds, and are usually in liquid form (as against solid form like butter) at room temperature. Because there is recent evidence that a relative increase in consumption of low uric acid foods like unsaturated fats from nuts and oils can help to lower levels of uric acid, even with a relatively high intake of protein, health researchers recommend that if you suffer with gout to use cold-pressed oil (like olive, rapeseed, hempseed, safflower and sunflower oil) daily, for dressings and in cooking. Extra virgin olive oil is best suited to cooking, however, as it suffers less damage from heat than other oils.
I must add that the process of frying changes the molecular structure of foods, rendering them potentially damaging to the body. If you must fry something, it is best to use a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and to cook at a low temperature. A healthier alternative for your gout diet is to saute in a little water or tomato juice, or to grill, bake and steam. Stir-frying is good – but by this I mean cooking the food in a little water and just drizzling on olive oil afterwards. Normal and sweet potatoes can also be suitable gout foods. If you love chips, coat thick slices of potato with olive oil before baking in the oven. They’re not only healthier this way, they taste better too!
In summary, the foods to avoid with gout include:
And gout foods to avoid or at least cut down on are
- Meat offal based foods
- Saturated fats
- Fish high in purines, such as herring, sardines, scallops, mackerel, roe, shrimp, mussels and anchovies
- Poultry no more than twice a week