What’s In A Good Gout Diet?

The nicest aspect of running GoutPal.com is the messages I receive. Sometimes full of praise, often full of information, continually full of questions. Today I got a question about gout diet. As I reviewed my answer, a thought grew in my mind – “Physician, heal thyself.”

Now I’m no physician, but I do know about gout, particularly my own gout. I know that most gout problems are diet related. One of my New Year Resolutions was to develop and maintain a healthy gout diet. I can’t put it off much longer.

Gout sufferers get obsessed with food. At least, this one does. I think it starts with all that purine stuff. You worry about the type of food you are eating, but forget about the amount and balance. The answer is not really a gout diet, more a gout lifestyle. But first, a few foody thoughts.

My Thoughts On Gout Diet

I don’t think purines in food have much to do with gout. Perhaps high-purine meat and shellfish can have a small effect, which could accumulate if these foods are taken regularly. Most current research shows that high purine vegetables have no adverse effect on gout.

The biggest food risk with gout is eating too much of it. Also irregular eating is bad. Both these cause drastic metabolism changes. These changes produce a lot of uric acid through cell death.

I am working on a theory that a diet that is too rich in meat can have an adverse effect on gout. The theory isn’t complete yet, but it revolves around the interactions between uric acid (a man-made antioxidant) and dietary antioxidants common in fruit and veg, but probably used up by digesting meat. This is not to say that no meat is good. I think there are essential nutrients in meat and fish that are not easy to get from a fully vegetarian diet.

I find that I’m at my best when I take meat as a treat, say 3 or 4 meals a week, and those meals to include a good proportion of vegetables. My last gout free period was also a self imposed gravy free period. I include all meat stock based sauces as gravy. This could be coincidence, as I was also on a gradual weight loss program (1 to 2 pounds per week) and drinking copious amounts of water at regular intervals. When eating out, I try to look at the vegetarian options first, and always make sure there’s plenty of water available.

I hear a lot about certain foods (and drinks) triggering gout attacks, but I’m convinced most of these are just coincidence. Certainly, if I were to list things in importance, dehydration, exposure to cold, immobility (e.g. long periods of driving or sat at a desk) come far higher in my opinion.

My Gout Diet Plan

Most diets don’t work because they are too food focused. “How can you have a diet without food,? I hear you say. You can’t, but it’s not all about food. Success relies on a balance between Food, Exercise and Metabolism.

I should start my plan today, but I won’t. I’m going to wait until the next edition of GoutCaster, and run this diet plan in public. You can join me if you like. I’ll be publishing my progress here.

2013 Update

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  • Bagadonuts

    I went on a complete alkaline raw food diet after I was off work for a full month with gout in my foot. The inflamation would return in full with any use of the foot. Was on Bedrest and elevation for over a little over a week and then very light activity around the house for a few weeks. Allopurinol did not appeal to me being 25 and not wanting to take a pill daily for the rest of my life. Not to mention the possible side effects and unknowns.
    So, I went on the “Ph Balance Diet” by Christopher Vasay. I felt better than ever after about a month and stayed on for six. I lost 50 lbs. This diet became very difficult to maintain, so I gradually worked poultry, condiments, cereals and snacks back in. Also the occasional drink. The gout came back after about a year of careful eating, and no red meat or pork. Even while I was eating healthy. Now I am getting gout with the slightest indulgence. A few beers and some hotwings set me off after Sunday football. Hit me that night. I felt it coming on a few days before in my big toe, but it seemed to subside. Guess not! Anyway, a reasonable diet plan for gout would be appreciated, but as you know one does not yet exist in print. I know that raw green vegetables, a quality calcium supplement, a green vegetable juice powder(Alkalive by pHion), and weight loss helped relieve my symptoms. On the other hand, beans, lentils, and peas, different types of alcohol(especially light beer), microwave popcorn, ice cream, and candy would give me aches in my joints, and sometimes sharp joint pains. I have also tried some alternative health approaches, chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs, and supplements. All have given some degree of relief and positive effects. Good luck on your diet. I would be glad to help in our search for answers to our goutyness.

  • Brian

    What kinds of physicians have you seen and what kind of medications did they put you on? Did a physician take a sample of the fluid in the joint to check for crystals?

  • Brian

    Men are more reluctant to go to a doctor than women. With married men, it is often the wife that gets the man to go to the doctor. Maybe that is why married men outlive bachelors. We are simply more likely to self diagnose and try to deal with the problem ourselves. The same goes for car problems and problems with plumbing, electrical, etc.

    The calling card of gout is the red, inflamed joint at the base of the big toe. This happens in over half the cases. Most physicians, when they see this, will diagnose gout. The only way to really know for sure to take a sample of the joint fluid and check for monosodium urate crystals. Having joint pain, even if it is in your feet, is not enough to conclude that it is gout. That is why you need to see a physician if you haven’t yet. Better to see a rheumatologist who specializes in arthritis.

    With men, the first attack usually occurs when we are between forty and sixty years of age. It is relatively rare that you get it at twenty-five. It can happen earlier especially if you are very overweight and prone to alcoholic beverages but it is not as common as middle-aged people.

    A lot of the things you get told to do for gout are the ones you are told to do for other conditions. Follow a low-fat diet. Avoid excessive alcoholic drinks. Lose weight (with gout do it slowly). The things that you were doing were the right things. By all means, try to keep your ph level high with a high-potassium diet. Also, drink eight to ten glasses of water daily.

    There have been a lot of population studies done which tracked tens of thosands of men over a long period of time(up to twelve years) as to what kinds of food they ate and what they drank. The men chosen had never had gout. At the end of the studies, the researchers looked at the diet of the men who developed gout over the study periods.

    They reached certain conclusions on what foods to include. Coffee helps to protect against gout. Low fat dairy products also help.

    The foods to avoid include alcoholic beverages, sweetened soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices(not fruit itself), and meat & seafood. They recommended limiting your consumption of these foods.

    They didn’t find that vegetables that were high in purines were likely to bring on gout attacks. Most of the iron in vegetables is non-heme iron which most people can’t readily absorb. One group of people who can, are those who are genetically predisposed to absorb too much iron. People with such disorders are more likely to develop gout and the two conditions can co-exist in the same person.

  • Shirley Russell

    I was once diagnosed with high blood pressure, and the doctor gave me waterpills.
    this lasted many years, and one day I was suffering from gout. The doctor said have I
    been taking waterpills for my high blood pressure.? And that causes gout. It was
    irreversable. I don’t drink too much, just 1 glass of red wine during one meat a day, from time to time. Now I have bad gout pain, swollen legs, especially on my knees and
    ankles. I’m allergic to allupriminol. My face and tongue gets swollen. What shall I

    Your reply will be appreciated.


  • Brian

    There are different type of diuretics. Some of the diuretics cause you to have too high a level of uric acid in the blood. Your physician has the option of switching the medication or of lowering the dose on the diuretic. My physician put me on atenolol because of the gout. This isn’t a diuretic or water pill. There are options available so don’t panic.

    The company that makes allopurinol produces a modified form of it which some people who are sensitive to allopurinol can tolerate better. If you can’t take either, then alternative medications are usually probenecid or colchicine. The colchicine is prescribed at a much lower dosage than that used for an acute attack. Most people tolerate allopurinol but there is still a significant number of people who can’t. You are not alone in this.

  • Colchicine is not a uric acid regulator – it is an anti-inflammatory pain killer.

    It is often prescribed alongside uric acid lowering treatments. This is done because lowering uric acid often exposes existing crystals as they start to dissolve. This can cause gout flares until all crystals dissolve – usually around 6 months, but over a year in severe cases.

    As well as probenecid, sulfinpyrazone can also lower uric acid. Another uricosuric medication is benzbromarone, though this is not available in USA due to adverse risk assessment by the FDA.

  • Gregg

    I have been gout free for 2 years now.

    In addition to a heathly diet try ; Barley Green + Alkaline Powder + vitamins B and C 1st thing in the morning .
    Have another dose if you are going to have an unhealthy meal/alcohol .

    Good Luck

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