I am almost reluctant to write more about foods that cause gout. There is a worldwide obsession with food as a cause of gout. Almost every conversation I have about gout, on my forums, on other forums, or just casually amongst friends, either starts with food, or degenerates into a food debate.
This is wrong.
Gout is not an eating disorder, it is a uric acid metabolism disorder.
But still, I have a duty to maintain the gout diet pages, and so I will continue to improve them. I just need you to bear in mind, that the most important aspect of managing your diet is not to waste every waking moment trying to avoid foods that cause gout.
I have recently completed most of the reorganization of excess calories and their effect on gout. These indicate that gout foods to avoid can be anything that causes excess weight. If you are overeating, then your body gets bigger and it produces more uric acid. It does not get any better if you avoid meat, but overeat everything else.
Allied to this, there is another hidden danger that applies to all food – not just the meats and other foods that have been typically presented as foods that cause gout. That hidden danger is bad eating habits.
By bad eating habits I mean continuously missing meals, then ,making up for it with overeating – often late at night.
Missing Foods That Cause Gout
In an earlier article I touched upon the issue of uric acid increasing during fasting. I have looked at other articles, specifically looking at starvation and fasting. They all show uric acid rising when we deprive ourselves of food. In a recent review, Lessons from comparative physiology: could uric acid represent a physiologic alarm signal gone awry in western society?, Johnson and colleagues note:
it has long been appreciated that uric acid is increased under conditions of starvation (Lennox 1924; Ogryzlo 1965).
Anyone who spends time in weigh-loss forums will be aware that rapid weight-loss is no friend of the gout sufferer. If you know of more specific scientific studies, or personal examples, please share them in the gout diet forum.
Gorging Foods That Cause Gout
Whereas starvation is likely to raise uric acid levels due to purines from increased cell death, the situation with gorging is less clear.
The studies of purine metabolism show that purines from food will raise uric acid in the blood. However, we also know that some foods, e,g, skim milk, will cause uric acid to fall. Therefore excessive eating, also called gorging or binge-eating or overeating, may or may not raise uric acid directly, as it depends what you eat. Clearly, if you eat items from the purine rich food chart, then the more you eat, the more you can expect uric acid to rise.
Good Habits For Foods That Cause Gout
Clearly, there is more to gout diet than just what you eat, or what you avoid. How you eat also affects the causes of gout.
One study, Effect of nibbling versus gorging on cardiovascular risk factors: serum uric acid and blood lipids, compares uric acid in the blood after eating the sane food as three meals or seventeen snacks. I cannot agree with the description of three meals a day as “gorging” but the principle of spreading food consumption is valid. As this report concludes:
concentration of uric acid was significantly lower during the nibbling period as compared with the three-meal period
Foods That Cause Gout: Next Steps
We have seen that bad eating habits can affect uric acid. The degree will vary from person to person, so you will need to consider your own lifestyle and improve eating habits to minimize the chances of increasing uric acid.
There is another aspect of eating habits related to poor nutritional advice about gout. Instead of focusing on a healthy diet, then tweaking it to match the gout treatment plan, many advisors present simple lists of so-called foods that cause gout, or foods that are good for gout. The disaster with this approach is, it encourages gout patients to severely limit the range of foods they consume. This is recognized by nutritionists as a common cause of malnutrition. I am currently researching limited food ranges, malnutrition, and the effect on uric acid and gout. I will summarize my findings soon, and publish a new Foods That Cause Gout page in the Gout Diet pages.
All foods are foods that cause gout when eaten in the wrong way. Make sure you stay up-to-date on good eating habits for gout by subscribing to my free update service: