Gout Foods To Avoid

Gout Foods To Avoid: Keep Away From Calories

When people look for gout foods to avoid, their first thought is purines.

But purines don’t just come from meat on your plate. They also come from meat on your bones.

Just like other animals, humans eat for energy, and to build new tissues. New tissue replaces old, but if we overeat, our bodies create extra tissue, and we get fat. Tissue replacement is an essential part of life, but the meat in our own bodies is just as much a source of uric acid as the food that we eat.

Just as eating excess purines will increase our uric acid levels, so excess body weight will do the same.

The Gout Causes pages in the Gout Symptoms section, and other pages in this Gout Diet section, make it clear that gout is not simply about food, but where food is a contributory factor then calories are just as important as purines. In fact they may play a bigger part in gout diet management as calories are contained in almost all foods, whereas purines that affect gout are only found in animal products and some fungal products.

Gout Foods To Avoid: Counting Calories

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There are no specific rules about your calorie intake, but there is good evidence to link higher risks of gout with higher Body Mass Index (BMI). You need to assess your current weight and lifestyle, so your first task is measurement of height and weight. You must also know your uric acid test result number, as the effects of weight loss on uric acid levels can be minimal if you are in the normal weight range.

There are several studies into the effects of weight on gout, including:

  • Statistical links between weight and the risks of gout [1]
  • Statistical links between muscle mass and gout [2]
  • Specific effects of losing weight on gout [3]

As far as I am aware, none of these differentiate between over-producers and under-excreters of uric acid. Results vary, and you may find that losing weight does not significantly lower uric acid. However, personal experience tells me that reduced pressure on joints from weight loss does significantly help your quality of life.

One common problem with weight loss, especially rapid weight loss, is a rise in uric acid. I therefore recommend a gradual approach. Seek to slowly lower your calorie intake and gradually increase your activity levels. If you eat a little less and do a little more each day, or even each week, you are most likely to see long term weight loss and uric acid reduction. If you seek rapid weight loss, you must discuss this first with your doctor, and also ask for allopurinol starting two weeks prior to your weight loss program until the end of it.
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Gout Foods To Avoid: Next Steps

Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), and obtain your uric acid level. If you need to lose weight, do it slowly – two or three pounds a week is enough.

Practical tips include smaller portions (use a smaller plate size), and read food labels to always know what your calorie intake is. You can ask specific questions in the gout diet forum if you are struggling to lose weight.

Calorie-rich foods are not the only gout foods to avoid. For other risky nutrient groups, see the Foods To Avoid With Gout guidelines.

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Gout Foods To Avoid: References

  1. Title: Obesity, Weight Change, Hypertension, Diuretic Use, and Risk of Gout in Men – The Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Authors: Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH; Karen Atkinson, MD, MPH; Elizabeth W. Karlson, MD; Gary Curhan, MD, ScD. Published: Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:742-748. Obesity And Gout
  2. Title: A prospective study of gout in New Zealand Maoris. Authors: GERHARD W. BRAUER AND IAN A. M. PRIOR. Published: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 1978, 37, 466472. Gout And Muscle Mass
  3. Title: Beneficial effects of weight loss associated with moderate calorie/carbohydrate restriction, and increased proportional intake of protein and unsaturated fat on serum urate and lipoprotein levels in gout: a pilot study. Authors: Dessein PH, Shipton EA, Stanwix AE, Joffe BI, Ramokgadi J. Published: Ann Rheum Dis. 2000 Jul;59(7):539-43. 40 30 30 Gout Diet
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