For people planning a diet for gout sufferers, my nutrition tables have been very useful.
It is essential that a gout diet is planned in entirety, starting with an analysis of existing food and drink intake. From this, it is possible to find strengths and weaknesses and create a plan for gradual changes so that diet can be improved without sudden changes. This helps avoid sudden changes in uric acid that can trigger a gout attack.
However, my nutrition tables have been added in a piecemeal fashion over the years, and fall short of the comprehensive guide to improving diet for gout sufferers that I wish to present. During my current phase of reorganizing and improving this gouty arthritis website, I will start the process of providing better gout diet information. This is a long-term project, that will start with some simplified tables over the next week or so, and end with a separate website for analyzing and monitoring your complete gout diet.
Diet For Gout Sufferers: New Food Tables
My new food tables will condense data from existing PRAL and purine tables, and add some much-needed data on iron content. For now, I will retain the split by USDA food group, but part of my gout diet project will be to provide better grouping, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper or meat & fish, fruit & veg etc.
You can see the list of tables below, but first let me explain some key points about using the tables.
- The tables are still based on nutrition values per 100g. This does not suit many foods such as condiments, sweeteners, etc, but it is fairly easy to divide the table values for smaller portions, or multiply them for larger portions.
- The tables present exact values, but seasonal variations and cooking methods will cause the values to change, so treat the numbers as a guideline, not a precise measuring tool.
- I will move the existing tables to a new website, which will become the focus for new nutrition tools. I will be heavily influenced by your feedback and your interest in these new tools, so please support my new food diary project.
- The tables work best when used to analyze your existing diet and to help choose between two or more food choices. They should not be used to find foods to avoid, or to find foods to eat exclusively. This can lead to a very restricted food range, which is not usually good for you, as it can lead to a shortage of some essential nutrients. You should read Sensible Gout Diet Restrictions before looking at any of these food tables.
Diet For Gout Sufferers: Important Nutrition Values
Calories are only important for gout if you are overweight or obese, though maintaining a healthy weight is always a good policy. Restricting calorie intake and increasing gentle exercise has been shown to reduce uric acid levels, but this will depend on your personal circumstances.
All gout sufferers need to avoid food that will supply excess calories. To see more about calories and gout, see the gout foods to avoid guidelines.
Excess iron, common in males with a typical Western diet, will increase your chances of gout, and reducing iron has been shown to reduce uric acid and gout attacks. Reducing iron in the blood through diet restrictions is a very slow process, compared to reducing iron and uric acid by blood donation, but every small step in the right direction is a wise one.
I’ve split PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) values between negative, alkaline producing, and positive, acid producing, foods. You should aim at 20-30% acid-producing foods, with an overall total for each meal as a negative, alkaline producing value. Whilst PRAL values give a good guide, the only way to truly measure the alkalizing effect of your diet is to test urine for pH value. Aim for 6.5 to 7, and after a few months consider trying for pH 7.5
Do not confuse these acid values with uric acid – they are completely separate. Negative PRAL values will increase your urine pH which will reduce your risk of developing urate kidney stones – a common problem for some gout sufferers. Please see the alkalizing gout diet menu pages for more information. For alkaline food lists, see Gout Foods.
Up until 2004, purines were considered a vital part of gout diet management, but their importance is now limited to animal purines. In the Purine Rich Foods List, I only show purine content in relevant food groups. But I advise you not to try to avoid purines totally. A purine-free diet is very boring, and you are unlikely to stick with it. Much better to reduce portion sizes, and balance the meal with some uric acid lowering proteins such as milk.
A diet for gout sufferers needs variety and there are not many foods that you should avoid. However, total food intake that leads to excess calories, excess iron, or excess animal purines is wrong. Excess foods are definitely foods to avoid with gout
Diet For Gout Sufferers Comments
GoutPal visitor responses include:
Diet For Gout Sufferers 2020
Following several discussions with gout sufferers since writing this, I’ve changed my approach to planning diets for gout sufferers. Firstly, in addition to the four aspects of diet I explained above, there are three more:
- Free Fatty Acids (FFAs). See Fifth Bad Gout Food – Free Fatty Acids.
- Bad eating habits. Especially, essential nutrient shortages and meal timing.
- Tweaks. For example, switching to foods associated with uric acid reduction.
Secondly, I’ve realized gout sufferers affected by diet fall into two groups. These groups are:
- Gout Foodies – who think food affects their gout. But they don’t have a uric acid control plan.
- Gout Dieters – who use food, drink, and lifestyle changes in a planned way. Measuring uric acid changes and improving their diet to achieve safe target uric acid levels.
So I’m in the process of incorporating the key principles of diet for gout sufferers into those plans. Because my idea of incorporating the principles into food tables is ineffective.
Instead, my approach is to help you focus on the key issues. So start with identifying which are your problem areas. Then address them in order: calories, habits, purines, PRAL, tweaks, FFAs. Note that I’ve put FFAs last because research doesn’t yet provide clear guidance. Also, omitted iron in this list. Because that is a specialized medical topic beyond the scope of GoutPal. Therefore, I’ll continue to draw attention to the iron-gout problem. But solving excess iron always needs professional medical supervision.
Diet For Gout Sufferers: Next Steps
You can see seven factors affecting diet for gout sufferers. But you are unlikely to be affected by them all. So your next step is to decide which factors affect you. Then discuss how your factors affect your treatment plan with your doctor. That way, you can improve your diet while you improve your chances of successful gout recovery.
To stay informed about my food table reorganization and new tools for monitoring and analyzing your gout diet, please subscribe to my free update service.
Do you need to clarify your ideas about your diet before you talk to health professionals? Just ask in the gout forum or the feedback form below.
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