The foods that cause gout fall into five main groups. You can see what foods cause gout below, but first I need to explain some important principles to bear in mind before you study those food groups.
Foods affect gout in different ways. Just like medical treatments for gout, some foods affect pain control, some foods affect uric acid levels, and some foods affect both. Before you look at what foods cause gout, you need to think about your gout treatment plan.
What are you trying to achieve? Are you treating long term gout, or immediate gout pain?
What Foods Cause Gout?
This is important.
When you change gout diet, you expect to change your gout symptoms. But you must make sure you match the right food change with the right symptoms. This is complicated and personal. Diet changes that work for one gout sufferer might not work for you.
Don’t worry. You are not alone. You should always seek the advice of your doctor, or a gout-trained nutritionist/dietitian before you make diet changes. I can help you decide what questions to ask, and help you understand the responses you get. All you need to do is ask in the gout forum.
I hope you can see now, the real question is not “What foods cause gout,” but “What foods cause My gout?”
I will explain what foods cause gout, in general terms. Then you can add relevant facts and important questions to your personal gout profile. Then we can work out what foods cause your gout, and work out how to avoid them so that you can control your gout.
What Foods Cause Gout?
We now know there are 5 important groups of foods that cause gout. Most of my guidelines have been based on 4 groups, and so I am reorganizing my gout diet guidelines to reflect the latest science. If you see other references to 4 groups, please flag them up in the gout forum, and I will prioritize them for change.
High Purine Foods To Avoid
High purine foods have always been linked with causing gout. We now know that this takes many months, or years, to take effect. Purine control is still important to gout diet management. You must measure purine control by changes in uric acid over at least two weeks.
The easiest way is:
- Test uric acid
- Change your consumption of high purine foods for two to four weeks
- Retest uric acid
- Fine tune diet changes inline with test results
- Repeat 2 to 4 until uric acid stabilizes no higher than 5 mg/dL
Do not associate any changes in gout attack frequency with changes in purine consumption. We now know that a different food group (described below) is to blame for immediate gout flares after meals.
More details about high purine foods to avoid, coming soon.
High Calorie Foods That Cause Gout
Purines come from 2 sources to create excess uric acid in your body:
- From high purine animal flesh as described above
- From your own flesh as it grows and renews
Match calories to what you need to live. Excess calories easily convert to bigger sources of uric acid. However, if you are overweight, be aware of my warnings in other bad gout food, below. It is better to lose weight slowly, or take uric acid lowering medicine until you achieve a healthy weight.
High Iron Gout Foods To Avoid
Excess iron is associated with gout. Iron nutrition is complicated by factors that affect the availability of iron in food. However, it is easy to check food labels and avoid products with added iron. It is also easy to arrange blood donation, which reduces the iron in your blood. It is vital that you discuss this with your doctor before making any changes.
I have some information about foods with high iron content. However, it is not practical to produce a chart. Any chart of high iron foods is not very helpful, due to problems measuring available iron that gets absorbed into the bloodstream. So, if you want information about high iron foods, please ask in the gout forum. If you think high iron foods cause your gout, you should:
- Discuss this with your doctor, and get tested.
- If your iron is high, seek professional treatment.
- Discuss high iron and gout in the forum.
High FFA Foods To Avoid With Gout
The revelations about Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) change the way we look at gout diet. Now we know that uric acid crystals by themselves do not cause gout attacks. FFAs trigger the inflammation process. We need both uric acid crystals and FFAs to cause a gout attack. So, avoiding high purine foods as I mentioned above, is good for long term gout management. Immediate pain control means avoiding high FFA foods that trigger the gout attack.
Gout diet management is different now that we know more about FFAs role in gout attacks. Most advice you get will be out-of-date. In particular, this makes it even harder to control gout triggers. So it’s best to work with your doctor to get uric acid safe. Then you’ll never need to worry about any foods causing gout.
More details of high FFA foods to avoid with gout, coming soon. In the meantime, please ask in the gout forum.
Other Bad Food For Gout
The final food group goes beyond specific nutrients. This is more about eating habits that can make any food bad. Dehydration, and crash diets are the most common offenders. Fasting, feasting, or similar irregular eating patterns are also bad for gout. Other bad foods for gout are highly processed foods, especially those incorporating High Fructose Corn Syrup, and hydrogenated fats (also called trans-fats).
More details of bad food for gout, coming soon. In the meantime, please ask in the gout forum.
What Foods Cause Your Gout?
These are important changes in the way we understand what foods cause gout. It is an exciting opportunity to rethink your gout diet.
You can make changes that make a significant difference to your gout. But, you have to differentiate foods associated with causing gout attacks, and foods associated with causing excess uric acid. These are two separate effects of foods that cause gout. We must also consider the effects of foods that help gout. I explain those in other pages in the gout diet guidelines.
Leave What Foods Cause Gout to browse the Gout Diet Guidelines.
What Foods Cause Gout Comments
GoutPal visitor responses and associated research include:
Is Onion Bad for Gout?
Peter asked, among other uric acid related questions, “is onion bad for gout?”
In fact, onions are good for gout. So much so that I have updated that page with links to more information about onions. And I’ll continue to add more. Therefore, consider subscribing:
Subscribe to Free GoutPal Links
Subscription is free, and your email address is safe. Because I will never share it with anyone else. I use Gumroad to provide this service, as described at GoutPal Links Newsletter Service.
Can Bread Cause Gout?
Graham asked “can bread cause gout?”
I asked Graham for more information about his bread-eating habits. Particularly the type of bread and typical daily consumption. I also asked if his doctor had ever advised gluten-free foods. Or any other diet recommendations. Because when we consider what foods cause gout, we need to look at total diet before individual foods.
Finally, I informed Graham that I had to do more research to get a clear picture. Because there are some relevant studies. However, the results so far seem inconclusive. As one study reported no effects of bread on uric acid. But another reported increases in uric acid after consuming different types of bread. For more information, see Does Bread Cause Gout.
What Foods Cause Gout Related Topics
Please remember: to find more related pages that are relevant to you, use the search box near the top of every page.