Beans and Gout

Gout and Beans

Do beans belong in a gout diet?

In this post we will examine if beans should be part of a gout diet since I get many questions and it seems it causes much confusion since there are purines in beans. This seems to freak out some of you so I will share the facts with you here. Usually foods high in protein have purine content that is higher than average but that doesn’t mean you should avoid beans.

When it comes to calories beans are comparable to meat that’s why they make you feel full. They are high in fiber, one cup of cooked beans provides you with about 12 grams of fiber whereas meat doesn’t contain any fiber at all. The big difference between eating beans over meat is that the fiber content in beans means that they get digested slowly, thus keeping you satisfied longer. Meat on the other hand is digested rather quickly. Furthermore, beans are low in sugar preventing insulin to spike causing you to be hungry. You won’t find this protein-fiber combination in any other foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, meats, nuts and seeds.

What else do beans have that meat doesn’t? Beans have phytochemicals in them which are basically compounds found only in plants and are high in antioxidants. Did you know that in a US Department of Agriculture study, they measured the antioxidant levels in more than 100 common foods and that beans held 3 of the top 4 spots out of 100? Small red beans, red kidney beans and pinto beans were in the top ranks making beans a perfect food. One cup of beans also carries 15 grams of protein which is the equivalent of two ounces of meat like chicken or fish like salmon.

NutriGout Dietary Supplement for Gout


What does the evidence say?

Evidence shows that the purine content of beans and vegetables does not aggravate the symptoms of gout and you can safely eat beans anyway you like them. The only thing you should worry about is how much animal-based protein you ingest cause meats like pork, beef, lamb, lobster, shrimp and organ meats will aggravate gout symptoms as per this 2004 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that people that ate more animal-based protein had a 40% to 50% higher risk of developing gout. The authors of the study which included H.K. Choi also concluded that the consumption of beans does not appear to trigger gout symptoms. In fact people with gout should replace animal-based protein foods with beans and other plant-based proteins. It’s much easier to digest, breakdown and easier on your organs. In addition, by eating plant-based protein foods you also reduce your levels of saturated fat which is indirectly connected to the onset of gout! It’s a win-win all around.

Another recent study in which I wrote an entire post about titled “Gout and the Singapore Chinese Health Study” examined about 50,000 Chinese in Singapore and discovered that those that ate the most soy products as in soybeans which is a very popular food in Asia were at a lower risk of gout compared to those who ate the least. In fact, blood tests showed it did not actually increase uric acid in the subjects. Although many on the internet without any evidence whatsoever to back up their claims, scare you to avoid foods high in purines and beans being one of those foods, the exact opposite is true here. Beans are a safe food to eat, don’t worry about getting any gout attacks by eating beans. Don’t go being a glutton and eat beans morning, day and night but you can eat them a few times a week. For those suffering from tophi please consult your doctor before making any attempts to eat beans since your body is more sensitive to foods in purines and should probably avoid any protein-based foods.

Finally, some gout sufferers have expressed to me that Black bean broth can be used as a natural treatment to gout. It is a home remedy that has originated from Taiwan and spread throughout the world since it has a antioxidant chemical called anthocyanins and is responsible for the black beans “black” colour. Anthocyanins is also found in berries especially in blackberries and blueberries. Unfortunately, there is no study yet to prove any of these claims but if you want give it a try, you got nothing to lose. To make black bean broth all you have to do is simply add 200g of black beans in boiling water for about 1-2 hours. Then you can eat the beans and others like to keep the broth as medicinal liquid.

Whatever you do make sure to eat beans and take my word for it, it is safe and should be part of an overall balanced gout diet as explained in my book. That means black beans, red kidney beans, green beans, black-eyes peas, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, soybeans and any other bean that is not mentioned here. Eat them!

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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  • rebecca burke

    Reply Reply September 12, 2016

    The way I see it I first got gout in 2003, had a couple of flare ups after that. Went vegan in 2010 have had no flare ups until recently, so that is 6 years of eating tofu, soya, beans, tomatoes etc…and only now having a flare up. If I didn’t eat these things as part of my diet I would literally die of starvation! I don’t believe it’s diet related or shoe related as I know so many people who eat purine rich diets, wear completely unsuitable tight shoes all day every day and never get gout!

  • Ellie

    Reply Reply August 21, 2016

    What split peas? One of my favorite recipes calls for 1 – 1.5 pounds of dried split peas, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and 1 – 1.5 pounds of smoked, meaty ham hocks cooked in a lot of water with chicken bouillon. I get about 16 servings per batch. There is about one ounce of meat per serving without the bone. The meat adds so much flavor that I hate to revamp this recipe. What do you think?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply August 22, 2016

      Hi Ellie!

      If you like it enjoy it from time to time. You can eat some meat, like on this site and my book, I recommend 10% of your daily calories can be meat. Your body can tolerate it. So enjoy your yummy recipe but in moderation of course.

  • Partha

    Reply Reply August 2, 2016

    Hi Spiro,
    What about chick peas and soy based products (vegetarian meat etc)? I read somewhere that beans are relatively high in purines and could cause gout flares?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply August 2, 2016

      Hi Partha!

      You have nothing to worry about since the purines are plant based and a better choice of protein for you instead of meat. You have to eat lots and lots of beans to even begin affecting you. Remember beans are an excellent protein replacement in your gout diet compared to meat but protein should be 10% of your daily calories.

  • mohd habibullah

    Reply Reply June 21, 2016

    I’m a little bit scared of beans and lentils. I love Indian food, you really think we can eat them?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply June 21, 2016

      Yes! You need not worry, I have never heard of anybody getting a gout attack after eating any type of bean meal, unless there was meat involved in the recipe and they atteibuted their attack to the bean instead of the meat. Enjoy!

  • ryvrdrgn14

    Reply Reply February 23, 2016

    Beans have never given me trouble for gout. My first attack was bad and I couldn’t walk for over a week. Tried the medicine doctors recommended and it didn’t help after 2 months so I stopped it. I went hardcore on my diet with mostly skinless chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, cabbage and other vegetables cooked in a soup. Cherries also helped quite a lot (though I end up eating the whole jar sometimes) during an attack.

    The biggest thing was probably my lack of water intake and preference for softdrinks/soda at the time and my love for innards.

    Beans won’t cure you if you keep eating bad things but they won’t trigger your gout either. 😛

  • Greg

    Reply Reply December 24, 2015

    I’ve had gout for quite a few years and have tried various natural remedies. Beans aggravate my gout – not doubt about it. I’ve tried cherry juice, lemon, and a lot of other remedies. Those with whole foods having acid, such as fresh tomato bruchetta with balsamic vinegar seem to work the best. Interestingly, the product that absolutely works for me is Vitamin-Mineral supplement . If I take one teaspoon each morning I don’t get any gout attack, ever. If I screw up and get a gout attack, taking this product in the morning and evening clears all gout symptoms in 3-4 days. For me, a godsend, considering the debilitating pain I’ve suffered while searching for a reliable natural cure. It would be interesting to see if other gout sufferers have the same response.

  • sue

    Reply Reply October 10, 2015

    beans affect my patners gout dramatically. the best home remedy ive found is
    juice of 1 juicy lemon
    cup of warm water
    1 teaspoon bi-carb
    dissolve bi-carb in warm water, add lemon juice, drink. do this daily. It reduced my partners gout by half within the first day. within 3 days it was cleared totally. for the first time in 8 years he can now walk properly. its simple, easy and cheap. give it a go

  • Alec

    Reply Reply August 27, 2015

    …..I have worries concerning canned baked beans in tomato sauce, as Hienz make. Am I ok to to eat them on toasted brown bread ?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply August 29, 2015

      With Heinz, I bet they add sugar, so look at the nutrition label and see how much sugar they added in the can. I’d skip it if I were you. Make your own tomato sauce without sugar and simply add on top of your beans.

  • trojen

    Reply Reply July 28, 2015

    Beans were always one of my father’s favorites but he avoided them since his gout problem. This research comes as a great relief.Thanks.

  • Carlos

    Reply Reply July 23, 2015

    That is good to know. Thanks

  • Theresa

    Reply Reply July 23, 2015

    I always appreciate the updated info you give regarding foods and the do’s and don’t of various foods and gout. Thanks and keep up the excellent research!

  • Mark

    Reply Reply July 23, 2015

    Very interesting. I’ve often wondered about beans. Cheers.

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