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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42 Comments

  • MCA

    Reply Reply September 13, 2017

    I can say that Mung Beans is a huge gout trigger. On two occasions, since having developed gout, my worst attacks were after eating mung beans. After Googling info on mung beans, it turns out that it is high in purines. I stumbled onto this article to check info on other beans.

    • T.Disraeli

      Reply Reply September 16, 2017

      I’d love to find some research on consuming ‘sprouted’ beans since you’re removing the enzyme-inhibitors and creating a whole different nutrient profile.

  • Michael I.

    Reply Reply August 4, 2017

    I think it’s different for every person. I gave up alcohol and beans years ago because my very worst gout attacks seemed to coincide with the consumption alcohol and beans. Most recently I’ve been on an exclusively vegetarian diet for the last few months, with the exception of beans. After reading much online about how there’s no evidence that shows that beans cause spikes in uric acid production I decided to test it out. Since I have been consuming no animal products, no alcohol, and no seafood, it’d be the perfect opportunity to add beans back in to an already healthy diet.

    Last week I added some vegetarian black beans (not cooked in animal fat, no additives) to a veggie wrap for lunch, are some black beans with dinner one night. Over the course of a few days I had maybe a cup and a half of beans total. Within 48 hours, I was at the beginning of one of the worst gout attacks I’ve had in some time. I’ve missed about a week of work, but thankfully I think I’m nearing the end of it and should be back to work next week (thanks to colchicine and a shot of steroids). Like I said at the start, I think gout is different for everyone, and what is true for some may not be so for everyone else.

    • Scott

      Reply Reply August 10, 2017

      Just want to add that I also have this issue. I am a long time vegetarian and was sad to find that what was causing my flare ups was bean related. A meal with pinto beans can push me over the edge into a flare up. All of the processed soy products I used to enjoy do the same thing. The safety of beans in a gout diet is NOT settled science.

  • Monish

    Reply Reply July 24, 2017

    Hello all,
    I am 28 and got a massive gout attack in my left big toe. Its been two weeks and there is no relief from the pain after trying anti-inflammatory pills.
    After checking so many pages online, I started black cherry juice, celery juice ( as Tart black cherry was not available), apples and changed a couple of things about my diet (continuing milk and milk products).

    I am also taking half a teaspoon of baking soda with water on an empty stomach in the morning.

    Finally, the doctor has prescribed Prednisone which is a steroid but I haven’t started taking it as I heard it has side effects too.

    Is there anything I should be trying? I never consumed red meat or had any alcohol abuse. All I was having is lentils, chicken and salmon for one month after which my uric acid level increased highly and led to this gout attack.

    My only problem now is that I want to walk properly as I am limping right now and my life has come to a standstill. I want to get rid of this pain and start walking properly. I tried resting for a week and elevate my leg but didn’t help at all. Thanks in advance.

    • Tiffany

      Reply Reply July 28, 2017

      Ask your doctor to prescribe COLCRYS (colchicine). I had a severe attack that came on Tuesday morning. Wednesday at 4pm I saw my doctor, he prescribed 2 Colchicine tablets and said to drink 1/2 gallon of water by bedtime and I’d be out of pain by morning. And it’s true! Today I am 95% pain free! There’s barely a sting when I walk on it. I was even able to do a mile hike this morning nearly pain free!

    • Dan A

      Reply Reply August 7, 2017

      @ Michael I.

      I totally I agree with your observation regarding foods that may trigger gout flare ups. It depends on the individual and I assume this could be based on genetics regarding tolerance. I can still eat meat like chicken and beef including seafood without getting and gout attacks. Recently I added to my diet Hummus (Chick Peas) and at the start no gout attacks but as soon I keep including it to my diet I suddenly had a gout flare up after a year of gout free incident. I also observed in my case, processed and unprocessed food high in fructose like honey, maple syrup, nutella spread, watermelon will trigger a gout attack immediately. So I strongly agree that “gout is different for everyone, and what is true for some may not be so for everyone else.”

      • summersday811

        Reply Reply August 16, 2017

        To Dan A. Watermelon is a very alkaline food that raises the pH of fluid and tissues in your body and helps to prevent uric acid from precipitating out into sharp crystals, according to “Human Biochemistry and Disease.” Watermelon also contains vitamin C, potassium and calcium, which have neutralizing affects on uric acid.Jun 21, 2015
        Is Watermelon Good for Gout? | LIVESTRONG.COM
        http://www.livestrong.com/article/472181-is-watermelon-good-for-gout/

  • GetOUT

    Reply Reply July 23, 2017

    I rely on Black Beans, Great Northern Beans and Garbonzo Beans (Chick Peas) for most of my protein intake. After doing so for several years I began experiencing persistent pain in my right big toe about a year ago. I also have persistent pain and stiffness in my right elbow. The toe seems like “classic gout.” The elbow might not be gout related.

    I would like an answer to the following question:

    Does COOKING TIME affect the LEVEL/AMOUNT of PURINE CONTENT in beans – and specifically in the three beans I eat?

    Currently I cook these beans for a much shorter time than I used to. I’d like to know if that reduces or increases the Purine content – or perhaps has no affect at all.

    Thanks

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply July 23, 2017

      I soak my beans for hours before cooking them. You want to remove all that scum which are anti-nutrients. And those anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are going to be in your stomach causing you gas, heartburn, reflux and whatever other digestive issues that may beset you when you eat something that isn’t particularly digestible unless you soak your beans before cooking them. Soaking them will allow you to better digest the beans and better absorb the nutrients.

      I don’t know about the purine level, that is an interesting question.

      • GetOUT

        Reply Reply July 23, 2017

        Thanks for the prompt reply, Spiro. I’ve searched for an answer to the “cook time vs. purine content” question but found nothing. If you have the opportunity/resources to investigate further, I think it’s worthwhile.

        Rather than soaking beans for hours I learned from online sources to do the following:

        1. Bring beans to a boil in shallow water (so they boil quickly).

        2. Boil for just THREE MINUTES.

        3. Turn off the heat and allow the beans to stand in the hot water for ONE HOUR.

        4. Drain and rinse.

        5. Boil the beans for ONE HOUR.

        6. Drain and rinse.

        Soaking is reduced to an hour, and cook time takes just one hour (to suit MY tastes). Seems to work as well as soaking for many hours, but they still produce some gas…HA)

  • Mike

    Reply Reply June 14, 2017

    Great article!

    After my first (and only major) gout attack I went hardcore on diet changes. I ate a low purine diet for about 2 months and then slowly started adding foods back on at a time. I read different articles on the pros and cons of beans and gout, but I work out a lot and needed protein so I added beans back cautiously. I now eat the equivalent of about 3 cans a week. I have tried many different types of beans. I put them on salads, burritos, in soups etc. I can say for me, I’ve never had any gout issues with eating beans.

  • Phil Warren

    Reply Reply January 8, 2017

    As a gout sufferer and having lived in the UK most of my life. I ate a lot of baked beans on toast. This article may be of some help to gout sufferers:

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/baked-beans-on-toast-can-ease-pain-caused-by-gout-a3433971.html

    Phil

  • Dr P Kumar

    Reply Reply January 7, 2017

    What you say about ‘beans for gout’ seems like a big generalization. My first attack of gout in 2013 was caused by a totally vegetarian diet of Chickpeas and Broccoli. I haven’t had another attack as yet (thank God), but I often develop toe pain with lentils and/or red kidney beans. In fact my gouty pain is always precipitated by dried beans and lentils. Green French Beans seem to be OK. Cheers.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 7, 2017

      This is fresh off the presses, new study shows how a high fiber diet shows to alleviate inflammation from gout. It also helps your gut and provides many other health benefits. Check out the latest study that is hitting the news here. Beans are very high in fiber. I strongly doubt that chick peas and broccoli directly caused you a gout attack but there is always an exception to every rule.

      • Dave Peters

        Reply Reply January 8, 2017

        I tend to agree with Kumar. Chickpeas and lentils are also a gout trigger for myself. At least they are when I have either 2 or 3 times in a short period.

        • Robert T Bruce

          Reply Reply May 22, 2017

          I don’t find legumes in the least bit troublesome. What I do find to be gout-producing is if I over-consume meat (of any kind) and especially seafood. I consume low-fat dairy and follow a highly plant-based diet although I still eat meat and seafood, just far less frequently than I used to. As a safety-net I also take black cherry extract. Haven’t had an attack in 2 years.

          • Robert T Bruce

            May 22, 2017

            Also … drink water!

  • Grace

    Reply Reply November 22, 2016

    Hi spiro
    Are you residing in Singapore? Since you brought up the interesting research.
    Anyway, do beans cause more flatulence compared to taking meat?
    Does taking beans instead of meat as protein source cause fibrocystic womb or affect hormones?

    I recently started on chickpeas/garbanzo beans, I can really feel that I can last longer without hunger pangs.

    Thanks

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply November 22, 2016

      Hi Grace!

      Yes some beans can cause flatulence but there is a product in the market called “Beano” that you can take to insure you don’t get any. As for your question about beans affecting hormones or fibrocystic womb, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. But I did find this article for you that might shine some more light to your question–> http://www.livestrong.com/article/542107-beans-estrogen/

  • 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!

    • ed

      Reply Reply June 28, 2017

      Sorry but you must go do your home work on gout before leaving a comment because gout has to do with your diet and any foods high in purines will of course cause gout but it’s only people who are more sensitive that will develop gout. Most people have high levels of purines in their body but yet they don’t develop gout. Only some, do ask any doctor.

  • 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. 😛

    • Wendy Franz

      Reply Reply April 17, 2017

      Hi, I have a question.
      I can’t take synthetic thyroid medication so Dr put me on dessicated porcine thyroid.
      Many people take it, it works very well.
      Do you think it could contribute to gout?
      I eat very little meat. Only on occasion.
      I’ve had several gout flare’s some bad, but most mild. Thank-you Wendy Franz

  • 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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