Breakfast and Gout

Gout and Breakfast

What Can A Gout Sufferer Eat For Breakfast?

For some people, breakfast is their favorite meal of the day. It marks the end of a fast where you get to indulge yourself in some delicious eggs and bacon, pancake and waffles, maybe a cereal bowl topped with honey and chocolate chips?

Hmm!

But if you’re a gout sufferer, hold up! Some of these breakfast meals mentioned might actually not be good for you. In fact, most of them are bad. So bad that they can increase your uric acid level in just minutes! I’m not exaggerating.

If you’re trying to figure out the culprit of your recent gout attacks, you need not look further than what you eat for breakfast. Just take a look at some of today’s breakfast staples: bacon, ham, sausage, pancake, waffles, smoothies, sweetened yogurt, frappes, cereals. All these aren’t necessarily bad but some of them should be eaten with caution since they contain ingredients that can trigger your gout.

In this article, I discuss the 10 rules you should follow when it comes to having a healthy gout breakfast. Don’t worry because for every item that is prohibited, I provide a healthy alternative that is just as delicious and way more nutritious than what you’re used to getting.

Let’s start, shall we?

1. Use whole wheat for anything involving flour

Whether it’s pancakes, waffles, crepes, muffins, or cookies, it should be made with whole wheat flour.  Whole means the flour is not refined and is not stripped off its essential minerals which can be beneficial for your body.

One study found that when people got rid of refined wheat products from their diet and replaced it with whole wheat, their inflammatory markers decreased. One marker is the C-reactive protein which has been associated with deadly conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and premature birth.

Whole wheat contains more fiber, some protein, and healthy fats all of which help you feel full longer and remain energized throughout the day. That means less need to grab unnecessary snacks that add to your calories for the day.

In addition, whole wheat flour can also help regulate your blood sugar since it has a low glycemic index of 51. Compare that to white wheat flour which has a glycemic index of 71. Lower GI means that food absorbs more slowly avoiding those nasty sugar spikes and crashes that make you feel tired and irritable.

Whole wheat flour also contains certain B vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus and riboflavin. Some of these vitamins and minerals we miss in our regular diet so it’s good to use whole wheat flour as an ingredient in making your favorite breakfast meals.

The best part is that whole wheat flour has a sweet, earthy, nutty taste that makes for a flavorful base to your pancakes and waffles. The next time you’re shopping for flour in the market, make sure it is 100% whole wheat. Be wary of flours and breads that have been enriched with vitamins. It’s always better to get the 100% whole wheat kind.

2. Eggs

Ah eggs! Who doesn’t love them? It’s a very versatile food item that can be prepared, eaten, and mixed with almost any dish you can think of. They’re very rich in B vitamins, cholin, biotin, and folic acid. Plus, they’re very low in calories! So, if you’re trying to lose weight or quit meat altogether, two to three eggs a day will keep you energized and feel full for longer since it’s high in protein.

However, for gout sufferers, there’s a few rules you need to follow when it comes to eggs. You can only consume eggs boiled as other methods such as frying will only diminish its wonderful benefits.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using “healthy” oil such as olive oil to cook it. Once it’s fried, you increase the free radicals which puts your health at an even higher risk. So, save yourself the trouble and eat only boiled eggs from now on, and limit it to only a few times a week, 6 times at most.

The good news is that when you eat eggs this way, you can eat every single bit of it, yes, including the yolk! The egg yolk possesses more vitamins and minerals than the egg white so you’re really not missing out here. You can use boiled egg for salads, sandwiches, dips, and more. You just have to get creative. There’s books out there dedicated to teaching you how to incorporate boiled eggs into your meals.

When you buy eggs at the grocery store, look for the terms “cage-free”, “pasture-raised”, “pastured”, or “free range”. Or consider buying from a farm nearby. Nothing compares to the taste of free-range eggs. They’re more nutritious and delicious than the eggs that came from a chicken that’s raised in a factory.

3. Toast, bread, bagels, cereals

Another breakfast staple you should be weary of is bread. Over the years, wheat-based food items such as bread has gotten a bad rap due to the process it undergoes called refining. This is when they get rid of the bran and germs that makes wheat nutritious in the first place. In addition, refining wheat also removes beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, and iron.

So, don’t be fooled by gluten-free gurus that tell you all bread is bad. You just have to look for ones that use 100% whole wheat. This type of wheat can be a very great source of magnesium, manganese, and dietary fiber which help decrease your risk for chronic illnesses like asthma, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Whole grain can also help with inflammation which is something gout sufferers are all too familiar with.

As for other breakfast items like French toast, bagels, or cereals, you want to look for whole wheat versions of these. Food labels at the front can be quite tricky as the FDA is very lax with this. However, you just need to turn the product over to really see its real nutritional value. If the product says “whole wheat” in the front but the first ingredient on the back doesn’t say that, ditch it. Always check to see if “whole wheat” or “whole grain” is first on the list as that means that the product contains more of that than any other ingredient.

Also watch out for cereals. Most popular brands load their cereals with high amounts of sugar which can cause sugar spikes and crashes early in the day. Look out for sugars, artificial colors, and preservatives listed in the first three ingredients. If whole grains such as oats, wheat, barley, or rice isn’t on top of the list or you don’t find the word “whole” at all, put it back on the shelf and move on to the next one.

Remember, product ingredients are listed in order of greatest quantity to lowest so don’t go for ones where the added sugar is higher than the third or fourth ingredient on the list.

 

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4. Oatmeal

Although oatmeal contains some purines, it still makes for a filling breakfast option. Regardless of what your uric acid level may be, as long as you choose the right oatmeal and toppings, you are safe from gout attacks and free to enjoy its wonderful benefits.

Oatmeal possesses minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, copper, biotin, chromium, magnesium, and molybdenum. It helps lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and enhances immune response. In addition, oatmeal also acts as a laxative that helps promote the substantial flow of food in your body every day.

Probably the reason why some gout sufferers associate oatmeal with an attack is because instant oatmeals are so pervasive. You see more options for flavored instant oatmeals at the supermarket than the regular ones.

The good news is that you don’t need to play the guessing game when it comes to shopping for oats. Just find one that takes the longest to cook as that is probably the healthiest one. Healthy oats such as whole rolled, or steel cut oats take around 15-30 minutes to cook. Anything that contains artificial flavors and additives or cooks instantly (3 to 5 minutes) should be avoided.

“Does that mean I need to sit around every morning for 30 minutes when cooking my oats?”

Not necessarily. Just make yourself a big batch at the start of the week. Use milk or water, whichever you prefer, and let it cool before freezing it. Thaw a portion you need for the next day and just throw it in the microwave before serving. For flavor, add your favorite nuts and berries! These food items are low in purines and help boost the health benefits of your oatmeal.

Consider buying your oatmeals in smaller batches since they do tend to go rancid fast. You want to buy yours at a store with a quick turnover because this means that you are always getting your oats fresh. To make it least, store it in an airtight container. A properly stored oatmeal will last you two months!

5. No meats like bacon, sausage, or ham

Many people enjoy a slice of pork in the morning meal. However, this type of meat should be completely avoided in all meals if you have gout. Not only are these breakfast favorites high in sodium, they also come from the most ravenous animal of them all, the pig.

I hate to say this, but pigs are really dirty. They are scavengers that eat anything in sight, including their own feces, and yes, even the occasional sick animal carcass. Yuck! And because they digest food so quickly, their body has no time to process those dangerous toxins. As a result, toxins get stored in their fatty tissues.

What’s worse is that pigs don’t sweat which means they can’t eliminate toxins through their skin. Ever wonder why pigs like to roll in mud? It’s not because they’re nasty. It’s because they’re hot and the only way they know how to cool down is by lying down on cold wet soil.

So essentially, when you eat pork, you are also eating the toxins that go with it. It’s no wonder why the Central of Disease and Control Prevention associate over 100 viruses to pigs. You’re probably familiar with the deadly H1N1 which has been the cause of multiple outbreaks in the last decades. It’s also no coincidence why the term swine flu exists. You don’t hear or fish flu or cow flu as much do you?

In addition, pork is a bit trickier to cook compared to other meats. For one, it contains the most fat (who eats just the fat?) and cooking it in high heat doesn’t exactly kill all the parasites it’s carrying. It might even be worse than alcohol as it causes liver cirrhosis and possibly cancer!

When you can, say no to the pork and opt for animal meats which have been fed with grass or hay.

6. Coffee is good for you

Coffee is probably the most loved beverage in the world. Some people swear by not being able to start their day without their morning caffeine fix. If you are one of those people, great news: you can drink coffee! In fact, it is encouraged since coffee has been found to be beneficial for gout.

One study spanning 12 years followed men who were over the age of 40. They wanted to find out whether coffee had an effect on lowering one’s risk for developing gout. They found out that those who drank more coffee decreased their chances of experiencing a gout attack. In fact, those who drank more than six cups of coffee had the lowest risk!

This is because coffee contains chlorogenic acid which is an antioxidant that decreases insulin and uric acid. As a result, you’re able to avoid those dreadful gout attacks!

One caveat is that coffee only helps lower risk to those who haven’t developed the disease yet. If you already have gout but you’re not a consistent coffee drinker, the effects might not be as great.

But what if you already drink coffee? Does this mean you can increase your caffeine intake? No. If you try to, it’ll have a counterintuitive effect like allopurinol where you experience more gout attacks before it dissipates.

Also, remember that men are more likely to experience the negative side effects of coffee which can include insomnia, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors. For the best results, keep drinking the same amount of coffee you are accustomed to drinking everyday.

Another thing to watch out for are sweetened caffeinated drinks. You see them everywhere in coffee shops. Frothy, slushy, over-flavored beverages laced with ingredients that are very bad for you.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from these coffee drinks as much as possible –if they can even be called that.  Also say no to the sugar and creamer.  You only want to go for organic black coffee as that is the most beneficial for the gout sufferer.

Pair your coffee with any of the items we have listed on this article and not only will you enjoy a filling breakfast, you’ll also save yourself from a gout attack!

7. Dairy

It’s a known fact that dairy has a beneficial effect on gout. This is because milk possesses substances and proteins like orotic, casein, and lactalbumin which help make it easy for the body to excrete uric acid. In addition, milk from cow has anti-inflammatory properties and a low purine content making it safe to take for the gout sufferer.

In one study involving 15,000 Americans, they found that individuals who drank their milk daily for six years had decreased their uric acid levels by 25mg/dL on average. Participants who ate all kinds of cheese also experienced a similar effect. Take note that we’re talking about milk from cow here. Any other source of milk like soy and nuts will not have the same effect as cow’s milk.

Regardless of whether you have gout or are at risk of having it, adding dairy to your diet will definitely help lessen your chances of experiencing an attack. You can drink a glass of milk at the start of your day or add it into your favorite whole grain cereal or oatmeal.

Another option would be to add cheese to your egg sandwich. Cheese is delicious and adds great flavor to your breakfast. If you’re needing something light, go for yogurt. Yogurt is a probiotic which help keep your gut healthy –and you may not know this, but the gut is where a third of uric acid is being dissolved.

Always go for plain yogurt and avoid those pre-flavored ones. You’ll know it’s the real deal because plain yogurt tastes a bit sour. You can then add your own flavors such as fruit and nuts to enhance its taste. That’s better than taking those ultra-sweet ones which do nothing but make your gout worse.

8. No to artificial sugars

The first thing that comes to mind is orange juice. If you make the juice yourself, sure. But if its store bought, then it most likely has high sugar content, particularly the high fructose kind which wreaks havoc on your health.

In addition, there are those seemingly healthy breakfast options like smoothies and smoothie bowls which again, if you’re not careful, can be loaded with added sweeteners like chocolate chips, dried fruit, almond milk, honey, etc. It’s worse when you get those smoothies from the store. If you’re not the one making it, there’s no way of telling what’s really in your food.

Why are we so concerned about fructose and sugars? Fructose induces the release of the compounds called purines which increase the production of uric acid in the body. So not only are you adding inches to your waistline, you’re also increasing your chance of a gout attack. No, seriously. The effects are so fast. Once you take that sugary drink, your uric acid also rises in just minutes.

This doesn’t just stop at beverages. Some people’s go-to morning meals are donuts, muffins, granola bars which are not considered real food at all. Sorry to burst your bubble but these are sugar bombs that may give you a temporary rush in the morning but will lead to a painful crash later on. You’re basically eating cake for breakfast. That’s no way to treat your body unless you’re a five-year-old.

If it’s not fruit juice you made yourself or smoothies that have a higher vegetable to fruit ratio, don’t eat it for breakfast at all –or ever. As much as possible, you want to avoid sugar as gout is strongly associated with conditions involving your blood sugar such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. They are related in a way that if your body doesn’t respond well to insulin, your risk for hyperuricemia increases. And when you have hyperuricemia, you are also likely to be insulin resistant.

This all sounds so bleak but it’s the truth. You can occasionally treat yourself to a delicious muffin for breakfast, but it should only be treated as such: an occasional treat. You will find that the less you indulge in these sugary items, the less your body will crave for it. And the more you feed yourself with real nutritious foods, the more your taste buds will get used to the flavor –maybe even enhance it because you’re not desensitized anymore by rich, artificial flavors manufacturers put in these unhealthy snacks.

In Conclusion

I hope that these breakfast tips will help you manage your gout better. Remember, you eat breakfast daily so everyday you make the choice whether to have a healthy meal or not. What you do early in the day will dictate how you will be for the rest of the day. Will you choose that that oh-so-yummy bacon and muffins in the morning (only to feel sluggish and unhealthy in the long run)? Or will you make that filling and nutritious whole grain egg sandwich and down it with a cup of black coffee?

The choice is yours!

 

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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14 Comments

  • Ron Greer

    Reply Reply August 11, 2019

    Bit confused about the cooking of eggs. What’s wrong with poaching them in a steamer? Had a severe gout attack last month in my left knee and I’m still not out of the woods, but a big improvement in 3 days of taking Nutrigout and my urate levels are down to where they would have expected to be after a course of Allopurinol. Been off all meat and fish for a month. Is there any fish that’s ”safe’ to take?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply August 14, 2019

      Hi Ron!

      Yeah poached eggs in a steamer is fine. Yeah I eat fish like salmon, red snapper, cod, trout, tilapia, haddock for example. I don’t eat more than 4 to 6 ounces in one sitting and in one day.

  • Maureen

    Reply Reply July 20, 2019

    Im a female soon to turn 60. Just had my first two gout attacks in the mast 3 months. Uric acid level is 8.3 with blood taken about a week after the last attack was over and after several days of drinking more water and lemon water. Likely genetic as my dad and brother had it. Already eat a pretty healthy diet. Problems are I also have a hiatal hernia and anything citric causes major issues there. Also there is no way I can drink much more water, I already urinate too often. Also, I have been drinking 2 cups of black coffee each morning for the past 40 years. Thoughts or suggestions?

  • Alysha

    Reply Reply May 17, 2019

    Hi! I am new to researching gout so I am not sure if you answered this question before. I know you mentioned granola bars not being a good option but what about mixing granola in with yogurt and berries?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply May 17, 2019

      Hi Alysha!

      Look for granola that has minimal amounts of added sugar and uses dried fruit for sweetness instead. Granola has many healthy ingredients; includes oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, which deliver important nutrients such as protein, iron, heart healthy fats and fiber. It’s just the sugar content you need to look out for.

  • Richard

    Reply Reply February 24, 2019

    Thank you for sharing all your information its been very useful

  • Chetan

    Reply Reply February 16, 2019

    How much allopurinol(mg) do you take after your uric acid got in control?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply February 19, 2019

      Hi Chetan!

      Everybody is different, it depends on your uric acid level. Make sure to do a blood test and talk about the results with your doctor.

  • Mark

    Reply Reply January 20, 2019

    For most people, gout is a sign that your body chemistry is out whack due to a bad diet. There are exceptions to this including kidney disease and genetic disorders. The typical western diet is horrendously bad for you with too much sugar and sodium and not enough potassium and water. While certain types of fats are also not good, the four items listed above are the biggests culprits that lead to health problems. If you suffer from gout, the first thing to check is your urine pH. If it is regularly below 6, it is too low indicating a potential problem with your diet. Basic rules of thumb for your diet are the following:

    1) CRITICAL: less than 25 grams of sugar per day (sugar causes inflammation in the body)

    2) CRITICAL: more than 100 ounces of water per day to help flush out uric acid

    3) CRITICAL: a two to one ratio of potassium to sodium per day while limiting sodium intake to 2400 mg at most (ideally less than 2000 mg per day). Thus, if you take in 2400 mg of sodium per day, you need to take in 4800 mg of potassium per day. The only caveat to this are people who suffer from kidney disease and thus may need to limit potassium. This will increase your urine pH and help your kidneys to flush out more uric acid.

    4) CRITICAL: ensure that you have appropriate levels of citrate (salts of citric acid) in your urine. Citrates help your kidneys to flush out uric acid and help inhibit the formation of kidney stones (if you have that problem as well). Personally, I mix one glass of water, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (converts the citric acid in lemon juice to sodium citrate), and 1/4 teaspoon of potassium citrate every morning and drink it 1/2 hour before breakfast.

    4) The correct ratio of fat to carbs to protein for YOUR body type and metabolism. As body type and metabolism is unique to every person, so is this ratio. For general rules of thumb on this, look up the terms “ectomorph”, “mesomorph”, and “endomorph” online. This will tell you your starting point for the correct ratio. From this starting point, it is matter of tweaking your diet to your metabolism (for max energy and weight maintainence). Keep in mind that this can change with both physical activity and age.

    5) Types of fat are important. With fats, ensure that you are getting the proper ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats. The average western diet is too high in omega 6 and too low in omega 3. The standard western diet has a 10:1 to 50:1 ratio omega 6 to omega 3. The suggested ratio is 4:1 omega 6 to omega 3. The first step is to increase your intake of omega 3. I personally take one teaspoon of highly purefied cod liver oil everyday as it does not contain the purines that the fish does. Second is to replace some of the omega 6 fats with omega 9 fats. To do this, replace soybean oil and corn oil with olive oil, almond oil, or avocado oil. Personally, I stay away from soybean oil as it causes me to gain weight easily.

    6) Types of carbs are important. Minimize refined carbs as much as possible and only eat refined carbs that are whole grain (pasta, bread). Ideally, stick to high fiber sources such as vegetables, beans, and oatmeal (not instant) with minimal sweetening (use cinnanom and fruit in place of refinned sugars on the oatmeal).

    7) Types of protein are important. Get 50% of your protein from plant sources (i.e., beans) and minimize intake of red meat and other high purine meats.

    Following a careful and strict diet using the guidelines above, I was able to adjust my body chemistry and get rid of gout attacks within six to nine months. My urine pH went from 5 to around 7 meaning that my kidneys are more effective at flushing out uric acid. Also, I shed 20 pounds of weight, and my overall joint health is significantly improved. I also no longer suffer from irregular heart beats which was most likely due to a lack of potassium.

  • Rusty

    Reply Reply January 17, 2019

    Spiro,
    Your comment concerning bacon, ham and sausage seems to based more on religious beliefs than any fact based on value/non-value of the food. The reason I ask is because chickens and cattle are also raised in confined conditions where they are constantly exposed to feces. What if the pig is “range free”?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 18, 2019

      No it’s based on studies Rusty that you can access and check them out for yourself. Check out my post on Gout and Pork to learn more!

  • Martin

    Reply Reply January 16, 2019

    I have the damaged right big toe. But I have not suffered from a gout attack for years. But I have pain from my toe after a lot of walking, in fact it then causes pain in my right knee and hip as I walk awkward. Cycling is good. I think everyone is different when it comes to diet, you may have other illnesses. But I don’t eat any wheat or dairy. I do eat grass fed meat. I also drink lemon water and juice first thing every morning to make sure I get a good intake of veg.

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