Gout and Seafood

Gout and Seafood

Is seafood safe to eat if you have gout?

In this post we will closely examine if seafood like lobster, shrimp, crab, clams, oysters, mussels, scallops are a healthy choice for a gout diet. As always, let’s talk a little history beforehand. In the 1800s lobster was known as poor man’s food and during that time and before seafood was shunned upon and people were embarrassed to eat it. Poor families, servants, children and prisoners usually ate seafood due to its high abundance and easy accessibility for those who lived on the eastern coast like the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The wealthier people were able to afford healthier meats like cattle and beef but seafood like lobster were seen by the poor as a cheap way to feed hungry mouths, they even had nicknames like “Poor Man’s Chicken” and “Scavengers of the Sea”. It is actually a scavenger because it lives on the bottom of the ocean and eats the waste, yes the poop of other animals even the pollutants that man dumps into the ocean, hence why lobster is also nicknamed “the Cockroach of the Ocean”.  By the late 1800s the industry was thriving and seafood hit the mainstream where it was being served at the fanciest restaurants. Today lobster is one of the most expensive items on the menu and the perception is that seafood is high quality and nutritious food!

Tart Cherry Extract for Gout

What is the evidence that seafood is to be avoided in a gout diet?

The 12 year study completed by the American College of Rheumatology which observed 47,000 men over that period had provided these men with a questionnaire to record their daily food intake. Data from the study discovered that men who ate the most meat had 1.41 times the risk of developing gout then those men who ate the least amount of meat. Likewise, men who ate seafood had a 1.51 times the risk of developing gout compared to those men who ate the least amount of seafood and seafood does increase your uric acid levels. That’s a 51% increased risk my fellow gout sufferer! Each additional weekly serving of seafood led to a 7% increased risk. On a side-note, the same study concluded that vegetables high in purines like peas, beans, cauliflower and spinach did not increase the risk of getting a gout attack. That is spot on, you can eat all the vegetables you like even the ones that are high on the purines scale but we will look at this more closely at a future post.

Other risks of seafood consumption

Seafood is a simply a dangerous food to eat for so many valid reasons and should be avoided at all costs. It is simply one of the dirtiest foods you can eat and can cause you so many different ailments.  I mean the reason lobster is cooked while alive is due to the bacterial problem which takes place immediately upon their death needing to release astaxanthin for it to be safe for you to consume. Shrimp is a scavenger that thrives off of eating the flesh of dead creatures, so if you like to eat shrimp be aware that you are eating feces as well. You like shellfish? Watch out cause you can be poisoned a bacterial or viral contamination. You must adequately cook it to make sure you don’t get sick but is it really worth the risk? Poisoning can also come about from heat-stable toxins derived from the food that the shellfish have been eating. If you suffer from gout, just cross out any type of seafood, I hope to help you avoid any gout flares or triggers for an attack.

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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39 Comments

  • Ed

    Reply Reply December 3, 2017

    I know crawfish is a shellfish but it is also a fresh water shellfish. Does the same thing apply for gout. Asking for a nephew.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply December 4, 2017

      Hi Ed!

      Yes it applies to any shellfish, it doesn’t matter if it comes from fresh water or not.

  • Travis Stephens

    Reply Reply November 18, 2017

    Some fish from the sea are not considered seafood to you? That’s disturbing coming from someone giving advice on a suggested diet for people with gout. Seafood by definition includes edible marine fish and shellfish….. I think most of your advice is well founded, but fish like grouper and flounder are absolutely considered seafood.

  • Georgia

    Reply Reply November 7, 2017

    I have been diagnosed with gout following cancer treatment. I have given up meat completely and would like to know if squid is safe to eat. Also is soy like tofu safe to eat?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply November 7, 2017

      Hi Georgia!

      Yes skip the squid it’s an offensive food to gout sufferers cause it’s in the seafood category. Tofu is vegetarian so it is fine. Good luck!

  • Bas

    Reply Reply October 12, 2017

    I am not a big fan of seafood in general. Once in a while I eat the small canned Tuna Fish. I get symptoms or onset of a gout attack next day. I can relate it to eating the tuna fish. Eating this is often overlooked as something that would cause your body to have high uric acid. I can recall several times before the same happened to eating canned tuna fish. The quantity of the small can is not that much 140 grams. If I eat half the can it does not cause an issue at the time. I can tolerate eating more quantity of other seafood. It would be a good idea to avoid it when you are having a gout attack.

  • Wayne H Morgan

    Reply Reply August 7, 2017

    I have had gout for over 20 years. My experience is all shell fish ( shrimp, lobsters, clams, …) cause a serious gout flare. Less than 12 hours after eating shrimp I will be hobbled in a joint for a couple of weeks. I am able to eat fish. I like a mild fish. I eat tilapia, orange roughy or even catfish with no effects.

  • Daniel

    Reply Reply April 24, 2017

    Also, read up on tuna and mercury: no need irresponsibly bashing an industry and claiming you know, because you apparently do not: “No consumption advice is necessary for the top ten seafood species that make up about 80% of the seafood sold in the United States: canned tuna, shrimp, pollock, salmon, cod, catfish, clams, flatfish, crabs, and scallops.

    The methylmercury in these species is generally less than 0.2 ppm, and few people eat more than the suggested weekly limit of fish (i.e., 2.2 pounds).” -CDC (and that’s out of a 650 page report from a decade-long study)

  • Daniel

    Reply Reply April 24, 2017

    Actually, you can’t just blanket it all under one thing. Seafood is defined as food from the sea, i.e. fish, shellfish and other sea life that is eaten by humans. Also, you are wrong about which to eat, many of the crustaceans and shellfish are actually lower in purines than many fin fish, like trout vs. oysters. Oysters have much lower purine levels and many other health benefits. You should know what you are talking about if you want to address diet and gout. Here is a helpful list. Note that uric acid and purine levels can be affected by more than just diet and there are other gout contributing factors in diet other than purine levels. Thyroid issues, for example, can increase the liklihood of gout.
    http://www.acumedico.com/purine.htm

    • Daniel

      Reply Reply April 24, 2017

      At the bottom of the list on the link are three groupings; A, B and C. Eat a balanced diet from mostly A, some B and avoid C.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply April 24, 2017

      Let’s agree to disagree. Many studies have shows how they raise uric acid levels and overall they are not healthy for you, all types of seafood causes more emergency room visits then any other food group. All this from the bacteria that these shells carry and if not cooked properly basically leads to food poisoning. Trout for examples has more nutrients then oysters so is more healthy for you.

      • nic

        Reply Reply August 2, 2017

        What’s your take on typical Japanese diet which often consist of raw seafood like sushi/sashimi? More people with gout and emergency room visits for the japanese?

        • Spiro Koulouris

          Reply Reply August 3, 2017

          Seafood is seafood. Raw, boiled or cooked it will raise uric acid levels.

          • nic

            August 4, 2017

            Hi–thanks for your reply. From your earlier comment “…All types of seafood causes more emergency room visits then any other food group. All this from the bacteria that these shells carry and if not cooked properly basically leads to food poisoning” so I was actually asking what’s your take on a typical japanese diet which more often contains raw seafood base on your above comment?

            Nic

          • Spiro Koulouris

            August 6, 2017

            Japanese diet consists if mostly raw fish like salmon for example which is great for your health, I know about the “blue zones” and there is a part of Japan where people live longer than average due to eating mostly a complex carb diet like I outline here on this website and my book, and they get mostly their protein from raw fish but seafood will raise uric acid levels, so if I were you I’d take out the seafood and stick to raw fish preferably but overall the Japanese diet minus the seafood is a good diet to follow. Again very similar to what I outline here.

  • JUN

    Reply Reply March 11, 2017

    What About Tuna is it Safe to eat for a gout patient?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply March 11, 2017

      Yes it is but problem with tuna is the high mercury count. Since tuna fish live longer than other fish, they accumulate more mercury than other fish, so that can be potentially dangerous. I personally avoid tuna now since it has a high mercury count.

  • Maryann

    Reply Reply December 6, 2016

    Hi Spiro!

    My husband has had many gout-like symptons but the doctor thinks he has Socratic arthritis.

    It is said that his grandfather had gout.

    His gout levels are moderately high. The reason the doctor steers away from gout is because it started in his ankle, this last bout started in his toe…

    We are going to do a gout test and see if he has a reaction to eating shrimp. Do you know how quickly it will turn into painful gout?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply December 7, 2016

      Hi Maryann!

      Thanks for your comment but I have no idea since everybody reacts differently. I wouldn’t be able to tell you unfortunately.

  • Rachel Koo

    Reply Reply September 1, 2016

    can gout patient eat shrimp?

  • Lou

    Reply Reply July 19, 2016

    You say it’s okay to eat certain fish.
    But then you say to stay away from seafood?
    Which one is it ?
    Stay away from all seafood or just shellfish seafood?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply July 20, 2016

      Avoid seafood and any type of shellfish Lou!

      • JBM

        Reply Reply January 4, 2017

        You say any fish with scales is ok, but then you say avoid all seafood. Which is it?

        • Spiro Koulouris

          Reply Reply January 4, 2017

          Seafood is not considered fish with fins and scales. Avoid all seafood, it is one of the worst offenders for gout. You can eat fish like bass, salmon, cod, bluefish, haddock, grouper, halibut, snapper, tilapia, turbot, trout. These are all healthy fish that have fins and scales. Enjoy!

          • simon kelly

            July 8, 2017

            Spiro, I think you’re confusing the issue here. Seafood includes all animals we eat from the sea – including shellfish. Here’s a definition: ‘Seafood is any form of sea life regarded as food by humans. Seafood prominently includes fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms’ s this is primarily a post about Gout and seafood I would be very careful not replace shellfish (high in purines,bad for gout) with seafood (includes fish which are not bad for gout – although there are other reasons not to eat some fish due to mercury levels, sustainability concerns and so on).

          • nic

            August 2, 2017

            simon–thanks for clarifying as i always thought seafood is all food products come from the sea.

            nic

          • Travis Stephens

            November 18, 2017

            I’m thinking he may have just meant “seafood” for the purpose of this article. At any rate, seafood is food from the sea, regardless of what expensive college professors may try to rewrite it as. Let’s not corrupt the definition for personal agendas, like so many other things these days.

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