How Weight Loss Can Improve Your Gout
It’s not a big revelation that being obese or being above your ideal weight can cause you a lot of health problems and one of them of course is gout. When I got my first gout attack I weighed 240 pounds, about 45 pounds overweight from my ideal weight as per my doctor. I had what is called central obesity, basically carrying weight around my middle, having a pot belly if you prefer.
Losing weight alone can decrease uric acid levels in the blood, as well as the number of gout attacks, staving off hyperuricemia, so it’s a no brainer that if you are overweight and have gout that you immediately consider losing weight with whatever method you like. In addition, weight loss will also help relieve your joints (knees, feet, hips, ankles etc…) by reducing the stress from the excessive weight, avoiding pain in those joints.
What diet should I follow in order to lose weight?
If you are determined to lose weight, it is important that you avoid crash dieting at all costs since rapid weight loss as well as going hungry for long periods of time may increase uric acid levels in your body and may cause you an undesirable gout attack. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with low meat intake, plenty of whole wheat bread, whole wheat cereals, moderate amounts of dairy products, plenty of water, little alcohol if any at all, the complete elimination of highly processed foods and drinks is the key to a successful gout diet. This will help you control your weight and provide you with all the necessary nutrients required for you to fight this disease.
What does the scientific community have to say about weight loss and gout?
The famous gout researcher Hyon K. Choi from Massachusetts General Hospital while studying 47 150 middle aged men for a period of 12 years did conclude that the more weight men gained the more susceptible they were in getting a gout attack or developing the disease. Those who did lose weight though decreased their gout risk especially weight loss of more than 10 pounds, dropping their risk by 40%. Choi also concluded that regardless of their diet, men who gained weight would get gout more often. Overweight men with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of at least 25 are more than twice as likely to develop gout and obese men have triple the risk in developing it!
Another small pilot study on gout and weight loss was done with 13 gout patients, while all 13 were gout patients who would get an attack every month and after losing weight through their diet after a few months only but one patient would have less than one gout attack per month.
Yet another study conducted at the University of Auckland in New Zealand also suggests that gout patients who are obese may benefit from bariatric surgery which will result in controlling uric acid crystallization in the joints further preventing gout attacks and reduced inflammation from the weight loss.
Weight loss may allow the uric acid in the fatty deposits inside the body to leave or excrete in a consistent manner. If you have a gout attack or swelling in any of your joints, it will help diminish those effects due to the fact there will be less fatty deposits in your joints knees, toes, feet etc… If you plan on losing weight, make sure you are losing 1-2 pounds a week and not more, avoiding increasing your uric acid levels abruptly causing a painful gout attack. So tread carefully and do it right!
If you don’t have gout make sure to maintain a healthy weight in order to avoid getting it. Weight loss is not the only answer when it comes to controlling your gout but it is a big piece in the overall pie, that’s for sure. Remember to begin with small changes in the beginning making sure you are losing only 1-2 pounds a week in order to avoid a gout attack, then keep progressing in eliminating whatever foods that are bad for you for healthier choices eventually moving towards your ideal weight. Don’t forget to include your doctor’s advice when planning your diet, even consulting with a dietitian can do wonders.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris