What is the ideal gout diet?
There seems to be a lot of confusion and myths regarding the ideal gout diet on the net/media and among doctors, health professionals and dietitians, so were gonna try and set the record straight on what you should be eating if you want to lower uric acid levels avoiding painful gout attacks. Regardless, many will argue against me regarding what foods to eat and what to avoid or lessen, at the end you must do your own homework; don’t take my word or anybody else’s for that matter since your health is what’s at stake. If you believe in the natural ability of your body being able to heal, then read on. Do not expect good health to come to you in the form of capsules! Remember that kidney function decreases due to the fact that prescribed drugs cause 20% of the kidney failures! Prescription pills don’t cure anything, they just treat the symptoms!
There are a ton of fad diets that have come and passed like the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, the cookie diet, Jenny Craig diet, Paleo diet and many others but why can’t there be just one healthy, fully optimized way to eat, in order to live a healthy life? Our body is a masterpiece creation with excess capacity. The human brain contains about 10 billion nerve cells or neurons, each capable of storing 40 billion memories. We lose a few couple hundred daily depending how we abuse our brain from food and drink. Our body also has two kidneys and we can live with only one of them functioning if we have to. We also have two lungs which enable us to breath in oxygen which is very important for metabolism. Our body provides great excess capacity to all of our vital organs and yet we abuse them so badly that sometimes we wear them out in only 30 to 60 years!!!
Gout and Meat
I’m gonna ask you also to use your common sense since in today’s diet where cancer, gout, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis and other diseases are very high compared to over 100 years ago where people’s diet consisted of eating mostly carbohydrates; food that basically burns clean through the digestive system. Meat consumption was less and nowadays it seems to be consumed daily, some people consuming it during all three daily meals. Fat and blood from meat are concentrates that the body cannot tolerate in great quantities. In digesting them, we produce so many waste products that even our kidneys which have excess capacity cannot handle them properly and that results in diseases like gout. The problem is we consume way too much fat in North America, around 40%-50%, this has to stop if we want to avoid diseases.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat meat but if you do make sure it is clean meat with the fat taken off, basically lean and preferably cooked over fire or on the BBQ where any fat is burnt off. My advice to you is to eat red meat not more than twice a week if you suffer from gout. Beef, lamb, goat, rabbit and deer are good meats to eat and meat has generally 70% to 75% of its calories as fat. Don’t get me wrong, you need the protein of meat in order to rebuild muscle but you don’t need to eat that much of it.
A study from exercise physiologist Doug Paddon-Jones from the University of Texas Medical Branch concluded that from an Iron-man triathlon competition, eating 4 ounces of meat a day was adequate to rebuild the muscles that athletes would wear out during training. The need for more protein is exaggerated particularly in advertisements and many athletes believed that more protein is better. When we eat too much protein, its metabolism produces ammonia, urea and other waste products, that take seven to eight times more water to flush out through the kidneys than carbohydrates.
Pork should be avoided at all costs since the animal is a scavenger and its’ role in nature is to eat garbage, so avoid bacon, ham, sausages, pork chops which can wreak havoc to your health. Limit your intake of red meat, fish is your best source of protein, it’s low on fat and it has plenty of Omega 3 oils which helps drive up our HDL (good cholesterol) and drives down LDL (bad cholesterol). Try and eat fish 2-3 times a week and yes I know there is some purines in there but it’s only moderate and more importantly you need fish in your diet. Only if you have severe gout and extremely high uric acid, you should then cut it out of your diet. You can eat chicken, preferably chicken breast which has 15% of its’ calories as fat. Do not touch organ meat whatsoever, purines are the highest and should be avoided besides they are very unhealthy for you.
Today’s animal meat is full of growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, nuclear wastes, high levels of adrenaline, and other toxic chemicals from air and ground pollution. All of these compounds are considered carcinogenic or cancer-causing. We find more cancer in the cows, pigs and chickens today, than ever before. So your kidneys need to work overtime to process all this garbage. Many farmers and are now grinding up their sick and dying cows, pigs and chickens and mixing this “dead” often “diseased” meat into their regular animal feeds. This leads to “mad cow” and “hoof and mouth” disease. We see this now, especially in Europe where they have been feeding dead sheep meat to living cows. Cows are vegetarians by nature eating only herbs, what insanity!
Carbohydrates and “The 80-10-10 Diet” for Gout
What are carbohydrates after all? Too many people have confused it with calories. For example, they say potatoes don’t have as many calories as an apple. I say, with food that is grown from the earth, you can eat as much as you desire because it’s good for you. Carbohydrates are pure energy! Fruits only have 3% of their calories as fat, vegetables about 5%, grains about 5%, rice 4% and oatmeal 15%! Carbohydrates are also good for your stool and speeds up the flow through your bowel by cutting the time it transits the bowel from about 90 hours to about 33 hours. Your kidneys take less of a beating when processing carbs compared to meats, that’s for sure!
So Spiro what are you trying to say? What I advise as an optimized gout diet is what I call “The 80-10-10 Diet” which consists of 80% of your daily calories to be clean carbohydrates, 10% consisting of fat and the remaining 10% of your calories should be protein. The problem is the Western diet consists of malnutrition; eating too much fat and sugar, neither of which has any nutrients in them, however, they do have many empty calories and they don’t help your immune system by preventing diseases like gout. As for sugar, I’m not going to go into it in this post since it was well covered in a previous post titled: “Sugar, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Gout” which I strongly recommend you read! You’ll get all the information regarding sugar in your diet in that post. When I have a sweet tooth, honey is my preferred choice since it has only 15 calories per teaspoon and has a ton of nutrients in it, you can also eat sliced bananas, pitted prunes and raisins.
It takes more water to separate the waste products from the protein (meats) but your principal food should be carbs like veggies, fruits, grains, whole grain breads, beans, corn, whole wheat pasta and rice. Anything you can grow in your garden is good for you and you can eat all that you want from it. Stop listening to the mainstream media and what this expert and that expert said on TV. Use your common sense and feel great! We have learned from athletes that we increase our endurance by 3 times just by adding a carbohydrate diet through our exercise regime. The liver and muscles, as we begin to exercise, begin to store carbs in the form of glycogen (glucose). For immediate energy, as we store this carb, it then gives you energy and you feel good.
10 Steps to an Optimized Gout Diet
1. Limit meat, poultry, fish and nuts to 10% of your daily protein calories. Remember to strictly avoid seafood, you can read more about it here.
2. Limit your cheese, milk, butter, eggs, yogurt, basically your fat intake to 10% of your daily fat calories. Saturated fat lowers the body’s ability to eliminate uric acid and prevents obesity which is linked to gout.
3. Limit sugar to 25 mg a day and avoid foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
6. Also limit animal-based foods such as gravy, bouillon and chicken soup, even Jello.
7. Choose 80% of your daily calories as complex carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, whole wheat pasta, rice and avoid simple or refined carbohydrates like white bread, cakes and candy. Essentially, a low purine diet is very important for the gout sufferer, the highest purine foods are obviously the meats.
8. Avoid eating fried and processed food not only will it increase your uric acid levels but it will also increase the free radicals which causes other diseases too.
9. Remember to eat everything fresh and organic, preferably locally grown in your community.
10. Substitute olive oil for other oils in your cooking, baking and salad dressings; add it over pasta or a baked potato because it is the only exception to fats and it lowers your uric acid. If heated, it loses its healthy benefits and produces free radicals that cause us to develop diseases like cancer. This oil lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol, it raises the HDL or good cholesterol, does the opposite of other oils and reduces our blood sugar, so naturally it is good for diabetics and it prevents heart disease and even gout. Make sure it is cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to become a strict vegetarian because God knows I ain’t one. Although it might seem hard at first to follow a diet which consists of eating less meat (protein) and fat (dairy, eggs etc…), you will notice once you get acquainted with your new diet that your energy levels will rise and you will definitely feel better, that I promise. I’ve noticed when I am disciplined and follow this diet, I get no flare-ups or attacks but my joints also feel stronger since there’s less inflammation. But yes I am human and sometimes I stray away from my disciplined diet and that’s what gets me in trouble, so consider discipline the most important element of your diet, I know it’s not easy but heck you gotta try! It’s either that dear fellow gout sufferer or an increased risk of facing death. You decide!
Posted by Spiro Koulouris
CHECK OUT OTHER RELATED POSTS: