On the internet/media, there appears to be a lot of confusion and myths about the ideal gout diet. However, confusion exists among professionals such as doctors, health professionals, and dietitians. We’re going to try to clear the air about what you should eat if you want to lower your uric acid levels and avoid painful gout attacks.
Regardless, many people will disagree with me about which foods to eat and which to avoid or limit. In the end, it all comes down to how well you do your homework. Don’t take my word for it, or anyone else’s for that matter because your health is 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 since prescribed drugs may cause up to 20% of kidney failures! Prescription pills don’t cure anything, they just treat the symptoms!
There have been numerous fad diets, such as the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, cookie diet, Jenny Craig diet, Paleo diet, and many others. But why can’t there be just one healthy, fully optimized way to eat 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 on 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 breathe in oxygen which is very important for metabolism.
Our bodies have a lot of extra capacity for all of our vital organs, but we abuse them so much that we can wear them out in 30 to 60 years!!!
What Effect Does Food Have on Gout?
Certain foods, if you have gout, may cause an attack by boosting your uric acid levels. Purines, a naturally occurring component in meals, are typically found in trigger foods. Your body produces uric acid as a waste product when you consume purines.
Healthy people don’t have to worry about this because their bodies easily remove excess uric acid.
Gout sufferers, on the other hand, are unable to effectively eliminate excess uric acid. As a result, a high-purine diet may cause uric acid to build up and lead to a gout attack.
Gout episodes may be avoided by limiting high-purine foods and using the proper medicine, according to research. Organ meats, red meats, seafood, alcohol, and beer are all known to cause gout attacks. They have a moderate to high purine content.
There is one exception to this rule, though. Gout attacks are not triggered by high-purine vegetables, according to research. Interestingly, while not being purine-rich, fructose and sugar-sweetened beverages may raise the incidence of gout and gout attacks.
They may instead increase uric acid levels by speeding up many cellular processes. People who ingested the most fructose, for example, had a 62 percent increased risk of developing gout, according to a study with over 125,000 participants.
Low-fat dairy products, soy products, and vitamin C supplements, on the other hand, have been shown in studies to help prevent gout attacks by lowering blood uric acid levels. Uric acid levels do not appear to be affected by full-fat or high-fat dairy products.
Dietary guidelines for better gout management
Purines are either endogenous (made by the body) or exogenous in the human body (consumed in food). Uric acid is formed as a waste product when exogenous purines are broken down by the liver. It is generally expelled, but this is not the case when you have gout. Uric acid accumulation is the condition’s defining feature.
Gout has long related to excessive consumption of rich foods such as fish, meat, and alcohol. Because only wealthy people with sedentary lives could usually afford these luxuries, this illness was often known as the “Disease of Kings.” As a result, it was usual practice to counsel people to avoid all these things until their symptoms subsided.
Following the discovery of purines in 1884, the practice became even more popular. People were routinely told not to eat usually nutritious items such as fish, vegetables, and fruit because they also contained the toxin.
However, our understanding of uric acid generation has vastly improved in recent years. Many plant-based high-purine meals that were earlier regarded as off-limits are now considered safe to eat.
In some patients, however, studies have shown that adhering to a gout diet may minimize the severity of symptoms and the frequency of gout attacks. A purine-rich diet raised the incidence of recurrent gout attacks fivefold among gout patients, according to a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
However, avoiding or limiting purine-rich foods, particularly those of animal origin, helped to minimize the incidence of gout attacks.
A lower purine diet may also aid in the achievement and maintenance of a healthy weight for some persons. This is significant in the context of gout because it not only lowers the likelihood of acquiring the disease, but also lowers joint pressure, reduces pain, improves function, and slows the advancement of arthritis. Gout sufferers are frequently confronted with these challenges.
Fasting? Not so fast!
Some people prefer to fast regularly. This could be for religious or health reasons, such as a desire to lose weight. It’s indeed becoming more popular, and it may help you lose weight effectively.
Although losing weight may help with gout symptoms, the Arthritis Foundation warns that fasting can cause gout symptoms if a person becomes dehydrated during fasting. When fasting, people with gout should take extra efforts to ensure that they drink adequate fluids.
In a 2014 study, participants who fasted and those who did not fast during Ramadan were compared. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and it is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community for Muslims all over the world. During Ramadan, food and fluids are restricted during daytime hours.
Despite this, the study found no evidence that persons who fasted had more gout attacks or had higher uric acid levels than those who did not fast.
Gout and Meat
I’m going to ask you to use your common sense here as well. Especially because cancer, gout, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and other ailments are all on the rise in today’s diet, compared to over a century ago. People’s diets back then consisted primarily of carbs, which burn quickly through the digestive system.
Meat intake used to be lower, but it now appears to be daily, with some people eating it at all three meals. Meat fat and blood are concentrated substances that the body cannot accept in large amounts.
We produce so many waste products while digesting them that even our overworked kidneys can’t process them correctly, resulting in disorders like gout. The issue is that we consume far too much fat in North America, roughly 40% to 50%. This needs to change if we want to reduce the risk of developing 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. You want lean and preferably cooked over a fire or on the BBQ where any fat is burnt off.
My advice to you is to eat red meat no 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 to rebuild muscle but you don’t need to eat that much of it.
Doug Paddon-Jones, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch, recently researched the Iron-man triathlon race. He concluded that 4 ounces of beef per day were sufficient to restore the muscles that athletes wore out during exercise.
However, the demand for extra protein is emphasized in marketing, and many athletes believe that consuming more protein is beneficial. Ammonia, urea, and other waste products are produced when we consume too much protein. It takes seven to eight times more water to flush away carbs through the kidneys.
Pork should be avoided at all costs since the animal is a scavenger and its’ role in nature is to eat garbage. Therefore, you should avoid bacon, ham, sausages, pork chops which can wreak havoc on your health.
Limit your intake of red meat, fish is your best source of protein. It is low on fat and it has plenty of Omega 3 oils which help drive up our HDL (good cholesterol) and drive down LDL (bad cholesterol).
Fish should be eaten 2-3 times per week, and sure, there are purines in it, but only in moderate amounts. More importantly, fish must be included in your diet. Only if you have severe gout and a high uric acid level should you eliminate it from your diet.
You can consume chicken, ideally, chicken breast, which contains 15% fat calories. Do not eat organ meat under any circumstances. Their purine levels are the highest and should be avoided, not to mention that they are quite unhealthy.
Growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, nuclear wastes, excessive levels of adrenaline, and other harmful compounds from air and ground pollution abound in today’s animal flesh. All these substances are carcinogenic, meaning they cause cancer.
Today, we discover more cancer in cows, pigs, and chickens than ever before. As a result, your kidneys will have to work extra hard to process all this waste.
Many farmers are grinding their ailing and dying cows, pigs, and chicks right now. They then integrate this “dead” and frequently “diseased” meat into their regular animal meals. As a result, “crazy cow” and “hoof and mouth” diseases develop.
We can see this now, especially in Europe, where dead sheep meat is being fed to living cows. What craziness! Cows are vegetarians by nature and eat only herbs.
Carbohydrates and the Ideal Gout Diet
After all, what exactly are carbohydrates? Many people have got it confused with calories. For example, they claim that potatoes have fewer calories than apples. I believe that when it comes to food grown from the earth, you can eat as much as you want because it is good for you. Carbohydrates are pure energy!
Fruits contain only 3% of their calories as fat, vegetables contain 5%, grains contain 5%, rice contains 4%, and oatmeal contains 15%! Carbohydrates are also beneficial to your stool, as they reduce the time it takes to transit the bowel from approximately 90 hours to approximately 33 hours. Carbohydrates are less taxing on your kidneys than meats, for sure!
So, Spiro, what exactly are you trying to say? What I recommend as an optimized gout diet is what I call “The Ideal Gout Diet,” which consists of 80 percent of your daily calories being clean carbohydrates, 10 percent being fat, and the remaining 10 percent being protein.
The problem is that the Western diet is malnourished; it contains too much fat and sugar, neither of which contains any nutrients, but they do contain a lot of empty calories and do not 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 carbs should be your main source of energy. Veggies, fruits, grains, whole-grain bread, beans, corn, whole-wheat pasta, and rice are all examples. Anything you can grow in your garden is good for you, and you can eat as much of it as you want.
Stop paying attention to the mainstream media and what this expert or that expert says on TV. Use common sense and you’ll feel great! Athletes have taught us that adding a carbohydrate diet to our exercise routine can increase our endurance by three times.
As we begin to exercise, the liver and muscles begin to store carbs in the form of glycogen (glucose). For instant energy, we store this carb, which then gives you energy and makes you feel good.
10 Steps to an Optimized Gout Diet
- Meat, poultry, fish, and nuts should account for no more than 10% of your daily protein calories. Remember to avoid seafood at all costs; you can learn more about it here.
- Limit your daily fat calories from cheese, milk, butter, eggs, and yogurt to 10% of your total daily fat calories. Saturated fat may reduce the body’s ability to eliminate uric acid and may help to prevent obesity, which has been linked to gout.
- Sugar should be limited to 25 mg per day, and foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup should be avoided.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Limit animal-based foods like gravy, bouillon, and chicken soup, as well as Jello.
- Choose complex carbohydrates as 80 percent of your daily calories from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, whole-wheat pasta, and rice. Avoid simple or refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cakes, and candy. Essentially, a low purine diet is critical for gout patients, with meats being the highest purine foods.
- Avoid eating fried and processed foods because they not only raise your uric acid levels but also raise free radicals. This may lead to the development of other diseases.
- Remember to eat everything fresh and organic, preferably locally grown in your community.
- Use olive oil instead of other oils in cooking, baking, and salad dressings. Then, serve it over pasta or baked potatoes because it is the only exception to the fat rule and may help control your uric acid. When heated, it loses its health benefits and produces free radicals, which may lead to diseases like cancer.This oil lowers blood pressure and cholesterol while increasing HDL, or good cholesterol. It has the opposite effect of other oils in that it lowers our blood sugar. As a result, it is naturally beneficial to diabetics and may aid in the prevention of heart disease and gout. Make sure it’s extra virgin olive oil that’s been cold-pressed.
Sample gout-friendly menu
It can be difficult to get started on a gout diet at first. On the one hand, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to avoid gout flare-ups. On the other hand, there is so much conflicting information out there that even simple things can seem overly convoluted.
Don’t be concerned, my friend. We’ve got your back! Remember, regardless of what we advise, your first step should be to seek advice from your doctor about dietary modifications. The following is an example of a nutritious menu that a person with gout might like.
Loaded oatmeal, with a cup of coffee, and a glass of water.
Combine the following ingredients to make loaded oatmeal:
- oats cooked with milk
- cherries and berries
- walnuts and almonds
- a salad with leafy greens, vegetables, one to two cooked eggs, fruit, avocado, flaxseed, and an olive oil-vinegar dressing
- 1 cup soup (black beans)
- a glass or two of water
- skinless chicken breasts, half a cup
- half a cup of whole grains (brown rice, barley, or another whole grain)
- broccoli, 1–2 cups
- a cup and a half of kefir
- a glass or two of water
Don’t go crazy with your schedule, but do have one
There is no particular schedule to follow when it comes to keeping an efficient gout diet plan. You can time your meals and snacks, as usual, to maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day. When you’re taking pain medication, the distinction is critical.
This is especially true if you’re on a prescription or over-the-counter drug. To alleviate stomach distress, your healthcare professional may recommend that you take the prescription with a snack or meal.
Allow time to acclimate to the gout diet when you first start. It can be a trial-and-error process to determine which foods are safe for you. While some people may tolerate moderate amounts of red meat, others may have an allergic reaction to even a small portion.
Meal plans that help treat gout symptoms
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for gout, so you’ll need to take medications to manage your symptoms. Changes based on the suggestions above, on the other hand, may be an effective method to control symptoms and prevent flare-ups in the future.
We should have well-balanced, low-purine diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products. Numerous studies have shown how useful they can be in particular.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, eating a Mediterranean-style diet may help lower uric acid levels and improve general health.
The perfect gout-friendly meal plan might look like this:
- purine-rich foods should be avoided
- include a wide range of foods that may help you manage your uric acid levels
- enable a person in achieving or maintaining a healthy weight
And here’s the message we’d like to keep emphasizing: A person can also speak with a doctor for help in developing a food plan that is tailored to their individual needs.
Exercise and weight control
We know that regular exercise and proper weight control, as well as a well-informed gout-friendly food plan, are essential for gout symptom management.
The Arthritis Foundation highlights the need of weight management for patients with gout. Obesity is linked to the development of gout. If a gout sufferer is overweight, shedding a few pounds may benefit them:
- reduce the body’s uric acid levels
- reduce the amount of pressure on painful joints
- reduce your risk of heart disease
- increase your strength and flexibility
To do so, the person should consult a doctor about a diet and activity plan that can help them manage their weight. While you’re at it, if you’re a smoker, make an appointment with a doctor and ask for a plan to help you quit.
The Mediterranean diet includes plants, grains, and healthy fats. It has the potential to aid in weight loss while also encouraging people to eat healthily.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not asking you to become a strict vegetarian because, believe me, I’m not. Although it may appear difficult at first to follow a diet that consists of eating less meat (protein) and fat (dairy, eggs, etc…), I guarantee that once you get acquainted with your new diet, your energy levels will rise, and you will definitely feel better.
I’ve noticed that when I’m disciplined and stick to this diet, I don’t get flare-ups or attacks, but my joints feel stronger because there’s less inflammation. But, yes, I am human, and I occasionally stray from my disciplined diet, which is what gets me in trouble.
Consider discipline to be the most important aspect of your diet. I know it’s much easier said than done, but you’ve got to try! It’s either that dear gout patient or an increased risk of death. You make the call!