6 Foods to Avoid With Gout

  • man cooking food on stove
    Start With a Healthy Diet
    Regular gout attacks can be a painful reality for many. They happen when high levels of uric acid in your blood cause crystals to build up around a joint. Uric acid is produced when the body breaks down a chemical called purine, which occurs naturally in your body but is also found in certain foods. While there is no specific diet known to prevent gout attacks, you can help control your uric acid levels by following a healthy, balanced diet — rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats — and avoiding specific foods.

  • Cutting Board with Meat
    1. Red Meat
    Certain red meats have high levels of purine and may contribute to gout. One study found that each additional serving of purine-rich red meat was associated with a 21 percent increase in the risk of gout in men over age 40. Your joints may benefit from limiting your red meat proteins, such as beef, lamb and pork, and replacing them with leaner options, like chicken or fish. Also, avoid organ and glandular meats, such as liver, kidney and sweetbreads, which also have high purine levels.

  • shrimp-and-avocado-salad
    2. Some Seafood
    Certain types of seafood are higher in purines than others, especially shellfish like shrimp, lobster and mussels. Other selected seafood, such as herring, trout, haddock, mackerel, tuna, anchovies and sardines also have higher levels of purines, so you may want to limit these choices when you can.

  • Asiago and gouda cheeses  with crackers
    3. High-Fat Cheese
    Since following a healthy, balanced diet is one of your best defenses against gout, you also want to limit the amount of fat in your diet. Try cutting back on saturated fats found in high-fat dairy products, such as cheese, as well as fried foods and fatty poultry. If this feels like a huge change from your current diet, take it one item at a time. For example, reduce high-fat cheese from 3 or 4 times a week to 1 time a week before cutting back on other foods. Try substituting some of your favorite dairy products with low-fat or fat-free products, such as skim milk or low-fat yogurt.

  • Coke
    4. Sugary Drinks
    Limiting artificially sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks and juices that contain high-fructose corn syrup, can also be beneficial for your overall health, which may help your gout. In one study, men who drank 5 to 6 servings of fructose-sweetened soft drinks per week were more likely to have gout. If soft drinks are your drink of choice, try gradually switching to a flavored sparkling water instead (just be sure it’s not artificially sweetened).

  • African American businessman looking at cafe menu
    5. Processed Foods
    While fructose is a sugar that’s found naturally in fruits and vegetables, it’s also a key ingredient in many processed foods, such as  store-bought baked goods, ice cream, candy and many fast foods. Always read product labels to be sure the item doesn’t contain fructose or corn syrup. Also, try to limit the number of times you eat out per week to ensure you aren’t loading up on unwanted fructose. 

  • two pints of beer in pub
    6. Beer and Distilled Liquors
    Alcohol can raise the level of uric acid in your blood and contribute to a gout attack. But you don’t need to give up your favorite drink, especially if it’s wine. Beer and distilled liquors (such as brandy, whiskey and rum) are the beverages that contain the largest amounts of purines. While there’s no scientific proof that they lead to gout attacks, it may help to cut back on these, not just for your gout but for your overall health.

Gout Diet | Gout

About The Author

Susan Fishman is a veteran freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience in consumer and patient education. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, and on numerous other national health, wellness and parenting sites. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling at Georgia State University.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Oct 8
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