Gout Diet Made Easy: Purine Chart and Foods to Avoid
General information about food and purine
A gout diet is a diet that contains foods that are low in purine. Purine is a substance found naturally in food and is also naturally produced by the body. Purines are broken down by the body and become uric acid.
Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid. Either the body produces too much uric acid, and/or the kidneys do not filter enough uric acid through the urine, to keep this substance from building up in the body. Gout occurs in the joints, especially the big toe, and it is extremely painful. Do not take gout lightly; it can cause serious joint damage.
Sweetened soft drinks may be worse than hard liquor for gout. New research done in Canada found a link between sweetened soft drinks and this condition. This finding was a total surprise. Two or more sweetened soft drinks per day upped gout risk by 85% This is comparable to heavy alcohol use. The soft drink industry denies any connection saying that these men may have had a family history of gout. Sweetened soft drinks do not have purines but the fructose syrup raises uric acid levels. Check out this article by Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD Health [News archives], "Blame Sweet Soda for Gout?"
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) should be avoided. Upon further research I discovered that it is now being used in almost everything. I even found it in cans of diced tomatoes. Choose regular sugar or regular corn syrup they are chemically different and do not have the problem of increasing the production of purines as does HFCS.
- It is also said that eating less acid food can reduce gout attacks. Gout prevention is more complicated than just avoiding purines.
- Any sudden change in uric acid can cause a gout attack. Diet is not the only trigger for gout, stress and alcohol are also contributors. Beer is the worst and white wine is the best. Alcohol causes increase in uric acid production. White wine does not affect uric acid as much.
- Meats and fish of all kinds are higher in purine than vegetables and fruit, although some vegetables are very high in purine—mushrooms, asparagus, and spinach.
- Why are gravy, meat extracts and broth so high on the list of foods to avoid? The reason is because the purine is leached out in the cooking process so when you make gravy from the drippings of a roasted chicken the drippings have concentrated amounts of purine leached from the chicken, It is the same for meat extracts and broth. Most people would agree that the gravy is the most yummy part of the roasted turkey or chicken. A pot roast of beef is delicious because of the gravy. Just keep in mind that gravy, broth and meat extract are concentrated purine. Check cans for concentrated meat extract.
- Try using white sauce doctored up with lots of flavorful spices and other things such as capers and olives or red peppers.
- Gout sufferers should limit the amount of whole grain bread and oatmeal because they are in the medium category.
- If you want to off-set anything high in purine—have a salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes are of the lowest in purines—just don't put mushrooms and spinach in your salad. A boiled potato with the skin on is also good. If you combine a medium or high purine with a really low purine you can still eat what you enjoy. Try to achieve a balance everyday so there is no sudden change in your uric acid.
- For example: If you have roast duck, don't have gravy, mushrooms, and asparagus.
- Limit alcohol, especially beer (yeast is not your friend). If you drink vodka you are better with vodka made with potatoes. White wine has the least affect.
- Cherries have an unproven reputation of being good for gout—they do have the lowest content of purine—so eat up the cherries.
- Pineapple is also good for gout because of its anti-inflammatory effects.
- Celery stimulates urine production, including the seeds sprinkle lots of celery seed on as much as possible.
- Low fat dairy products like skim milk and yogurt have been shown to lower uric acid. Feel free to load up on dairy products.
- Do not let yourself get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water and skim milk. Remember to go easy on any drinks with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Sugar, however, is the lesser of two evils (article by Charlene Laino, WebMD Health News).
- Keep in mind that even if you eat a good low purine diet everyday and just this once you want to eat a really high purine food the problem is not only higher uric acid, but also a sudden change in uric acid both of which can cause a gout flare up. All gout sufferers are not the same and do not respond to the same triggers. So pay attention to what caused your gout attack: Did you have shrimp three days in a row, or a wild birthday party in which you drank far too much or maybe some stressful situation.
- In any case if you have gout, a low purine diet will help keep it under control.
The Gout Diet: Purine Guide
The list below shows which foods are high, medium, and low in purine. Use this guide to control your purine intake.
- Roe (fish eggs).
- Fish such as herring and mackerel.
- Scallops and mussels.
- Game meats, like goose, duck, and partridge.
- Organ meats: brains, heart, kidney, liver, sweetbreads.
- Meat extracts.
- Broth, bouillon, and consommé.
- Yeast (baker’s and brewer’s) taken in the form of a supplement.
- Fish and shellfish not on the high purine list above.
- Poultry foods not on the high purine list above.
- Beef, lamb, pork, other red meats not on the high purine list above.
- Dried beans, peas, lentils.
- Green peas.
- Oats and oatmeal.
- Wheat germ and bran.
- Whole grain breads and cereals.
Low-purine foods and beverages:
- Eggs (limit to 3 to 4 per week).
- Nuts and peanut butter.
- Low-fat and fat-free cheeses and ice cream.
- Milk: skim or 1% (limit to 24 ounces per day).
- Cream-style soups made with low-fat milk.
- Soups made without meat extract or broth.
- Vegetable not on the lists above.
- Fruits and juices.
- Breads cereals: low fiber, white flour, or refined grain.
- Pasta and macaroni.
- Soda. Soda is low in purines but high in HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Sierra Mist is the only one I know of that is made with regular sugar. Soda with HFCS is as bad as alcohol. Tea in the bottle is often sweetened with HFCS and should be avoided. All drinks with HFCS should be avoided by gout sufferers.
- Coffee and tea.
- Cake and cookies.
- Fats and oils in small amounts.
- Sugar, syrup, and other sweets in small amounts.
- Anything containing high fructose corn syrup
- Pineapple (has special qualities that are good for gout it is anti inflamitory)
- Potato (cooked with skin)
- Cheese, cottage
- Cheese, brie
- Cheese, edam
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.