Chances are if you suffer from gout you are not a teetotalling vegetarian. The list of foods to avoid if you have gout is extensive and includes the kind of things that most of us enjoy eating on a regular basis. (Vegetarians do occasionally have gout, but usually due to genetic causes.)
Foods to Avoid
Top on that list is red meat with lamb and organ meats having the highest of purines which break down into uric acid. In gout sufferers, the uric acid does not break down and can accumulate as crystals in the joints and other organs. Fish, especially tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines and anchovies can be gout triggers. Wild game is another food very high in purines and should be avoided altogether. Additionally, sea scallops are a high purine offender, but the good news is that shrimp, crab, oysters and lobsters are not quite as high in purines and are better tolerated by most as long as they are not eaten in excess.
Many of us enjoy a cold beer or two on occasion but it turns out that beer is a gout trigger because as it breaks down in the body it causes a spike in uric acid levels. More bad news about beer is that it causes dehydration making the blood more concentrated and often causes uric acid to crystallize in this environment. Health care professionals usually advise gout sufferers to avoid alcohol altogether. Wine is least offensive as a gout trigger but only in moderate amounts.
Next on the list of things to be avoided by those with gout is sugary sodas and other sweet drinks. High fructose corn syrup is used in most sweetened drinks and stimulates the production of uric acid. High fructose corn syrup is implicated in other health problems including diabetes and insulin resistant obesity. Most health care providers recommend herbal teas, unsweetened drinks and plain water. It is vitally important that those with gout maintain good hydration.
Even some fruits and vegetables can trigger gout flare ups. Dates, plums, pears and especially raisins are known to be offenders. Vegetables found to be triggers are mushrooms, peas, cauliflower, garbanzo beans, and asparagus. However, these plant-based foods do not trigger uric acid formation in the same way that animal protein does and have been found to be more well tolerated by those with gout.
How to Use this List
If you suffer from gout this list of offending foods and drinks can be pretty discouraging. Each one of us with gout appears to have different triggers and are able to tolerate some of the above-mentioned foods but not others. Health care professionals encourage those with gout to evaluate which foods cause their gout flares and avoid them or at least cut back on their consumption. Consult with your health care provider if you have questions about gout.