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Your Diet Plan to Help Ease Gout Symptoms

Gout symptoms diet

Do you suffer from gout? Here is how to adjust your diet to ease symptoms quickly.


Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis, brought about by high levels of uric acid. One of the risk factors for gout is being overweight. Thankfully, there is a diet solution that can help both your pain and your waist size.

Doctors have long known that eating food sources of purines contribute to gout symptoms. Purines are substances that the body converts to uric acid. When excess uric acid in the blood builds up too quickly, it is deposited as needle-shaped crystals in the tissues of the body – especially the joints – causing intense pain.

Foods that are very high in purines include:
• Organ meats, such as liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and brains
• Meats, including bacon, beef, pork, and lamb
• Game meats
• Any other meats in large amounts
• Anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, and scallops
• Gravy
• Beer

New research however also shows that in addition to limiting the above foods, choosing foods lower in glycemic index may also be associated with a reduction in uric acid levels, especially in those who are overweight or obese. Interestingly, the amount of carbohydrate in the diet did not affect the onset of gout or incidence of flares, so the diet overall does not need to be low carb. However, selecting the appropriate carbs appeared to be helpful.

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food causes blood sugar levels to rise. The GI ranks food on a scale of 0 to 100, with foods at the higher end being rapidly digested and absorbed and therefore causing a rapid rise in blood glucose. Most often, these foods are refined or highly processed.

Foods at the lower end of the GI scale are digested and absorbed at a slower rate and the rise in blood sugar is not as rapid. These foods are typically rich in fiber, protein, and/or fat – all of which are digested more slowly. And typically, diets centered on mostly low-GI foods can make it easier to achieve a healthy weight, as they keep you full longer.

Low GI foods have also been shown to improve insulin resistance and lower cholesterol in people with Type 2 Diabetes.

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Below are some examples of High, Moderate, and Low GI foods from the American Diabetes Association:

Low GI Foods (55 or less)
• 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
• Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli
• Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar
• Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
• Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

Medium GI (56-69)
• Whole wheat, rye and pita bread
• Quick oats
• Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous

High GI (70 or more)
• White bread or bagel
• Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
• Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
• Russet potato, pumpkin
• Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
• melons and pineapple

Journal Reference:
“Effects of Lowering Glycemic Index of Dietary Carbohydrate on Plasma Uric Acid Levels”, Arthritis and Rheumatology (Journal), May 2016. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.39527/epdf

Additional References:
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) – National Institutes of Health.
American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
American Diabetes Association

Photo Credit:
By Charles Haynes (Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons

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