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The Food That Causes Gout. Avoid This Food And Be Gout Free

Updated on June 30, 2010

Gout usually impacts the big toe first

A typical gout attack
A typical gout attack

Gout symptoms

Gout usually presents originally in the big toe. The pain can come on overnight, and is intense! Generally there will be redness, swelling and did I mention pain (oh the pain!)

What gout sufferers may not be aware of is that the gout attack is only the tip of the iceberg, and is the ultimate outcome of the problem that causes gout in the first place. While the gout attacks themselves might come and go, the underlying hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels) is the real problem that needs to be fixed.

Funny gout video below...

Have a look at this guys video. Note that he used medication to look after his gout and it didn't work! Medication is not always the answer for gout.

What happens if you eat too much food that causes gout!

Purines. The ingredient in food that causes gout.

All food that causes gout has one thing in common – a high level of purines.

Purines are natural substances found in virtually all foods. They provide part of the chemical structure of the genes of animals and plants. However there are some foods that contain particularly high levels of purines.

For the most part, these high-purine foods are also high-protein foods, and they include

  • organ meats such as kidny, liver, sweetbreads
  • some fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines
  • other seafood like mussels
  • yeast products such as bread, marmite and beer (is that a food?)

During metabolism, these purines are converted into uric acid. While this is a normal process, an excess of uric acid in the system can eventuate. This may happen if there is too much uric acid is being created, or not enough is being excreted. Once the concentration of uric acid reaches a certain level it can begin to crystallise. Crystallisation of a substance occurs when the concentration is so high that the substance cannot stay dissolved.

Urate crystals are needle-shaped crystals, which will start to accumulate in the joints. When the body reacts to the irritation caused by these crystals a sufferer will experience what is commonly known as a gout attack. This is where the affected joint will swell up and become very hot, and incredibly painful. Many people describe this pain as the most severe pain they have ever felt in their life!

A gout attack will often come on during the night, and the normal place for a first-time gout attack is in the big toe. However gout can affect any joints, and if a gout sufferer does nothing to change the underlying high uric acid problem the gout will become more frequent and show up in more places. Eventually the sufferer may end up with chronic gout and the damage being done to the joints can be permanent. This alone should be motivation enough for a gout sufferer to get their problem under control.

There is medication that can help reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood. Some commonly used medications are Allopurinol and Colchicine. Unfortunately these medications are known to have some pretty serious side effects in some people. For example, people who take allopurinol may have an allergic reaction and develop a skin rash. These people cannot ever take allopurinol again. Other medications are known to cause nausea and vomiting.

Understanding the nature of the food that causes gout is a vital step in learning how to reverse the process, and to cure gout pain completely. By avoiding foods high in purines the sufferer can limit the new production of uric acid in the blood, stop the urate crystals from forming, and allow the body to slowly remove the existing urate from the system with overreacting and causing a gout attack.

It is also known that there are certain foods good for gout. Because gout is a disease caused by an acidic condition, alkaline foods and water are thought to help offset the problem.

Cherries are often touted as a “magical” cure for gout, as are a whole range of other alkaline foods. Note however that some of these alkaline foods may actually be high in purines (eg cauliflower), so it is sometimes hard to know whether an alkaline food is a food that causes gout, or it is one of the foods that help gout attacks begin in the first place.

There are many people that hail baking soda as a remedy for gout. However it is a treatment that must be handled with care, as taking the wrong amount or taking it in the wrong fashion can cause other problems such as nausea or feeling very bloated. Make sure you know how much to take and how to take it!

Other ways of minimising gout issues include losing weight and cutting back on alcohol. Also certain natural remedies are often used for gout, such as milk thistle, devil’s claw and nettle.

Whatever method you choose you use to cure gout it is vital that you do something. Gout does not just come and go. The attacks do, but the underlying problem, being the excess uric acid, will still remain and will continue causing permanent damage.

For a start – make sure you understand that it is largely certain food that causes gout. Cut back on the problem foods and you will slowly be able to get rid of the problem.

Gout can get progressively worse and become a chronic problem

For the gout sufferer the occasional gout attack can often be seen as nothing more than an occasional inconvenience, albeit a very painful one.

While someone is experiencing only occasional gout attacks it may not occur to them that unless they address the underlying problem of hyperuricemia the gout attacks will continue.

And not only will they continue, but the problems will worsen and may eventually lead to permanent damage in the joints.

Gout attacks only occur after

  • the sufferer has ingested a high level of purines (found in high quantities in foods that cause gout)
  • the purines have been metabolised into uric acid
  • the concentration of uric acid has become so high that the uric acid begins to come out of solution (crystallised into urate salts)
  • the uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints, causing aggravation and damage to the tissues
  • the body decides to fight back - flooding the area with fluids in its attempt to destroy the crystals causing the problems

The gout attack is only this last stage of the steps above. All the other things must have taken place also.

When someone has a gout attack they will often treat only the outward physical symptoms of gout, being the swelling, redness and pain. After a couple of days this pain subsides and the sufferer can simply go back to normal life. However the underlying hyperuricemia is still present, still causing urate crystals and still damaging the joint.

Only once the sufferer realises that it is the purines in his food that causes gout, and begins to eliminate the problem foods from his diet, can he be truly on the way to recovering from gout.

With gout, diet is really the most important thing. Get that right, supplement if you need to, and the gout will go away permanently!

Gout Diet (aka Hyperuricemia Diet)

Gout Diet – Best Solution to Cure Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis which happens due to the build up of uric acid in between the joints which causes severe inflammation. Uric acid is usually filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. Those who have gout do so because they have an over production of uric acid or also because it isn’t getting filtered out of their system properly. Uric acid is a natural acid that already exists in the body but it can be increased with an over consumption of foods high in purine. Purine is normally broken down and turned into uric acid to take it out of the body. Those who have gout or may be at risk of getting it need to avoid consumption of foods that are high in purines, following a proper gout diet.

Avoid Food with High Purines

Foods that are high in fat or cholesterol are normally also high in purines. For this reason, a gout diet is one which includes low fat foods. Foods to avoid with gout include those high in protein, because it can contain concentrations of purines. These are usually meat products such as red meat, and fish. Specifically mackerel, oysters, and sardines are foods that can cause gout, if they are not avoided. Foods that are high in protein such as poultry and pork are also bad for those with gout. You should also avoid consuming organ meat such as heart, liver, and kidney ,as these prove to be foods that cause gout. Other foods associated with meat such as broth, caviar and bouillon can cause high production of uric acid within your system.

Other Food Product Causing Gout – What to Eat and What to Avoid?

Other foods that cause gout are also dairy products and vegetables because they can be high in purines. Dairy products that have a lot of fat like whole milk, butter, and cheese can cause gout. You can replace these with foods for gout such as low-fat or non-fat dairy products or even soy products. Vegetables that cause gout include mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, and peas. Also there are foods that cause gout flares which are lentil beans and yeast. This is why beer should be avoided since it is a product made from yeast. Those with gout should avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages altogether.

An increase in the consumption of purines is not the only cause of a high concentration of uric acid in the body. This can also occur when the kidney fails to take uric acid out of the body through urine. For this reason people with gout should consume a lot of water.

Foods for gout include tofu, olive oil, and nuts. These foods help the kidney get rid of uric acid from the bloodstream. A gout diet should be high in complex carbohydrates. Foods that are high in carbs include certain vegetables, fruit, bread, and pasta and can help in getting rid of some of the symptoms of gout.

See here for a more comprehensive list of foods that cause gout. Also on that site you will find a list of gout-friendly foods.

Food That Causes Gout Quiz

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Comment on the Food That Causes Gout Hubpage here

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    • almasi profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for an informative hub on gout

    • AllanChan profile image


      9 years ago from Singapore And UK

      Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article on gout.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Gout is INCREDIBLY painful! Some say it is the closest that a man can get to understanding childbirth :)

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      9 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Fascinating - thanks for the info. I have cut down on alcohol to fight the weight gain. I have heard gout is very painful. Great Hub!


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