Got Gout?
Because you're overweight?

If you suffer from gout (also referred to as "gouty arthritis"), or know someone who does, you know how painful and annoying the discomfort can be. Although it predominately affects men, gout also affects women after menopause. Symptoms of gout are swelling, redness, and inflammation of the foot which can cause inability to walk or wear shoes.

Gout occurs when too much uric acid, the end product of protein metabolism, is produced in the body. In small amounts, uric acid is harmless, but when levels get too high, the kidneys are not able to adequately excrete it and it builds up in the blood. Uric acid is then deposited in joints beginning with the large toe on one foot (podagra) and can spread to the knees and upper leg. Purines, contained in the food we eat, can also exacerbate gout.

Known causes of gout include obesity, a genetic disorder, or a high protein diet, and many times, the combination of two or all of these. If you have gout due to any of these reasons, dietary modification and medication can help control it.

Restriction of high protein foods - meat, eggs, milk, and cheese - is necessary to reduce uric acid production. Some people report that eliminating foods containing purines is helpful, like sardines, anchovies, shrimp, salt, liver, animal entails, pickles, honey, baking soda, legumes (beans, nuts, peas), and alcohol. At one time, it was thought that theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and colas would exacerbate gout, but further research revealed that the breakdown products of these foods are not deposited in gouty fluids. If dietary modification doesn't alleviate the symptoms, see your doctor for medication.

Do you have gout because you're overweight? Weight loss can be achieved by including more fruit and vegetables in your diet and by decreasing high fat, high protein foods. These dietary changes create a dual effect in helping to eliminate gout - fruit and vegetables, while helping you to lose weight, won't elevate uric acid levels.

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to assist the kidneys in flushing out excess uric acid. A mild exercise program to promote gradual weight loss is highly recommended. But beware! Vigorous exercise and rapid loss of weight can generate a buildup of uric acid in the blood.

In summary, here are a few things you can do to help control or eliminate gout:

  • Decrease the amount of protein in your diet by limiting meat, cheese, eggs, and milk.
  • Eat more complex carbohydrates - fruit, vegetables, grains, and starches. These foods will not contribute to gout.
  • Try restricting foods containing purines to see if it helps.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Exercise regularly and moderately.
  • Ask your doctor about medication that can help.

Note: Other obesity related diseases in addition to gout are diabetes, insomnia, arthritis, heart disease, fatty liver, cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, and gallbladder disease.

Where do you get your nutrition information? Most states now have licensure laws for Dietitians and Nutritionists. Be sure your nutrition advisor is "Licensed" by the State as a Licensed Dietitian (LD) or Licensed Nutritionist (LN), or in states that don't have licensure laws, a Registered Dietitian.




CarboH, Inc.
Barbara Herondorf, L.D.