Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout

Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout

Arthritis is a common complaint affecting almost one in four people in the United States. Gout — a particular type of arthritis that most often affects people whose kidneys cannot eliminate enough uric acid from their urine — strikes more than eight million individuals, resulting in sudden and severe pain. Fortunately, watching what you eat and avoiding certain foods can help decrease flare-ups.

As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our experienced staff treat a variety of injuries at our private practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. But our expertise does not end there; we also provide state-of-the-art treatment for individuals with chronic orthopedic conditions, including gout.

What is gout?

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that typically begins with pain and swelling of the big toe, though it can occur in any joint. Symptoms often come on suddenly during the night and are characterized by intense pain for 4-12 hours. After this time, the pain decreases and is replaced by discomfort for several days to a few weeks.

Subsequent attacks tend to last longer and involve more joints. They can also result in joint damage and a limited range of motion.

What is the cause of gout?

Too much uric acid in the blood can cause urate crystals to form in the joint and result in gout. Typically the kidneys remove uric acid, but in some people, either their bodies produce too much of it, or their kidneys can't get rid of enough and a build-up occurs.

High levels can result from diet, being overweight, age, gender, and family history. Medical conditions and certain medications can also cause an issue.

Decreasing uric acid through diet

Some risk factors are out of a person's control, but others, like diet, can be modified. Foods high in purines can trigger an attack. These include:

Foods and drinks with high sugar content or high fructose corn syrup

Regular sugar is made up of half fructose, which becomes uric acid when broken down, while high fructose corn syrup is a concentrated form of fructose.


In addition to some alcohol types being high in purines, alcohol reduces the kidneys' ability to excrete uric acid.

Some meats and sauces

Meat, like beef, pork, lamb, and bacon, are high in purines, as are organ meats like liver, sweetbreads, and more. Veal, venison, and goose plus gravy and meat sauces are high as well. Even turkey (especially processed deli turkey) is a problem.

Certain seafood

Avoid tuna, scallops, herring, mussels, trout, codfish, and haddock to help keep uric acid levels in check.

Yeast and yeast extract

These two ingredients also have a significant amount of purines.

If you're experiencing gout, making changes to your diet may help. However, medications — both to treat an attack and aid in reducing the chances of another — are important, too. Call our office today at 405-233-3602 to make an appointment and find out what treatment options are right for you. You can also schedule a visit online. 

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