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Diet and Gout

Topic Overview

Purines (specific chemical compounds found in some foods) are broken down into uric acid. A diet rich in purines from certain sources can raise uric acid levels in the body, which sometimes leads to gout. Meat and seafood may increase your risk of gout. Dairy products may lower your risk.

Foods to limit (very high in purines):

  • 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

Foods to eat occasionally (moderately high in purines, but may not raise your risk of gout):

  • Fish and seafood (other than high purine seafood)
  • Oatmeal, wheat bran, and wheat germ

Foods that are safe to eat (low in purines):

  • Green vegetables and tomatoes
  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Breads and cereals that are not whole-grain
  • Butter, buttermilk, cheese, and eggs
  • Chocolate and cocoa
  • Coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages
  • Peanut butter and nuts

Dairy products that may lower your risk of gout:

  • Low-fat or nonfat milk
  • Low-fat yogurt

If you have experienced a gout attack or have high uric acid in your blood (hyperuricemia), it may help to reduce your intake of meat, seafood, and alcohol.1

Changing your diet may help lower your risk of having future attacks of gout. Doctors recommend that overweight people who have gout reach and stay at a healthy body weight by getting moderate exercise daily and regulating their fat and caloric intake.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Gomez FE, Kaufer-Horwitz M (2012). Medical nutrition therapy for rheumatic disease. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed., pp. 901–922. St Louis: Saunders.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Last Revised June 12, 2012

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