Foods to Avoid With Gout -
The Shocking Truth

Have you been told that the foods to avoid with gout are meats and other proteins that contain purines?

The shocking truth is that health professionals still believe this.Yet scientists have known since the 1960's that a low-purine diet won’t help your gout.

Why not?

Because what causes gout is too much uric acid in your blood. Purines don’t raise your uric acid levels.

Fructose does.

The good news is that meats and other purine-rich foods are NOT gout foods to avoid.

In this article, you'll learn what you do need to avoid, but first you might be wondering...


What's Fructose?

Fructose is a natural sugar that is one of the ingredients in almost every type of sugar and sugar-sweetened food.

Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are the worst of all carbohydrates when it comes to uric acid and gout. © Karen Alison

Sweet-and-deadly fructose is linked to...

  • gout
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • kidney and liver damage
  • digestive trouble including Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Science writer Gary Taubes says, “fructose increases serum [blood] levels of uric acid.”

Fructose is one scary sugar and one of the most important foods to avoid with gout!

“…sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup [are] the worst of all carbohydrates when it comes to uric acid and gout,” adds Taubes.

Whether your sugar is white, brown, Demerara, icing, or raw, it is 50 percent fructose. So any type of food that has sugar in it - even naturally-occurring sugars - is high on the list of foods to avoid with gout.

Are potato chips and peanuts okay?

My dad had gout and one of his favourite snacks was Pringle’s potato chips, dry roasted peanuts, and chocolate bars… washed down with some red wine. He also loved wieners and beans.

Except for the wine, what do all those things have in common?

Lots of sugar!

Yes, there’s sugar in hot dogs, Pringle’s potato chips and dry roasted peanuts. In fact, there can be two or more types of sugar:

  • maltodextrin – which is from corn or wheat,
  • regular sugar,
  • corn syrup,
  • high-fructose corn syrup, and
  • dextrose – sugar made from corn or wheat.

I think if he’d just had the red wine.. maybe with some chicken and salad, he would have been okay. Unfortunately, my dad's snack list was almost completely made up of foods to avoid with gout...

Dr. Mercola points out that the other huge problem with potato chips and other foods that are cooked at high temperatures is... the intense heat creates a chemical called acrylamide. It causes cancer and may damage your brain. Since my dad ended up with dementia, I think it's more than a possibility.

So, if you're going to eat peanuts, eat the plain ones. Make your own baked potato chips, since you aren't likely to use as high temperatures as a commercial bakery. Potatoes don't contain much fructose but they are very starchy, so if you're watching your weight, they're not your best choice.


What about fruit? Doesn't it contain fructose?

Yes. All fruit contains fructose. But the fructose in fruit is balanced by all the good nutrients. So low-fructose fruits should be fine to eat.

The big exception to the "no-fructose" rule is cherries.

Cherries are full of healing anthocyanins that seem to cancel out the negative effects of the fructose, making them one of the top home remedies for gout.  


But I love sweets!

I know. I do, too.

The problem is, they don’t love you back.

In fact, a big secret I learned from years of dealing with my own sugar addiction is something that no one tells you about...

Sweets – or refined carbohydrates – really ARE addictive. It’s not just your mind playing tricks on you.

Sugars trigger feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin... the same neurotransmitters that are released when you fall in love!

So if you’ve been consuming lots of the foods to avoid with gout, like bread, cookies, ice cream, chocolate bars, soda pop and other high-carbohydrate foods, and then you stop, you’re going to feel pretty bad at first.

This is called “carbohydrate withdrawal” and it’s just like drug withdrawal.

You could have headaches, cold- or flu-like symptoms, depression for no reason, anxiety, digestive symptoms, and terrible cravings for the very foods you’re trying to stay off.

It can last for a few days up to a few weeks. No wonder it’s hard to go off the stuff!

The good part is, once you get past the withdrawal symptoms, you’re going to feel great – probably better than you ever did before. I did.

Foods to avoid with gout - the short list

The most important thing to do when you buy food is to READ LABELS. When you do, you'll be shocked by all the sugars in foods you thought were safe. Near the bottom of this article, you'll find a list of 25 hidden sugars to watch out for.

Here's the short list of the foods to avoid with gout. You can scroll down to get more details about why it's crucial to dump them if you want to heal your gout.

  1. Processed foods, junk food
  2. Carbonated beverages
  3. Sugar-sweetened anything, which includes anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup
  4. Diet foods and artificial sweeteners
  5. Sweetened dairy foods
  6. High fructose fruits - low-fructose fruits like blueberries and peaches are fine.

So what CAN you eat? 

What you can eat is real food that tastes delicious and makes your body healthy - instead of fake food that gives you the “diseases of civilization.” What could be better than that?

Eat these nourishing foods...

  • Organic, free-range meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and home-made yogurt
  • High quality fats and oils such as butter, flax oil, coconut oil, omega 3 fish oil, animal fats from free-range, grass-fed animals
  • Green and orange vegetables
  • Low fructose fruits
  • Nuts, seeds, nut butters

Since food is probably the best of all home remedies for gout, do yourself a favour and read about Paleo food. Paleo is a way of eating that has enormous health benefits and will make it simple for you to avoid foods that cause gout.


Avoid processed foods

Processed foods and junk foods top the list of foods to avoid with gout because so many of them are full of sugar, fructose, and refined carbohydrates. The exact things that will make your gout worse!

Unless you make a habit of reading labels closely, you’ll be shocked to discover how many food items have sugar and fructose in them.

Here are some you might never suspect:

  • ketchup
  • many mustards
  • deli meats, bacon
  • potato chips and crisps – especially flavoured varieties
  • soups and sauces
  • roasted and coated nuts
  • peanut butter, other nut butters
  • some vegetable dishes
  • frozen dinners
  • salad dressings
  • crackers, cereal – even whole grain versions
  • tobacco (okay, that’s not a food, but would you expect it to be sweetened?)

Dump the fizzy drinks

Pretty much ALL carbonated drinks are sweetened, lots of them with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS.) Definitely "foods" to avoid with gout!

In fact, one study showed that drinking only two sugary sodas a day increases your chance of having gout by 85 percent! Perhaps this is because so many are sweetened with HFCS.

The only unsweetened fizzy drink is soda water or sparkling water. However, I’m wary even of these beverages.

I once drank a so-called “unsweetened” sparkling water that tasted suspiciously sweet and made me feel spacey and uncomfortable for the rest of the evening, then gave me a headache. So choose your drinks carefully!

If you like fizzy drinks, make your own with plain, unflavoured sparkling water and cherry juice. This way you’ll get your cherry gout benefits and enjoy a carbonated beverage without all the problems that other types of soft drinks cause.


What about diet soda?

If you want something sweet, diet soda or any other artificially-sweetened food or drink is not your best choice when you have gout.

Why?

Two reasons...

1) One of the known side effects of artificial sweeteners is joint pain!!!

One of the known side effects of artificial sweeteners is joint pain. © Karen Alison

Not something you want more of with gout.

2) If you have gout, you may be overweight. The taste of sweetness – even if the sweetener has no calories – triggers your body to produce more insulin and that will make you hungry. So the artificial sweetener makes you eat more, not less. 

Dr. Mercola lists these problems with diet soda and artificial sweeteners:

  • headaches, migraines
  • brain tumours, memory loss
  • depression
  • insomnia symptoms
  • heart rate changes, seizures


Dangerous dairy

Dairy foods that are sweetened with sugar or have fruit in them are definitely foods to avoid with gout. The fructose in them will raise your uric acid levels and may trigger an attack.

Watch out for these sugary dairy foods when you have gout:

  • Strawberry milk and other fruit milks
  • Chocolate milk
  • Milk shakes
  • Egg nog
  • Ice cream
  • Yogurt – except for plain, unsweetened versions
  • Cheeses and cheese spreads containing fruit
Foods to avoid with gout - sugary dairy foods like chocolate milk. © Karen Alison

Dairy foods are the top allergen which means that more people react badly to dairy and have dairy-related health problems than to any other food group (although grains run a close second.)

One way to get the dairy products out of your life is to try a Paleo or Primal style of eating. This eating style makes it simple to stay off the foods to avoid with gout.


High fructose fruits

Isn’t fruit supposed to be good for you? Well, not when you have gout. All fruit contains fructose, which is a big problem for gout sufferers.

The exception is sweet or tart cherries which are one of the best home remedies for gout.

Fruit today is quite different than it was over a hundred years ago. Growers have bred modern fruits so they are much bigger and sweeter than ever in history – and have higher levels of fructose.

Unfortunately, that does make them foods to avoid with gout - even though we're often told that we should eat plenty of fruit. The best fruits for gout are the ones you can find in their wild state, such as berries. They are among the lowest in fructose.

If you love fruit and have gout, avoid the ones that have the highest amounts of fructose:

  • all dried fruit – dates, raisins, figs, apricots, etc.
  • grapes
  • bananas
  • mangos and plantains
  • apples and pears
  • watermelon
  • persimmon
  • fruit juice – which is basically concentrated fruit (and concentrated fructose), except for cherry juice

Sugar-sweetened anything

I think it’s fairly clear by now that the most important foods to avoid with gout are anything that's full of sugar and fructose. They will NOT help your gout. Whatever you choose to eat and drink will either be your best home remedies for gout, or your worst enemies.

Sugar is 50 percent fructose and when you have gout, it’s important to keep your daily fructose levels as low as possible.

What is a low level? 20-25 grams of fructose or less. If you drink an 8-ounce glass of a soft drink, you’ve just consumed 14-16 grams of fructose. Two glasses and you’re over the limit.

A glass of orange juice contains almost as much as a carbonated beverage, so put it on your list of gout foods to avoid.

But sugars and fructose can be tricky to notice in foods. We all know that cookies, cake and ice cream have sugar in them, but who would guess that luncheon meats do? Or cream of tomato soup? Or “health” cereals?

If you really want to know which foods to avoid with gout, READ LABELS! Sugars come from many sources and have many different names.

25 hidden sugars to watch out for:  

You already know about sucrose (regular white sugar) and fructose. Here are 25 names for other sugars:

  1. Agave nectar (which is often cut with high fructose corn syrup)
  2. Any syrup, any malt
  3. Barley malt
  4. Black strap molasses
  5. Caramel
  6. Coconut sugar
  7. Date sugar
  8. Dextrose
  9. Fruit juice concentrate (except for cherry juice concentrate)
  10. Galactose
  11. Glucose (If you could get plain glucose, it would be easier on your system than fructose but ALL concentrated sweeteners are a health nightmare unless you are extremely fit and can burn them off quickly. Most of us are not in that category.)
  12. High fructose corn syrup
  13. Honey
  14. Icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar
  15. Lactose
  16. Maltodextrin
  17. Maltose
  18. Maple syrup
  19. Palm sugar
  20. Rice syrup
  21. Sorbitol, mannitol (“ols” are sugar alcohols and some are linked to gas, bloating and diarrhea) Pure xylitol does not contain fructose so is probably the best of sugar alcohols. It's made from birch.
  22. Sucanat
  23. Treacle
  24. Turbinado, Demerara
  25. Unrefined cane juice; cane juice crystals

Why so much sugar, sugar, sugar everywhere? Well, for one thing, sugar is a preservative and gives foods a longer shelf life.

Sweeteners make you want to eat more because of the way they affect your brain. Sweets make your brain produce more dopamine – a feel-good brain chemical. Who wants to give up all that pleasure?

But the more you eat those foods to avoid with gout, the more you want – as with any addictive substance.

It can also be difficult to go off sweets if you have an overgrowth of candida yeast. Sweets are the food of that yeast and of other unfriendly microbes in your digestive tract. 

The best thing to do is starve them out by avoiding sweets, and rebalance your friendly "flora" with probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and other fermented foods.  

If you want something sweet, try stevia, a natural herbal sweetener that will not trigger your brain’s addiction to sweets, feed those bad microbes like candida, affect your blood sugar or your gout.

Look for stevia rebaudiana - all the sweetness without the bitter aftertaste sometimes associated with stevia. Stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so just use a tiny amount as a serving.

And if you have trouble staying away from the foods to avoid with gout, use EFT tapping, a simple technique that helps with cravings.

Related articles:

What causes gout? Probably not what you thought.

Cherries for gout - This little fruit is packed with gout-healing nutrients.

What is the Paleo diet? Discover a delicious way of eating that makes it simple to stay away from the foods to avoid with gout.

Is your leaky gut syndrome causing your chronic health problem? Find out about sneaky leaky gut and how to fix it.

Toenail Fungus remedies that work! Powerful home remedies for fungal nails.


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