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Although alcohol has been associated with gout for centuries, a breakthrough study verified the connection for the first time. The study, reported in The Lancet (April 17, 2004), found that beer was the worst choice for gout, followed by spirits. For 12 years, the researchers tracked 47,150 men with no history of gout. When the study ended in 1998, 730 men (~2%) had developed gout.
The researchers found that, the greater the daily alcohol consumption was, the more likely gout was to develop. The disease was >2 times as likely to occur in men who drank the most alcohol, compared with those who drank none. The strongest connection was with beer?each daily serving increased the risk by 50%. For participants who drank spirits, the chance of developing gout increased by 15% with each extra drink daily. The researchers did not observe an increased risk among wine drinkers. There were, however, only 18 participants who drank >2 glasses of wine daily.