4 Foods and Drinks Gout Patients Should Avoid

NOVEMBER 17, 2015
Rachel Lutz
Research has shown that losing weight and increasing water intake can help reduce gout symptoms. However, there is another way patients with gout can reduce their symptoms: avoiding certain types of foods and drinks that can trigger flares.

When dispensing gout medications such as colchicine, pharmacists can take the opportunity to educate patients about common dietary triggers of gout.   

Here are a few examples of food and drinks that may worsen gout symptoms:

1.       Certain meat

Meat, especially organ meat, should be avoided if possible, as it is rich in purine.

Purine compounds can raise uric acid levels, which then build up in the joints and cause painful gout symptoms.

Examples of meats that gout patients should avoid are bacon, turkey, goose, veal, venison, and organ meats such as liver, kidneys, or sweetbreads.

Meatlovers should try to stick to chicken and duck, instead. In addition, leg meat is a preferred option over breast meat with skin.

2.       Certain seafood

Cutting back on seafood during a gout flare-up can be helpful. Even during remission, certain seafood intake should be limited.

Previous research has suggested that patients with gout should avoid shellfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, scallops, codfish, trout, tuna, and haddock.
Shrimp, lobster, eel, and crab are safer seafood choices for patients with gout.  

3.       Vegetables and fungi high in purines

Asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, and mushrooms are high in purines, so patients with gout should not consume large amounts of these foods.

However, patients tend to be able to excrete purines from vegetables better than they do from meat, so consumption of these vegetables and fungi does not have to be as limited as meat intake.
4.       Alcohol

In terms of drinks, alcohol is known to be high in purine, so experts recommend that gout patients avoid all types of alcoholic beverages.

Nevertheless, beer is specifically cited as an alcohol to avoid because it increases patients’ uric acid levels and reduces the body’s ability to clear the substance from its system.

If a patient must consume alcohol, then the best option is wine, according to clinical guidelines. Abstaining from alcohol entirely is advised during gout flare-ups.

Other drinks like sugary sodas and fruit drinks should also be avoided because the body reacts to these beverages by stimulating uric acid production.