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Nutrition for Gout Management


What is GOUT?

Gout is a health disorder of purine metabolism which causes high levels of uric acid in the body (a type of purine). What is a purine you ask? Well that is an organic compound or molecule that so happens to be present in many proteins (typically of animal origin) in the food chain. There are also plenty of purines present in the human body. When the human body has a healthy and regular purine metabolism the purine levels are maintained at a normal level which has everything running properly. When people suffering from gout have an impaired purine metabolism, they often times wind up with so many purines in their body that a high level of uric acid can build up in the body which often times ends up in the joints. This causes inflammation in the joints and much pain for the gout patient. In severe gout attacks a patient can suffer from debilitating joint injuries that effect their everyday activities.

What can be done about preventing gout attacks?

Of the total purine count in the human body about 2/3 of them are going to be naturally occuring from regular bodily processes. Approximately 1/3 of the total purine count can be due to the diet that the individual is eating. For the patient that suffers from gout attacks a low purine diet can help them to prevent purine overload in their body and thus future goat attacks.

Which types of foods are heavy in purine content?

Foods which are among the highest in purines include bouillon/ broths, gravy, meat extracts, mincemeat, herring, mackerel, anchovies, mussels, sardines, scallops, sweetbreads, yeast (taken as supplement). These foods should generally be avoided by the patient with gout.

Among the moderate purine content food group is the following; fish, poultry, meat, asparagus, dried beans, lentils, mushrooms, and spinach. This group of foods can be eaten by a gout patient one serving per day in portions of about 2-3 oz. Discuss the exact amount with a doctor since some doctors may approve of up to 6 oz per day of these foods. The good news? Contrary to popular belief three oz per day of protein is generally speaking sufficient for healthy people.

Most all other foods are low in purine content however, there are some hidden sources of purines that many people don’t think about when they read the list above. While researching for a recent Gout patient of mine I found out for example that FISH SAUCE is high in purines since it is a concentrated fish product. For gout patients who love thai food it is wise to ask your favorite thai restaurant to hold the fish sauce on your dishes. Additionally it is smart to order thai dishes with the meat on the side. Why? Well because when they toss several pieces of meat in with a mountain of rice noodles/ rice it can be quite difficult for one to estimate how many ounces of meat are being consumed. In the bean category fava beans and garbanzo beans (chick peas) are also higher in purines so avoiding hummus, or bean dips/ dishes containing fava beans will be advisable. Food label reading for food products that contain either fish sauce or any type of MEAT EXTRACT will also be helpful since many asian style frozen food products and soup products could contain these high purine ingredients.

Another strategy to reducing purines in the body is to loose weight if there is weight to be lost. Luckily for you HartsSpace Mental Health and Nutrition currently has a weight management program called Back to the Basics which can teach you really effective life style changing strategies which are key to long term weight management success. You won’t find fad diets here! Just effective long term strategies. Please give us a call today 🙂