The Gout Diet Plan, otherwise referred to as the Mayo Clinic Gout Diet is a program that helps ease painful joint inflammation, which results in arthritis. When you have gout, it just means there is a significant amount of uric acid found in the joints which results in painful reactions when your body moves and bends. There are certain foods which are higher in uric acid crystals which first start out in the form of high purine foods like meats and alcohol. It was said centuries ago that gout was the “king’s” disease because it was usually flared up by consuming meats, alcohol, and other rich food that poor people did not have the money to buy. Today, it is not called the king’s disease and there are 3-6 million people in American alone who suffer from gout. 
At first the Gout Diet menu was very short because any and all foods containing purines were considered off limits. The list was so long that people found the Gout Diet too hard to follow, but it has since changed.
For starters, what are purines anyways?
According to World’s Healthiest Foods,
“Two or three decades ago, purines were recognized for primary two reasons: (1) as building blocks for DNA (the primary genetic material in our cells) and (2) as substances that could be broken down to form uric acid and potentially increase our risk of gout. Gout is a form of arthritis (sometimes called gouty arthritis) that can be extremely painful and results from excessive buildup of uric acid in our body, leading to formation of uric acid crystals that get can deposited in our joints. Beyond these two key areas of interest, purines did not enjoy a lot of mainstream attention in scientific research.” 
About The Gout Diet
When following this gout prevention diet to get relief from the pain that gout naturally causes, there are a few general rules to know about. The attacks are nothing short of uncomfortable, so eating the right foods in moderation will help tame the chances of those flare ups becoming a normal occurrence. The general goals when following this eating plan are to lose weight, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink a lot of water, cut back on saturated fats from red meat and dairy, and limit protein from fish and poultry. It is also advised that you do not consume a lot of alcohol and coffee as these two drinks can significantly up the uric acid levels in your body. Some people say that eating cherries and vitamin C will greatly reduce your chances of gout attacks, so that is also worth a try when you are following this diet plan. 
According to the Mayo Clinic, here is a sample of the Gout Diet Menu:
- Whole-grain, unsweetened cereal with skim or low-fat milk
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- Roasted chicken breast slices (2 ounces) on a whole-grain roll with mustard
- Mixed green salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing
- Skim or low-fat milk
- 1 cup fresh cherries
- Roasted salmon (3-4 ounces)
- Roasted or steamed green beans
- 1/2 cup whole-grain pasta with olive oil and lemon pepper
- Low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup fresh melon
- Caffeine-free beverage, such as herbal tea 
The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind The Gout Diet
It is no secret that gout can cause tremendous amounts of pain to a person with even a high pain threshold. The good news is, this condition can be treated just by the foods that you choose to eat. It is not advised to eat red meat and seafood, or to drink sugary drinks or alcohol in general. So what is the science behind alcohol causing inflammation in the body, which then causes gout attacks to flare up?
There was a long study done over a 12 year period following men and their experience with gout in correlation to alcohol consumption. Over the course of the 12 years, there were over 47,000 men in the study and out of that number, there were 730 who already had gout. The results were that beer consumption significantly influences gout flare ups.
“Interpretation Alcohol intake is strongly associated with an increased risk of gout. This risk varies substantially according to type of alcoholic beverage: beer confers a larger risk than spirits, whereas moderate wine drinking does not increase the risk.” 
Beer contains high levels of purines, and the chances of a flare up occurring after consumption are rather large.
According to Everyday Health,
“Beer contains a large amount of purines and has a strong association with gout attacks. One study estimated that patients who consumed a 12-ounce serving of beer daily were 1.5 times more likely to have gout compared to those without alcohol consumption,” says Dr. Sloane. “Beer is especially bad for you if you tend to get gout symptoms because it is high in alcohol and brewer's yeast, both of which may trigger gout pain.”
Sugary drinks also have the same effect because they too are high in purines. In an article written by Gout and You, they say,
“One large study found that just one sugar-sweetened drink per day doubled a woman’s risk of developing gout compared with women who had less than one sugar-sweetened drink per month. “Studies show that sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices are associated with an increased incidence of gout attacks.” 
There have been more studies done on this as well that I wanted to look into, so take a look below.
In another study done by NCBI, they looked into the consumption of fructose and sugary drinks in correlation to the risk of gout. This too was a study done over 12 years time with over 46,000 participants who reported their intake with fructose and sugary drinks. The results?
“During the 12 years of follow-up 755 confirmed incident cases of gout were reported. Increasing intake of sugar sweetened soft drinks was associated with an increasing risk of gout. Compared with consumption of less than one serving of sugar sweetened soft drinks a month the multivariate relative risk of gout for 5-6 servings a week was 1.29, for one serving a day was 1.45, and for two or more servings a day was 1.85. Diet soft drinks were not associated with risk of gout.” 
Gout Diet Recipes
There are many different Gout Diet pdf’s to follow, as well as different Gout Diet sheets to references, but I wanted to add in a few recipes that will help keep those gout attacks at bay. There is an abundance of recipes to choose from, so I will only be giving two that will keep you stomach content and your flare-ups out of sight.
Curried Carrot Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup
Ingredients: Serves 5
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
- 1 1/2 cups (1/4-inch) sliced peeled carrots
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- “Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add potato, carrots, ginger, and curry; cook 2 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender; stir in salt.
- Pour half of soup in a food processor; pulse until smooth. Repeat procedure with remaining soup.” 
Ingredients: Serves 2
- 1/2 cup chopped plum tomato
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped pitted green olives
- 1 teaspoon capers
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Dash of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 (1-inch-thick) slices French bread baguette
- Cooking spray
- 1 garlic clove, halved
“Lightly coat both sides of bread slices with cooking spray; arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375º for 4 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted. Rub 1 side of bread slices with halved garlic; top evenly with tomato mixture.” 
The Bottom Line: Is The Gout Diet Worth A Try?
Yes. This diet reflects health and getting better, which is always positive. Many people who are on the gout diet truly suffer from these attacks and their first goal is not to lose weight, but to tame the reactions. Losing weight is also a possibility with the healthy and mindful eating that is associated with this diet program. The studies have proven that certain ingredients do indeed cause more food purines to enter into the body, which in turn will cause gout to show up or worsen. Both mentally and medically, this program will assist you to a gout free way of life with less production of those painful uric crystals! There are many resources out there to get started on the Gout Diet, whether it be via physical book or online.
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*Individual results will vary.
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