Gout Diet: What to Eat & What to Avoid

by Ella

Gout is a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, inflammation, and tenderness in the joints, commonly affecting the big toe. While genetic factors play a role in gout development, dietary choices can significantly influence its onset and severity. For individuals diagnosed with gout, understanding what foods to avoid is crucial for managing this painful condition and preventing flare-ups. In this article, we will explore the key dietary considerations to help manage gout effectively.

Understanding Gout and Its Triggers

Before delving into the foods to avoid, it is essential to grasp the mechanisms behind gout. Gout occurs due to an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, leading to inflammation and pain. Uric acid forms when the body breaks down purines, which are naturally present in certain foods and beverages. Thus, avoiding foods high in purines can help prevent gout attacks.


How does food affect gout?

If you have gout, your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan to manage your flares. This may include making changes to your diet and taking medications that can help prevent gout attacks.


Some foods may trigger a flare by raising your uric acid levels. Following a diet that limits certain meats, alcohol, beer, and sugar may help you manage gout.


Many trigger foods are high in purines, a substance found naturally in foods. When you digest purines, your body makes uric acid as a waste product.


This is not a concern for people without gout, as they efficiently remove excess uric acid from the body.

However, people with gout can’t efficiently remove excess uric acid. Thus, a diet high in foods that increase uric acid levels may let uric acid accumulate. This can increase the chance of having a gout attack.

Foods with moderate-to-high amounts of purines include organ meats, red meats, certain types of seafood, alcohol and beer.

Some vegetables, legumes, and beans also contain purines. However, research shows that high-purine plant foods do not trigger gout attacks. Eating plenty of vegetables, legumes, and beans is good for your health and may help you lower your uric acid levels.

Fructose and sugar-sweetened beverages can also increase the risk of gout and gout attacks, even though they’re not purine-rich.

Instead, they can raise uric acid levels by accelerating several cellular processes.

For instance, a study including 655 participants found that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages was the largest risk factor for developing gout at an early age. Sugary drinks were also associated with a higher uric acid load.

On the other hand, research suggests that low-fat dairy products, soy products and vitamin C supplements could potentially prevent gout attacks by reducing your uric acid levels.

High-fat dairy products don’t seem to affect uric acid levels.

What Not to Eat with Gout

1. High-Purine Foods

a. Organ Meats: Liver, kidney, and sweetbreads are extremely high in purines and should be avoided entirely.

b. Seafood: Anchovies, mackerel, sardines, scallops, and herring are some seafood options with high purine content.

c. Red Meat: Beef, lamb, and pork contain moderate to high purine levels, making them risky for gout patients.

d. Processed Meats: Bacon, sausages, and deli meats often contain additives that can trigger gout attacks.

2. Fructose

Fructose, a type of sugar, has been linked to an increased risk of gout. High-fructose corn syrup, commonly found in sugary beverages and processed foods, can elevate uric acid levels. Hence, it is wise for gout sufferers to avoid:

a. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Regular soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks are laden with fructose and should be eliminated.

b. Excessive Fruit Consumption: While fruits are generally healthy, some like grapes, cherries, and oranges are high in fructose and should be consumed in moderation.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol interferes with the elimination of uric acid from the body, making it a significant trigger for gout attacks. Beer, in particular, is associated with a higher risk due to its high purine content and the presence of brewer’s yeast. Individuals with gout should limit or avoid:

a. Beer: Especially dark and craft beers, which contain more purines.

b. Hard Liquor: Whiskey, rum, and vodka have been linked to gout flares.

c. Moderate Wine Consumption: While wine has a lower purine content, it still poses a risk and should be consumed in moderation.

4. Oxalate-Rich Foods

Some vegetables contain high levels of oxalates, which can contribute to gout by increasing uric acid production. Gout sufferers should be cautious about consuming excessive amounts of:

a. Spinach

b. Asparagus

c. Cauliflower

d. Mushrooms

5. Purine-Rich Plant Foods

While most plant-based foods are safe for gout patients, a few exceptions exist due to their high purine content. These include:

a. Legumes: Lentils, peas, and beans should be eaten in moderation.

b. Whole Grains: While whole grains are generally healthy, some, like oatmeal, contain moderate purines.

Best Foods for a Gout Diet

You’ll want to go for low-purine options like:

Low-fat and nondairy- fat products, such as yogurt and skim milk

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Nuts, peanut butter, and grains

Fat and oil

Potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta

Eggs (in moderation)

Meats like fish, chicken, and red meat are fine in moderation (around 4 to 6 ounces per day).

Vegetables: You may see veggies like spinach and asparagus on the high-purine list, but studies show they don’t raise your risk of gout or gout attacks.

What Can You Drink if You Have Gout?

Foods aren’t the only thing that can affect uric acid. What you drink matters, too.

It’s a good idea to drink lots of fluids — 8 to 16 cups a day. At least half of what you drink should be water. Vitamin C (think orange juice) also can help lower uric acid, but studies also show that the high fructose in OJ may boost uric acid levels, so drink it in moderation. Caffeinated coffee can cut uric acid, too, as long as you don’t overdo it.

A gout-friendly menu for one Week

Eating a gout-friendly diet will help you relieve the pain and swelling, while preventing future attacks.

Here is a sample gout-friendly menu for one week.

1. Monday

Breakfast: Oats with Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (about 31 grams) berries.

Lunch: Quinoa salad with boiled eggs and fresh veggies.

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with roasted chicken, spinach, bell peppers and low-fat feta cheese.

2. Tuesday

Breakfast: Smoothie with 1/2 cup (74 grams) blueberries, 1/2 cup (15 grams) spinach, 1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (59 ml) low-fat milk.

Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with eggs and salad.

Dinner: Stir-fried chicken and vegetables with brown rice.

3. Wednesday

Breakfast: Overnight oats — 1/3 cup (27 grams) rolled oats, 1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup (79 ml) low-fat milk, 1 tbsp (14 grams) chia seeds, 1/4 cup (about 31 grams) berries and 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) vanilla extract. Let sit overnight.

Lunch: Chickpeas and fresh vegetables in a whole wheat wrap.

Dinner: Herb-baked salmon with asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

4. Thursday

Breakfast: Overnight chia seed pudding — 2 tbsp (28 grams) chia seeds, 1 cup (240 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract with sliced fruits of your choice. Let sit in a bowl or mason jar overnight.

Lunch: Leftover salmon with salad.

Dinner: Quinoa, spinach, eggplant and feta salad.

5. Friday

Breakfast: French toast with strawberries.

Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with boiled eggs and salad.

Dinner: Stir-fried tofu and vegetables with brown rice.

6. Saturday

Breakfast: Mushroom and zucchini frittata.

Lunch: Leftover stir-fried tofu and brown rice.

Dinner: Homemade chicken burgers with a fresh salad.

7. Sunday

Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms.

Lunch: Chickpeas and fresh vegetables in a whole wheat wrap.

Dinner: Scrambled egg tacos — scrambled eggs with spinach and bell peppers on whole wheat tortillas.


A well-planned diet plays a crucial role in managing gout effectively. By avoiding high-purine foods, fructose-laden beverages, alcohol, and certain vegetables, individuals with gout can reduce the risk of painful flare-ups and improve their quality of life. As always, consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan is recommended for those dealing with gout. With the right dietary choices and lifestyle adjustments, gout can be managed, allowing individuals to lead a more comfortable and pain-free life.



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