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Health Guide Review: 3,3/5

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Gout Diet Review

What is it?

 The Gout Diet is a diet plan for people who are looking to control or avoid possible issues with gout. Gout is an arthritic condition caused by high uric acid levels in the blood, which can lead to swelling joints and immense pain.

There’s no specific one source for information about the Gout Diet, but there are multiple resources that claim you can make changes to help fight gout. The are some steps claimed that will help, and this includes:

  • More healthy habits: Since the foods you eat can play a role in gout, it’s advised to limit the amount of purine heavy foods. Purines are rich in foods such as meats and certain grains. According to Arthritis.org:

“eating a healthy diet, eliminating or reducing purine-rich foods, managing your weight and being physically active” 

So exercise and a limit or loss of all purine heavy foods is advised for this diet. Purines directly turn into uric acid, which is what needs to be reduced in order to prevent gout.           

  • Watching for triggers: Certain choices can increase the risk for gout. Also, it’s important to note that around 4% of adults have gout, and it’s often more of an issue with men then women.

For either sex it’s advised to limit alcohol, red meat, fructose, and to lose weight and increase vitamin C intake. Though the Gout Diet isn’t a weight loss strategy, it’s claimed to help with weight reduction since it focuses on a healthier lifestyle.

Obesity is one of the major reasons why people become susceptible to gout. Therefore, by losing weight you help your body fight gout.           

  • Advised medical support: The Gout Diet also comes with a serious disclaimer, which is to seek medication and medical support alongside dieting. It’s also mentioned that medical support is key in treating gout, and diet plays a smaller role.

People can still experience gout if they have certain health problems that are often associated with obesity related illnesses. Though you can also be at a healthy weight and still experience gout.

  • Strict diet is not advised: Whether it is low carbohydrate or high protein, it’s recommended to not suddenly introduce a strict plan. This is because sudden changes may cause gout flare-ups.

This can also increase the amount of purines in the body. Also, Patient. Info adds:

“rapid weight loss through strict dieting can result in breakdown of tissue” 

This is why it’s recommended to slowly lose weight instead of a crash diet, which can cause even worse symptoms. There’s no mention as to what the exact macronutrient ratio should be however.

So although there are no set standards for this diet, there are a few websites that outline what would be a good choice to make sure you can control gout.

This diet plan is used to help control peoples experience with gout, and depending on the website, recommendations can be slightly different.

 Foods Allowed by the Diet 

The diet focuses more on what you should avoid, as opposed to suggesting specific meal plans. What should be avoided includes:

  • Meats: Liver, kidney, heart, wild game, sweetbreads, meat extracts, and ox.
  • Fish: Shrimp, sprat, sardines, mackerel, herring, fish roes, crab, anchovies, and whitebait. Canned fish in general is often high in sodium, which can cause issues with gout.
  • Other foods: High fructose corn syrup (which is often found in soda), beer, and yeast.

There’s also a suggestion to limit foods and drinks high in sugar.  This is because they can cause metabolic issues. This in turn can prevent the body from being able to properly regulate itself.

A general recommendation for what to eat includes:

  • 1 to 2 meat-free days thought the week.
  • Getting enough protein form things like low-fat dairy, eggs, tofu, cheese, and nuts.
  • Plant foods. Although vegetables can contain purines, according to        healthline.com:

“high-urine vegetables have   not been found to increase gout attack”

 This includes foods like mushrooms, cauliflower, peas, spinach, and asparagus.

  • 5 portions of fruits and vegetables. This includes starchy vegetables like quinoa, barley, oats, rice, and potatoes. This in combination with fruits and vegetables is considered a healthier full meal. Though no recipes are offered to suggest what would be a good choice.
  • Low-fat dairy foods such as yogurt and cottage cheese.
  • Eating foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C would be an effective tool to fight gout. This is because this reduces uric acid. So recommended fruits would include cherries, citrus fruits, apples, and others. 

The general theme of this diet is to limit the amount of purines that are found in high amounts in things like meats.

Healthline.com is the only site that explains how much meat you should eat on this diet. According to their recommendations:

“limit your intake of all animal protein to 4 to 6 ounces a day”

No emphasis is based on providing recipes, full meal serving sizes, or caloric intake. This is why it wouldn’t be an effective diet if you were looking to lose weight.

One issue with this diet is that certain websites that describe it forget to add important information. Only Healthline actually gave specific serving sizes for meat.

It appears that there’s no one good source explaining this strategy. 

How Does the Diet Work? 

You limit the amount of purines in your diet, and this effect is meant to provide some relief and possible prevention of gout.

Most of the suggestions are based off what you shouldn’t eat, as opposed to offering full meal plans.

Also, according to Patient.info:

“Obesity may be a primary consideration to reduce levels of uric acid”

This uric acid can cause gout flare-ups. Though the diets in question don’t emphasize specific tips for weight loss. There’s no guarantee that this diet will help reduce weight, but there are instead some general tips you often hear from proponents of the diet.

This includes eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising more, and limiting things like alcohol and sweets.

Another issue to realize is that you need to use the Gout Diet:

“In addition to taking prescribed medications” 

Healthline.com mentions that this diet plan requires medical support. So it’s not advised to just start using this plan without first having the support of a certified physician. If one were to believe they have gout it would be best to first get the input of a medical professional.

The Gout Diet offers some simple dietary standards, but there’s nothing compelling to help with weight loss. Nor is it made to provide a full meal plan.

The general theme is to limit purines and increase foods that can help fight inflammation and uric acid buildup. So by its nature, it emphasizes a low red meat, high vegetable, increases vitamin C, and reduction of known unnecessary foods choices. This includes limiting sugar and alcohol.

Pros

  • Diet can help control gout flare-ups and symptoms by its limitation of known uric acid containing foods.
  • The websites that talk about the Gout Diet provide general diet tips that are known as healthy strategies. Such as increasing vegetable intake and reducing meat.
  • It’s honest about what it’s for, and what steps are needed.
  • The foods that are limited are known to have high levels of purines, which can contribute to gout. There’s also a list of what foods contain purines, making it easy to know what should be avoided or limited.
  • Good health tips are advised such as drinking more water, eating less sugary foods, and limiting alcohol. 

Cons 

  • There’s no truly complete Gout Diet plan; it’s more of a general strategy as opposed to a real diet. Information about this plan can be scattered and not very thorough.
  • It’s meant more as a reduction tool for gout, not for specifically targeting weight loss.
  • Information on dieting is not very informative, there’s no meal plans or caloric intake strategies, even though weight loss is an important part.
  • Many of the health tips are general and already widely known.
  • This is meant to help only those with gout, it’s not a preventative diet.

Better Alternatives to the Diet 

Though eating less purine rich foods would be effective for helping with gout, overall, it’s advised to seek medical support.

This diet is not meant to guarantee one would be free from gout.

It’s also not meant effectively for weight loss, which is strange, considering that weight loss is necessary to reduce the likelihood of gout flare-up.

It would have been better if the diet emphasized how to lose weight exactly, instead of providing general tips for selecting foods. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to lose any weight off of this diet alone. Much more support needs to be provided in order to ensure results.

 Conclusion 

By eating less of the foods that can raise the risk factor for gout, you help your body fight this condition. However, it’s also necessary to get medication and support from a doctor.

This plan is not meant to help one lose weight, though it advises to lose weight in order to reduce your likelihood for gout. This is strange to see, as one would expect a lot more support from things like recipes, calorie limits, and suggestions for meal planning.

Though using the Gout Diet wouldn’t be an effective weight loss solution, it may help with gout. Though it’s not well rounded enough to be considered one of the best diet plans out. There are much better options that provide more options and thorough support for weight loss.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.