What is Gout?

Gout/arthritis is a metabolic disorder that is caused due to a disturbed uric acid metabolism in our body. Uric acid is a waste-product that is formed after the breakdown of purines in our body. Purines are formed by our body and are also deposited in our body after eating certain foods rich in purines. A gout attack chances are more pronounced to be precipitated in males as compared to the females.

Difference between Gout and Arthritis –

Gout is a disorder caused due to increased uric acid levels in the blood and thereby deposition of uric acid crystals in the tissues of our synovial fluid between the joints. It mainly affects the joints of our lower body like big toes, ankles etc. Its pain can be caused at anytime of the day. Affected area of joint feels warm and reddened.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is also an orthopedic disorder but it is an autoimmune disease. It is caused when our immune system mistakenly kills the healthy cells of tissues of synovial fluid between the joints. It affects joints of the whole body like fingers, shoulders, toes, ankles etc. Its pain is usually sensed after waking up in the morning. Usually, cold temperatures aggravate arthritis pain.

How is Gout attack precipitated?

Uric acid is a waste product and is normally excreted from our body along with urine. But if our body produces excess uric acid due to high consumption of proteins in our diet or due to excessive N2 utilization in our body, then uric acid starts accumulating at various places in our body in the form of urate crystals. These urate crystals are called Tophi and are deposited mainly in big toe, elbow or the helix(outer fleshy ridge of the ear). All these areas of our body turns red with extreme tenderness and pain.

What are the normal levels of uric acid in our blood?

The normal range of uric acid in a healthy person’s blood is 2-7 mg/100 ml. If the levels of uric acid increases above 7mg/100 ml then there are chances of developing Gout. When these levels reach the value of 20 mg/100 ml then it is a warning that the person has developed a severe form of Gout and an attack of Gout can precipitate. This condition of increased levels of uric acid in our blood is called as hyperuricaemia.

Who is at a high risk of gout?

Following are the various risk factors that make a person more prone towards developing the condition of Gout –

  1. At least 20% of the patients diagnosed with gout have a family history of this disease. Thus, it can be said that gout is hereditary.
  2. Gender and age are directly related to this disease. more the age of a person, more are the chances of his/her developing the disease. Males are more prone to developing Gout as compared to females.
  3. Obese or overweight individuals are at a higher risk of developing Gout disease. Reason being that more tissue is available for breakdown and conversion into uric acid.
  4. If one is alcoholic, then he/she will also develop Hyperuricaemia over the time.
  5. Eating foods high in purines also precipitates uric acid in the blood.
  6. An exposure to lead in the environment for a long time or a single exposure to high doses of lead is also dangerous and can lead to Gout condition.

What should be the diet of a gout patient –

A low purine diet is the preferred diet to be suggested for a gout patient. Foods that are high in purines like all meats, fish, poultry must be avoided. The total intake of purines must be restricted to about 100-150 mg/day. It must be understood that diet plays 1/3rd role and major role is played by medications in controlling gout. Medicines are very effective in reducing urate levels of the blood.

Foods to avoid in gout – The foods that make the gout worse are –

  1. Meats – These include organ meats like brain, liver, kidney, meat extracts, sweet meats, sweetbreads etc.
  2. Seafood – seafood mainly includes sardines, herring etc.
  3. All gravies, broth and soups.
  4. Lean meats – All high protein meat sources like chicken breast must be avoided.
  5. Plant based foods – these include whole grain cereals or bread, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), mushroom, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, oats, spinach, wheat germ and wheat bran. These plant based foods do not contain very high levels of purine, so complete exclusion of these is not required. but a gout patient must consume them in moderation.
  6. Sugar – about half of the sugar that we consume is converted into uric acid. so all sugary drinks and sweets need to be avoided.
  7. High fructose corn syrup – most of the packaged food that we find in the market has high fructose corn syrup as one of the ingredients. As a thumb rule, anyone determined to follow a low purine gout diet must make it a habit to check the ingredient label before consuming any packaged food product.

Foods that keep gout away

  1. Garlic – Garlic is good for gout. Just like onions and leeks, it has anti-inflammatory compounds that prevent the damage of joint’s cartilage due to inflammation of arthritis and gout.
  2. Milk, milk products and eggs – It is well accepted that the consumption of milk and eggs does not aggravate gout pain. Infect it is good to consume milk with turmeric for reduction in pain due to inflammation in arthritis. similarly, eggs are also known to reduce pain of inflammation.
  3. Lettuce, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables – green leafy vegetables are low in purines and instead, contain many anti-inflammatory compounds.
  4. Fruits and nuts – all fruits and nuts are safe to be consumed in gout. peanut butter is also well tolerated in gout.
  5. Drinks – all beverages like water, fresh fruit juices, no sugar carbonated beverages, tea, coffee etc. are safe to be taken in gout.


An exhaustive list of both the foods to be consumed and to avoid in gout has been shared in this article. Another, important consideration for gout is to drink daily water more than three liters. This checks proper uric acid removal from the blood daily. This also negates any chance of formation of kidney stones, thus safeguarding kidneys which is a major risk in gout.

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