What's In A Good Gout Diet?
The nicest aspect of running GoutPal.com is the messages I receive. Sometimes full of praise, often full of information, continually full of questions. Today I got a question about gout diet. As I reviewed my answer, a thought grew in my mind - "Physician, heal thyself."
Now I'm no physician, but I do know about gout, particularly my own gout. I know that most gout problems are diet related. One of my New Year Resolutions was to develop and maintain a healthy gout diet. I can't put it off much longer.
Gout sufferers get obsessed with food. At least, this one does. I think it starts with all that purine stuff. You worry about the type of food you are eating, but forget about the amount and balance. The answer is not really a gout diet, more a gout lifestyle. But first, a few foody thoughts.
My Thoughts On Gout Diet
I don't think purines in food have much to do with gout. Perhaps high-purine meat and shellfish can have a small effect, which could accumulate if these foods are taken regularly. Most current research shows that high purine vegetables have no adverse effect on gout.
The biggest food risk with gout is eating too much of it. Also irregular eating is bad. Both these cause drastic metabolism changes. These changes produce a lot of uric acid through cell death.
I am working on a theory that a diet that is too rich in meat can have an adverse effect on gout. The theory isn't complete yet, but it revolves around the interactions between uric acid (a man-made antioxidant) and dietary antioxidants common in fruit and veg, but probably used up by digesting meat. This is not to say that no meat is good. I think there are essential nutrients in meat and fish that are not easy to get from a fully vegetarian diet.
I find that I'm at my best when I take meat as a treat, say 3 or 4 meals a week, and those meals to include a good proportion of vegetables. My last gout free period was also a self imposed gravy free period. I include all meat stock based sauces as gravy. This could be coincidence, as I was also on a gradual weight loss program (1 to 2 pounds per week) and drinking copious amounts of water at regular intervals. When eating out, I try to look at the vegetarian options first, and always make sure there's plenty of water available.
I hear a lot about certain foods (and drinks) triggering gout attacks, but I'm convinced most of these are just coincidence. Certainly, if I were to list things in importance, dehydration, exposure to cold, immobility (e.g. long periods of driving or sat at a desk) come far higher in my opinion.
My Gout Diet Plan
Most diets don't work because they are too food focused. "How can you have a diet without food,? I hear you say. You can't, but it's not all about food. Success relies on a balance between Food, Exercise and Metabolism.
I should start my plan today, but I won't. I'm going to wait until the next edition of GoutCaster, and run this diet plan in public. You can join me if you like. I'll be publishing my progress here.
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