Dietitian Blog, MNT Guidelines | Jul 22 2020

Can you treat gout with diet?

Gout pain_Dietitians On Demand

Gout is an extremely painful arthritic condition caused by elevated serum uric acid levels. Uric acid is the end product of the body’s metabolism of purines. Purines can either be manufactured by the body or consumed into the body through certain foods. Most of the purines in a person’s body are those that the body manufactures itself as opposed to those that come from high-purine foods. Because you can’t have a totally purine-free diet and your body is making purines anyway, is there anything nutrition-related you could do to treat gout?

The answer is yes! Although uric acid lowering medications are also required for most, nutrition does play a role in managing gout symptoms and lowering frequency of gout flares. Current research supports specific nutrition recommendations for those dealing with gout beyond the typical low-purine diet. The key idea is to improve overall health and any additional medical conditions that may exist concurrently. These recommendations include:

  • Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
  • Improve the overall quality of your diet
  • Don’t avoid high-purine plant-based foods
  • Limit high-fructose corn syrup intake
  • Limit alcohol
  • Limit foods high in saturated fats

Limiting high-purine foods is also recommended, but this alone does not manage gout symptoms as effectively as combining lower purine foods with the previously mentioned nutrition interventions. Some high purine foods to limit include:

  • Red meats
  • Organ meats
  • Certain types of seafood

If you are looking for additional resources to learn more about the current research and best practice guidelines for treating gout, check out our on-demand webinar, “Nutritional Interventions for Gout.”

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Mayo Clinic (2018). Nutrition & Healthy Eating: Starting a Gout Diet? Understand which Foods are OK and which to Avoid . Retrieved from:
Nutrition Care Manual (2020). Gout. Retrieved from:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Gout. Retrieved from:
Nielsen, S. M., Bartels, E. M., Henriksen, M., Wæhrens, E. E., Gudbergsen, H., Bliddal, H., Astrup, A., Knop, F. K., Carmona, L., Taylor, W. J., Singh, J. A., Perez-Ruiz, F., Kristensen, L. E., & Christensen, R. (2017). Weight loss for overweight and obese individuals with gout: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Annals of the rheumatic diseases76(11), 1870–1882.
Beyl, R., Hughes, L., Morgan, S. (2016) Update on Importance of Diet in Gout. The American Journal of Medicine, 129(11), 1153-1158.
Vedder, D., Walrabenstein, W., Heslinga, M., de Vries, R., Nurmohamed, M., van Schaardenburg, D., & Gerritsen, M. (2019). Dietary Interventions for Gout and Effect on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review. Nutrients11(12), 2955.
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About Courtney Lee

Courtney Lee, MS, RDN, CLT, CFCS has a virtual private practice specializing in personalized nutrition and anti-inflammatory diets. She loves helping people use nutrition to change their lives and enjoys empowering other RDNs to do the same!

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