Gout develops when the body carries too much uric acid, which can build up and lead to joint pain. While there are medical conditions and genetic risk factors that can cause gout attacks, your diet plays a role in how severe your condition can be. For example, high-purine foods may result in symptoms of gout and related problems.
In this blog post, we discuss what you need to know about this condition, and how it’s related to diabetes, as well as provide you with the best diabetes and gout diet plan.
What is Gout?
Commonly known as a type of arthritis that delivers severe pain, gout will usually affect one joint at a time (usually the big toe). When gout symptoms become worse, they are referred to as gout flares. If your attack of gout occurs more frequently, it can lead to gouty arthritis, which is a more severe form of arthritis.
Gout usually happens when there’s a build-up of uric acid in our blood — this acid is a byproduct created when the body breaks down purines (substances inside our tissues and in some foods). The acid will normally dissolve in our blood, pass through the kidneys and leave the body when we urinate. But when the body makes too much uric acid, the kidneys won’t be able to clear it all and we’ll be left with high levels of uric acid in the blood.
Over time, uric acid crystals will form and get stuck in our soft tissue or joints, which leads to the painful symptoms of gout. While there’s no cure for gout, you can manage and treat this condition through medication and a healthy diet.
How is it Related to Diabetes?
Patients with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop gout and bodies with a high amount of uric acid can develop diabetes easier. Type 2 diabetes takes place when the body can’t process insulin; rather than being used by our cells, the sugars we eat stay in our blood during a process known as insulin resistance. Studies show that gout may also worsen insulin resistance and that those with excess uric acid are more vulnerable to getting type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, those who are overweight, obese, or suffer from kidney damage may find that their kidneys may not be able to remove a buildup of uric acid.
What to Eat in a Diabetes and Gout-Friendly Diet
Diabetes and gout sufferers should focus on a low-purine diet that consists of vegetables, whole grains, vitamin C-rich foods, and low-fat dairy products. It will also help to drink several glasses of water a day to promote the elimination of purine in your system. Here are a few food items that may help to prevent attacks and relieve flare-ups, while helping to lower uric acid levels:
- Citrus fruits and cherries
- Low-fat dairy products such as yogurt, low-fat milk, and cottage cheese
- Low-purine foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and plant-based foods
- Vitamin C-rich foods such as spinach, oranges, and kale
There are plenty of plant-based foods with low purine content, which makes them a great choice for a more balanced diet. Plants also contain a wide range of nutrients that can improve diabetes and gout symptoms, such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Here are a few food items to look into.
- Vegetable and nut-based oils
- Legumes and beans
- Soy-based proteins such as tofu
- Whole grains
Foods that Can Worsen Diabetes and Gout
If you’re affected by diabetes and gout, you will need to avoid many things that you usually eat. Cultures known to consume a lot of sugars, processed foods, red meat, and other purine-rich foods tend to have higher gout rates. A study that looked into the typical Western diet found that it was linked to a higher risk of diabetes and gout, while the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was associated with lower diabetes and gout risk.
To stop eating a high-purine diet, here are some foods you will need to avoid :
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Sugars and fruits with high sugar content
- Processed foods
- Sugary soda drinks
- Organ meats and red meat
- Certain types of seafood and fish
Because sugary drinks and sodas can increase your calorie intake but have no beneficial nutrients, they are known as empty-calorie food items. They also increase your risk of developing gout, so be sure to avoid the following beverages:
- Energy drinks
- Soft drinks
- Sports drinks
- Sugary drinks
Avoiding highly processed foods along with refined carbohydrates can lessen the development of gout and its related symptoms. Be sure to avoid the following items:
- Baked goods and white bread
- Ice cream
- Some frozen meals
- Crackers and chips
Organ Meat and Red Meat
Both organ meat and red meat have the highest purine content, and researchers have proven how these food items can increase the likelihood of getting gout and high levels of uric acid. As such, it’s important to limit eating the following foods:
- Wild game
Chicken contains moderate levels of purine, but it can be eaten occasionally. It’s also a good idea to stay away from meat-based gravies, soups, and processed meats like pepperoni and salami to reduce the risk of gout attacks.
Seafood and Fish
There are certain kinds of seafood that have high levels of purines and should be avoided to ensure positive dietary changes. However, there are other kinds of seafood you may eat in moderation, which have less purine but should be limited to under six ounces in your meals per day. Some seafood and fish to stay away from include the following:
- Jack mackerel
Here are food items you can eat in moderation:
Salmon and tuna are fatty fish that serve as excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats considered to be good for the body.
Drinking too much alcohol has been associated with gout and experts recommend avoiding the intake of alcohol whenever you’re on a low-purine diet. All kinds of alcoholic beverages should be limited, including hard liquor, beer, and other grain alcohol.
Yeast and yeast extracts contain high levels of purines and should be avoided, along with supplements that may contain them. This organism can be found in various foods including:
- Salty snacks
- Frozen dinners
- Soy sauces
- Canned stews and soups
Sample Diabetes and Gout Meal Plan
While it’s not always easy to make dietary changes, drinking plenty of water can help in many ways, even when you suffer from gout. However, you can follow particular diets that can address your needs, such as the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. If you’re not able to follow the diets closely, you can use them as guidelines around which foods should be included in your meals.
Alternatively, you can follow this sample meal plan:
- Five to seven servings of healthy grains per day
- Four servings of vegetables per day
- Four servings of fruits per day
- Two servings of low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese or milk
- One to two servings of fish or lean poultry per day
- A small portion of legumes, seeds, or nuts each day
While the diet plan above may not guarantee weight loss for those who are diabetic, eating the healthy foods outlined above can help lower high blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of heart disease, and help treat metabolic syndrome.
Start Your Treatment of Diabetes and Gout
The food choices you make can have an effect on your gout and other health-related conditions such as chronic kidney disease and high cholesterol. Luckily, a low-purine diet can help you restrict the foods that worsen these conditions, such as alcohol, red meat, sugary foods, processed foods, and certain seafood. By applying a few lifestyle changes, adding physical activity, or doing regular exercise, you can not only achieve a healthy weight but also effectively treat your diabetes and gout problems.
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