April 21st

theresa albert - my friend in food


What’s with All the Gout?


Who even uses the word “gout” anymore? Isn’t that an old person’s ailment?  I’ve recently heard more and more young people complaining of this diagnosis. And sure enough, as the world sees more people with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, it is also seeing an increased incidence of gout.   What’s up? Could it be related to diet?

Gout is an inflammation of the joints caused by a build up of uric acid. Uric acid is a by product of the processing of protein within the body. When you have gout, something along the line has gone awry either in the over-intake of foods that would produce this or the body’s resistance/reluctance/inability to eliminate uric acid in the urine.  From a nutritional perspective, this is not different from any of the other processes that create inflammation.

Think about it this way: when you cut your finger and have bacteria in a cut, the body sends help. It sends heat and inflammation to deal with the problem.  With gout (and many other illnesses) the inflammation is throughout the body but settles in the joints. Joints are meant to move but this inflammation makes it painful for them to do so. In theory, then, reducing the overall inflammation should make a difference. Many find relief with diet and the shifts are simple. Purine rich foods break down into uric acid. Avoiding those means less uric acid for the kidneys to deal with and less chance of a uric acid backup settling in the joints.

  • Avoid purine rich foods that are the precursor to the development of uric acid: anchovies, sardines, herring ,organ meat (liver, kidney, and sweetbreads), gravies, animal protein.
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid fatty foods such as salad dressings, ice cream, and fried foods
  • Eat plenty of good carbohydrates (brown rice, barley, quinoa)
  • Avoid quick weight loss which may cause uric acid kidney stones to form
  • Add  low fat dairy including skim milk powder

What?  Yup, back to the 50’s with you! A recent study showed that an additional serving of low fat dairy in the form of skim milk powder helped to reduce flare ups.  Well, if it’s that simple and that cheap, why wouldn’t you?  Here’s how:

Stir powdered milk into:

  • all baking recipes-1/2 cup will not mess with most recipes
  • Broth soup to make it creamy without fat
  • Yogurt for extra protein and calcium

Here are some simple recipes that contain powdered milk:

Key Lime Pudding

Pumpkin Bread

Skim Milk Powder Whipped Topping



Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


2 Responses

    January 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm Reply

    Your article on gout and nutritional issues is timely since I recently had an acute flareup. I have read a lot on what to eat and what not to eat. I don’t eat hardly any read meat, mostly chicken and for fish I really like salmon and arctic char for both taste and the omegta 3 BUT meat and fish all have purines, can I still have fish for dinner in moderation or are there some fish types that should be avoided? Seems like a bit of a conflict between some of the things you would find on a low cholestrol diet vs. what you would eat on a low purine diet.
    Thanks very much.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm Reply

    I was a gout sufferer. I have done a lot of research on this. You will that recent studies do not correlate gout to high purine foods. I was really unsure of what to do.

    It was during a gout attack a year ago that I read about Gary Taubes and his work. I read the book, Why We Get Fat. I took it to heart (haha) and immediately switched to a low GI diet. I have lost 30 lbs, my blood pressure is now normal (about to drop my last meds), my blood sugar is back to normal, and I haven’t had a gout attack since. I eat meat, especially high fat meats, lots of vegetables, and a few fruits.

    Most importantly, I recently had a blood test; my cholesterol numbers, which were already good, are now even better. I’m converted, low GI diets seem to hold the key to health for many, many people.

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