High levels of uric acid in the body can contribute to gout. Dietary changes aim to reduce the amount of uric acid in the body by limiting the amount of purines eaten. High-purine foods you should avoid as part of a gout diet include gravy, dried beans, and organ meats like liver. Low-purine foods (such as rice, eggs, nuts, and all fruits and dairy products) may be eaten as desired.
Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by high levels of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a substance that forms from the breakdown of purines. Purines are part of all human tissue, and are also found in many foods.
Normally, when uric acid forms, it dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. Some uric acids also pass out the body through the intestines. But for a variety of reasons, uric acid can build up in the blood. Generally this occurs when:
- The body increases the amount of uric acid it makes
- The kidneys or intestines do not get rid of enough uric acid
- A combination of these two things occurs.
For people with gout, diet can play a role in causing a gout attack because foods high in purines will increase the amount of uric acid the body makes (see Gout Risk Factors). Therefore, the primary diet recommended for people who have gout is a low-purine diet. Also, eating more low-fat dairy products, which are low in purines, has been shown to decrease the chances of having a gout attack.