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Is Your Favorite Beverage Causing Your Gout Attack?

Jul 24, 2008
If you want to do everything you can to prevent a gout attack, then you may want to look into your favorite beverages to make sure that they're not increasing your odds of a gout recurrence. A recent study published on BMJ.com in January, 2008, called "Soft Drinks, Fructose Consumption, and the Risk of Gout in Men: Prospective Cohort Study", by Hyon Choi and Gary Curhan showed that men who regularly consume foods and beverages containing fructose have a notably higher risk of a gout attack.

Gout levels in the United States have doubled throughout the last few decades. This increase in gout attacks mirrors the increase in fructose consumption through soft drinks and other sugary foods. Fructose is a simple form of sugar that is now known to increase the production of uric acid in the body.

Though patients who suffer gout attacks are typically instructed by their doctors to cut alcohol, organ meats, and legumes from their diets, as they are high in purines - organic compounds that encourage uric acid production in the body - it is rare for patients to be told to limit their consumption of fructose-filled foods such as soft drinks.

American and Canadian researchers examined the relationship between the intake of high-fructose foods such as soft drinks and the risk of a gout attack. They looked into more than 46,000 men who had no history of gout attacks, and who were aged 40 or older. They followed these men for 12 years, compiling data on food consumption regarding more than 130 different beverages and foods including both regular and diet soft drinks, as well as fruits and fruit juices which are also naturally quite high in their fructose levels. From the start of the study, the researchers collected weight, medication use, and medical condition data. During that time, there were 755 new cases of gout attacks diagnosed within the participants.

The major findings of the study included the following:

- The more sugar-sweetened soft drinks were consumed by the participants, the higher their risks of a gout attack would be.

- When men who drank fewer than one serving of soft drinks in a month were compared to participants who drank over five or six servings every week, the risk of a gout attack was increased by 29 percent.

- The participants who drank two or more servings of soft drinks daily increased their risk of a gout attack by a significant 85 percent when compared to those who consumed fewer than one serving of soft drinks every month.

- Participants who consumed only soft drinks did not increase their risk of a gout attack.

- Fructose-rich foods such as fruits and their juices also increased the risk of a gout attack. However, the study's authors caution that the interpretation of the impact of fruits and fruit juices on the risk of gout should be interpreted with care as eating some fruits and vegetables is important for the prevention of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and some cancers, and should therefore perhaps be considered more beneficial than hazardous.

The study's results occurred independently of other gout attack risk factors, such as age, body mass index, blood pressure, diuretic use, alcohol consumption, and the rest of the diet of the participants.
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