5 Foods That Trigger Gout

If you're prone to gout disease, your diet plays a crucial role in keeping your joints pain-free. Learn what foods to avoid and what to eat to prevent a flare.

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Gout is a form of arthritis that causes swollen and stiff joints, according to MedlinePlus. Your body and food have a substance called uric acid that usually dissolves in the bloodstream. Sometimes, however, uric acid doesn't fully dissolve and builds up to form needle-like crystals. When those crystals build up in the joints, gout occurs.

Gout is incredibly painful; certain foods contain a lot of uric acid and can worsen it. Watch this video and read below to learn which foods you should avoid if you have gout.


Scallops are okay for an occasional indulgence, but you should cut back on them—and all types of meat and seafood—during a flare-up, said Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, an associate professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. These foods are rich in purines, which your body breaks down into uric acid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This additional uric acid can easily cause a build-up and further irritate gout symptoms.

You have a little more freedom in your food choices when your gout is at bay, but it's still a good idea to keep meat and seafood intake to a minimum.

Red Meat

Red meat is another example of a food that contains high levels of purine, according to MedlinePlus. Because of the high levels of purine, there will be a high level of uric acid, worsening gout.


Alcohol, in general, puts you at a higher risk for a gout attack, according to a review published in 2017 in the Journal of Advanced Research. However, beer has the highest risk of worsening gout symptoms compared to liquor and wine.

Wine is a better choice, but heavy drinking is a bad idea for everyone, and people who get gout are no exception, Dr. Sandon said. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 1-2 alcoholic beverages a day. Healthcare providers usually recommend that you abstain from alcohol during a gout flare.

Sugary Drinks

Avoid beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, such as non-diet sodas or "fruit" drinks. The sweeteners in these drinks will stimulate the body to produce more uric acid, according to MedlinePlus.

A review published in October 2016 in BMJ Open stated that increased fructose consumption led to an increased risk of developing gout.

Organ Meats

Organ meats, such as liver, kidneys, and sweetbreads, should be avoided, according to this article from December 2014 in American Family Physician. Organ meats are also rich in purines. Limiting your intake of them can reduce the likeliness of a gout flare-up.

Food and Drinks That Can Help

There are several types of foods that may help protect against gout attacks. This includes foods rich in vitamin C, low-fat dairy products, and plant oils (olive, sunflower, soy). Those foods have been associated with a lower risk for gout, according to a review published in September 2017 in the Journal of Advanced Research. Also, veggie-rich diets actually help you clear purines from the body, according to Dr. Sandon.

You should also be sure to get lots of fluid in. You don't necessarily have to drink only water—you can choose non-sweetened juice, tea, and coffee. "Any kind of fluid that keeps that blood flowing and urine flowing" is a good choice, Dr. Sandon said.

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6 Sources
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  1. MedlinePlus. Gout.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gout.

  3. Ragab G, Elshahaly M, Bardin T. Gout: An old disease in new perspective – A reviewJ Adv Res. 2017;8(5):495-511. doi:10.1016/j.jare.2017.04.008

  4. Dietary guidelines for Americans. Dietary guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and online materials.

  5. Jamnik J, Rehman S, Blanco Mejia S, et al. Fructose intake and risk of gout and hyperuricemia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studiesBMJ Open. 2016;6(10):e013191. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013191

  6. Hainer BL, Matheson E, Wilkes RT. Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of goutAm Fam Physician. 2014;90(12):831-836.

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