Alcohol And Its Relation To Gout

some pointers around alcohol coming into the festive season

Drinking too much alcohol has been associated with gout for many years. However, it is not completely certain how it may be related.

Some types of alcohol, particularly beer, contain high levels of purines, and brewers yeast, which could be an indirect cause of gout. Alternatively, alcohol's association with gout could be due to it's contribution to obesity through excessive consumption. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and so drinking too much alcohol can lead to weight gain.  Alcohol doesn't contain any nutritional benefits such as protein, minerals or vitamins. Therefore, the calories consumed in alcohol are considered to be nutritionally empty.

There is more risk of gout attacks from drinking beer compared to spirits, and wine drinking in moderation has no known associated risk. If you choose to drink alcohol, drinking in moderation is advisable. 2-3 alcohol-free days a week are recommended. Aim to drink no more than 2-3 units per day for women, or 3-4 units per day for men.

A unit of alcohol is:

  • One 25 ml shot of spirits.
  • Half a pint of standard-strength lager/beer (3-4% alcohol by volume).
  • One small 125 ml glass of wine (11% alcohol by volume).

Higher-strength alcoholic beverages will contain more units. For example, a pint of a higher-strength beer (5.2% alcohol by volume) is 3 units, and a small 125 ml glass of wine (12% alcohol by volume) is 1.5 units.

Key points in relation to Alcohol for gout sufferers: GC Pacific

  • Alcohol tends to be high in calories so limit intake where possible
  • As a rule of thumb, the higher the alcohol level the higher the calories
  • If you have gout symptoms or are having a gout attack, AVOID alcohol
  • Try drinking low calorie and or low carbohydrate beers
  • In most research to date, wine doesn't tend to have gout causing characteristics
  • Alcohol tends to be diuretic, which means it flushes water out of the body. If you do drink alcohol,  ensure you re-hydrate by drinking plenty of quality water to help offset de-hydration
  • Ensure you re hydrate before bed, and the following day/s. And if you're taking GC,  take an extra capsule or two per day with the extra water. Being properly hydrated is essential to staying gout free.
  • In summer which tends to be the festive season and BBQ time of the year, high purine foods like beer, red meat, seafood are a plenty. Gout cases tend to increase in NZ, Aus and the pacific in summer months so ensure you do the above. Keep hydrated and up the GC.

GC Pacific- Helping gout sufferers for over 16 years

Some More Diet Do’s And Don’ts

I often get asked; What should I eat and what should I avoid when I have gout ? Everybody is different as we're all put together differently, eat differently, and drink different things.The following however is some information I found on the web, that is quite relative, to the point, and worth a quick read.

GC Pacific

The general principles of a gout diet are essentially the same as recommendations for a balanced, healthy diet:

    • Weight loss. Being overweight increases the risk of developing gout, and losing weight lowers the risk of gout. Research suggests that reducing the number of calories and losing weight — even without a purine-restricted diet — lowers uric acid levels and reduces the number of gout attacks. Losing weight also lessens the overall stress on joints.
    • Complex carbs. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which provide complex carbohydrates. Avoid foods such as white bread, cakes, candy, sugar-sweetened beverages and products with high-fructose corn syrup.
    • Water. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water. An increase in water consumption has been linked to fewer gout attacks. Aim for eight to 16 glasses of fluids a day with at least half of that as water. A glass is 8 ounces (237 milliliters).
    • Fats. Cut back on saturated fats from red meats, fatty poultry and high-fat dairy products.
    • Proteins. Limit daily proteins from lean meat, fish and poultry to 4 to 6 ounces (113 to 170 grams). Add protein to your diet with low-fat or fat-free dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt or skim milk, which are associated with reduced uric acid levels.

    Recommendations for specific foods or supplements include the following:

  • Organ and glandular meats. Avoid meats such as liver, kidney and sweetbreads, which have high purine levels and contribute to high blood levels of uric acid.
  • Selected seafood. Avoid the following types of seafood, which are higher in purines than others: anchovies, herring, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, haddock, mackerel and tuna.
  • Alcohol. The metabolism of alcohol in your body is thought to increase uric acid production, and alcohol contributes to dehydration. Beer is associated with an increased risk of gout and recurring attacks, as are distilled liquors to some extent. The effect of wine is not as well-understood. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor about what is appropriate for you.