Gout – Education Guide #306
Another Painful Consequence of Sugar
Gout is a type of arthritis that causes stiff, swollen and painful joints due to excess uric acid in the blood. The excess uric acid deposits painful needle-like crystals in joints. The most frequent joint affected is the big toe, where the pain can be very intense.
Gout is usually blamed on eating specific protein foods such as organ meats. But another dietary ingredient has just as much, if not more impact: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
In addition to gout, the elevated uric acid may contribute to other health issues including:
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Kidney Disease
- Heart Disease
Ways to Prevent or Reduce Gout Episodes:
- Minimize sugar intake (may lower risk by 85%)
- Avoid sodas, sweetened drinks and fruit juices
- Increase water intake (half your body weight in ounces of water per day)
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Greatly reduce or eliminate alcohol
- Exercise regularly
- If overweight, takes steps to reduce
- Add a dose of tart cherries (concentrate or supplement) to your daily regimen (see Education Guide #305). They are known to have similar activity to aspirin and ibuprofen.
How Gout Shows Up
Gout (also known as Hyperuricemia) is a complex disorder that’s becoming prevalent in the United States and many developed countries. Almost five million Americans, 90 percent of them men in their 40s or older, currently suffer from gout. Centuries ago, it was known as an affliction of the rich because it was common among noblemen who had access to fancy foods and liquor. Gout is rising rapidly among Americans due to the increased consumption of processed foods and poor diets in general.
People who have hypertension, coronary artery disease, and are prone to excessive alcohol consumption are also at risk. Alcohol can raise blood uric acid levels and may initiate a gout attack.
Approximately half of all gout sufferers are overweight. Excess weight worsens gout by causing irritation of already inflamed nerve endings.
Current studies also show a high correlation between metabolic syndrome (heart disease and diabetes symptoms such as insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, hypertension, and high triglyceride levels) and gout.
Gout often has no symptoms, but may be brewing quietly in the background. As uric acid levels increase in the blood, mainly due to poor dietary choices, the risk of a gout flare-up increases.
A flare-up can occur without warning and frequently occurs at night. It often attacks the big toe where the skin becomes extremely sensitive, red and inflamed. An attack usually lasts from three to ten days and may not happen again for months. But left untreated, the attacks can become more frequent and more intense.
Uric acid normally dissolves in the blood and is able to pass out of the body through the kidneys without causing harm. Being related to metabolic and blood sugar issues, gout is related to the inability of the blood to tolerate high sugar concentrations. This is the result of too much dietary sugar and/or alcohol consumption.
Gout is linked to metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with being overweight, hypertension, diabetes and generally disturbed glucose/insulin metabolism. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels appears to be the real underlying problem. Waste products, toxins and high uric acid are created whenever the liver metabolizes fructose.
US and Canadian researchers found evidence that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda has a strong correlation to developing gout. Specifically, men who drank two or more sodas daily had an 85% higher risk. An average 12-ounce soda contains 40 grams of sugar, half of which is fructose.
Genetics plays a relatively minor role. Reducing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages during childhood can lessen the risk developing gout as an adult. Evidence suggests that gout risk builds through the years if dietary habits are not improved.
High Fructose Corn Syrup Is a Major Risk Factor
Fructose contains no beneficial enzymes, vitamins, minerals, or additional micronutrients. Instead, it leeches them from the body. Unbound fructose, found in large quantities in HFCS, can also interfere with the heart’s ability to access critical minerals such as magnesium, copper, and chromium.
Many processed foods contain HFCS. Like all sugars, HFCS has an addictive effect.
Story of One Person’s Recovery Using Cherries
“Dr. Ludwig W. Blau’s story of how eating a bowl of cherries one day led to complete relief from pain sparked interest in cherries as a treatment for gout. Dr. Blau’s gout had been so severe that he had been confined to a wheelchair. One day, he polished off a large bowl of cherries. The following day, to his surprise, the pain in his foot was gone.
“Dr. Blau continued eating a minimum of six cherries every day. He was soon free of pain and able to get out of his wheelchair. His research led to many other gout sufferers being helped by cherries.”
Additional Information Sources:
All Eureka Market Education Guides are intended for educational purposes only. The guides are NOT intended to substitute for professional medical consultation and as such, do not diagnose, prescribe or offer personal medical advice. Always consult with your health care professional before taking supplements with prescription medications.