Offal such as pork tongue and ears should be completely avoided by gout patients. Photograph by alpha/Flickr
Gout is a condition that affects the joints causing excruciating pain. Says Suvarna Sawant, chief dietitian at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai, “A gout flare up is caused without any injury and is also accompanied by soreness and redness around the joints.” There is no diet that can cure gout, but certain foods can be avoided to ensure that there are no painful flare ups.
The key to keeping gout under control is making sure that the uric acid level in the body is low. “Five to six years ago, we did not see so many cases of gout and our diets are definitely to be blamed for the increase,” says Sawant, “So a balanced diet is extremely important.” There are some foods that lead to a spike in the uric acid level in the body, which should be avoided. “In general, a high protein diet is not recommended to those suffering from gout,” says Sawant.
Thick dals should not be consumed by gout patients since they need to follow a low protein diet
Foods such as sprouts, pulses and meats are to be avoided at the onset to lower the uric acid level. Says Sawant, “After a few months, since the uric acid level has been brought down by medication already, I switch to a low protein diet.” After two or three months, gout patients can begin eating pulses in the form of dal, but they should take care that the consistency of the dal is not too thick. “A thin dal with more liquid is allowed,” says Sawant. Chinese food with high salt and monosodium glucomate (MSG) are also not recommended for gout patients.
Chinese takeaways, which usually contain high levels of MSG should also be avoided. Photograph by Jeremy Keith/Flickr
A few months later, meat can be added to the diet. “I introduce fish and chicken almost six months after the onset of gout,” says Sawant, “And eggs, of course, are OK.” But there are two things that are a complete no-no as far as a gout diet is concerned. “Gout patients cannot have animal organs for the rest of their lives and they should also never go on a crash diet because both can cause a spike in uric acid levels.”