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Can a Diet Give You Gout?

Gout's on the Rise, and Your Diet May Be to Blame

The Truth About Gout and Diets continued...

But losing weight too quickly might also increase the risk of gout.

"As you lose weight, you start to metabolize body tissues, and there is an increased flux of purines that the body has to deal with, which leads to increases in uric acid," says Klippel. "Crash diets where people are losing weight very rapidly are going to increase the risk of gout."

Nuki says that's where the link to high-protein diets like Atkins comes in. Any diet that produces rapid changes in weight raises the risk of gout, but he says low-carbohydrate diets may carry an additional risk for two reasons.

First, many of the foods promoted by these diets, such as bacon, organ meats, and some types of seafood, are high in purines and cause uric acid levels to rise. Second, low-carbohydrate diets put stress on the kidneys, which might make them more sensitive to changes in uric acid levels.

Even so, Nuki says diet is only part of the picture.

"Gout in almost all cases is a combination of having an underlining genetic predisposition and then being faced by a challenge, either something like an Atkins diet or generally the challenge of over-nutrition and alcohol," says Nuki, who is also a trustee of the UK Gout Society.

"What is important is that if you have an attack of gout, that should be a red flag and a warning that you need to look at other aspects of your health because most people who have a first attack of gout are a bit overweight, eat unsuitably, and drink a bit too much."

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