What Is the Gout Diet?

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on July 07, 2024
4 min read

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that happens when too much uric acid builds up and forms crystals in your joints. Your body makes uric acid after it breaks down a substance called purine, which is found in many foods.

Low-purine diet

One way to manage gout is to reduce the amount of purines you eat. Doctors often suggest a low-purine diet for people with high levels of uric acid in their blood (hyperuricemia), a condition that can lead to gout. While what you eat can affect how much uric acid your body produces, the effects are small compared to medication.

No specific eating plan will completely prevent flare-ups, but a good gout diet will help you:

  • Reach a healthy weight
  • Set and stick to good eating habits
  • Limit foods with purines
  • Add foods that can help control uric acid levels

Skip foods and drinks that are high in purines to help lower your chances of an attack.

Foods high in purines

You should stay away from these types of food:

  • Beer and grain liquors (such as vodka and whiskey)
  • Red meat such as beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal, and venison
  • Organ meats, such as liver, kidneys, and glandular meats such as the thymus or pancreas (you may hear them called sweetbreads)
  • Seafood, especially shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, mussels, anchovies, and sardines
  • High-fructose products such as soda and some juices, cereal, ice cream, candy, and fast food
  • Game meats such as goose, veal and venison
  • Turkey
  • Gravy and meat sauces
  • Yeast and yeast extract

You’ll want to go for low-purine options such as:

  • Low-fat and nondairy- fat products, such as yogurt and skim milk
  • Fresh fruits (low sugar) and vegetables
  • Nuts, peanut butter, and grains
  • Fat and oil
  • Potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta
  • Eggs (in moderation)
  • Meats such as fish, chicken, and red meat are fine in moderation (around 4 to 6 ounces per day)
  • Cherries, blueberries, strawberries
  • Tofu

You may see vegetables such as spinach and asparagus on the high-purine list, but studies show they don’t raise your risk of gout or gout attacks. Beans and soy products are also good choices for lowering uric acid.

Foods aren’t the only thing that can affect uric acid. What you drink matters, too.


It’s a good idea to drink lots of fluids -- 8 to 16 cups a day. At least half of what you drink should be water. Your kidneys use water to get rid of uric acid through your pee, and water also keeps your kidneys healthy, which helps ward off gout.

Vitamin C (think orange juice) can also help lower uric acid, but studies also show that the high fructose in orange juice may boost uric acid levels, so drink it in moderation. Caffeinated coffee can cut uric acid, too, if you don’t overdo it.


Stay away from sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice. You also may need to limit or avoid alcohol as well. Talk with your doctor to find out what’s right for you.

While a healthy diet can help control how much uric acid is in your system, you may still need medicine to prevent future attacks. Talk with your doctor about all your treatment options.


For breakfast, you can try whole-grain cereal without added sugar, skim or low-fat milk, strawberries, and a cup of coffee. 


At lunch, roast 2 ounces of chicken breast and put it on whole-grain bread with mustard. On the side, have a mixed green salad with nuts and a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Drink water or low-fat or skim milk.


An afternoon snack can include a cup of fresh cherries, melon, or low-fat yogurt.


For dinner, roast 3 to 4 ounces of salmon. You can also have green beans and 1/2 to 1 cup of whole-grain pasta with olive oil and lemon pepper.

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes painful joint inflammation. It's the result of too much uric acid in your blood that forms crystals in the joints. Diet plays a role in managing gout by lowering uric acid levels. A gout-friendly diet involves limiting high-purine foods and eating low-purine foods, drinking plenty of fluids (especially water), and avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol. No diet can completely prevent gout flare-ups, but these guidelines can help manage symptoms and lower your number of attacks.