You can smell cook-out season in the air. Someone pulls a grill out on a shaded patio and everyone around immediately knows something delicious is cooking. This only intensifies around holidays, particularly extended weekends like Labor Day. For people struggling with gout, though, grill get-togethers with neighbors and family can be a tough time. Food has a profound effect on gout—it can even trigger an attack. If you know what foods to avoid, though, you can safely enjoy your cook-out.
It’s true, the food you eat can trigger a gout attack. This is because of what actually causes it. This unusual type of arthritis is the result of too much uric acid in your blood crystalizing and settling in your joints (usually the big toe). These sharp crystals scrape away at the tissues in your joints. The uric acid that forms the crystals comes from the food you eat. Your body creates it when it breaks down chemicals called purines in food.
Some foods and drinks have a much higher purine content than others, which makes them much more likely to trigger a gout attack. These are things you want to avoid. Unfortunately, many of these foods are often found at a cook-out. Here’s what to watch for:
- Red and fatty meats – Beef, pork, bacon, and organ meats are particularly bad for gout.
- Seafood – Shellfish and some fish are high in purines, so watch for them in side dishes.
- Alcohol – Beer and all alcoholic drinks are terrible for gout.
- Sugary drinks – Soda and juices high in fructose aren’t good drink alternatives, either.