‘Avoid’ three meats that could cause painful joint crystals – expert

Gout: Dr. Rosemary Leonard advises on symptoms and treatment

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Arthritis is an umbrella term for common conditions that spur on pain and inflammation in your joints. Triggered by elevated levels of uric acid, gout is considered one of the most painful types. Worryingly, certain types of meat could lead to the development of sharp, needle-like crystals in the joints of gout sufferers.

From sausages paired with bacon on your fry-up plate to roasted trout drowned in butter sauce for dinner, meat can be a source of protein as well as joy.

However, three types of meat could do more harm than good by laying the groundwork for painful joint crystals in gout sufferers, according to experts.

Gout occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate in your joints, causing chronic inflammation and irritation. 

During gout attacks, patients experience “intense” pain, swelling and redness of the affected joints.

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Unfortunately, your diet could determine the levels of uric acid in your bloodstream, with certain meats being especially risky.

Veronika Prošek Charvátová, senior researcher at Viva! said: “Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — compounds found naturally in your body but also in many foods. 

“The richest sources of purines by far are red meat and organ meats – such as liver or kidneys – and fish – such as anchovies, sardines, trout, tuna, mussels and scallops.”

While eating meat is not a problem for healthy people who don’t suffer from the joint condition, gout patients can’t excrete uric acid from their bodies.

Dr Justine Butler said: “A high-purine diet can lead to uric acid accumulation and cause a gout attack.”

Don’t just take the experts’ word for it, as a meta-analysis, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also linked these meat types to a higher risk of gout.

The research team analysed 19 studies with adequate sample sizes of participants, who enjoyed red meat, seafood, alcohol, fructose, dairy products, soy foods, high-purine vegetables and coffee.

Their findings showed that the risk of gout was “positively correlated” with the intake of red meat, seafood, alcohol and fructose.

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Dr Butler said: “It’s not so much a question of how much meat can you eat, it’s more to do with if you are susceptible to gout, it’s best to avoid these trigger foods completely.”

Fortunately, plant-based alternatives could offer a helping hand for gout patients who still desire a meaty flavour and kick of protein in their diet.

While previous studies questioned the purine content in pulses, new research papers suggest they should be safe to eat.

Charvátová said: “There’s no need to avoid pulses as was once recommended because of their purine content – they contain much less than meat, fish or shellfish and also offer a wide range of healthful nutrients.

“A comprehensive review study focused on plant-based diets, uric acid and the risk of gout (Jakše et al., 2019). 

“According to the results, plant-based diets do not put you at risk of gout even if you consume purine-containing pulses and vegetables or mock-meat products.

“They simply aren’t as high in purines as meat and fish. 

“In fact, the study authors concluded that plant-based diets help to prevent gout and maintain healthy uric acid levels.”

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