Gout Diet: A Comprehensive List of 20 Foods to Avoid With Gout

A gout is a painful form of arthritis that occurs when there is an excess of uric acid in the body. These crystals cause inflammation, swelling, and severe pain in the affected joints, most commonly the big toe. It can also affect the knees, ankles, and other joints. One of the most effective ways to manage gout and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups is through dietary changes.

By avoiding foods that are high in purines, you can help keep their uric acid levels and minimize the risk of painful gout attacks. However, with so many foods containing varying levels of purines, it can be challenging to know which foods to avoid. To help simplify the process, we have compiled a comprehensive list of 20 foods that individuals with gout should avoid.

Understanding the Connection Between Gout and Diet

Gout is closely linked to diet, as certain foods can raise uric acid levels in the body. Uric acid is a waste product that forms when the body breaks down purines, which are naturally occurring substances found in many foods.

When there’s too much uric acid in the blood, it can accumulate in the joints, leading to the painful symptoms of gout. To manage gout effectively, it’s essential to follow a low-purine diet, which means limiting or avoiding foods high in purines. By reducing your intake of these trigger foods, you can help prevent gout attacks and minimize the severity of symptoms.

Gout Diet
Gout Diet

Gout Diet: A Comprehensive List of 20 Foods to Avoid With Gout

1. Organ Meats

Organ meats, such as liver, kidneys, and sweetbreads, are extremely high in purines. Purines are naturally occurring compounds that are broken down into uric acid during digestion. When you have gout, high levels of uric acid can lead to the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, causing inflammation and pain. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid consuming organ meats to prevent a spike in uric acid levels and gout attacks.

2. Shellfish

Shellfish, including shrimp, crab, lobster, and mussels, are also rich in purines. These tasty seafood options should be limited or avoided if you have gout. Instead, opt for low-purine seafood alternatives like salmon, trout, and tuna, which are not associated with increased uric acid levels.

3. Red Meat

Red meat, especially high-fat cuts like beef and lamb, should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether if you have gout. These meats are high in purines and can contribute to elevated uric acid levels. Instead, consider leaner protein sources like poultry, tofu, or legumes.

4. Game Meat

Game meats, such as venison, duck, and goose, are also high in purines and should be avoided or consumed sparingly. If you enjoy game meats, consider opting for lower-purine options like rabbit or pheasant.

5. Processed Meats

Processed meats, such as sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats, are not only high in purines but are often packed with sodium as well. Excessive sodium intake can lead to water retention and increase uric acid levels. These meats should be limited or replaced with healthier protein sources like fresh chicken or turkey breast.

6. Beer

Beer is particularly problematic for individuals with gout. Not only is it high in purines, but it also contains brewer’s yeast, which can increase uric acid production in the body. Additionally, alcohol can dehydrate the body, leading to a higher concentration of uric acid in the blood. It is best to avoid beer and opt for other low-purine alcoholic beverages like wine or spirits in moderation.

7. Sugary Drinks

High-fructose corn syrup, commonly found in sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices, has been associated with an increased risk of gout. Fructose can stimulate the production of uric acid in the body. To quench your thirst, choose water or unsweetened beverages instead.

8. Sweetened Foods

Limit your consumption of sweets, candies, and desserts as they often contain added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup. These sweetened foods can contribute to gout flare-ups by increasing uric acid levels. Opt for healthier alternatives like fresh fruits or naturally sweetened treats in moderation.

9. White Bread and Pasta

Refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta have been linked to increased uric acid levels. These foods have a high glycemic index, meaning they can cause spikes in blood glucose levels, potentially leading to higher uric acid production. Choose whole grain alternatives like whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta to help manage your gout symptoms.

10. White Rice

Similar to white bread and pasta, white rice is a refined carbohydrate that can contribute to gout symptoms. It is advisable to choose brown rice or other whole grains instead. Brown rice is less processed and retains more of its natural nutrients, including fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of gout flare-ups.

gout foods to avoid
gout foods to avoid

11. High-Fat Dairy Products

Full-fat dairy products, including whole milk, cheese, and ice cream, can trigger gout attacks due to their high purine and saturated fat content. These foods can increase uric acid levels and contribute to inflammation. Opt for low-fat or non-fat dairy options like skim milk, low-fat yogurt, or cottage cheese.

12. Sugary Snacks and Desserts

Snacks and desserts like cookies, cakes, and pastries often contain high levels of added sugars and refined carbohydrates. These can worsen gout symptoms by increasing uric acid production and promoting inflammation. Instead, choose healthier snacks like nuts, seeds, or fresh fruits.

13. High-Fructose Fruits

Certain fruits, such as oranges, pineapples, and grapes, are high in fructose, which can increase uric acid production. While fruits are generally a healthy choice, it is advisable to limit your intake of these high-fructose fruits if you have gout. Opt for lower-fructose fruits like berries, apples, and pears.

14. Spinach and Asparagus

Although vegetables are generally beneficial for gout due to their low purine content, spinach and asparagus are exceptions. These vegetables are rich in purines and should be consumed in moderation. However, it is important to note that the purine content in vegetables is generally lower compared to animal-based sources.

15. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is another vegetable to be cautious of due to its moderate purine content. While it can still be enjoyed occasionally, it’s best to limit consumption if you have gout. However, cauliflower provides various other health benefits and is a good source of nutrients, so it can still be included in a balanced diet.

16. Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain purines and should be avoided or consumed sparingly if you have gout. However, the purine content in mushrooms is relatively low compared to some other high-purine foods. If you enjoy mushrooms, you can still include them in your diet but keep the portion sizes in check.

17. Yeast Extracts

Yeast extracts, commonly found in gravies, broths, and processed foods, can increase uric acid levels and trigger gout attacks. These products often contain concentrated forms of purines, so it’s best to read labels carefully and avoid them if you have gout.

18. Certain Beans

Some beans, such as lentils, navy beans, and kidney beans, are high in purines and may contribute to gout symptoms. However, it’s important to note that the purine content in beans can vary. If you enjoy beans, consider opting for lower-purine alternatives like black beans or chickpeas.

19. Alcohol

Apart from beer, other types of alcohol, including wine and spirits, can increase uric acid production and worsen gout symptoms. Alcohol can also dehydrate the body, leading to a higher concentration of uric acid in the blood. Moderation is key, and it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider regarding your alcohol consumption if you have gout.

20. Excessive Salt

High-sodium foods can lead to water retention and increase uric acid levels. It is important to limit your intake of salty snacks, processed foods, and condiments. Opt for low-sodium alternatives and use herbs and spices to flavor your meals instead.

Foods to Eat in a Gout Diet

While avoiding trigger foods is important, a gout-friendly diet isn’t just about what you eliminate. It’s also about what you include. Here are some foods that can help you manage your gout symptoms:

  • Cherries: Cherries, particularly tart cherries, have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower uric acid levels. Enjoy fresh cherries, cherry juice, or cherry extract as part of your gout management plan.
  • Low-Fat Dairy: Skim milk, yogurt, and other low-fat dairy products can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy bones. Aim for two to three servings per day.
  • Whole Grains: Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread, are high in fiber and can help regulate blood sugar levels. Choose whole grains over refined grains whenever possible.
  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, are high in vitamin C and can help reduce inflammation. Enjoy citrus fruits as a snack or add them to salads or smoothies.
  • Leafy Greens: Leafy greens, such as kale and collard greens, are low in purines and high in nutrients that can help reduce inflammation. Use leafy greens as a base for salads or sauté them as a side dish.
  • Fatty Fish: While some seafood is high in purines, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. Aim for two servings per week.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are high in healthy fats and can help reduce inflammation. Enjoy a handful as a snack or sprinkle them over salads or yogurt.
  • Berries: Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are low in purines and high in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation. Enjoy berries as a snack or add them to smoothies or oatmeal.


A gout diet can help manage the condition by reducing the intake of certain foods that contribute to the formation of uric acid crystals. By avoiding or limiting the 20 foods mentioned in this article, you can help reduce uric acid levels and improve your overall health. It is important to note that a gout diet should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. You should also include medication, lifestyle changes, and regular check-ups with a healthcare provider.