A high intake of purine-rich meat (particularly red meats) and seafood significantly increases the risk of developing gout, while a high intake of low fat dairy products, strongly protects against the painful joint condition, according to a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers prospectively examined potential dietary risk factors for gout in 47,150 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. They used food-frequency questionnaires to assess diet every 4 years. Over a 12-year-period, 730 confirmed new cases of gout were documented among the participants in the study.
The risk of gout was 41% higher for men with the highest meat consumption compared with those with the lowest intake. For seafood consumption, the risk was 51% higher. Each additional daily serving of meat was associated with a 21% increase in the risk of gout, and each additional weekly serving of seafood was associated with a 7% increase in risk.
No increased risk was seen with consumption of purine-rich vegetables, which include peas, beans, mushrooms, cauliflower and spinach, or with overall protein intake.
Increased consumption of low-fat dairy products, on the other hand, appeared to reduce the risk of gout by 44% for men with the highest consumption versus lowest intake.
After taking into account these dietary components, other traditional risk factors had no effect - including being overweight, having high blood pressure, older age, alcohol use, use of diuretics, and chronic kidney failure.
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