One of the first recommendations a doctor will give for an overweight gout sufferer is to lose the extra weight, so one option the sufferer often looks at is a comparison between an Atkins diet and gout friendly diet.
Obesity is one of the main risk factors for gout, with around half of all gout sufferers being classed as obese or overweight. So, considering the best diet to adopt will make a large difference to the success of the gout treatment you choose.
The Atkins diet is based on the theory that we eat too many refined carbohydrates which is why so many people are struggling to maintain a healthy weight. The extra carbohydrates that don't get used as fuel by the body are turned to sugar and stored as fat. Our bodies will burn both carbs and fat, however, they will always start with the excess carbs first as they are easier to process.
So the idea behind the Atkins diet is to severely restrict carb intake, forcing the body to burn its stores of fat. It may be a way to lose weight, but be careful if you're considering this diet as a gout sufferer.
Atkins and other low carb diets rely heavily on protein based foods and this is where the problems for gout sufferers start.
Gout is caused when hyperuricema occurs, this is a medical term for when the body has elevated levels of uric acid in the blood stream. Uric acid is a natural waste by-product that we produce, and which is normally eliminated mainly by the kidneys via urine. When this elimination process encounters a problem, or there is an unusually elevated level of uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals are formed and deposited in the joints.
It is the build up of crystals that cause gout symptoms - hot-to-touch, red, swollen and extremely painful joints. One of the main causes of hyperuricemia is eating purine-rich foods. When ingested, purine, is turned into uric acid. Normally the body can cope with this natural process, however, should the kidneys have impaired function or the level of purine intake increases dramatically, gout can be the outcome.
The foods that have the highest purine levels are animal based proteins. The very foods that make up the largest portion of the Atkins diet plan. So, you can see the problem that a gout sufferer may have by following Atkins or other low/restricted carb diets.
The alternative for gout sufferers may take a little longer to see results in terms of weight loss, however, the added bonus is the risk of potential further gout attacks is greatly reduced. The answer is to adopt a gout-friendly diet, drink more water and introduce as much exercise as safely possible.
A gout sufferer's weight loss should be gradual as rapid weight loss can actually have the opposite effect and make gout symptoms worse. Extreme dieting and rapid weight loss have the effect of raising uric acid levels in the body.
Gout friendly diets tend to be made up of complex-carbohydrates, low fat and low protein foods and, of course, foods low in purine. Protein is usually limited to no more than 100grams a day and it is best to avoid or limit alcohol, as this can increase uric acid production within the body. Aim to drink 8 - 10 glasses of water a day to help dilute uric acid and speed up elimination.
By following a sensible gout diet you will be able to lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight and avoid further gout attacks at the same time. For more information about low carb, Atkins diet and gout friendly diets sign up for the free newsletter on the site.
By Lisa McDowell. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover more about the pros and cons of an Atkins diet and gout friendly diets. Uncover the various proven natural cure for gout options that are available.