Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Men Who Enjoy Soft Drinks Found To Be At Greater Risk For Gout.

A recent study shows that men who consume soft drinks containing fructose and sugar are more likely to develop gout. This comes from the Online First issue of the BMJ.
Gout used to be called the “rich man’s” disease. It was associated with the upper crust, believing to stem from foods that were rich in purines. Men who experienced gout attacks were generally sedentary, drank alcohol, and ate well. Gout was seen “later in life”, around age 45. Back then, the average life expectancy was only about thirty years. Thomas Jefferson suffered from gout as did Benjamin Franklin, making the association with elevated social status credible.

We know more about gout now of course. We can treat gout with medications and conservative measures, but as usual, prevention is much more desirable. Gout is a very painful form of arthritis that affects men. If you’ve ever had a gout attack you know what I mean. It can be intolerable, and develops because of excess uric acid in the bloodstream.

The study shows a strong association between gout and soft drink consumption. After consuming soda there is an immediate rise in uric acid levels. The risk of gout associated with soft drinks is as significant as that seen with the intake of meats that are high in purines.

Interestingly, the incidence of gout doubled at about the same time that soft drink consumption increased. If you already have gout, the risks are even greater that soft drinks will lead to a full blown attack. Diet soft drinks did not produce the same results.

Obviously, any increase in sugar and fructose intake will heighten your risk of gout. The message is perhaps another blow to the soft drink industry.

This is just another indication that we need to get back to basics for the maintenance of good health.

Ref: BMJ. Published online February 1, 2008.

Helpful links:
Low purine diet
Gout and Hyperuricemia