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|All Health and Nutrition Bites|
What is the best diet for both diabetes and gout?
I have a friend who lives with both diabetes and gout. He doesn't handle either of these conditions particularly well. He and his wife recently went to a small seminar and asked the dietitian there for some tips on handling diet when one does have both diabetes and gout. She was really unable to answer him! She didn't even refer him to some literature or advise him where to find good information.
How can diet help prevent kidney stones?
My 15 year old daughter just had surgery for a kidney stone. Her maternal grandfather suffered with these all his life, so we feel it is hereditary. It is unusual for such a young girl to have a kidney stone. She runs cross country and we also feel she has hydrated enough on a daily basis. The doctor told us to reduce her protein intake as her stone was a uric acid stone. What types of things should be cut out of her diet? Do you have recipes that are low protein for a lifestyle change?
What About Gout?
This was a recent question by a visitor to the site in response to a column about how great legumes are for you. The issue is that legumes can provoke a flare-up of painful arthritis in those who suffer with gout. This is the consequence of higher amounts of purine molecules found in beans, peas and peanuts.
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Contrary to popular belief, gout is not a disease of the past. It actually is the most common inflammatory arthritis in men, and its prevalence has actually doubled in the past few decades. Those who suffer from gout are often told to limit their intake of purine and alcohol to help minimize attacks. However, in a recent study released in the British Medical Journal (2008; 336:309-312), two researchers note that the rise in the incidence of gout coincides with the increased consumption of sugared or fructose-sweetened soft drinks. Should gout sufferers be avoiding soft drinks, as well?
Drs. Choi and Curhan made use of data obtained from the health professionals follow-up study, a large-scale, long-term study of the dietary habits and health of over 50,000 male health professionals between the ages of 45 and 75 at the study's inception, in 1986. Each subject replied to a mailed questionnaire regarding their lifestyle, medical history, and diet. Those professionals who said that they already had gout were excluded from the researchers' study, as were those who did not provide adequate information on their intake of sugar sweetened soft drinks, leaving a total of over 46,000 men with no history of gout. Every two years for the next twelve years the subjects responded to a follow-up questionnaire, which included a question about whether they had been diagnosed with gout or other specific diseases or conditions.
The dietary questionnaire included questions about each subjects' intake of sugar sweetened soft drinks, including "Coke, Pepsi, or other cola with sugar," caffeine-free versions of the same, both caffeinated and decaffeinated diet colas, and different types of fruit drinks and fruit juices. The frequency of their consumption of these foods was measured in nine levels: never, 1-3 a month, 1 a week, 2-4 a week, 5-6 a week, 1 a day, 2-3 a day, 4-5 a day, and more than 6 per day. The researchers then calculated the amounts of sugar or fructose each level contained by working with the US Department of Agriculture and the various manufacturers.
After assessing the fructose intake of those who were diagnosed with gout with those who were not, the researchers found that an increasing intake of sugar sweetened soft drinks meant an increased risk of gout. Quite simply, the more sugar sweetened soft drinks an individual drank, the more likely they were to have gout. In fact, those men who drank two or more servings of sugar sweetened soft drinks each day were 85% more likely to develop gout than those who drank less than one serving per month. The increased risk for one serving per day was 45%, while 5-6 servings per week meant an increased risk of almost 30%. Interestingly, diet soft drinks seemed to have no effect on the subjects' risk of gout.
Yet another reason to avoid sweetened soft drinks. Considering that diet soft drinks present other risks to your health, my recommendation is that you skip soft drinks altogether and drink water.
First posted: February 13, 2008