High fructose consumption can increase the risk of gout.

gout - cartoon

In the United States, levels of gout have doubled over the last few decades, which has coincided with a substantial increase in the consumption of fructose-sweetened soft drinks and foods. Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the blood which leads to uric acid crystals collecting around the joints – and fructose is the only carbohydrate known to increase uric acid levels.

Drs Hyon Choi and Gary Curhan from the Universities of British Columbia and Harvard, with the aim of exploring relationship between intake of sugar sweetened soft drinks and fructose and the risk of gout, followed over 46,000 men aged 40 years and over with no history of gout. The men completed regular questionnaires on their intake of more than 130 foods and beverages, including sugar sweetened soft drinks and diet soft drinks, over a period of 12 years. Different types of fruits and fruit juices (high in natural fructose) were also assessed.

At the start of the study, and every two years thereafter, information on weight, regular use of medications and medical conditions were also recorded. Gout was diagnosed according to American College of Rheumatology criteria.

During 12 years of follow-up, the researchers documented 755 newly diagnosed cases of gout.

The risk of gout increased with increasing intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks: significantly increased with an intake level of 5-6 drinks per week and 85% higher among men who consumed two or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day compared to those who consumed less than one drink per month. However, diet soft drinks, not sweetend with fructose, did not increase the risk of gout.

Fruit juice and fructose rich fruits (apples and oranges) were also associated with a higher risk the researchers were anxious that this finding should be balanced against the multiple health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.

British Medical Journal (2008, February 1). Sugary Soft Drinks Linked To Increased Risk Of Gout In Men.


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First Published in January 2008

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