Nuts About Gout: Do Nuts Cause Gout?

To be able to answer this question comprehensively, we need to first split it into two contexts: first is if nuts directly cause gout, and second, if nuts are bad for gout.

To tell you the truth, I am one of the many who have always associated nuts with gout. Call it wisdom of the elderly but I have always been under the impression that nuts are “high in uric acid.”

To explain how many levels of wrong that last statement was, we need to establish one thing: uric acid cannot be ingested. Uric acid is not present in foods, it is a byproduct (of our bodies) from the metabolism slash breakdown of purines. If at all, these alleged high uric acid foods are actually foods high in purines. Also, nuts are actually not high in purines.

So, going back to the original question(s), the first answer would be that nuts do not directly cause gout. However, to be able to answer the second question (are nuts bad for gout?) with absolute certainty, we need to clear up some technicalities.

Nuts by strict botanical definition are fruits. Examples include hazelnuts, chestnuts, pecans and acorns; these are what scientists call true nuts. However, there are other foods that moonlight as “nuts” such as cashew nuts, pistachios and peanuts.

True nuts are not high in purines. In fact, given that an ideal gout diet should be low in protein (but protein is essential for everyone), nuts are recommended as an alternative protein source along with low fat dairy and eggs.

Peanuts, on the other hand, are legumes like peas and beans. These are foods that fall in the moderate purine content category. If we are to visualize this protein source-purine content chart, those under low would include nuts and eggs, those under moderate would include legumes and beef, and those under high would include animal internal organs such as liver and kidney, and fish such as anchovies and sardines.

So there you go. Nuts do not cause gout. They do contain purines, as all protein sources do, but they are not that bad for gout—talking about true nuts. And, other “nuts” such as peanuts can still be consumed in moderation.

One Response to “Nuts About Gout: Do Nuts Cause Gout?”

  1. Thank you for this information, I had a gout flare up back in 6/2012 and do not want another one very painfull, it wa in my wrist. I like pecans and I just wanted to know if they would be harmful to bring the gout back. I understand it better when you explained it, the doctor did not break it down like you did. I guess as patients we have to do our own research. Thank you

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