The high-fructose corn syrup and gout relationship

High-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, has been under high scrutiny for the past decade because of its undesirable health effects. HFCS is primarily used as a replacement for sugar—particularly in processed foods and beverages—because of its relatively effective sweetness-cheapness ratio. Serious health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease have all been linked to high-fructose corn syrup. In addition to that, in 2005, a study reported some HFCS manufactured in the U.S. contained mercury.

The primary relationship of high-fructose corn syrup to gout—as a risk factor—is its uncanny ability to increase uric acid formation. Subjecting the liver to large amounts of fructose results in high uric acid formation, which we all know is the number one culprit in gout.

As an organization devoted to stopping gout, we could in fact stop here and tell you to avoid any kind of fructose entirely, especially if you want to prevent a re-occurrence or an episode of gout. However, the unacceptable amount of risk factors associated with the cheap sugar alternative is just so overwhelming that we can easily encourage every health-concerned human being to avoid it altogether. Excess fructose intake has been associated with hypertension, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease, elevated triglyceride levels, and of course, high uric acid levels.

To define further, HFCS is actually a mix of fructose and glucose. It is exactly a 55% fructose and 45% glucose mix. Standard table sugar is a 50-50 mix. Do not be fooled by the 10% difference. That 10% is enough to alter how your body consumes magnesium, copper, and chromium. This is because the 10% fructose is in the form of free molecules, unlike in a table sugar (50-50), where each glucose molecule is bonded to a fructose molecule.

While all these adverse effects of HFCS is, in theory, debatable. Do know that the top proponents for HFCS are the processed foods and beverages manufacturers. Bear in mind that these are multinational corporations that have millions of dollars in investments to protect. To give HFCS some benefit of the doubt—in its relationship with increased uric acid levels, ergo gout—a popular argument is that table sugar, or sucrose, is no more healthy than HFCS. While this is debatably true, it makes common sense to avoid or regulate consumption of all forms of sugar, except for those found in natural forms such as fruits.

So there you have it. The relationship is clear. HFCS increased uric acid production in the body, which is why it is a known contributor for gout. (We could have said “indirect” but you can’t deny that uric acid is the number one culprit in gout.)

One Response to “The high-fructose corn syrup and gout relationship”

  1. Donis Fylaktou on July 20th, 2011 at 7:08 am

    I have had gout for years, and tried just about everything without success.I reduced meat to, minimum once
    a week, stopped alcohol altogether.I was having LOTS of fruit and vegetables and my gout was worsening.
    Finally I have read something about Excessive fructose increasing uric acid.I experimented reducing my fruit
    intake to 2 a day, and bingo within days I saw a dramatic improvement.Cherries are the only exception.
    I eat a lot of them when in season,with no ill effects.
    Tony Phylactou

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