An anti-hypertension diet — that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, low fat dairy and whole grains and a low intake of sodium, sweetened beverages, and red and processed meats — was linked with a reduced risk for gout, according to a recent analysis. In addition, the Western diet — which contains more red and processed meats, sweetened beverages, desserts, French fries and refined grains — was linked with an increased risk for gout.
“This provides the first prospective evidence that the Western diet, reflecting fast foods abundantly available in Western countries, can explain the increasing prevalence of gout observed in such settings,” Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH, from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and colleagues wrote. “Increased purine intake from animal sources and insulin resistance resulting in anti-uricosuric effects are likely mechanisms of this diet leading to hyperuricemia and eventually gout.”
Choi and colleagues assessed the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet and the Western diet in 44,444 men from a 1986-initiated longitudinal study of health care professionals, including dentists, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, podiatrists and veterinarians. Of the study participants, 91% were white. Participants were aged between 40 years and 75 years and did not have a history of gout. From 1986 to 2012, the dietary questionnaire was administered every 4 years which asked about food intake in the prior year.
Investigators found 1,731 participants were diagnosed with gout during the study period. Compared with the lowest fifth of DASH scores, men with the highest fifth scores had a reduced risk for gout (ratio = 0.68) after adjustment for age, BMI, hypertension, renal failure, alcohol use, energy intake, diuretic use and coffee consumption. Compared with the lowest fifth of Western diet scores, men with the highest fifth scores had an increased risk for gout (ratio = 1.42) after the same adjustments.
“For individuals with a high risk for gout, especially those who also have hypertension, the DASH diet is likely to be an ideal preventive approach,” Sharan K. Rai, MSc, from MGH, said in a press release. “The diet may also be a good option for patients with gout who have not reached a stage requiring urate-lowering drugs or those who prefer to avoid taking drugs. And since the vast majority of patients with gout also have hypertension, following the DASH diet has the potential of ‘killing two birds with one stone,’ addressing both conditions together.” – by Will A. Offit
Choi reports grants from AstraZeneca, consulting fees from Takeda and consulting fees from Selecta. Please see the full study for a list of all other relevant financial disclosures.