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Sugar Sweetened Beverages Raise Gout Risk

Gout Word Cloud Gout Word Cloud

A recent study shows that men who drink soda every day are 45% more likely to suffer from gout, a painful type of arthritis. Another study published in the Journal of American Medical Association reveals that the chances of suffering from gout were two times higher in women who regularly consumed two or more cans of soda per day than in their counterparts who rarely drank soda. The findings of these studies are pretty scary, especially when you consider that sugary beverages are so frequently consumed in the United States. For many, the beverages of choice are sugar-sweetened, and are even thought to be healthy when marketed as fruit juice despite being made from concentrate.

A 2017 report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) revealed that more than half of US adults drink at least one sugary drink every day. Sugary beverages generally contain high concentrations of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose increases the plasma levels of uric acid. When concentrations of uric acid floating in the blood become too high, uric acid crystals are formed and deposited in the joints of the body. Build up of uric acid crystals in the joints causes gout.

Gout is a growing problem in the United States. According to a study conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Boston, the percentage of US adults suffering from gout had risen from 2.7% in the early 90's to 4% in 2008. The rising incidence of gout may be connected to soaring rates of consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Between 1950 and 2000, the rates of consumption of soft drinks rose from 10 gallons per person per year to 50 gallons per person per year, a whopping 5 fold increase. With their capacity to raise blood levels of uric acid, sugared beverages might be a major contributing factor to the high incidence of gout in the United States.

The Benjamin Franklin axiom that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure should guide individuals who want to minimize their risk of suffering from gout. Excessive intake of sugary drinks is one of the risk factors that promote the development of gout. Avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages is an important step in our quest to prevent gout.

Additional Information:

(1) Soft Drinks, Fructose Consumption, and the Risk of Gout in Men: a Prospective Cohort Study

(2) Fructose-Rich Beverages and Risk of Gout in Women

(3) Prevalence of Gout and Hyperuricemia in the US General Population

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