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What Is Purine?
Purine is a compound found primarily in foods of animal origin. It is especially high in organ meats, anchovies, mackerel, and sardines.
Why Should I Follow a Low-Purine Diet?
A low-purine diet is usually recommended if you have gout. It may also be recommended if you have kidney stones or have had an organ transplant.
The body metabolizes purine into uric acid. A buildup of uric acid can worsen symptoms of gout. If you have gout, eating a low-purine diet can help minimize uric acid production and thereby improve symptoms.
Eating Guide for a Low-Purine Diet
|Food Category||Foods Recommended||Foods to Limit or Avoid|
|Meat and Beans||
In addition to following a low-purine diet, here are some other suggestions for decreasing uric acid production:
- Avoid or limit your intake of alcohol, especially beer. While alcohol does not contain purines, it increases your production of purine.
- Drink 8-12 cups of fluid every day. This will help dilute your urinary uric acid, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming.
- Consume low-fat or nonfat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, on a regular basis. Research shows that these foods may help prevent gout from occurring.
- Limit your intake of fat to 30% of your calories.
- Don’t follow low-carbohydrate diets.
- Avoid rapid weight loss, as this can increase your uric acid levels. If you need to lose weight, do so gradually.
Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to come up with a personalized eating plan.
The Arthritis Foundation
The Purine Research Society
Dietitians of Canada
The Arthritis Society
Choi HK, Liu S, et al. Intake of purine-rich foods, protein, and dairy products and relationship to serum levels of uric acid: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arthritis Rheum. 2005;52(1):283-289.
Fam AG. Gout: excess calories, purines, and alcohol intake and beyond. Response to a urate-lowering diet. J Rheumatol. 2005;32(5):903-905.
Hyon CK, Mount DB, et al; American College of Physicians, American Physiological Society.. Pathogenesis of gout. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(7):499-516.
Low-purine diet. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/Pages/low-purine-diet.aspx. Accessed February 19, 2014.
- Reviewer: Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
- Review Date: 01/2016
- Update Date: 05/08/2014