Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruits and honey, while high fructose corn syrup is a man-made sweetener produced from corn. High fructose corn syrup is composed of 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
The reason why fructose has a negative impact on the joints is that fructose is metabolized differently from glucose. As the body breaks down fructose, chemical compounds called purines are released. When purines are broken down, it produces uric acid. Uric acid is responsible for the production of painful crystals in the joints, which causes gout.
Gout: Past and Present
Gout was used to be known as a “rich man’s disease”. This is because, in the early times, only wealthy men who could afford expensive foods, such as red meat, veal, and scallops, had gout. But today, gout is any man’s and woman’s disease.
A study conducted in 2008 found that people who drink two or more sodas a day have an 85% higher risk for gout than people who drink less than one soda a month.
The number of people living with gout has doubled in the past few decades, and are linked to increased consumption of soda, particularly in the U.S.
Obesity: A Risk Factor for Gout
Obesity is one of the risk factors for gout, and having too much sugar could contribute to obesity.
People who are obese or overweight produce more uric acid and their kidneys are unable to remove the uric acids as fast as possible. It has been clinically proven that obese people have a doubled risk of developing gout, compared to people with a normal weight.
Do Fruits Cause Gout Too?
Fruits are high in nutrition which can provide several nutrients for the body. Yes, fruits are high in fructose which can result to an elevated level of blood glucose level and can cause gout. However, you should only eat fruits according to the recommended dietary level.
It is also important to limit the consumption of fruit juice which is more concentrated in fructose.
There are studies which linked fruit juice and certain types of fruit such as oranges and apples with a risk for gout.
How to Control the Risk for Gout
To prevent gout, limit or avoid sodas which are high in sugar. If you already have gout, change your diet into a healthier and control the amount of sugar you ingest. Also, watch out for foods that increase the uric acid in the body, such as meat and seafood. Alcohol is also known to raise uric acid in the body.
Medications, such as allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) and febuxostat (Uloric), which are xanthine oxidase inhibitors, can reduce the amount of uric acid and are also helpful to manage the symptoms of the disease. These medications must be taken continuously even if you already feel better.