I have learned to focus on uric acid instead of purines. Why? Because research shows that higher purine contents do not always translate into higher uric acid levels or more gout attacks. The following items should be considered:
1) Recent studies show that vegetable purines have a greatly reduced effect on uric acid levels and gout, compared to animal purines.
2) Certain foods cause uric acid levels to be raised for a prolonged period of time, relative to other foods with the same purine content. On an empty stomach uric acid levels tend to peak about 3 hours after eating. The actual peak value can be about the same whether eating chicken or beef, but after eating chicken that number seems to fall back down in 3-4 hours, whereas I have seen it take more than 10 hours for uric acid levels to come back down after eating beef (see the Chicken vs Hamburger graph on this page).
3) Certain foods cause uric acid levels to rise faster and more sharply than others. These are known as trigger foods and can often cause an attack. Shellfish is often called a trigger food for this reason. It calls attention to the uric acid crystal deposit in a joint and thus begins the onset of a gout attack.
4) Some foods are low in purines but still raise uric acid levels. High fructose corn syrup, for example, has a relatively low purine content but competes with uric acid when the kidneys are working to excrete the body's toxins. Therefore, HFCS raises uric acid levels by not allowing uric acid to be excreted as easily.
So I believe that what we need is not purine charts, but uric acid charts that show the effect of various foods on uric acid levels. Of course, this would be much more difficult to obtain because purine content is determined in the laboratory, not using test subjects. Still, if a small handful of people are able to contribute their findings I think it would be incredibly helpful to the gout community. If you have any data points of your own, please share them in the comments below. Then read on to see some of the surprising results that I found from my uric acid testing.
Measuring What Matters
I have gone through days of frequent-interval testing and some of the results I found were surprising. For example, workouts and even hot showers increased my uric acid levels... and at least one of these increases is actually a good thing! Read More →
Chicken vs Hamburger