Gout is a very serious medical issue that makes you become much more aware of your diet. Eating certain types of food, like rich meats, aggravates your gout greatly.
This can sometimes mean a trip to the hospital if you do eat a lot and it usually means you are unable to walk.
Changing your diet and carefully watching what you eat to avoid aggravating a health issue further can be very difficult.
So, this article will help you out by discussing what gout is and how it shows itself, how artificial sweeteners, in particular, affect your gout, and how you can avoid artificial sweeteners.
What Is Gout?
Gout is when you have large amounts of uric acid traveling through your blood, which in turn leads to joint inflammation.
Our bodies have a natural uric acid threshold in them, but after you pass a certain point, painful crystals called urate can form in and around any of your joints. Having urate form will cause pain and often help trigger other symptoms of gout.
The large amounts of uric acid get into your bloodstream either by having a genetic predisposition for it or eating a lot of high purine foods.
This includes many meat products and some vegetables like mushrooms or asparagus. Cutting back on high purine foods will significantly help your gout.
How Do You Know If You Are Experiencing Gout?
There are a few ways you can experience gout:
- Joint redness
- Swollen joints, typically in the foot or leg
- Joint pains
- Abnormal tissue growth under the skin
If you have a family history for it, you should be prepared to start being very aware of what you eat because you are much more likely now to suffer from it. It is likely that you will have urate form during the night and you will wake up in the morning feeling gout.
If your feet or hands feel swollen or sore, this is a potential sign of gout. Be careful trying to stand up as you might not be able to.
Where Can Artificial Sweeteners Be Found?
There are many forms of artificial sweeteners, but one is found in many store-bought products and will be difficult to avoid: fructose. So, you may eat a sandwich and experience gout later that night because of the sandwich.
How is this possible? Fructose is a very cheap sugar to use, meaning it could even be in your bread, especially white bread.
This is pretty unlikely though. The primary things to avoid in this case are fruit juice and soda.
Avoiding artificial sweeteners then will be very hard to do, especially if you drink a lot of fruit juice, soda, or consume any other food that contains high fructose corn syrup.
If you read the ingredients label on many food products in your home, you are bound to find this listed on there somewhere.
Now it may seem like a daunting task to undertake. It may be difficult at first, but it is definitely possible if you simply pace out how much of the sweeteners you consume in a day. For example, don’t chug down an entire can of soda at once, spread it across an hour or two.
You can also have a diet soda as the sweeteners in those have been found to not aggravate your gout. But they aren’t necessarily healthier for you in general.
Here’s something else interesting that has been found: some fruits are high in fructose naturally. This isn’t talking about the syrup used to can some fruits like peaches, but rather food like dates, watermelon, apples, and of course, honey.
There are others to watch out for how much you eat, like oranges, but these are the most important.
The four food products mentioned are among the highest in how much fructose can be found within the food per 200 calories worth of the food.
For reference, here is a comparison of these different foods:
- Soft drink – 29,760 mg of fructose per 200 calories
- Honey – 26,930 mg of fructose per 200 calories
- Apple – 25,125 mg of fructose per 200 calories
- Watermelon – 23,296 mg of fructose per 200 calories
- Dates – 23,074 mg of fructose per 200 calories
As you can see: Quite a lot of fructose in these.
The good part is that 200 calories are a good portion size for everything listed after soft drinks. You’re more likely to drink a whole can of soda in a single sitting than you are to eat 3 dates, 3 apples, 2-3 slices of watermelon, or 9 teaspoons. It makes you feel much better when you think about how much food that really is.
But if you tend to have a lot of any one of these foods throughout a day, you now know what could be causing some of your gout flare-ups and where you should look to cut back on your meals.
Monitoring your food through notes or a setlist of what you are eating on which days will help you pinpoint what could have caused your gout flare so you know what is something you especially need to avoid.
Most Important Foods and Food Ingredients to Avoid
As this article is focused on artificial sweeteners, this list is going to be made up of products and items that are found to aggravate gout or inflammation the most.
Most of these are going to contain either fructose or sucrose in them, which I will explain at the end of this list.
There are other foods that impact gout, but for sweeteners, always look out for high fructose corn syrup on the nutritional facts and ingredients label of your food.
This will include things such as:
- Regular sodas like Pepsi
- Store-bought fruit juice
- Most candies or pastries – maybe you can find a good at-home recipe to try to get your sweet tooth fix
- Canned fruits or soups – they tend to use high fructose corn syrup as a preservative in fruits and occasionally in soups
- Certain condiments like ketchup or mayonnaise
This list could honestly be endless. This is primarily due to the high fructose corn syrup most companies put into their foods as a cheaper alternative to sugar. Reading the labels and nutritional facts are the best way to help you determine if it is a good food to eat or not.
Be wary of foods high in sugar or if the label includes a word like “fructose” or “sucrose” in it. These are two types of sugars that are used in most processed foods and you are likely to come across.
Remember: You can get foods containing these ingredients. But eat smaller portions and make sure you have medicine and whatnot on hand with you later that day. Eating these types of foods or having these drinks every few days will also help you in the long run.
A Few Alternatives to Artificially Sweetened Food or Drink
While it can be difficult to make changes in your life, especially with food, there is one helpful thing you can do: Substitute it. It helps replace the food you ate before and, if you stay with your diet or pattern for a while, you’re more likely to keep eating this better substitute food.
A few foods or products you can eat without any worry are:
- Cherries or cherry juice
- Stevia – an artificial sweetener, but it is plant-based and much sweeter than regular sugar
- Plain water
- Flavored sparkling water – in case you want to mix up your tastes a bit
- Dairy products – low-fat or skim milk or yogurt, for instance
- Plain chocolate – might want to avoid the brand name candy bars though
- Coffee or tea minus any sugar or sweeteners
The best way to make sure you can eat something: Moderation. Don’t each fish like tuna several times a week or drink a sweetened coffee 3 times a day.
Cut back a portion or two, or even eat the original portion throughout the day. Try out a few different ways and see what ends up working best for you.
There are a great number of ways your gout can be impacted and how it can affect you. A good way to help yourself and avoid this as much as you can is to pay attention to what you eat.
Decrease how many artificially sweetened drinks or portions of fruit you have in a day if you continue to have issues with your gout despite not eating many rich foods.
Setting up a diet plan, making meals at the beginning of the week, or portioning out leftovers or potential snacks before you get hungry is the best way to help you when you are trying to limit what you eat.
You may stray now and again, but staying on track most days of the week is the most important to ensure your gout acts up the smallest amount possible.
Did this help you out or did you find out something new? Let us know in the comments what you thought!