A day doesn’t go by in the medical field without some new research or information changing the way you live. It’s almost hard to stay abreast with all the influx of medical news. Now there’s a new development that we need to be concern about and it has to do with one of Americans popular drinks—soda! For a long time alcoholic beverages where consider as one of the worst culprit in causing gout. Now a recent study, however, shows us that soda and the ingredients it contains is even more harmful than hard liquor when it comes to increasing your risk of developing this serious condition.
What is Gout?
If you know someone who suffers from gout, you might have an idea of the severity of this disease. Gout is a form of arthritis caused by the formation of uric acid crystals, which become lodged in the joints. Flare-ups involve painful swelling and sensitivity. Though men are more likely to have gout, the risk for women becomes greater after menopause. Approximately 1 in every 10 people over age 60 suffers from the disease.
The longstanding medical thinking on gout is that it’s triggered by both diet and heredity. Some individuals may naturally produce high levels of uric acid or be unable to eliminate it effectively. If diet is to blame, the patient habitually consumes a lot of food high in purines such as red meat, organ meats and shellfish. Purines are natural substances found in all our cells and in nearly all foods; when they break down in the body, uric acid is formed. The accumulation of too much uric acid in the blood leads to gout.
In addition to purine-rich foods, alcohol is a common cause of gout. A daily serving of hard liquor raises gout risk by 15%, and a daily serving of beer raises your risk by a whopping 49%. We know that high alcohol consumption puts people at risk for a number of health problems, but a recent Canadian study reveals an even more widely consumed beverage that puts you at risk for gout—sweetened soft drinks.
The Soda-Gout Connection
In this groundbreaking new study, 46,393 men were observed over a period of 12 years. In that time, 755 of the men developed gout. The ones who drank the most soda were at twice the risk of the ones who drank the least. Soda’s role in uric acid formation had gone undetected until now.
The key to the soda-gout connection is high fructose corn syrup, the sweetener used in virtually all regular sodas. Researchers found that diet sodas, which abandon fructose in favor of calorie-free sugar substitutes, do not have any effect on gout risk. Just as alcohol adversely affects the uric acid pathway, fructose disturbs that pathway as it is processed by the liver.
By the numbers, the gout risk associated with soda consumption is staggering. For each daily serving, you increase your chances of developing gout by 35%. Two or more sodas per day drive your risk up by 85%! As you can see, fructose sweetened beverages are just as damaging to health as alcohol.
Medical research exists not only to verify our current theories, but to discover new information so that severe medical conditions can be prevented. If soda is a staple in your diet, replace it with natural fruit juice, diet drinks and good old-fashion water. Now that you know the connection between sweetened soft drinks and the risk of developing gout, I’m confident that you will make the changes that will bring you optimal health.
Mark Bromson, M.D.
Natural Health News