Combatting the misconceptions of the Atkins Diet – Gout

Atkins Diet Misconceptions: Low Carb diets and Gout

In a response to a TV episode on the show Royal Pains, I analyzed the claims that a high fat diet will necessarily lead to the pain associated with gout and gout attacks. The conventional wisdom seems often analogous to popular, but wrong cholesterol theorem that dietary cholesterol leads to increased cholesterol in the blood. Is the popular theory right?

The misconception about the low carb diet leading to gout centralizes about dietary consumption of moderate or high purine foods leads to high uric acid in the blood, which leads to it crystallizing and causing pain.  ““The suggested correlation between a low-carb diet and an increased risk of gout seems obvious. Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. A diet comprised of foods rich in purines (i.e. meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, eggs, etc.) are later broken down into uric acid in the body.”  (http://arthritis.about.com/cs/diet/a/lowcarbdiets.htm)

The defense for low carb begins all the way back to William Banting, perhaps the grandfather of low carb diets.  “I have a very strong feeling that gout (another terrible parasite upon humanity) might be greatly relieved, if not cured entirely, by this proper natural dietary, and sincerely hope some person so afflicted may be induced to practice the harmless plan for three months (as I certainly would if the case were my own) to prove it; but not without advice.”

Another defense or meta-analysis of low carb lifestyle comes from supposed lost chapter from Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes as well.  http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/10/05/gout/
“The actual evidence, however, has always been less-than-compelling: Just as low cholesterol diets have only a trivial effect on serum cholesterol levels, for instance, and low-salt diets have a clinically insignificant effect on blood pressure, low-purine diets have a negligible effect on uric acid levels.”  The missing chapter is an excellent read and eliminates any confusion others might have had.

2 comments to Combatting the misconceptions of the Atkins Diet – Gout

  • Tom DiPaolo

    I was wondering if you are aware of any studies done with Low carb and Marathon Runners?

    • admin

      The best link I have on endurance is the original Stephen Phinney study in which he evaluated non-athletes and an endurance study on a treadmill. These non-athletes endurance improved by 10-15% after following a ketogenic diet over the control group. He also did a study with highly-trained bicyclists, but length of exercise was much shorter than 100+ minute endurance study.

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