How does consuming food containing a high level of purine affect my body?
You’re probably concerned about purine from what you’ve heard about gout.
Consuming food containing a high level of purine should not affect you if you have no medical problems, such as gout or renal failure (non exhaustive list so please check with your doctor). Studies on multiple populations have found that diet is at best estimated to be a very minor contributor as risk for gout development, as compared to something like genetic factor.
In fact, you may already be having a high purine diet if you are a great seafood, shellfish or meat lover - or even a spinach lover if you are a vegan/vegetarian, as it contains high levels of purine as well.
The general nutritional benefits of whole foods such as fish and high-purine vegetables like spinach, broccoli or asparagus can sometimes outweigh the risk of purine intake, even to someone with gout.
Even if you have gout, the verdict on high purine food causing gout flare isn’t exactly concrete. Not all purine from all sources of food are made equal, and in fact outright contradictory in some cases. Dietary purine restriction seems to be an impractical means to manage gout, either because its unpalatable, can lead to other nutritional deficiencies, or shown to only have reduced blood urate/uric acid levels (a product of purine in your blood that physicians go by to assess your gout control) by very little compared to what medications can do.
In fact, losing weight from being obese seems to be linked more to reductions of gout flare.
Your healthy body is wonderful and amazing and is generally able to process anything in excess that your body does not require.
In short: If you have to worry about purine rich products, just cut off purine rich products like alcohol (which has no beneficial nutrients), and take a more balance approach on whole foods and plant based food that are packed with nutrients in an effort to eat mindfully, with weight management in focus :)
Dr Tyler Lim
MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (Singapore)
160 Robinson Rd
#04-11 SBF Centre
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