Women who consume fructose-rich beverages, such as sugar-sweetened soft drinks and orange juice, are at an increased risk for gout, according to research presented in November, 2010 at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta.
Gout is a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis. Initial symptoms usually consist of intense episodes of painful swelling in single joints, most often in the feet, especially the big toe. Gout occurs when excess uric acid (a normal waste product) accumulates in the body, and needle‐like crystals deposit in the joints. This may happen because either uric acid production increases or, more often, the kidneys are unable to remove uric acid from the body adequately.
Fructose-rich, sugar-sweetened beverages may increase serum uric acid and the risk for gout. Researchers have recently noted that the prevalence and incidence of gout has been in the rise in the United States over the past few decades and this has coincided with a substantial increase in soft drink and fructose consumption in the U.S. With this knowledge, a group of researchers recently set out to examine the relationship between intake of fructose-rich soft drinks and orange juice and the risk of gout in women.
"From a public health viewpoint, we are particularly concerned about sugar-sweetened sodas, whose consumption has grown so much over the past few decades. It is possible that this increased consumption has contributed in part to the doubling frequency of gout in our society during the same period,” said Hyon Choi, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of British Columbia and lead investigator in the study.
Choi added, “Our findings indicate that the link between fructose-rich beverages and the risk of gout is comparable to alcoholic beverages, which are well-known causes of gout. Physicians and patients should be aware of this link, as the current lifestyle recommendations for gout prevention almost exclusively focus on reducing purine and alcohol.”