According to the results of a meta-analysis published in BMJ Open, consuming sugary beverages is linked with an increased risk of incident gout. A similar result was also found for fruit juice consumption; however, it was not found for the intake of the whole fruit.
Gout, a kind of inflammatory arthritis, can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually in a big toe. Many people who suffer from gout initially dismiss the symptoms, thinking it’s just a pulled muscle or some other injury. The problem is that if left untreated, it could cause other health issues. This is why it is so important to catch gout in the early stages and start treatment as soon as possible.
The most common sign of gout is a nighttime attack of swelling, redness, tenderness, and sharp pain in your big toe. The attack can last a few days or many weeks before the pain goes away. Another attack may not happen for months or years, or you may never experience one again if you are treated correctly.
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood, which forms into crystals in the joints, causing pain and swelling. This condition is called hyperuricemia. Uric acid usually dissolves in the blood and moves through the kidneys without causing harm. However, when the body makes too much uric acid or does not release a sufficient amount of it through urine, uric acid builds up and leads to the creation of crystals in the joints. The body attacks the crystals with white blood cells, causing inflammation and redness in the area.
The Risk of Gout
For this recent study, researchers conducted a systematic search using MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library of all the years on file. Studies that investigated the relationship between food sources of sugar and incident gout were selected for the study. Two independent reviewers used the research to assess the risk of gout.
There were 154,289 participants recorded in the study, of which 1,761 showed incident cases of gout. The study had a median follow-up period of 17 years for sugar-sweetened drink consumption, 18.7 years for fruit juice, and 9.9 years for whole fruit. All participants were assessed with self-reported food frequency questionnaires.
Comparing the highest with the lowest intake of fruit juice, there was a significant adverse connection between the juice and gout. The greatest risk associated with gout was the intake of sugar-sweetened drinks. When looking at the results for whole fruit intake, researchers found that there was no significant connection between the fruit intake and gout.
Further research is needed to confirm these findings, but since gout is a high risk condition in many countries, there are more studies being regularly released. Given that sugary drinks have also been connected to other health problems including metabolic syndrome, premature death, diabetes, and myocardial infarction, it does serve as a reminder to limit these drinks in your daily diet.
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