Uric Acid: Foods to Avoid

If you have kidney stones or gout, your doctor may recommend that you make some changes to your diet. It may take some getting used to, but ultimately these changes can help reduce the risk of gout flareups or kidney stone recurrence. This is done by controlling dietary purines -- substances that make up 15 percent of the uric acid in your body. While there is medication that helps control gout, dietary changes can further help keep your condition under control.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Purine-Restricted Meal Plan

Purine is a compound found primarily in animal protein, but is also found in some other foods. Foods high in purines raise the uric acid levels in your body, and this increases your risk of having a gout attack or developing certain types of kidney stones. The typical person eats between 600 to 1,000 milligrams of purines each day, according to the Kidney Stones Treatment and Prevention Centers. The goal of a low-purine diet is to limit your purine intake to about 100 to 150 milligrams per day.

Red Flag Foods

High-purine foods to avoid include:

  • anchovies
  • canned herring
  • trout
  • canned sardines
  • shrimp
  • organ meats

These foods have anywhere from about 230 to 555 milligrams of purines per 100-gram serving, according to North East Medical Services 1.

Foods to Limit

How much you'll need to limit foods containing a moderate amount of purines depends on how well your gout or kidney stones are managed. Work with your doctor to determine how much of these foods you can include in your diet. Moderate purine foods contain about 9 to 100 milligrams of purines per 3-ounce serving.

Other Points to Consider

Drinking enough fluids each day helps prevent uric acid from becoming concentrated. It's recommended that you always drink 1 cup of water before and after your meals and that you drink 8 to 12 cups of fluid daily. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation recommends limiting animal foods to 4 to 6 ounces per day 2. In addition, avoid or limit alcohol since it leads to higher uric acid levels. It's recommended that you limit high-fat foods such as ice cream, fried foods and full-fat salad dressings. Fatty foods may cause your kidneys to retain uric acid.