Smart Snacking: Choosing Crackers for Gout Management


Gout is no doubt an incredibly inconvenient and painful condition that can leave you debilitated and frustrated during a flare-up. But another aspect of having gout that can be equally as painful (okay, not quite) is figuring out the perfect diet for preventing said flare-ups.

As many people with gout will be aware, certain foods (and drinks) may as well be gout’s best friends. In some cases, these foods are quite obvious; but what about when it comes to the everyday snacks we’re all used to grazing? For example, are crackers good for gout?

What is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis characterised by sudden and severe joint pain, most commonly affecting joints in the feet, particularly the big toes. However, gout can also affect other areas of the body, including the ankles, wrists, knees and elbows. While it is most common in middle-aged men and post-menopausal women, gout can affect people at any age.

Gout flare-ups and the associated pain are caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood which, over time, forms sharp crystals in the joints. Uric acid can build up for a number of reasons, including kidney dysfunction, dehydration and genetics. However, diet can also significantly impact uric acid levels, hence most doctors will recommend switching to a “gout-friendly” diet.

This involves limiting the intake of foods that are bad for gout and increasing the consumption of foods that are good for gout - and this largely comes down to purine content.

The Gout Diet and Purines

Purines are naturally occurring compounds that are found in the DNA of virtually all living things on the planet. They are produced naturally in all of the body’s cells and, as such, are impossible to avoid completely. For the most part, this is fine. Our bodies are able to break down excess purines into uric acid that is then filtered out of the body as waste’ however, in some cases, such as those mentioned above, this is not always effective.

It may therefore become necessary to limit the intake of purines in our diets. This involves limiting foods with high purine contents, which include

  • Red meats and some seafood (shellfish, sardines and anchovies)
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, etc)
  • Alcoholic drinks (particularly grain-based beverages)
  • Organ meats (liver, kidneys, etc)
  • Fruit juices and sugary drinks
  • Processed foods (biscuits, cakes, and crackers, etc)

After a brief research session, you will find that many sources count crackers as a food to avoid if you have gout. But with so many high-purine foods available, could the humble cracker really make that much of a difference?

What Crackers Are Good for Gout?

So what, if any, crackers are good for gout? Well, the problem with many crackers available in supermarkets is that they are usually highly processed. They are often packed with preservatives and flavourings to prolong their shelf life and make them more appealing. As a result, they often contain ingredients that are not great for gout.

Moreover, crackers aren’t generally a healthy food, even if you don’t have gout. They have little nutritional value and some can have high calorie and fat contents. Having said that, this can vary significantly depending on which cracker you choose to grace your cheeseboard with (as an occasional treat!).

If you are craving crackers, it’s best to check the ingredients and Nutrition Facts label. Some crackers are made using vegetables and healthy fats and some contain nuts and seeds that can be good for a gout-friendly diet. You should also be mindful of sodium content as too much salt can also lead to hyperuricemia (blood uric acid levels).


Adopting a gout-friendly diet can be confusing and frustrating at first. With so many processed, high-purine foods available, it can be difficult to cut them out completely. Thankfully, there are always alternatives available so you can usually carry on enjoying your favourite foods in a controlled and responsible way. Furthermore, other approaches to gout management, including taking regular supplements and staying hydrated can also help prevent gout flare-ups!

So, what crackers are good for gout? Well, if you select options with low salt and good nutritional values, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the odd cracker treat every now and then.

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