Tomatoes and gout are not the best of bedfellows. In this article we will examine the relationship between tomatoes and gout and how best to use the fruit as part of your diet if you are worried about gout and high uric acid levels.
There has been some debate over the years as to whether tomatoes trigger gout, here we’ll aim to cut through both sides of the debate and put together as definitive an answer as we can for you.
Argument 1: Tomatoes Don’t Cause Gout
One of the biggest arguments against the humble tomato and gout, and its potential to be a trigger for flare ups is to look at what makes up a tomato and the ways in which we eat them. Firstly, one of the major things that gout sufferers look for in their diet is whether it is high in purines, as purine rich food is a major trigger of gout. Tomatoes comes up on the list of foods that are known to be low in purine levels and therefore on the face of it would be ideal to have as part of your diet if you are looking to reduce your chances of gout. Up to 90% of the make-up of a tomato is water; they are low in sugar content and carbs and even low in calories, all good signs so far. Tomatoes are often used as a central part of a healthy salad, often cold, but there could be problems with the acidity of tomatoes if cooked and eaten in large quantities.
Argument 2: Tomatoes Do Trigger Gout
Despite looking on the face of it like a safe, purine-low food to eat as a gout sufferer, things have got a bit muddier in recent years with more studies being conducted into whether tomatoes trigger gout. Three US studies, and one from New Zealand, all indicated that there was a link between eating tomatoes and gout, with higher than average uric acid levels in the bloodstream as a result. Tomatoes were listed as a trigger 20.2% of the time when New Zealanders were asked, ranking it fourth in the most commonly listed foods that trigger gout, behind alcohol, seafood and red meat. When linked to the three US based studies it showed that those who consumed tomatoes did show higher levels of uric acid in the blood.
Although there is no data to support this claim, the study does hypothesise that due to tomatoes being high in glutamate, there is a chance that they can ‘stimulate or amplify the synthesis of urate by acting as a nitrogen donor in the purine synthesis pathway’. Further research is required to see whether data can be found to back this up, and to confirm tomatoes as a gout trigger in the same way that purine high foods and beverages are well known to be.
Tomatoes as Part of a Gout Friendly Approach to Life
The reports on gout triggers are fascinating and the conflicting reports on tomatoes over the years lead us to believe that there should be more research conducted before coming to a conclusion on whether they are as bad a trigger of gout as other well-known, high in purine foods.
N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, of the University of Florida has the following to say about the perceptions of tomatoes as a gout trigger and how people tend to try and deal with gout:
"The problem is people trying to control their gout by diet alone. It doesn't work. People can't go on a restrictive enough diet so that their uric acid will be lowered to the point that they're not at risk of gout flares. What they need to do is go on pharmacologic therapy with the standard drugs -- allopurinol, febuxostat, probenecid -- to lower their uric acid. If they stay on that therapy, they aren't going to be susceptible to flares even if they have dietary indiscretions,"This follows the approach we would also recommend, taking to eating a healthy, balanced diet that can include tomatoes in moderation if you so wish. Tomatoes and gout can sit nicely in the same environment, without them causing a flare up, if you are careful! This alone will not reduce the levels of uric acid in your bloodstream and therefore lower the risk of a gout flare-up. Exercise, a balanced diet and an approach that includes a gout supplement, such as Uriciplex is the advised approach for anyone who already suffers from gout, or has been told by their doctors to look at their lifestyle to lower the levels of uric acid in their bloodstream. Uriciplex is a safe and natural remedy that targets the root causes of gout, is side effect free and helps lower uric acid before the high levels turn into sodium crystals around the joints and the inflammation of gout takes hold