This page about the best beef for gout, page 1 of 2 of our best beef for gout pages, was first updated or reviewed on 7 November 2017
Beef (and meat in general) gets a bad press in many articles that discuss the causes of gout. It's high in purines, creates a great deal of uric acid, which raises blood uric acid, and causes gout attacks. Or so they say.
Beef certainly can be a cause of gout and I am sure it often has, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, at which time excessive purines seem to have been the sole cause of gout. And if you splurge on meat. Or eat its offal (organ meat) such as liver or kidneys which is so high purine it could cause an attack a couple of hours after eating it.
Some epidemiological (population) studies have demonstrated the expected correlation between meat consumption and uric acid levels, and the risk of gout. (There is a risk). But many cuts of beef are not so high in purines, several cuts are even low purine, (see further on). But you do have to watch the amount of meat you eat.
The purines that matter
The key to the best beef for gout is which prime cuts (shoulder, flank, sirloin, rump (round), shin (shank) etc), are lowest in purines or which create the least uric acid? Purines' amounts vary across the whole body of a cow or heifer, so looking at the prime cuts' purines is useful, if it can be done with current data..
Moreover, according to one study, (1) - and there are not many, nor enough, on this subject - just two of the four purine bases - hypoxanthine and adenine - actually create uric acid. The others, xanthine and guanine, do not.
Amounts of uric acid created from prime beef cuts
Firstly an overview, what is high, medium and low purine in numbers ? Experts vary, but we can say high purine foods begin at 400 mg of uric acid/100 grams of food; medium purine foods are from 100 mg to 399 mg/100 grams; low purines foods are below 100 mg/100 grams. These numbers are all for 100 grams if beef which is half a fairly normal serving of beef of 200 grams (7 ounces).
Prime beef cut's names and coverage in top English speaking countries
I'll explain the following about prime cuts' names in Anglosphere countries because of the international readership of best-gout-remedies.com which is as you'd expect, strong in English speaking countries.
The prime cuts that follow until the end of this article are taken from a Japanese study (1), the best so far on this subject. I guess their names have been translated into English, and they have mainly the same names as those of British cuts. Both British and Japanese cuts are somewhat (not completely) different to American cuts.
U.S. beef cuts
Difficulty reading the prime U.S cuts ? Click here for a larger drawing
New Zealand and Australian cuts are just about the same as British. So too are Irish and South African. For South African only about three of 14 -16 prime cuts are different. Canadian beef cuts are more or less the same as American, the only difference is that the American "round" becomes "hip" in Canadian.
But the areas of the cow (and heifer) covered by each country's named prime cut may not be precisely the same. Brisket for example covers slightly different areas in some countries. Neither is there any data on different breeds.
If you want to research this yourself for greater precision, I suggest you begin with your country's beef cuts chart and compare them with the cut's purines/uric acid numbers here.You will then understand cow areas that are low,or medium low or medium purine.
British beef cuts
So where do beef cuts rank ? First table
In one purines table (2) the following cuts of beef average 110 - 120 mg of created uric acid from 100 grams of beef.That places them in the medium purine category - but only just. And two cuts here - from two shoulder cuts and fore-ribs become low purine in another study (1).
UK/Aus/NZ - also includes Irish and South African.
UK/Aus/NZ beef fillet 110 mg. US/Can loin/tenderloin
UK/Aus/NZ beef roast sirloin 110 mg. US/Can sirloin/loin
UK/Aus/NZ beef shoulder 110 mg. US/Can chuck
UK/Aus/NZ beef chuck/blade 120 mg. US/Can chuck
UK/Aus/NZ beef fore rib 120 mg. US/Can rib
Prime beef cuts that are lowest in purines and uric acid. Second table
Numbers quoted herebelow, are uric acid in mg created from 100 grams of beef. The top five are low purine. The best is about 30% better than the worst. Lowest numbers,the better, are placed top, then downwards.
Generally, the lowest in purines are the rib loin, shoulder (clod), neck and brisket. But what rib loin is I don't exactly know. It has been translated from Japanese - probably from the ribs part next to the loin. i.e the fore rib (U.K); rib (U.S).
UK/Aus/NZ ribloin (fore rib) 74.2 mg US/Can rib (likely)
UK/Aus/NZ shoulder ribs 77.4 mg US/Can chuck
UK/Aus/NZ shoulder sirloin 90.2 mg US/Can chuck
UK/Aus/NZ brisket 95.8 mg US/Can brisket
UK/Aus/NZ sirloin/fillet 98.4 mg US/Can tenderloin
UK/Aus/NZ neck 100.6 mg US/Can chuck
UK/Aus/NZ clod (shoulder) 104 mg US/Can chuck
UK/Aus/NZ shin 106.4 mg US/Can shank
UK/Aus/NZ topside/silverside 110.8 mg US round; Can hip
Silverside is located just under, or adjacent to, the topside; both are behind the rump, UK/Aus/NZ; (round or hip in US/Can).
One inconsistency is that shoulder showed up higher (110 mg) in the first table shown above but 77.4 mg, 90.2 mg or 104 mg in this one.
(1) Total purine and purine base content of common foodstuffs for facilitating nutritional therapy for gout and hyperuricemia Kaneko K Aoyagi Y Fukuuchi T, Inazawa K, Yamaoka N. Biol Pharm Bull. 2014;37(5):709-21. Epub 2014 Feb 20.
Did you know you can probably lower the purines in the meat you eat ? Find out how here