Glycemic Index and gout. Low GI foods lower blood uric acid, but not a lot

This page about the Glycemic Index and gout, is it worth paying attention, was last reviewed or updated on 13 June 2016

This is the second of our two pages about the Glycemic Index and uric acid. If you haven’t done so you may wish to read the first page first, which explains the study and its results.

The uric acid reductions in the trial – even the best - were not great, merely useful. Compare for example the best fall - 0.27 mg/dL to the - 1.7 mg/dL reduction on the Zone Diet in this study. The reduction here – 1.7 mg/dL, was about six times greater than this GI trial. Or orange juice drinking in one study: - 0.71 mg/dL (men) and - 0.24 mg/dL (women);  or taking extra Vitamin C, at least 500 mg daily - 0.59 mg/dL And many others written up on this website.

But if you use the GI dietary method for 6 months, and lower your GI foods more than in the study, you might do better. Drugs like Allopurinol and Febuxostat can reduce it 2 - 4/5 mg/dL.

Gout sufferers are often  looking for uric acid reductions of 3.0 mg/dl or 4 mg/dL down to 6.0 (women) and 7.0 (men), the considered normal figures. These are much more than the Glycemic Index lowered  uric acid. So GI/GL can only be a small help.

The Glycemic Load (GL)

There is a more sophisticated version of the Glycemic Index (GI) called the Glycemic Load (GL). This was not tested in this experiment. Glycemic Load could and should also be the subject of a study to learn the numbers for GL effects on uric acid. If you know and understand what the Glycemic Load number of a food means, use that instead of the Glycemic Index. Learn exactly what it is on this page.

What about protein and uric acid ?  

The study added some fuel to the argument that protein consumption increases uric acid, although that is not a done deal despite many believing it. The low carb group ate more protein and their uric acid went up but not much. And changes in protein intake also meant changes in fat intake, which might have confounded the protein result.

Note that you do not necessarily eat more protein on a low/restricted carb diet as is often said. You can find foods which are low carb and low protein, especially fruits and vegetables. And on a low carb diet your appetite usually falls, so it becomes easier to eat less protein.

The Glycemic Index and uric acid - is it worth paying attention ?

If you eat canned or other packaged goods which usually have a complex list of ingredients you won’t be able to work out the GI and it won’t be on the nutrition panel. People who cook their own fresh foods (always best for gout anyway), can work out the GI or GL of a meal in most cases.

Or simply eat foods where the GI (and the GL) has been calculated – not all have been tested for their GI number, but many have. There are also estimated GL numbers on the Internet. Look at this Low GI Shopping list.

You have to master the GI concept (and using the GL concept would help more), to make good use of it. That includes the GI/GL numbers for the foods you usually eat, and quick access to the GI/GL numbers of others. It means some  study and then your new knowledge incorporated into your daily diet to get only a potentially small reduction in uric acid.

But mastering GI/GL could also  help you to do a restricted carb diet more effectively and that could reduce uric acid much more, through lost weight. I have lost a lot of weight on a low carb diet, but although I know the carbs in foods/drinks, I have never paid much attention to GI/GL. I doubt Dr. Atkins considered it necessary.

Or more simply eat some foods which will be in your daily carb allowance, and which have a low GI/GL

Is it worth it?

Losing weight is almost certain to reduce uric acid more than this. On the other hand if you can bring enthusiasm for this approach to the task then it’s worth trying. Some people in the study did better than the average numbers quoted on the first page about the Glycemic Index and gout But only you can decide if it is worth it.

Losing weight is almost certain to reduce uric acid more than this.


GI values, and thus GL values too, vary considerably and are often themselves an average of a number of tests. And the rate at which people digest carbohydrates varies too, so that causes a difference in personal GI numbers, not counted in published GI numbers, Cooking and its methods affect the number too.


Find Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load diet books at online bookstores on the Internet. There are a number of titles.

You can read this study online free of charge, courtesy of the Wiley Online library. 


Go to our first page about the Glycemic Index study. How low GI foods lowered uric acid

What is the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load ? Visit our GI/GL page.

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Glycemic Index and gout study references

(1)   Effects of Lowering Glycemic Index of Dietary Carbohydrate on Plasma Uric Acid Levels: The OmniCarb Randomized Clinical Trial Juraschek SP, McAdams-Demarco M, Gelber AC, Sacks FM, Appel LJ, White KJ, Miller ER 3rd. Arthritis Rheumatology. 2016 May;68(5):1281-9. doi: 10.1002/art.39527.



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