Why Is Beer Bad For Gout?

Beer and gout are two things that do not mix well.

Gout is often associated with excessive alcohol consumption, particularly beer.

Like other alcoholic beverages, beer contains purines, the same organic compounds that break down into uric acid. Consuming beer adds to the body’s overall purine load, potentially contributing to higher uric acid levels. This increased level can trigger the formation of urate crystals in joints, leading to gout attacks.

Purines are not inherently bad, but for people with gout, they can contribute to painful gout attacks.

When your body breaks down purines it produces uric acid as a byproduct.

If your body produces too much uric acid or has trouble eliminating it, uric acid levels in your blood can rise. This condition is called hyperuricemia.

When uric acid levels become too high, uric acid can form sharp crystals that deposit in your joints, causing sudden and severe inflammation, pain, redness, and swelling, which are the hallmarks of a gout attack.

While purines from food only contribute to about 10-20% of uric acid levels, for people with gout, managing purine intake can be a crucial part of gout management, alongside medications and other lifestyle changes.

What Is Gout?

Gout Signs and Symptoms (& Why They Occur) by JJ Medicine

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), gout is the result of your body’s urate depositing itself in your joints and crystallizing into needle-shaped lumps.

This results in impaired movement and use of the afflicted joint as well as pain, swelling, and redness. But not everyone who has elevated urate levels goes on to get gout.

Purines, which are present in many foods and the tissues of your body, are the source of urate. Purines are broken down into urate. Urate typically exits your body as urine. On the other hand, urate accumulates in the circulation, and needle-shaped crystals form in the joints when too much or too little is eliminated, leading to inflammation and gout flare-ups that hurt and swell.

Stages of Gout

Gout is a condition that can go through multiple stages:

  • Hyperuricemia is the absence of symptoms despite prolonged elevation of urate levels in the blood and even the presence of crystals in the joint.
  • Gout flare-ups are episodes of severe joint pain and edema that occur on a regular basis.
  • Interval or intercritical gout is the period of time without symptoms in between gout attacks.
  • Tophi is a severe form of gout in which crystals accumulate in the skin or other body tissues. Tophi can cause irreversible harm to your joints and other internal organs, including the kidneys, depending on where they are located. Treatment that is appropriate can stop tophi from developing.

Symptoms of Gout

Pain in the afflicted joint is the most common sign of gout. Although gout can affect other joints in the body, it often flares up in one of the big toes for many people. The sharp pain that accompanies a gout flare-up may be severe enough to cause you to wake up at night.

Most people don’t have any symptoms during the week or two that flares last. While some people may experience flares often, others might not experience one for years. If you don’t take medication, your flares can become more frequent and prolonged over time.

Certain individuals with gout may also have an increased risk of developing other illnesses or problems, particularly related to the heart and kidneys. Common conditions include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • Myocardial Infarction (heart attack)
  • Congestive heart failure

Is Gout Caused By Alcohol?

Does Alcohol Cause Gout? – Uric Acid & Alcohol Addiction Explained by Stop Drinking Expert

Gout is a condition that appears after decades of eating a diet high in purines; heavy alcohol use is thought to be a major factor in the disease’s development. Recent research indicates that there is a positive correlation between higher alcohol use and a higher relative risk of gout.

However, Mendelian randomization research examined the causal linkages that underlie the reported links between alcohol consumption and gout and hyperuricemia. An independent cohort of hyperuricemic and gout patients confirmed the findings that alcohol use had no causal effect on the development of either hyperuricemia or gout. 

It’s interesting to note that the Mendelian randomization analysis indicates that having gout increases the number of drinks one consumes weekly, indicating that gout is not caused by alcohol consumption per se; rather, those with gout are simply more prone to drink alcohol. Hmm.

This is the first Mendelian randomization study to look into the possible causative link between alcohol and gout, as well as the first to find evidence that the relationship between alcohol use and gout is not as strong as the general public believes.

What Are the Worst Drinks for Gout?

worst drinks for gout

For individuals with gout, certain drinks can exacerbate symptoms due to their high purine content or other properties that can increase uric acid levels or interfere with its excretion. Here are some of the worst drinks for gout:


Beer is often considered one of the worst drinks for gout because it contains high levels of purines, particularly certain types such as stout and ale. Additionally, beer contains alcohol, which can hinder the body’s ability to excrete uric acid, leading to elevated levels in the blood.

Hard Liquor

Spirits like whiskey, vodka, rum, and gin are also high in purines and alcohol content, making them problematic for individuals with gout. Darker spirits tend to have higher purine levels.

Sugary Beverages

Drinks high in added sugars, such as soda, fruit juices, and sweetened teas, can contribute to obesity and insulin resistance, which are risk factors for gout. Moreover, fructose, a type of sugar found in many sweetened beverages, has been linked to increased uric acid levels.

Energy Drinks

Some energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and sugar, both of which can potentially worsen gout symptoms. Caffeine can increase uric acid production and decrease its excretion, while excess sugar consumption can contribute to obesity and insulin resistance.

Sweetened Alcoholic Beverages

Cocktails and mixed drinks that contain sugary mixers or syrups can be problematic for gout sufferers due to their high sugar content. Additionally, the alcohol content in these drinks can further exacerbate symptoms.


While moderate consumption of wine may not significantly increase the risk of gout compared to beer and spirits, some individuals may find that certain types of wine, particularly red wine, trigger gout attacks due to their histamine or purine content.

If you have gout, it’s important to moderate your intake of these beverages and opt for hydrating options like water, herbal teas, and unsweetened drinks instead. Additionally, working with a healthcare provider or dietitian to develop a personalized diet plan can help manage gout symptoms effectively.

The Most Ideal Drinks for Gout Sufferers

drinking water ideal for gout

The following are some recommended beverages if you’re suffering from gout.


Water lubricates the joints to stop more pain and eliminates uric acid from the body to stop the crystallization of the acid.

Lemon Water

According to a study, the body can neutralize uric acid by consuming lemon water or other vitamin C-rich beverages. One way to lower uric acid levels in the body is to squeeze two fresh lemons into two liters of water. Orange juice is also a powerful remedy but always use it sparingly.

Green Tea

Research indicates that drinking green tea somewhat reduces blood uric acid levels. Its anti-inflammatory qualities could aid in the battle against gout-related inflammation. To support these assertions, more data is needed. Overall, having a glass of green tea might be advantageous.

Can You Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer With Gout?

non-alcoholic beer and gout

While it’s not a cure, consuming beer with minimal or no alcohol content is a useful management strategy for gout.

Your favorite beer’s alcohol-free content lessens, but does not completely eliminate, the amount of purines you consume. Since they contain purines that can worsen gout flare-ups, non-alcoholic beers are made with the same yeast and barley as traditional beers. According to certain research, some non-alcoholic beers actually have higher purine content than regular beers.

Other ingredients are frequently added to non-alcoholic beers to offset somewhat the flavor and mouthfeel lost due to the absence of alcohol. In addition to yeast, purines can be found in malts. Malted grains are the finest kind of malts for people with gout since they have a much lower purine content than other forms of malts. Barley is a grain that’s frequently used in non-alcoholic beers; it has a moderate purine content.

Does Beer Cause Gout?

So, does beer cause gout? With all the research and statements presented here, I think the best answer to this is to say no to alcohol completely.

And, is non-alcoholic beer bad for gout? Experts say yes. Beer contains a lot of purines, which the body converts to uric acid. According to a study, non-alcoholic beer increases uric acid by 4.4%, while alcoholic beer increases it by 6.5%.

If you’re looking for a drink alternative that’s on the healthier side, we highly recommend trying tea; specifically green tea

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Beer And Gout FAQs

Does beer increase uric acid?

Yes, beer can increase uric acid levels in the body. Beer contains purines, which are broken down into uric acid during digestion. Additionally, alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to excrete uric acid, leading to higher levels in the blood.

What beer is best for gout?

Generally, light beers with lower alcohol content and fewer purines are considered better options for individuals with gout. However, moderation is key, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

Is one beer a day bad for gout?

It depends on various factors, including an individual’s overall diet, lifestyle, and medical history. In some cases, moderate alcohol consumption, including one beer a day, may not significantly increase the risk of gout. However, for individuals prone to gout attacks, even moderate alcohol intake could trigger symptoms. It’s best to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Which alcohol has the lowest purines?

Generally, distilled spirits such as vodka, gin, and white rum tend to have lower purine content compared to beer and darker spirits. However, it’s essential to consider other factors, such as alcohol content and individual tolerance when choosing alcoholic beverages.