This much maligned organic molecule is the favourite punching bag of doctors and patients alike.
Any unexplained ache or pain can be ascribed to “uric acid”
Uric acid produces a very specific kind of pain. One that most true sufferers of gout would not wish on their worst enemy. Claiming that every random pain is because of uric acid, is an insult to the amount of agony it is actually capable of causing.
Uric acid is however, an important indicator of metabolic health.
Uric acid levels can be increased primarily by two means
1. Purine metabolism
2. Fructose metabolism
Purines are basically constituents of DNA and RNA and will be found in any edible material that has cells with nuclei in them.
That would include vegetarian and non vegetarian foods. The usual advice is to avoid meat, pulses, legumes etc. That gets misinterpreted as “proteins≈ purines” therefore protein = bad for uric acid levels
However, most people don’t even think of the role fructose plays in uric acid levels.
Higher the fructose consumption, higher the uric acid.
Higher uric acid
-can lead to kidney disease
-can lead to high blood pressure
-puts you at risk for diabetes
-indicates that you have a predispostion to metabolic syndrome
You can see that uric acid is important, but it is not for the reasons you thought it was.
Sugar raises uric acid levels.
That’s the main takeaway from this post.
A level of 6mg/dl is the upper limit of normal
A level higher than 8 needs treatment with drugs
But before starting drugs, it would make sense to try dietary changes. The usual recommendation is to cut organ meats, red meat, legumes and pulses. No one even talks about how bad sugar is for uric acid metabolism
For most Indians, the consumption of protein and meat is already low or low normal. Asking them to quit sugar would do more positive things for their health than asking them to cut back on legumes, fish, meat or shellfish.
An average Indian has 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup of tea. Most have 4. And they have multiple cups of tea a day
The same average Indian probably has meat once a week. Legumes once a day. The meat and legumes come with other nutritional benefits.
What nutritional benefits does sugar bring to the table?
If you want to bring down your uric acid levels, quit sugar. Completely.