If you suffer from gout, you may have been told to avoid foods high in purines, such as meat and shellfish. But what about soy sauce?
As a staple in many Asian cuisines, soy sauce is a common ingredient in dishes like stir-fries and sushi. But does it pose a risk for gout sufferers?
In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between soy sauce and gout, and whether or not you should be adding it to your list of forbidden foods.
So sit back, grab a cup of tea (or soy milk!), and let’s dive in.
Is Soy Sauce Good For Gout?
Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans, wheat, and salt. While soybeans are a source of purines, the fermentation process breaks down these compounds, resulting in a lower purine content in the final product.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the National University Hospital in Singapore, soy products do not increase the risk of gout. In fact, those who consumed the most soy products were at a lower risk of developing gout than those who ate the least.
The study involved over 50,000 Chinese participants aged 45 to 74 years old. Researchers asked about their dietary habits and followed up with questions on their medical status from 1999 to 2004 and 2006 to 2010. Out of the 51,114 participants followed up on, 2,197 had developed gout.
While soy sauce is not specifically mentioned in this study, it is safe to assume that it falls under the category of soy products. Therefore, it is unlikely that soy sauce poses a risk for gout sufferers.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, resulting in inflammation and pain. Uric acid is a waste product that is produced when the body breaks down purines, which are found in many foods. When there is an excess of uric acid in the body, it can form crystals that accumulate in the joints, causing gout.
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing gout, including a diet high in purine-rich foods, alcohol consumption, obesity, and genetics. Symptoms of gout include sudden and severe pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected joint.
To manage gout, it is recommended to avoid or limit foods high in purines, such as red meat, organ meat, seafood, and some vegetables like asparagus and mushrooms. However, not all soy products need to be avoided. While soy contains moderate amounts of purines, studies have shown that soy products like tofu and bean curd cake do not significantly increase serum uric acid levels. In fact, some studies suggest that soy intake may even lower the risk of developing gout.
Foods To Avoid With Gout
If you have gout, it is important to avoid foods that are high in purines. Purines are broken down by the body into uric acid, which can build up and cause painful gout attacks. Here are some foods to avoid:
1. Organ meats: Liver, kidney, and other organ meats are very high in purines and should be avoided.
2. Seafood: Certain types of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, and scallops, are high in purines and should be limited or avoided.
3. Red meat: Beef, pork, and lamb are all high in purines and should be eaten in moderation.
4. Alcohol: Beer and hard liquor can increase uric acid levels and trigger gout attacks. Wine is a better option in moderation.
5. Sugary drinks: Soda and other sugary drinks can increase uric acid levels and should be avoided.
6. High-fructose corn syrup: Foods and drinks that contain high-fructose corn syrup can also increase uric acid levels and should be limited.
It is important to note that not all purine-containing foods need to be completely avoided. Some foods, like tofu and beans, are safe to eat in moderation. It is best to work with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to develop a personalized diet plan that meets your nutritional needs while minimizing the risk of gout attacks.
Understanding Purines In Soy Sauce
Purines are organic compounds found in various foods, including soybeans. Gout is a metabolic disease caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, which can be exacerbated by consuming foods high in purines. Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans, wheat, and salt, and while soybeans are a source of purines, the fermentation process breaks down these compounds, resulting in a lower purine content in the final product.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the National University Hospital in Singapore, soy products do not increase the risk of gout. This suggests that even though soy sauce contains purines from soybeans, it is unlikely to cause gout. However, people with gout should still consume soy sauce in moderation and consider other factors such as sodium intake.
It is important to note that not all soy products have the same purine content. Soy protein isolate, for example, has a higher purine content than other soy products. Additionally, some soy products may contain other substances that can trigger gout attacks, such as MSG (monosodium glutamate).
Soy Sauce And Gout: What The Research Says
The research conducted by the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the National University Hospital in Singapore found that soy products, including soy sauce, do not increase the risk of gout. This goes against the common belief that gout sufferers should avoid consuming soy and legume products due to their high purine content.
Purines are organic compounds found in many foods, including soybeans. High intake of purine-containing foods can raise uric acid levels in the blood, which can worsen gout symptoms. However, the fermentation process used to make soy sauce breaks down these compounds, resulting in a lower purine content in the final product. Therefore, it is unlikely that soy sauce poses a risk for gout sufferers.
While the study did not specifically mention soy sauce, it is safe to assume that it falls under the category of soy products. The study involved more than 50,000 Chinese participants aged 45 to 74 years old and found that those who consumed the most soy products were at a lower risk of developing gout than those who ate the least.
It is important to note that increased uric acid levels are a necessary condition for causing gout, but they may not be sufficient. Other factors such as genetics also play a role. Scientists have yet to confirm why soy, despite its moderate purine content, does not increase uric acid retention and cause gout. However, they suspect that soy may increase uric acid excretion and thus play no role in increasing the risk of gout.
Moderation Is Key: Incorporating Soy Sauce Into Your Diet With Gout
While soy sauce may be safe for those with gout, it is important to consume it in moderation. Soy sauce is high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure and worsen gout symptoms. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and ideally less than 1,500 milligrams for those with high blood pressure.
To incorporate soy sauce into your gout-friendly diet, it is best to use it as a condiment rather than a main ingredient. Use small amounts to add flavor to stir-fries, salads, and dressings. Additionally, choosing low-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce can help reduce your sodium intake.
It is also important to balance your intake of soy products with other sources of protein. While tofu and other soy-based products can be a good source of protein for those with gout, consuming large amounts can still increase your risk of developing gout. Incorporating other non-meat protein sources such as nuts, beans, lentils, and dairy can help diversify your diet and reduce your overall purine intake.
Other Low-Purine Alternatives To Soy Sauce
If you are looking for alternatives to soy sauce that are low in purines, there are several options available. One of the best options is coconut aminos, which is a sauce made from coconut sap and salt. It has a similar flavor to soy sauce but is much lower in purines. Another option is balsamic vinegar, which is made from grapes and has a tangy flavor that works well in many dishes.
If you prefer a more traditional alternative, Worcestershire sauce can be a good option. While it does contain some purines, it is typically used in small amounts and can be a good substitute for soy sauce in many recipes.
Another option is to make your own low-purine sauce using ingredients like apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard. This allows you to control the ingredients and ensure that the sauce is low in purines.