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Fructose Sweetened Drinks May More than Double the Risk of Gout

Drinking beverages rich in fructose such as soda and sugar sweetened orange juice may increase the risk of gout among women according to a study published recently in the November 2010 issue of JAMA.

Fructose is a simple sugar that is often used to sweeten food and drink products. One of the most popular forms is high fructose corn syrup, used regularly in sodas and processed foods.

Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men but is also prevalent among women, particularly after menopause. Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe.

For the study researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine analyzed data on over 80,000 women who took part in the Nurses' Health Study.

When they compared women who consumed less than 1 serving of fructose per month to those who consumed 1 serving per day they observed a 74% increased risk of gout among those with higher fructose intake. Women who consumed 2 or more servings per day had a 2.4x increased risk of gout.

They also noted that consumption of sugar sweetened orange juice was linked to an increased risk of gout. Women who consumed one serving of sugar sweetened orange juice per day had a 41% higher risk of gout than those who consumed less than one serving per month.

The researchers noted that these findings are likely due to the fact that fructose consumption increases levels of uric acid, which is directly linked to gout attacks. They also noted that the increase in insulin resistance and circulating insulin levels caused by fructose consumption could also play a role.

This was not the first study to find an association between fructose consumption and negative health effects. Previous studies have found that fructose may increase weight gain, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

Many foods that make up the daily American diet contain fructose, so the best way to avoid consuming too much is by checking food labels.

Fructose is most commonly found in packaged foods, junk food, fast food and soft drinks, and minimizing consumption of these foods is a good way to reduce the amount of fructose in your diet.

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