Can Beef Jerky Cause Gout? The Surprising Truth

Gout is an extremely painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. It most commonly affects the big toe, but can also occur in the ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows.

An estimated 8.3 million Americans suffer from gout and it is more prevalent in men than women. Obesity, heavy alcohol consumption, high blood pressure diabetes and kidney disease are all risk factors for developing gout. However, diet also plays a major role.

In particular, foods high in purines can raise uric acid levels in the body and trigger painful gout attacks. Many people wonder – can beef jerky cause gout? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

What is Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky is a popular high-protein snack made from sliced and cured beef. To make jerky, beef is trimmed of fat, cut into strips, seasoned and dried Traditionally, jerky was dried by smoking or sun-drying, but today it is more commonly dried in ovens or dehydrators

The drying process removes moisture from the meat, which helps preserve it and gives jerky its characteristic chewy texture. Jerky can be seasoned with anything from basic salt and pepper to bold spice blends. Teriyaki, Chipotle and Cajun are some popular jerky flavors.

Beef jerky is valued as a portable, tasty source of protein that can be stored without refrigeration. A 1-ounce serving of beef jerky contains around 9 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and 116 calories.

Do Purines in Beef Jerky Cause Gout?

Purines are natural substances produced by the body and found in certain foods. When purines are broken down, they produce uric acid as a byproduct. Uric acid is normally eliminated from the body through urine.

However, some people produce too much uric acid or excrete too little. When uric acid accumulates, it can crystallize and deposit in the joints, leading to gout. Therefore, limiting dietary purines may help reduce gout risk.

Beef, pork, lamb and seafood have much higher purine levels than plant foods. Beef contains 266-375 mg of purines per 100 grams, while plants contain far less. Nutritional yeast has just 63 mg per 100 grams, peas have 48 mg and lentils have 46 mg.

According to USDA data, a 1-ounce serving of beef jerky contains around 95 mg of purines. This is less than a 3-ounce serving of beef, which provides over 300 mg of purines. Still, regular beef jerky consumption could contribute to gout risk.

Other Factors That Can Cause Gout

While purines play a role, beef jerky is certainly not the only culprit when it comes to gout risk. Here are some other factors that can increase uric acid levels and provoke gout attacks:

  • Alcohol – Beer is associated with the highest gout risk, but all types of alcohol can trigger attacks. Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to excrete uric acid.

  • Sugary Drinks – Fructose increases uric acid production, so sugary sodas and fruit juices can worsen gout.

  • Obesity – Excess weight is linked to higher uric acid levels and gout risk. Losing weight helps reduce gout attacks.

  • Certain Medications – Diuretic “water pills” and some blood pressure meds like niacin can increase gout risk. Always talk to your doctor about medication interactions.

  • Dehydration – Not drinking enough water lowers uric acid excretion through the kidneys and makes gout worse. Stay well hydrated, especially during hot weather.

  • High-Purine Foods – Organ meats like liver and sweetbreads are very high in purines. Certain seafood, like anchovies, sardines and scallops, are also high-purine foods.

So while beef jerky contains a moderate amount of purines, other dietary and lifestyle factors play a bigger role in gout flares.

Tips to Reduce Gout Risk

If you enjoy snacking on beef jerky but want to keep gout attacks at bay, here are some tips:

  • Choose turkey or salmon jerky instead of beef for lower purine options

  • Limit jerky to 1 to 2 times per week rather than daily

  • Drink plenty of water to promote uric acid excretion

  • Avoid alcohol, especially beer, which is strongly linked to gout risk

  • Limit sugary drinks like soda and instead drink coffee, tea, water or milk

  • Maintain a healthy weight to keep uric acid levels in check

  • Discuss any high blood pressure or gout medications with your doctor

  • Don’t overdo high-purine foods like organ meats, anchovies and mushrooms

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, which are associated with lower gout risk

The Bottom Line

Can beef jerky cause gout flares? Potentially, yes. Beef jerky contains moderate purine levels, which can raise uric acid production and provoke gout attacks in those susceptible. However, jerky is far from the biggest dietary culprit when it comes to gout risk.

Factors like alcohol consumption, sugary beverages, obesity, dehydration and certain medications have a much bigger impact on gout likelihood. Organ meats and some seafood are higher in purines than beef jerky as well.

While jerky probably isn’t the best snack choice for people prone to gout, enjoying it occasionally as part of an overall healthy diet is unlikely to cause problems. Moderation and paying attention to other dietary and lifestyle factors can help keep gout attacks at bay.

What Causes GOUT? (Meat Doesn’t Cause Gout) 2024


What’s the worst meat for gout?

Avoid meats such as liver, kidney and sweetbreads, which have high purine levels and contribute to high blood levels of uric acid. Red meat. Limit serving sizes of beef, lamb and pork. Seafood.

Does beef flare up gout?

Organ meats (sweetbreads, liver, tongue) are particularly high in purines, which can increase your uric acid levels and spur a gout attack. Red meats (beef, venison, bison) in general are higher in purines than white meats and should be eaten only occasionally.

How much purine is in beef jerky?

Is beef jerky high in purines? Beef jerky is moderately high in purines, as are most meat products. A 3.5-ounce serving can contain around 100-200mg of purines. Given the daily purine limit of 600-1000mg for people who are predisposed to gout or kidney stones, one should be mindful of their overall purine intake.

Are processed meats bad for gout?

Some of the most common processed meats are bacon, ham, hotdogs, sausages, and beef jerky. They’re all a typical part of a meat eaters’ diet, however, what most people don’t know is that processed meats can be bad for your health, especially for gout sufferers. Meat itself is naturally high in purines but its processed versions are much worse.

Is beef good for gout?

While not as purine-packed as organ meats or sardines, beef still ranks relatively high, and if eaten in large enough quantities can cause a problem for those prone to gout flare ups. Talk with your doctor to see if beef is OK for you. Serving Size (100 grams), Purines (110-133 milligrams) [hr] 18. Turkey

Should you eat meat if you have gout?

Bottom line, gout sufferers need to keep away from meat – both fresh and processed. Should you really crave for meat, a small serving (not red meat) once a week will be more than enough. Meat is not really indicated if you suffer from gout. It is rich in purines, which are the main things you have to pay attention to.

What happens if you eat too much beef jerky?

Eating too much beef jerky may lead to a slew of side effects, such as rapid weight gain and increased risk of heart disease. But it may also prevent you from eating other foods with adequate amounts of important nutrients you won’t get from beef jerky. Beef jerky nutrition is diverse, supplying protein, iron and vitamin B12, for example.

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