Is Turkey Bacon Bad for Gout? What You Need to Know

Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. This leads to the formation of uric acid crystals that deposit in the joints, resulting in inflammation and excruciating pain. While gout often affects the big toe, it can impact other joints too.

An estimated 8.3 million Americans suffer from gout, with numbers rising in tandem with the obesity epidemic. Certain foods like organ meats, shellfish, and alcohol tend to worsen gout symptoms. But what about turkey bacon? Is it safe to eat if you have gout or does it make symptoms worse?

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of turkey bacon for gout and provide tips on how to enjoy it safely as part of a gout-friendly diet

What is Gout?

Gout develops when the body cannot effectively remove uric acid, causing a buildup in the blood (hyperuricemia). While a small amount of uric acid is normal too much can lead to painful gout attacks.

Purines, compounds found naturally in some foods, break down into uric acid during digestion. Eating high-purine foods like organ meats, seafood, and alcohol is associated with an increased risk of gout. Obesity, genetics, and certain medications also raise uric acid levels.

During a gout attack, needle-like uric acid crystals lodge in the joints and surrounding tissue, triggering intense inflammation and pain. Common sites include the big toe, ankle, and knee.

While gout isn’t curable, it’s manageable through medications like colchicine, steroids, and xanthine oxidase inhibitors. Lifestyle changes like losing weight, limiting alcohol, staying hydrated, and following a low-purine diet also help.

What is Turkey Bacon?

Turkey bacon is turkey that has been cured, smoked, and sliced to resemble traditional pork bacon. It provides a leaner alternative to regular bacon, with fewer calories, less fat, and less sodium.

Since it comes from poultry instead of pork, turkey bacon contains less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fats. It is an excellent source of protein, delivering 10 grams per ounce. Turkey bacon also contains iron, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and B vitamins.

However, like pork bacon, turkey bacon is high in sodium. It also contains preservatives like sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite to retain color and prevent spoilage. While these preservatives are considered safe in small amounts, some people avoid them.

Purine Content in Turkey Bacon

Purines are natural compounds that break down into uric acid during digestion. Foods high in purines include organ meats, seafood, red meat, and alcohol.

Turkey bacon has not been extensively studied regarding its purine content. However, research shows poultry contains far fewer purines than red meat and seafood.

One study found the purine content per 100 grams of various meats as follows:

  • Beef: 172-376 mg
  • Pork: 70-138 mg
  • Chicken: 109-179 mg
  • Turkey: 109-179 mg

This indicates turkey likely contains low to moderate purine levels, similar to chicken. While pork has slightly higher purine counts than poultry overall, the ranges still largely overlap.

More research is needed regarding the precise purine content of different turkey cuts and products. But current evidence suggests turkey bacon, when eaten in moderation, poses little risk for most people with gout.

Is Turkey Bacon Bad for Gout?

Despite having moderate purines, turkey bacon is not necessarily “bad” for gout. With careful portion control and proper cooking methods, most people with gout can enjoy it as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Potential benefits of turkey bacon for gout patients include:

  • Lower in fat and calories: Compared to regular bacon, turkey bacon is leaner and lower in calories. This makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight, which helps manage gout. Obesity is a major risk factor for gout.

  • Less sodium: Turkey bacon contains around 50% less sodium per serving than pork bacon. Consuming less sodium helps lower blood pressure and reduces cardiovascular disease risk in people with gout.

  • Lower purines than other meats: Turkey contains far fewer purines than high-purine meats like beef, lamb, and organ meats. Choosing turkey bacon over these options is beneficial for gout.

  • Good source of protein: Turkey bacon provides an excellent source of protein without excessive purines. Regular intake of lean protein aids weight management and overall health in gout patients.

Potential downsides of turkey bacon for people with gout include:

  • Moderate purine content: While lower than many meats, turkey still contains a moderate level of purines. People with severe gout may need to further limit intake.

  • High in sodium: Turkey bacon contains added sodium from curing agents. This makes it high in sodium despite being lower than pork bacon. People on low-sodium diets should use caution.

  • Nitrates/nitrites: Turkey bacon contains preservatives that may negatively impact vascular health. People with gout have increased cardiovascular risks due to hyperuricemia.

Overall, incorporating turkey bacon into a gout diet is likely fine for most people when consumed in moderation. But those with frequent gout attacks may need to further restrict high-purine foods, including turkey bacon.

Tips for Enjoying Turkey Bacon with Gout

If you have gout but still want to enjoy the savory flavor of bacon, turkey bacon can be a better option than pork. Here are some tips for eating it safely:

  • Limit to 1-2 servings weekly: Stick to around 2-3 ounces of turkey bacon per week to keep purine intake low.

  • Avoid charring/burning: Charred and burnt meats contain higher purines. Cook turkey bacon lightly until just crisp.

  • Choose uncured turkey bacon: Curing agents add a lot of sodium. Look for uncured or reduced-sodium turkey bacon.

  • Use a baking sheet: Baking turkey bacon on a sheet pan allows fat to drip away, lowering calorie intake.

  • Combine with veggies: Make a turkey bacon and vegetable stir-fry for a balanced, lower-purine meal.

  • Avoid with high-purine foods: Don’t combine turkey bacon with other high-purine items like shellfish in the same meal.

Remember that diet is just one part of gout management. Be sure to take prescribed gout medications, exercise regularly, stay hydrated, and avoid triggers like excess alcohol. With a balanced approach, most people with gout can enjoy treats like turkey bacon in moderation.

The Bottom Line

Turkey bacon makes a flavorful, leaner alternative to pork bacon. While no meat is free of purines, turkey contains far lower levels than high-purine offenders like organ meats and seafood.

Research has not identified the precise purine content of turkey bacon. However, evidence suggests turkey has similar or lower purine levels than chicken, which is considered relatively low.

People with mild to moderate gout can likely enjoy 2-3 ounces of turkey bacon weekly as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet. But those with frequent gout attacks may need to restrict purines further by avoiding meats like turkey bacon altogether.

Overall, turkey bacon is not necessarily “bad” for gout when consumed in moderation. With careful portion control and preparation methods, it can be included as part of an overall gout-friendly eating pattern for most people. But work closely with your healthcare provider to determine appropriate dietary restrictions based on your individual case.

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Is turkey meat bad for gout?

Foods with moderate levels of purines to limit in the diet include: Poultry such as turkey and chicken. Crab, lobster, oysters, and shrimp. Lunch meats, especially high-fat versions.

What is the safest meat to eat with gout?

Go light on red meats, particularly organ meats like liver, tongue and sweetbreads, which are all high in purines. Also avoid or limit the amount of bacon, venison and veal you eat. Maybe surprising: Turkey and goose are very high in purines. Chicken and duck are better bets.

Is bacon bad for gout?

Purines in animal products such as processed meats, including sausage, bacon, and cold cuts, certain fish, and seafood can lead to higher uric acid in the body. This may trigger gout, causing urate crystals to form in the joints and tissues.

Which has more purines, chicken or turkey?

High purine content: Bacon, turkey, veal, venison. Medium purine content: Beef, chicken, duck, ham, pork.

Is Bacon bad for gout?

Bacon contains a moderate amount of purine. Most people with gout should avoid eating it. However, this does not mean it is always bad for gout. Everyone’s body works differently. Some people may be able to handle higher amounts of purine. Others will need to be more selective with their food choices to avoid a gout attack.

Can you eat turkey if you have gout?

Turkey and gout: Turkey is hugely popular, especially during the holidays, but many gout sufferers tend to avoid it because of its purine content. Do you really need to? Is Turkey Safe to Eat With Gout?

Can gout cause high uric acid levels?

Foods with high levels of purines (which can raise uric acid levels in the body) should be avoided with gout, which include alcoholic beverages, seafood, some meats (duck, beef, veal, pork, bacon, ham, venison), organ meats (liver, kidney, tripe), high-fat foods, shellfish, sodas with high-fructose corn syrup, gravy, yeast, and beer.

Can a low purine diet cause gout?

A low purine diet is often prescribed for people with hyperuricemia — high levels of uric acid in their blood — which can lead to gout and kidney stones. Purine in our foods breaks down into uric acid in our bodies, so reducing dietary purine helps reduce uric acid levels. Some foods produce uric acid, and some reduce it. What is the gout diet?

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