THURSDAY, Jan. 31, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fructose is strongly associated with increased risk of gout in men, a new study says.
Gout, caused by excess uric acid in the blood, is a joint disease that causes extreme pain and swelling. Cases of gout, which is most common in men, have doubled in the United States over the past few decades.
In this study, published in BMJ Online First, researchers looked at more than 46,000 men, aged 40 and older, with no history of gout. Information on the men's food and beverage intake was collected at the start of the study, and details about their weight, medication use and medical conditions were recorded every two years during the 12-year study.
During that time, 755 of the men were diagnosed with gout. The risk was much higher in men who drank five to six servings of sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week and was 85 percent higher in those who drank two or more of the beverages a day, compared to those who had less than one serving per month.
The increased risk was independent of other gout risk factors such as body-mass index, age, diuretic use, high blood pressure, alcohol intake and dietary habits. Diet soft drinks did not increase gout risk.
The study also found that fruit juice and fructose-rich fruits such as apples and oranges were associated with increased gout risk. But the researchers said this higher risk of gout needs to be balanced against the many health benefits provided by fresh fruits and vegetables.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about gout.