Can I drink non-alcoholic beers if I suffer from gout?
Q) I'm a 61-year-old man with gout and have been told that I shouldn't drink alcohol as it may exacerbate my symptoms and worsen my attacks. Does this include low or non-alcoholic beers?
James, Andover (Winter 2007)
A) Drinking alcohol can make gout worse and alcohol can work against the effect of drugs used to treat gout. The more alcohol, the more this is true. However, there are a few rays of hope. Firstly, not everyone who drinks gets gout, and people can get gout who've never touched a drop. The latter group is more common in my experience. Two common conditions where gout occurs are older women taking ‘water’ tablets (diuretics) and people with a strong family history of gout. Another fact worth knowing is that some forms of alcohol are worse for gout than others. Beer (including lager) is particularly bad and wine is better. So low alcohol drinks are deﬁnitely better than high alcohol drinks, but beer isn't the best way to take your tipple.
This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Winter 2007 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.
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