In addition to other benefits, a healthy diet may help women stave off gout, new study findings indicate.

Investigators studied adherence to 4 healthy dietary patterns — DASH, Mediterranean, Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), and Prudent  —  along with an unhealthy Western dietary pattern and the future risk of gout among 80,039 women from the 1984 to 2018 Nurses’ Health Study.

During the 34 years of follow-up, gout developed in 3890 women. In adjusted analyses, women who were most vs least adherent (ie, top vs bottom quintile) to the DASH, Prudent, AHEI, and Mediterranean diet had significant 32%, 25%, 21%, and 12% reduced risk for gout, respectively, Natalie McCormick, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. Conversely, women with the highest adherence to an unhealthy Western diet had significant 49% increased risk for gout.

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These findings largely persisted in subgroup analyses according to diuretic use, body mass index (BMI), and alcohol intake, which are risk factors for gout. In a joint analysis, the most DASH-diet-adherent women with normal BMI had a 68% lower risk of gout compared with the least adherent women with overweight or obese BMI. High DASH adherence with no diuretic use was significantly associated with a 65% lower gout risk.

Research shows the DASH diet improves blood pressure, whereas a Mediterranean-style diet may improve insulin resistance and reduce diabetes risk.

“These large-scale, long-term prospective cohort findings extend the pleotropic benefits of the 2020 to 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to female gout prevention, offering multiple healthy eating patterns that can be adapted to individual food traditions and preferences to reduce women’s underrecognized risk of developing gout while simultaneously addressing cardiovascular comorbidities,” Dr McCormick’s team wrote.

The DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. The prudent eating pattern is similar and adds whole grains and poultry. A Mediterranean-style diet also includes nuts, legumes, and fish. The AHEI assigns points to foods and nutrients associated with lower risk of chronic disease. A Western dietary pattern is characterized by high intakes of red and processed meats, refined grains, sweets, desserts, and high-fat dairy.

Other research shows that gout in women vs men is more frequently associated with coronary artery disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, according to the study authors.

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Yokose C, McCormick N, Joshi AD, Curhan G, Choi HK. Adherence to 2020 to 2025 dietary guidelines for Americans and the risk of new-onset female gout. JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 31, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.7419