Is Cheese Bad for Gout? Everything You Need To Know

Posted by Alerna Kidney Health on


  • Cheese, while containing some purines, can be a gout-friendly choice compared to high-purine foods.
  • Gout sufferers can opt for lower-purine cheeses like Ricotta and Fresh Chèvre.
  • Understanding cheese purine levels and nutritional composition helps make informed dietary choices.
  • Cheese, when consumed in moderation, offers valuable nutrients in a balanced diet.
  • Explore alternative dairy options and consider Alerna's Uric Acid Support to manage gout effectively.

When managing gout, a type of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, diet plays a crucial role.1

People with gout are often advised to watch what they eat, as certain foods can trigger gout attacks or worsen the condition. Among the various food items that have garnered attention in relation to gout, cheese stands out as a subject of concern.

This article delves into the relationship between cheese and gout, exploring purine levels, nutritional composition, and factors to consider when including cheese in your gout-friendly diet.

Does Cheese Cause Gout?

Compared to organ meats and certain seafood, cheese contains much lower levels of purine.2 However, it's important to note that some people with gout can be extra sensitive to purine levels.

While cheese may generally be considered a lower-purine food, some types of cheese can still be an issue for individuals with gout.

The purine levels in cheese can be influenced by several factors, including its age, fat content, and maturation techniques.

What Type of Cheese is Gout-Friendly?

When exploring the world of cheese for gout management, it's important to distinguish between various types of cheese to identify those that are more gout-friendly.3

While cheese is generally considered lower in purines compared to other protein sources, not all cheeses are created equal in terms of their impact on gout.

Here, we'll delve into different cheese categories and highlight some options that are particularly suitable for individuals with gout.

Fresh Cheeses

Fresh cheeses are often an excellent choice for those concerned about gout. These cheeses, which include Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, and Ricotta, are typically lower in purines compared to their aged counterparts. They are known for their mild flavors and creamy textures, making them versatile additions to various dishes.

Cottage Cheese, for example, is a low-purine cheese that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a balanced meal. Its mild taste allows for easy incorporation into salads, smoothies, or even as a topping for baked potatoes.

Cream Cheese, commonly used as a spread for bagels or as an ingredient in cheesecakes, is another gout-friendly option due to its relatively low purine content.

Ricotta cheese, often featured in Italian cuisine, is prized for its smooth and creamy consistency. It's commonly used in dishes like lasagna and stuffed pasta, making it a delicious addition to gout-friendly recipes.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese is a popular choice for pizza and various Italian dishes. It's known for its lower purine content compared to aged cheeses, making it a suitable option for individuals with gout. Whether melted atop a pizza or layered in a caprese salad, mozzarella cheese can add a creamy texture and mild flavor to your meals.

Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese is another gout-friendly option to consider. With its characteristic holes and nutty flavor, Swiss cheese is lower in purines compared to some other cheese varieties. It can be enjoyed in sandwiches, melted into fondues, or paired with fresh fruit for a delightful snack.

Goat's Cheese

Goat's cheese is often well-tolerated by individuals with gout. This cheese variety is known for its creamy texture and distinct flavor profile. Goat's cheese can be crumbled onto salads, spread on crackers, or used in savory tarts to enhance your culinary experience without exacerbating gout symptoms.


Purine Levels of Common Types of Cheese

Understanding the purine levels in common types of cheese is essential for individuals managing gout. While cheese is generally considered a lower-purine food compared to organ meats and certain seafood, variations exist among different cheese varieties.3 Here, we'll explore the purine content in some common types of cheese to help you make informed dietary choices.

Low-Purine Cheeses

  1. Cottage Cheese: Typically contains minimal purines, making it a gout-friendly option.
  2. Cream Cheese: Offers a low-purine choice for spreads and recipes.
  3. Mozzarella Cheese: Known for its lower purine content compared to aged cheeses, making it a suitable option for gout management.
  4. Swiss Cheese: Considered a lower-purine cheese variety, it can be enjoyed without significant concerns for gout.

Higher-Purine Cheeses

  1. Aged Cheeses: Varieties such as Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Comté usually contain higher levels of purines due to their aging process. While they are still lower in purines compared to certain high-purine foods, individuals with gout may want to consume these cheeses in moderation.
  2. Soft-Washed Rind Cheeses (Alcoholic): Cheeses like Limburger and Epoisses, which undergo washing with alcoholic mixtures during maturation, tend to exhibit elevated purine levels compared to other cheeses. While their purine content is lower than that of organ meats and beer, those with gout sensitivity may want to consume them sparingly.
  3. High-Fat Cheeses: Cheeses with high saturated fat content, such as Mascarpone, Brillat-Savarin, Danish Creamy Blue, and Cambozola, may not be the best choices for gout management due to their potential impact on purine metabolism.

Nutritional Composition of Cheese

Beyond purine levels, understanding the overall nutritional composition of cheese is essential for making informed dietary decisions, especially if you have gout.

Cheese is known for its richness in certain nutrients and components that can be both beneficial and potentially challenging for gout management.4

Calcium

Cheese is a notable source of calcium, a vital mineral for bone health. Adequate calcium intake is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. For individuals with gout, incorporating calcium-rich foods like cheese into their diet can contribute to overall bone health.

Protein

Protein is another key component found in cheese. It provides essential amino acids necessary for various bodily functions, including muscle repair and immune support. However, it's important to strike a balance when consuming protein-rich foods, as excessive protein intake can lead to increased purine synthesis in the body.

Saturated Fats

One aspect of cheese that individuals with gout need to be cautious about is its saturated fat content. Some cheeses, especially those high in fat, can be sources of saturated fats, which may influence purine metabolism in the body. Monitoring saturated fat intake is advisable for gout management.

Sodium

Sodium levels can vary among cheese varieties. Excessive sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure, a condition that may be more common in individuals with gout. Opting for low-sodium cheese options can help manage sodium intake while still enjoying cheese as part of your diet.

Benefits of Cheese in a Balanced Diet

While it's important to be mindful of certain aspects of cheese in relation to gout, this dairy product also offers several benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

Calcium and Bone Health

Cheese is a rich source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Adequate calcium intake can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and related bone conditions.

Protein Content

Cheese provides valuable protein, supplying the body with essential amino acids needed for various physiological processes. Including moderate amounts of cheese in your diet can contribute to your protein intake.

Versatile Culinary Ingredient

Cheese is a versatile ingredient in the culinary world. It can enhance the flavor and texture of a wide range of dishes, from sandwiches and salads to pasta and casseroles. Its versatility allows you to enjoy delicious meals while incorporating essential nutrients.

Gout-Friendly Diet Tips

While cheese can be a part of a gout-friendly diet, it's crucial to consider various dietary factors to manage gout effectively.5 Here are some tips for creating a gout-friendly diet:

  1. Moderate Purine Intake: Keep your daily purine consumption below 400 mg, with a focus on lower-purine cheese options.
  2. Limit High-Fat and High-Sugar Foods: Avoid or limit foods high in saturated fats and high-fructose corn syrup, which can exacerbate gout symptoms.
  3. Choose Gout-Friendly Cheeses: Opt for low-purine cheeses such as Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Mozzarella, and Swiss when incorporating cheese into your meals.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration helps dilute uric acid in the body, reducing the risk of gout attacks.
  5. Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Limit alcohol intake, especially beer, which is associated with increased uric acid levels.
  6. Balance Your Diet: Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet to maintain overall health.

Alternative Gout-Friendly Dairy Options

When managing gout, consider these dairy alternatives that are gentle on your joints:

Almond Milk

Almond milk, made from almonds and water, is naturally lactose-free and lower in purines and saturated fat compared to dairy milk. Use it in cereals or smoothies.

Coconut Milk

Made from coconuts, coconut milk offers a rich and creamy texture with minimal purines and saturated fat. It's versatile and suitable for both savory and sweet dishes.

Oat Milk

Oat milk, made from whole oats and water, is gaining popularity. It's naturally low in purines and saturated fat, making it a gout-friendly option for coffee, baking, and cooking.

Soy Milk

Soy milk, derived from soybeans, has a nutritional profile similar to dairy milk. It's low in purines and saturated fat and suitable for various uses, including beverages and cooking.

Greek Yogurt (in Moderation)

Greek yogurt, with lower lactose content, can be better tolerated by some individuals with gout. It offers protein and probiotics but should be consumed in moderation.

Lactose-Free Dairy

Lactose-free dairy products, like milk and cheese, provide the taste and nutrition of traditional dairy without lactose-related concerns and do not significantly impact purine intake.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If you have gout or are at risk of developing it, it's essential to work with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan that best suits your individual needs and health requirements.

They can provide guidance on managing gout through diet and help you make informed choices, including your cheese consumption.

How Alerna's Uric Acid Support Can Help


In addition to dietary modifications, some individuals with gout may benefit from supplements designed to support healthy uric acid levels.

Alerna's Uric Acid Support is a dietary supplement that combines key ingredients like tart cherry extract, celery seed extract, and bromelain to promote balanced uric acid levels and overall joint health.

Conclusion: Is Cheese Bad for Gout?

Managing gout involves making informed choices about your diet, including your cheese consumption. While cheese contains purine, it is not always bad for gout. Compared to certain high-purine foods, most cheeses have lower purine levels, making them generally safe for individuals with gout.

Sensitivity to purines can vary, so it's essential to choose gout-friendly cheese options like Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, and Ricotta, which have lower purine and fat levels.

Always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan that meets your specific needs and health requirements.

Cheese and Gout: Frequently Asked Questions

Is cheese bad for gout?

Cheese is generally lower in purines than organ meats or certain seafood, making it a gout-friendlier choice in moderation.

Which cheese is best for gout?

Gout-friendly cheeses like Ricotta and Fresh Chèvre are lower in purines and can be safer options for individuals with gout.

Can I include cottage cheese in my gout diet?

Cottage cheese, with its low purine content, can be a suitable dairy choice for those managing gout.

Do dairy alternatives affect gout?

Gout-friendly dairy alternatives like almond milk and oat milk have minimal purines and can be part of a gout-conscious diet.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new dietary supplement, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition, or are taking other medications. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

References:

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