The belief that a poor diet is the primary cause of gout is untrue, new research suggests.
The joint disease, which can cause extreme pain and swelling, is much more likely to be brought on by genetics, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
Scientists at Keele University in Staffordshire said people with gout can be reluctant to get treatment because of the social stigma associated with having a poor diet.
The study, carried out by a research team in New Zealand, counters “these harmful but well-established views and practices, and provides an opportunity to address these serious barriers to reducing the burden of this common and easily treatable condition”.
The researchers used data from more than 16,000 American men and women of European ancestry to reach its conclusions.
Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, which can form crystals that collect around joints. While it is not the key factor, diet can have a small impact on the likelihood of getting gout, the researchers claim.