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While Mary Poppins told us a spoonful of sugar “may help the medicine go down,” a high-sugar, high-protein diet may also spike our uric acid levels, leading to a range of serious illnesses.

Uric acid is naturally produced by the body and may have helped our ancestors retain fat and sodium. But, excess uric acid can boost our risk for gout, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Uric Acid and Disease

Consumption of dairy products is associated with increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Milk lowers uric acid levels, and it’s theorized that uric acid may not only slow the decline of Parkinson’s, but also lower the risk of a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Low uric acid levels can also increase our risk of other neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and MS. Yet, high uric acid levels pose dangers as well.

In one study, drinking milk caused uric acid levels to drop 10% within hours. But, drinking soy milk increased uric acid 10%. For gout sufferers, the uric acid-lowering properties of dairy may be desirable.

For years, doctors advised gout patients to avoid all high-purine foods, but one large Harvard study showed gout was linked to increased meat and fish consumption; the vegetables gout sufferers were told to avoid (mushrooms, peas, beans, lentils, and cauliflower) were found to be protective.

Eating an alkaline, vegetarian diet may remove uric acid from the body. Long-term vegetarians have significantly lower uric acid levels. In one study, meat-eaters reduced their risk of uric acid crystallization by 93% within days of changing to a vegetarian diet.

Uric Acid and Kidney Stones

High uric acid may lead to kidney stone formation. The most acid-producing food is fish, followed by pork, poultry and cheese. In one study, British researchers added a can of tuna to their subjects’ daily diet, and determined their likelihood of forming kidney stones increased 250% when they ate the extra tuna fish.

While drugs can lower uric acid levels, not eating any meat can eliminate 93% of uric acid crystallization risk without worrisome drug side effects.

Acidic or Alkaline?

An alkaline diet high in fruits and vegetables can protect against a range of life-threatening conditions. One way to gauge the acidity of your diet is to perform an easy, at-home urine test. Use a blender to combine raw red cabbage with water; drain out the solids after the water turns purple. Pee in the toilet bowl, and pour the purple liquid in the bowl. If the water is purple or pink, your urine is acidic—eat more dark green leafy vegetables. If the water turns blue, your urine is neutral–keep eating your vegetables!

 

Topic summary contributed by Dawn Handschuh

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