Beneficial effects of weight loss associated with moderate calorie/carbohydrate restriction, and increased proportional intake of protein and unsaturated fat on serum urate and lipoprotein levels in gout: a pilot study
- aRheumatology Unit, Milpark Hospital, Pain Relief and Research Unit, CH Baragwanath Hospital, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, bPain Relief and Research Unit, CH Baragwanath Hospital, cDepartment of Rheumatology, Johannesburg Hospital, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, dCarbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism Research Unit, Johannesburg Hospital, eDepartment of Quantitative Management, UNISA, Pretoria, South Africa
- Dr P Dessein, PO Box 1012, Melville 2109, Johannesburg, South Africa Email:
- Accepted 20 January 2000
OBJECTIVES Insulin resistance (IR) has been increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of gout. The lipoprotein abnormalities described in hyperuricaemic subjects are similar to those associated with IR, and insulin influences renal urate excretion. In this study it was investigated whether dietary measures, reported to be beneficial in IR, have serum uric acid (SU) and lipid lowering effects in gout.
METHODS Thirteen non-diabetic men (median age 50, range 38–62) were enrolled. Each patient had had at least two gouty attacks during the four months before enrolment. Dietary recommendations consisted of calorie restriction to 6690 kJ (1600 kcal) a day with 40% derived from carbohydrate, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat; replacement of refined carbohydrates with complex ones and saturated fats with mono- and polyunsaturated ones. At onset and after 16 weeks, fasting blood samples were taken for determination of SU, serum cholesterol (C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TGs). Results were expressed as median (SD).
RESULTS At onset, the body mass index (BMI) was 30.5 (8.1) kg/m2. Dietary measures resulted in weight loss of 7.7 (5.4) kg (p=0.002) and a decrease in the frequency of monthly attacks from 2.1 (0.8) to 0.6 (0.7) (p=0.002). The SU decreased from 0.57 (0.10) to 0.47 (0.09) mmol/l (p=0.001) and normalised in 7 (58%) of the 12 patients with an initially raised level. Serum cholesterol decreased from 6.0 (1.7) to 4.7 (0.9) mmol/l (p=0.002), LDL-C from 3.5 (1.2) to 2.7 (0.8) mmol/l (p=0.004), TGs from 4.7 (4.2) to 1.9 (1.0) mmol/l (p=0.001), and C:HDL-C ratios from 6.7 (1.7) to 5.2 (1.0) (p=0.002). HDL-C levels increased insignificantly. High baseline SU, frequency of attacks, total cholesterol, LDL-C and TG levels, and total C:HDL-C ratios correlated with higher decreases in the respective variables upon dietary intervention (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION The results suggest that weight reduction associated with a change in proportional macronutrient intake, as recently recommended in IR, is beneficial, reducing the SU levels and dyslipidaemia in gout. Current dietary recommendations for gout may need re-evaluation.
Funding: This study was supported by Lancet Laboratories, Johannesburg, South Africa.