Q: Two of my in-laws have gout and they've been told to stay away from beer. I'm trying to figure out what to serve at the next family party. Do they need to stay away from wine too? —Carlos
A: According to Dr. Raymond Pertusi, a rheumatologist at the Harvard Vanguard Medical Association and member of the American College of Rheumatology, wine appears to be the least harmful form of alcohol for those with gout.
"Alcohol has long been known as a contributor to gout," he explains. "In 2004, a published report showed that not all types of alcohol are alike in that regard. Beer is linked to gout more than spirits or wine, even if the alcohol content is similar. Beer is high in purines. Gout is a metabolic problem in processing purines (a component of DNA). High purine content may be the reason why beer is more closely related to gout than other forms of alcohol.
"Wine appears to be the safest bet among the three alcohol types. Moderation is the key. Too much alcohol of any type is likely to increase the risk of gout in susceptible individuals. Excess alcohol may increase the risk of gout through several postulated metabolic mechanisms, and by promoting dehydration."
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