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Mar 16, 2012 10:48 AM

Chicken stock - purine content and gout

I'm very proud of my chicken stock. I mostly follow the instructions from Edna Lewis in The Gift of Southern Cooking. I hack the birds with a cleaver until my work area looks like a crime scene, add plenty of carrots and onion, but I cook it much longer than Miss Lewis does, and my stock is rich and flavorful and sets up like Jell-O in the fridge.

But I'm getting over a gout attack stupidly brought on by a week of cooking and eating (1) red kidney beans cooked in that stock with ham & sausage, (2) lentil & sweet potato dal, and (3) shrimp creole. I'm studying up on gout and purine content of foods and see what bad choices I bundled together.

I don't know whether my chicken stock rates as medium or high concentration of purine. I'm afraid that the richness of it caused by chopping the meat & bone into smaller pieces with larger surface area and long extraction times means a higher purine content. What do you think?

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  1. I'm no gout expert but a quick web search suggest that in the future you stick with a vegetable stock:

    "Why are gravy, meat extracts and broth so high on the list of don't eat?The reason is because the purine is leached out in the cooking process so when you make gravy from the drippings of a roasted chicken the drippings have concentrated amounts of purine leached from the chicken, It is the same for meat extracts and broth. Most people would agree that the gravy is the most yummy part of the roasted turkey or chicken. A pot roast of beef is delicious because of the gravy. Just keep in mind that gravy, broth and meat extract are concentrated purine. Check cans for concentrated meat extract."

    2 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Just as I feared.

      Thanks much for sending that link. I've been googling around and hadn't found a clear explanation like this one.

      1. re: ferret

        The problem with vegetable stock is that they almost all contain yeast extract (kinda like Vegemite) which is also a gout trigger. I found this out the hard way. I had a worse reaction to the vegetable stock than I did to watered down chicken stock.

      2. I've had gout about 12 years now and through trial and error I've discovered a few factors that set off an attack for me personally...

        1) Dehydration. This is the absolute 100% biggest factor by far. If I get dehydrated over a length of time like a long weekend etc. where I just don't pay enough attention to drinking water it will lead to an attack every time. The science is simple in that it concentrates the uric acid in your blood to a much higher level than normal. At the same time when you get dehydrated over a period of time you often aren't eating correctly and tend to lose some weight. Which leads to...

        2) Losing weight. If exercising or dieting you need to be careful because when you burn fat uric acid which was stored in the fat cells are released into your blood stream.

        3) This one is just though personal experience, but I find eating pork or shellfish raises the chances of an attack noticeably compared to other proteins. I have no idea why, but am positive about it for me personally anyways. I find vegetable proteins like beans and legumes have almost no effect on my gout at all and I can eat as much as I like. But Ièm a die hard carnivore and have been eating more duck, lamb and game as well as chicken and fish and havenèt had any problems in years.

        I've found some herbal supplements ( that work far better for me personally than any prescriptions or other drugs Ive tried.

        Good luck

        1. Your gout flare-up could well have been caused by the shrimp. Consider ruling that out before ruling out the chicken broth. Here are a couple of links, googling will turn up more:


          1. This is what wikipedia had to say:
            Dietary causes account for about 12% of gout,[2] and include a strong association with the consumption of alcohol, fructose-sweetened drinks, meat, and seafood.[4][8] Other triggers include physical trauma and surgery.[6] Recent studies have found dietary factors once believed to be associated are, in fact, not; including the intake of purine-rich vegetables (e.g., beans, peas, lentils, and spinach) and total protein.[9][10] The consumption of coffee, vitamin C and dairy products as well as physical fitness appear to decrease the risk.[11][12][13] This is believed to be partly due to their effect in reducing insulin resistance.[13]

            2 Replies
            1. re: joonjoon

              If you have gout, you need to flush yor system because the uric acid crysalizes and forms in joints, usually the big toe. An effective way to combat gout is pitted red cherries in water, you can buy them at most grocery stores in the can or you can buy them natural with pitts, but 1/4 cup of those every other day until the gout stops, worked for me. I stopped all meat only had a mild gout attack after eating beans and rice with onions from a well known restaurant, my Mom said it was prob the lard and onions that did it. Not sure where Wiki gets it's info, seems to go against all current studies.

              1. re: Howdypeople

                I used to use cherry juice concentrate from the health food store mixed with seltzer water, but Ocean Spray and a few other companies have hopped on the bandwagon and sell cherry juices. Made the mistake of drinking them straight without mixing with club soda. Whoosh! That stuff goes through you like a Ferrari.

            2. I've also been dealing with gout and have been taking a hit-or-miss approach with recipes. So far:

              1. I've used stock concentrates with no ill effects.

              2. I can eat ONE shrimp with no ill effects; two and I get a twinge in my foot; three and it swells up. Same for mushrooms.

              3. As far as legumes are concerned, I've eaten red beans and rice with no ill effects. However, a bowl of lentil soup will practically put me in the hospital. Same with black eyed peas. Oddly enough, using Hambeens 15 Bean Soup, I can eat a bowl with no side effects.

              4. I have at least one beer/wine/hard liquor drink a day, sometimes two. No ill effects. Yet.

              5. Dark meat chicken has no effect; half a chicken breast, and I get a gout attack. In lieu of stocks and reductions, I tend to just drizzle some of the pan juices over the meat with no ill effect.
              6. Organ meats (gizzards, livers, kidneys, sweetbreads) are a no no. I will however, once a year, indulge in sweetbreads since, for me, it's worth the temporary discomfort.

              Keep in mind, one person can eat a particular purine rich food and have no reaction, while another can eat the same stuff and their foot blows up. Caveat emptor. When I do get an attack, I consume lots of dried and fresh cherries and plenty of water, and the swelling goes down in a few days. I've tried one of the remedies (lemon juice and warm water in the morning) but can't say it's had much effect. I've got a prescription for indomethacin and it works within 72 hours, but the side effects (dizziness, nausea) make that a last resort. If you check online, pretty much EVERYTHING has some level of purine, so unless you want to subsist off celery and water, it's all a matter of moderation and experimentation.

              1 Reply
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                oh monkeyerotica, can we limp together from the kitchen to the table and back?

                I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast between Biloxi and Mobile, my red beans are from Camellia, and the last batch had a pound of sausage, at least a pound of ham, about a quart of that Jell-O thick chicken stock, and plenty of sauteed onion and garlic. T'weren't just beans in my bowl.

                Shrimp? Don't break my heart! My parents still buy brown gulf shrimp on the docks for the whole family, and nobody can eat just one or two!

                Thanks monkey, "Keep in mind, one person can eat a particular purine rich food and have no reaction, while another can eat the same stuff and their foot blows up. Caveat emptor." YES, it's very much individualized, and I very much appreciate everyone's help.