Soybean Milk & Its Effect on Increasing Uric Acid

Soybeans are a rich source of plant-based protein and can be converted into a variety of different products, including soy milk. Although soy milk and other soy-based substances are safe for many people to eat, you are an exception if you have gout. You need to avoid soy milk due to its potential effects on your uric acid levels.

A glass of soy milk next to a bowl of soybeans. (Image: naito8/iStock/Getty Images)

What Is Soy Milk?

Soy milk is not "milk" in the strictest sense of the word, but it is often consumed by people who either can't tolerate lactose, are vegan or who are trying to increase their consumption of soy protein. Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans and then grinding them. The resulting fluid is then strained to remove particulate matter to form soy milk. Soy milk often has extra flavorings, vitamins and minerals added to it.

Soy and Uric Acid

Soybeans and their related products, including soy milk, may not be appropriate for you if you suffer from medical conditions affected by high levels of uric acid in the body. Soy contains a moderate amount of substances known as purines. When you consume purines in your diet, your body breaks them down and one of the byproducts of this process is uric acid. Other foods with high purine content include organ meats, sardines and yeast.

Why Does Uric Acid Matter?

Uric acid is important because high levels in the body are associated with gout. Gout is an extremely painful form of arthritis that is caused by uric acid crystals forming in the fluid, sometimes referred to as synovial fluid, in the joints. These crystals cause intense inflammation, resulting in swelling and excruciating pain. Gout typically affects the big toe and, while it can be managed with medications, avoiding foods with a high purine content is an essential part of gout treatment.

Solutions

Although you should avoid consuming soy milk if you have gout, you can still drink low-fat milk from cows or other animals. If you must drink soy milk or consume other soy-based products, do so only in moderation to avoid sudden increases in uric acid. You can also prevent gout flare-ups by drinking several glasses of water each day and by maintaining a healthy weight, as gout is more common in overweight people.

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