High BMI Can Increase Risk of Gout Associated with Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SBB) can do more than increase belly fat and send your body on a rollercoaster, it can elevate serum urate levels which increases the risk of gout. Researchers from New Zealand recently looked at how body mass index (BMI) plays a role in the SBB and gout relationship.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SBB) can do more than increase belly fat and send your body on a rollercoaster, it can elevate serum urate levels which increases the risk of gout. Researchers from New Zealand recently looked at how body mass index (BMI) plays a role in the SBB and gout relationship.

The fructose in SBBs (such as soda, juices, and energy drinks) has been found to induce urate production. When that happens, people can develop painful gouty arthritis.

“There are accumulating data that body mass index can modulate the influence of non-modifiable genetic variants on serum urate,” the researchers wrote in Arthritis Research & Therapy. “The influence of body mass index may also modulate associations of modifiable factors, such as sugar-sweetened beverage intake, with serum urate and gout.”

The team conducted two analyses to analyze the hypothesis with low BMI being defined as <25 kg/m² and high BMI being considered >25 kg/m². Data was adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, fruit intake, triglycerides, hypertension, and kidney disease.

The first analysis looked at the effect of chronic SBB intake on serum urate levels in 12,870 participants without gout. The average SBB intake was 1.1 drinks per day in the low BMI group and 1.2 drinks per day in the high BMI group. Serum urate levels were higher in those with larger BMIs. Those higher serum urate levels were also linked with higher SBB intake.

The second analysis included 2,578 participants — 1,368 without gout and 1,210 with gout – and focused on how chronic SBB intake influences gout status. The team found that there was a significant difference in odds ratios for developing gout based on SBB intake between the high and low BMI groups.

To put simply: high SBB intake was linked to higher risk of gout in those with high BMIs. This indicates that BMI does in fact influence urate homeostasis that is associated with SBBs. While avoiding sugary drinks is beneficial for all people, it may be even more important in those with higher BMIs.

“Consistent with recent reports showing that body mass index influences non-modifiable genetic associations with urate, this study shows that chronic sugar-sweetened beverage intake is associated with elevated serum urate and gout status in those with high body mass, with minimal effect observed in lean individuals,” the authors summed up.