Tea, Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Gout


An analysis of individual food groups revealed higher intakes of healthy plant foods, including tea, coffee, and whole grains were linked to a lower risk of gout.

Tea, Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Gout

Credit: Adobe Stock/yaisirichai

In a prospective cohort study evaluating the effect of various plant-based diet indexes (PDIs) on gout risk, results confirmed the current dietary recommendations of consuming a diet rich in healthy plant foods, including whole grains, tea, and coffee. However, unhealthy plant foods, such as fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, were shown to increase the risk of gout, particularly in women, according to research published in JAMA Network Open.1

“Plant-based diets are increasing in popularity due, in part, to their health benefits for selected cardiometabolic diseases as well as favorable environmental impact,” wrote a team of investigators led by Sharan K. Rai, PhD, associated with the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Little is known about how such a diet is related to gout risk.”

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, as well as a Mediterranean-style diet, have been shown to lower serum urate and in turn lead to a lower incidence of gout. Therefore, understanding dietary patterns and how food is consumed can aid in the implementation of healthy eating patterns.2

Investigators assessed adherence to a plant-based diet—in addition to 18 individual food groups—and incident gout based on data from 122,679 US adults. The PDI included both healthy and unhealthy versions of a plant-based diet. Eligible patients were enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2012) and the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2010) and did not have a gout diagnosis at baseline.

Results were evaluated using a validated semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire and gout was confirmed using a supplementary questionnaire that met the preliminary American College of Rheumatology survey criteria for gout. Multivariable-adjusted associations of all 3 PDIs with incident gout were determined using Cox proportional hazards regression models. The diet indices were divided into quintiles (Qs) and the proportional hazards assumption was assessed by including an interaction term between each Q of the diet indices and age.

Within the cohort, the mean age of male participants (n = 43,703) was 53.8 years and 50.9 years among females (n = 78,976) over 2,704,899 person-years of follow-up. During the study, 2709 of these patients reported incident gout.

The overall PDI was not linked to gout in either group (Q5 vs Q1 pooled hazard ratio [HR], 1.02 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.89-1.17]; P for trend = .63). However, the healthy PDI plan was significantly inversely linked to the risk of gout (Q5 vs Q1 HR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.69-0.91]; P for trend = .002) whereas the unhealthy PDI was positively linked to an increased gout risk gout (Q5 vs Q1 HR, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.03-1.33]; P for trend = .02), particularly among women (Q5 vs Q1 HR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.05-1.62]; P for trend = .01).

An analysis of individual food groups revealed higher intakes of healthy plant foods, including tea and coffee (pooled HR per 1 serving/d, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.92-0.97]) and whole grains (pooled HR per 1 serving/d, 0.93 [95% CI, 0.89-0.97]) were linked to a lower risk of gout. A higher intake of dairy was also independently associated with lower gout risk (pooled HR per 1 serving/d, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.82-0.90]).

Surprisingly, sweets and desserts were also independently inversely associated with incident gout.

Conversely, unhealthy plant foods, including fruit juice (pooled HR per 1 serving/d, 1.06 [95% CI, 1.00-1.13]) and sugar-sweetened beverages (pooled HR per 1 serving/d, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.07-1.26]) were associated with a higher risk of gout.

“Consuming plant-based diets that include small amounts of animal products has become increasingly popular, with the plant-based sector market recently valued at $7.4 billion dollars in the US,” investigators wrote. “Therefore, it is important to understand how plant-based diets may affect gout risk, as this approach is likely more feasible at the population level.”


  1. Rai SK, Wang S, Hu Y, et al. Adherence to Healthy and Unhealthy Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Gout. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(5):e2411707. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.11707
  2. YokoseC, McCormickN, LuN, JoshiAD, CurhanG, ChoiHK.Adherence to 2020 to 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the risk of new-onset female gout.JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182(3):254-264. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.7419
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