Pork and Gout: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Nutritional value and purine content in pork

Higher consumption of pork, other kinds of red meat, and organ meats (including liver, sweetbreads, tongue, and kidney) increases the risk of recurrent gout attacks. Even though it's a red meat, pork is often referred to as “the other white meat” because it is a source of lean protein like poultry. Pork contains a moderately high amount of purines, which can contribute to joint pain in gouts.

What Causes Gout?

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by excess uric acid (hyperuricemia) in the blood, which can be caused by consuming high-purine food sources and the slowing of the kidneys excretion process. Uric acid is produced as the body breaks down purines. Excess amounts of uric acid in the body can lead to the formation of needle-like crystals between joints and result in joint pain.

Knowing the difference between different cuts of pork and cooking methods, as well as the recommended daily amounts of pork protein for people with gout, is important to maintaining a low-purine diet. Pork can be part of a healthy gout diet as long as you follow some general guidelines on how much to eat and how to cook it. 

Pork being cut and served on a wood chopping block

Capelle.r / Getty Images 

Nutritional Value of Pork

Pork is an excellent source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. It also contains zinc and potassium. Loin cuts like pork tenderloin, sirloin pork chop, and sirloin pork roast are all excellent sources of lean protein. These cuts can be part of a healthy gout diet. Lean protein is also a good choice for people looking to lose or maintain weight for gout-related health reasons.

But pork can also be a significant source of unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol. This is particularly true of fattier and highly processed cuts like pork belly, ribs, and sausages. Consuming these cuts makes it easy to exceed The American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommended daily intake of saturated fat (13 g). Processed meats are also known human carcinogens

Pork is also a calorie-dense choice that can make maintaining a healthy weight challenging without proper portion control. Excess weight and obesity is a well-recognized risk factor for gout and gout attacks.

Pork: Nutrition Facts

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 1 ounce (28.35 g) serving of pork contains the following information. Keep in mind commercially packaged pork typically comes in 6 to 8 ounce cuts.  

  • Calories: 86
  • Protein: 4.26 g
  • Fat: 7.25 g
  • Carbohydrate: 0 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Calcium: 89.3 mg
  • Iron: 1.2 mg
  • Magnesium: 4.54 mg
  • Phosphorous: 56.7 mg
  • Potassium: 84.5 mg
  • Sodium: 14.2 mg

Best Cuts

Nutrition, calories, and purine amounts are all dependent on the cut of meat. All organ meats, including pig liver, heart, kidney, and brain, will be in the high-purine category and should be avoided.

Keep portions to the AHA’s recommended serving size (3 ounce portion or the size of a deck of cards).

Purines in Pork
Part Total Purine Range
Heart 119 mg Moderate

195 mg High
Liver 284.8 mg High
Neck 70.5 mg Moderate
Ribs 75.8 mg Moderate
Rump 113 mg Moderate
Shoulder 81.4 mg Moderate
Sirloin 90.9 mg Moderate
Tenderloin 119.7 mg Moderate
Tongue 104 mg Moderate
61.8 mg
Prosciutto 138.3 mg Moderate
Salami 120.4 mg Moderate
Boneless Ham 90.8 mg Moderate
Purine content per 100 g of pork.

If you have gout attacks, you should avoid high-purine cuts and products of pork. You can eat pork cuts in the lower purine categories in moderation. Be sure to take into consideration your cooking methods and other foods you eat to get a more accurate idea of how much purine you're consuming in total.

Cooking Tips

How you cook your pork changes its total fat and purine content. Research has shown that rinsing foods (including pork products like bacon) with water and cooking them are effective ways to reduce total purines.

Be sure to cook with gout-friendly methods, which means choosing moist or dry heat methods like steaming, baking, or roasting, rather than deep frying. Watch the ways you marinate, season, and prepare your pork too. Experts say high-fat dairy and rich breading batters are high in purines and should be avoided in gout patients.

Highly processed sugars commonly found in commercially made marinades and sauces should also be avoided or used very sparingly. Know that purines release into meat juices when cooked so you should avoid stewing pork or cooking pork using single-pot methods. It's better to cook your pork on its own and then add it to your meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does pork cause gout?

    By itself, pork does not cause gout. However, a high-purine diet can increase the risk of developing gout. Gout occurs when the body creates more uric acid than it can remove, resulting in crystals that form in the joints and tissues.

  • Is eating bacon bad for gout?

    Most people with gout may not benefit from eating bacon, since it contains a moderate amount of purine. However, this does not mean it is always bad for gout. Everyone's body works differently; some people may be able to handle higher amounts of purine, while others will need to be more selective with their food choices to avoid a gout attack. Every person with gout should monitor their purine intake to understand their body's limitations.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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