Consumption of beverages sweetened with fructose substantially raised the risk of gout in a large, long-term prospective study involving women. However, differences in absolute risk were modest because of the low rate of gout in women overall.

In 22 years of follow-up of 78,906 initially gout-free women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, 778 incident cases of gout were confirmed. An analysis of questionnaires revealed that as intake of sugar-sweetened soda increased, gout risk increased as well: Women who drank one serving per day had a 74% higher risk of developing gout than women who consumed less than one serving a month. The risk was 2.4 times higher for those drinking two or more servings per day compared with the women having less than one serving per month. Consumption of diet soft drinks did not affect gout risk.

Orange juice, far and away the highest contributor of free fructose intake among juices included in this study, also was shown to present a gout risk: Women who consumed one serving a day or two or more servings per day had a 41% and 2.4 times higher risk of gout, respectively, than women who drank less than six ounces per month.

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“Our findings provide prospective evidence that consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas, orange juice, and fructose is associated with an increased risk of incident gout among women, although their contribution to the risk of gout in the population is likely modest given the low incidence rate among women,” summarized the authors.