Drinking fizzy soft drinks can "substantially" increase the risk of men developing gout, a new study suggests.
Scientists assessed the drinking habits of more than 46,000 men over the age of 40 with no history of the disease.
After 12 years, 755 new cases of gout were identified, and the researchers found the risk of gout increased the more soft drinks sweetened with sugar were consumed.
Men who drank five or six glasses of sugary soft drinks a week had a 30% increased risk, and those drinking several glasses a day were even more susceptible.
Hyon Choi, associate professor of medicine at Vancouver General Hospital, and Gary Curhan, associate professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, carried out the study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
They said: "Conventional dietary recommendations for gout have focused on restriction of purine and alcohol intake but with no restriction of sugar sweetened soft drinks.
"Although such soft drinks contain low levels of purine they contain large amounts of fructose, which is the only carbohydrate known to increase uric acid levels.
"Furthermore, fructose rich fruits and fruit juices may also increase the risk. Diet soft drinks were not associated with the risk of gout."
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply) "Junk science, statistics do not proof make. If they give some scientific reason for avoiding fruit juice etc then fine, but statistics are not proof of anything, they are just probabilities and we should not gamble with our health" - Name and address supplied
"The thing with these statistical studies is that they do not take into account other factors, which make them unreliable. For example those men drinking more fizzy drinks probably drink more alcohol, or have something else in common. So it just is not scientific proof of anything that the soft drinkers got more gout." - Name and address supplied