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BMJ. 2018 Oct 10;363:k3951. doi: 10.1136/bmj.k3951.

Evaluation of the diet wide contribution to serum urate levels: meta-analysis of population based cohorts.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, 710 Cumberland Street, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.
Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, 710 Cumberland Street, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand



To systematically test dietary components for association with serum urate levels and to evaluate the relative contributions of estimates of diet pattern and inherited genetic variants to population variance in serum urate levels.


Meta-analysis of cross sectional data from the United States.


Five cohort studies.


16 760 individuals of European ancestry (8414 men and 8346 women) from the US were included in analyses. Eligible individuals were aged over 18, without kidney disease or gout, and not taking urate lowering or diuretic drugs. All participants had serum urate measurements, dietary survey data, information on potential confounders (sex, age, body mass index, average daily calorie intake, years of education, exercise levels, smoking status, and menopausal status), and genome wide genotypes. The main outcome measures were average serum urate levels and variance in serum urate levels. β values (95% confidence intervals) and Bonferroni corrected P values from multivariable linear regression analyses, along with regression partial R2 values, were used to quantitate associations.


Seven foods were associated with raised serum urate levels (beer, liquor, wine, potato, poultry, soft drinks, and meat (beef, pork, or lamb)) and eight foods were associated with reduced serum urate levels (eggs, peanuts, cold cereal, skim milk, cheese, brown bread, margarine, and non-citrus fruits) in the male, female, or full cohorts. Three diet scores, constructed on the basis of healthy diet guidelines, were inversely associated with serum urate levels and a fourth, data driven diet pattern positively associated with raised serum urate levels, but each explained ≤0.3% of variance in serum urate. In comparison, 23.9% of variance in serum urate levels was explained by common, genome wide single nucleotide variation.


In contrast with genetic contributions, diet explains very little variation in serum urate levels in the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at and declare: ND has received consulting fees, speaker fees, or grants from the following companies who have developed or marketed urate lowering drugs for management of gout: Takeda, Ardea Biosciences/AstraZeneca, Cymabay/Kowa, and Crealta/Horizon. TRM has received grants from Ardea Biosciences/AstraZeneca and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

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