While genetic factors make gout run in a number of families, the fact that obesity, high triglycerides and high cholesterol are primary causes of gout make diet a stronger factor than genes, notes American College of Rheumatology. Hypertension and diabetes are also causative factors, both of which relate to diet.
When the body has too much uric acid in the bloodstream, and the acid crystallizes and forms deposits in the joints, gout attacks happen. Excess uric acid results from the kidneys' inability to remove uric acid from the system or when the body produces higher levels of uric acid than normal. Foods such as red meats and shellfish tend to raise uric acid levels as do sugary drinks, foods sweetened by fructose and excess consumption of alcohol, reports American College of Rheumatology.
As of 2015, more than 3 million Americans have gout. The condition most commonly affects men, postmenopausal women and people who suffer from kidney disease. When people first start suffering from gout, they frequently experience the attacks at night, at first in a joint or two. Diagnosis involves extracting fluid from the painful joint and analyzing it under a microscope to check for urate crystals, according to American College of Rheumatology.