Some foods can reduce your life expectancy by several years. The reason for this is the purine substance they contain.

Too much of a certain food can be harmful; This is no longer specialized knowledge. Especially products with a high purine content can cost you several years of life.

Foods rich in purines can be dangerous

Many people have one or more foods that they would like to eat throughout the day or that are at least on the menu every day. But as with so many things, the same applies to the consumption of food and drinks: excessive consumption can lead to diseases such as obesity, diabetes and others.

The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reports that more attention should be paid, especially to products with a high purine content. Purines are a group of chemical compounds that are important for the body. The problem: A breakdown product that arises from the absorption of purines is uric acid.

If too much uric acid accumulates in your body, it can not only promote diseases. An Irish study found that elevated levels of uric acid reduce a person's life expectancy by up to 11.7 years. The exact data differs by gender:

  • Men with a uric acid concentration greater than 535 µmol/l reduce their life expectancy by up to 11.7 years
  • Women with a uric acid concentration greater than 416 µmol/l potentially reduce their life expectancy by an average of six years

The data refer to a comparison with people of the same sex with lower uric acid levels. To do this, the study evaluated data from about 26,500 people with high levels of uric acid.

A lot of purine is hidden here.

But what foods should you avoid if you don't want to consume too many purines? In principle, a balanced and varied diet is always recommended. Of course, you also have to pay attention to fruits and vegetables here. Of course, no one has to do without the occasional hamburger and fries or pizza.

You should take a closer look at many foods that are often considered critical for other reasons. The following foods contain a lot of purines:

  • Meats of all kinds (including sausages)
  • Offal
  • Some types of fish (for example, herring, sardines, or anchovies)
  • Crustaceans
  • Beer and spirits

So if you have a barbecue or two planned for next summer, it makes sense to pack a few extra vegetables.

Source: Frankfurter Rundschau, “Serum uric acid and mortality thresholds among men and women in the Irish healthcare system: a cohort study” (2020;

By Tim Petzerling

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