Centuries ago, gout was known as the king’s disease or the rich man’s disease because it was supposed to be caused by a diet that only the wealthy aristocracy could afford — meat, fish, and alcohol. Indeed, having gout symptoms suggested that you had a high social and financial position, which seems ludicrous in light of our current understanding of health and money.
Gout may sound like an 18th-century disease, yet the number of Americans affected by this severe inflammatory condition has more than doubled in the last few decades. According to statistics, gout is now 15 to 30 times more common than it was 15-years ago and more young people are developing the disease. Age certainly has a role to play in the development of gout, but it is not the cause. Here’s what you need to know about “the rich man’s disease.”
What Does a “Poor Man’s Diet” Entail?
While we know foods like red meat, fish, and wine are the type of foods the wealthy could afford, this leads us to wonder, what did a “poor man’s diet” entail?
Peasants were constrained to eating only the items that they could farm at the time. Fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and other natural foods containing complex carbs were included. Given this, the food of a peasant also appears to be both nutritious and enjoyable. So, what gives?