‘FOLLOWING AN LCHF DIET RELIEVES GOUT. MINE HAS FLARED UP. WHY?’
Sally-Ann Creed answers this and other reader questions
Q: My urine varies in colour from time to time. Why is this? A: Food, certain sweets, medications, and various bodily disorders can change the colour of your urine but a light-yellow colour, like straw, is the most ‘normal’ colour. Urochrome, the end product of haemoglobin breakdown, gives it this colour. If you’re not drinking enough water the tone can deepen to a much darker yellow but it will return to normal after drinking just one glass of water.
Warfarin, an anticoagulant, or drugs that treat a urinary tract infection (UTI) could cause very orange urine. Drinking excessive quantities of carrot juice tints your urine orange too, as does taking high doses of vitamin C. If you’re taking a B complex multivitamin or vitamin B2 you may notice that your urine is almost neon yellow but there’s no need to panic.
A brown colour could be due to liver issues, so tell your doctor if it persists. Bile can enter the urine – when you’re jaundiced, for example – and tint it brown, dark yellow or dark orange. Several medications, including many autoimmune-modulating drugs, muscle relaxants, malaria drugs, and laxatives such as cascara sagrada (senna), can cause this dark colour too. This should normalise as the substance leaves the system.
A deep golden-brown or a dark, reddish-brown colour could signify rhabdomyolysis, a type of haemolytic anaemia where the red blood cells are breaking down. If you see this colour and you’re on statins, see your doctor immediately.
Treat black urine as an emergency; it could signify haemoglobinuria (rapid breakdown of red cells), which can happen with melanoma.
It’s even possible for your urine to be green! If you’ve eaten asparagus, which also produces an odd odour, that’s normal but a dark, cloudy, yellow-green colour may indicate a UTI or bladder infection. Sedatives used in surgery can also produce this colour, as can taking acid-reflux drugs or nausea medication.
Can you imagine blue urine? Some drugs cause this colouring. In children, a rare genetic disorder known as blue diaper syndrome can do the same. There’s also purple urine, which sometimes happens if bacteria in the urine combine with the pigment in the plastic of a catheter, causing an infection. It’s easily treated with a change of catheter and perhaps antibiotics.
Red or pink urine can make you think you’re bleeding to death, and blood in the urine is to be seen to immediately, but if it’s a pink tint, consider whether you’ve eaten beetroot, or a beet smoothie, or had a B12 shot. Even rhubarb may produce a pinkish colour for a few hours, but you could also have a bladder or kidney infection, so if it doesn’t go away, get it checked out. Lastly, a white, milky colour may signify kidney stones or excess calcium excretion. It may also be an infection so, if in doubt, see your doctor.
‘For many people, following an LCHF relieves gout. Mine has flared up. Why?'
Q: For many people, following an LCHF diet relieves gout. Mine has flared up. Why? A: This can happen when you begin an LCHF regimen. In some cases it is a cleansing/detox reaction. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has one attack and then never again – let’s hope this is your experience! Here is what you can do to prevent it or to alleviate it if it strikes again: 1. Unfortunately, alcohol is a well-known trigger best avoided. 2. Avoid eating too much meat. Meat is very nutritious but make sure it’s pasture fed and don’t overdose on it! A palm-sized piece at each meal is enough to keep you satisfied and healthy. 3. Eating a cup of tart fresh cherries daily will banish this problem. Nothing is as effective. We aren’t meant to be eating lots of fruit on this programme but fresh cherries (not tinned) are a very powerful anti-inflammatory and have analgesic properties too. Anthocyanin, the flavonoid that gives the cherries their red colour, is the active ingredient that works the magic. So eat them until the symptoms pass. 4. Apple cider vinegar breaks up uric acid crystals, removing them from the joints. It also reduces swelling and inflammation, sometimes within hours! Take 2–3 tablespoons in a glass of water up to 3 times a day. 5. Drink lots of water as this helps to flush out uric acid.
Q: I’ve read quite a few articles that warn against eating red meat. What is your view? A: The red meat scare is generally around poor quality meat, often cooked in dangerous seed oils, and burned to a cinder. Bear in mind that most of the studies were done primarily on processed meat, which bears no resemblance to fresh meat. I would certainly avoid processed meat as it houses a plethora of chemicals and preservatives – many of which have been shown to be carcinogenic – to keep it stable on the shelf. Avoid sausages if you don’t have a good butcher who can assure you of every single ingredient, as they may contain undesirable chemicals and preservatives plus unwanted additives (such as bread, rusk, soya). And bacon? Bacon without nitrates and nitrites does exist – you just need to find it.
Animal protein is an extremely rich source of energy and essential nutrients – richer than any other food source – and animal protein is the only place you will find essential vitamin B12 but avoid the iffy stuff and stick to healthy, humanely raised meats in their natural form, cooked from scratch. Finally, don’t just eat one kind of meat day in and day out; include lamb, beef, pork, game, fish, chicken, duck and offal.
Bacon without nitrates and nitrites does exist – you just need to find it.