Is this the real reason people develop gout?
The belief that alcohol and poor diet is the primary cause of gout is untrue, research suggests.
According to a study published in the BMJ, the disease is much more likely to be brought on by genetics.
The research, carried out by a team in New Zealand, counters "these harmful but well-established views and practices".
The findings provide an opportunity to "address these serious barriers to reducing the burden of this common and easily treatable condition", the researchers say.
They examined data from more than 16,000 US men and women of European ancestry to reach their conclusions.
While diet is not the key factor, it can have a small impact on the likelihood of developing gout, the researchers say.
Consuming beer, wine, spirits, potatoes and meat can raise the risk of developing gout, while cheese, eggs, peanuts and brown bread can lower it.
However, each of these foods or drinks is responsible for a less than 1% variation in levels of uric acid.
Similarly, a comparison of healthy and unhealthy diets shows there is only a 0.3% variation in levels of the acid.
By contrast, almost one-quarter of the variation can be explained by genetic factors.
Gout is most common in men aged 40 or older.