Sweets wreck feet

When I say sugar is a poison that can do damage from head to toe, I'm not just using a figure of speech.

There's almost no part of the body sugar can't wreck, right down to the tips of your toes -- because new research confirms yet again that sugary drinks can increase your risk of gout.

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that can technically strike almost any joint, but it usually targets just one: your toe... specifically the big one.

It's a throbbing, stabbing pain that can keep you off your feet, wake you in the night and make your life miserable in so many ways -- and if you drink four sugary drinks a day, your risk of getting it jumps by nearly 700 percent.

If you don't drink four sodas a day, you're not in the clear. Even a single one of these sugary drinks a day can increase the risk by 12 percent, according to the study out of New Zealand.

And that's not even the worst part of this... because while we've seen the link between sugar and gout before, the study finds something else that's both completely new and absolutely shocking.

Some people have a gene that helps them to get rid of uric acid -- a gene that actually protects them from gout, decreasing the risk and in some cases making it almost impossible to get.

But if that gene is a super power, soda is its kryptonite -- because it can block that gene. In fact, soda drinkers who have the gene actually have a slightly higher risk of gout than soda drinkers without the gene, according to the study.

There's an easy answer here, and that's to avoid sugar, especially the sugar in soft drinks -- because gout isn't the worst risk that comes from a soda habit.

Any soda at all can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and more.

If there's anything worse than the sugars in soda, it's the chemical sweeteners used in diet drinks -- so if you're going to make a switch (and I strongly recommend that you do so) don't make a change from regular to diet.

Make a clean break from all sugary drinks.

Stick to filtered water, plain seltzer or tea. If you add a squeeze of citrus, you can add some flavor and actually protect yourself from gout.

And for more gout-fighting tips, read this free report from the House Calls archives.