Vitamins and Minerals: Low Iodine Diet
The purpose of a low-iodine diet is to reduce the stores of iodine in your body. This will help increase the success of your radioactive iodine test or treatment. If you don't follow this diet, you may change the results of the radioactive iodine uptake test, thyroid scan findings, and how your doctor will plan your treatment. You will be asked to follow the low iodine diet for 7 to 14 days before your treatment or scan. You will stay on the diet for 1-2 days after your treatment or scan.
Iodine is used when food is processed. It is also used as a part of red food dyes. Many salt preparations also have added iodine. As a result, it may be found in varied amounts in most foods and beverages. The richest sources are iodized salt, dairy products, fish, processed meats, frozen dinners, fast foods, and foods that contain artificial dyes.
The low-iodine diet limits your iodine intake to about 50 micrograms per day. Avoid foods high in iodine (over 20 micrograms per serving). You may eat foods that are low in iodine (up to 5 micrograms per serving). Limit foods that have a moderate level of iodine (5 to 20 micrograms per serving). As a general rule, eat fresh, home-made foods and have fruits and vegetables on hand. Add flavor to foods by using fresh or dried herbs, salt-free spice mixes, or vinegars.
Avoid These Foods and Ingredients
- Iodized salt, sea salt, and any foods that have iodized salt and sea salt. Some food items that may contain iodized salt or sea salt include: chips, crackers, pretzels, ketchup, bottled salad dressing, bouillon cubes, frozen dinners, canned vegetables, packaged dinners, and seasonings with salt added.
- Seafood such as: fresh and salt-water fish, shellfish, and sushi.
- Vegetables such as seaweed and kelp.
- Miso soup
- Foods that contain the additives carrageen, agar-agar, algin, alginates.
- Dairy products of any kind (milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream).
- Egg yolks or whole eggs or foods made with egg yolks or whole eggs.
- Cured and corned foods such as: ham, corned beef, sausage, lunch meats, sauerkraut, pickles.
- Bread products which contain iodate dough conditioners.
- Most chocolate (due to milk content). Cocoa powder and some dark chocolates are allowed.
- Some molasses (if sulfured, such as blackstrap molasses). Unsulfured molasses, which is more common, is allowed.
- Soybeans and soybean products such as tofu, soy milk, soy sauce.
- Avoid other beans including: red kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, and cowpeas.
- Foods and medicines that contain red food dyes (specifically, Red Dye #3 or erythrosine).
Allowed Foods and Ingredients
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, except for rhubarb, maraschino cherries, soybeans, and a few other beans listed above. Eat raw or frozen vegetables without added salt.
- Unsalted nuts and unsalted nut butters.
- Whites of eggs.
- Fresh meats.
- Grain, cereal, and pasta products that contain no high-iodine ingredients.
- Sugar, jelly, jam, natural honey, maple syrup.
- Black pepper, fresh or dried herbs and spices.
- Vegetable oil.
- Dark chocolate (without salt, dairy, or soy).
- Juice (100% juice; not fruit punch), tea (loose or bagged), coffee (ground or instant freeze-dried), soda and other unsalted carbonated drinks without red dye.
|Fresh fruits, fresh carrot or celery sticks, rice cakes (no added salt) or apple slices with unsalted peanut butter, real fruit popsicles or natural sorbets (no food coloring, no added salt, no dairy), Unsalted Matzo crackers, homemade low iodine bread or muffins, popcorn (plain seeds for air-pop popcorn or stovetop)|
To download a free, low-iodine cookbook visit the following websites:
Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc: www.thyca.org
Light of Life Foundation: www.checkyourneck.com
If you are a UW Health patient and need more information please contact UW Health at one of the numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
UW Digestive Health Center
UW Health West Clinic
UW Health East Clinic
UW Medical Foundation
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/06/2013
Copyright © 08/06/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#485
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