low purine diet foods

Many foods contain purines (PYUR-eenz), especially:

  • Organ meats
  • Anchovies
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines

Purines make up 15 percent of the uric acid found in the body. Too much uric acid can lead to problems, including kidney stones and gout.

For this reason, doctors often recommend a low-purine diet help with these problems, and sometimes for people who have had an organ transplant.

The diet, often with medication, can lower uric acid levels. Some people can lower their uric acid levels through diet alone.

Not everyone needs to follow a rigid diet to treat gout, but avoiding foods that are high in purines may help. Check with your doctor or dietitian to see if you should follow this diet.

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Tips for Following a Low-Purine Diet

  • Avoid or limit alcohol. Alcohol increases purine production. This leads to higher uric acid levels in your blood and urine.
  • Limit meat to 3 oz. per meal.
  • Limit high-fat foods. Fat holds onto uric acid in your kidneys.
  • Eat enough carbs. They help your body get rid of extra uric acid.
  • If you’re overweight, lose weight gradually. Rapid weight loss can increase uric acid levels.
  • Drink 8 to 12 cups of fluid every day to help reduce kidney stone formation.
  • Don’t take baker’s or brewer’s yeast as a supplement.

Low-purine Diet: Foods to Choose and Avoid

Use the charts below for foods to choose and avoid when following a low-purine diet.

Breads, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta Choose Avoid
  • 6 to 11 servings each day.
  • Serving size = 1 slice bread. 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal. 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta.
  • All enriched breads, cereals, rice, noodles, pasta, and potatoes.
  • Limit to 2 servings per week: whole-grain breads and cereals, wheat germ, bran, and oatmeal.
  • High-fat breads like French toast, biscuits, and muffins.
  • Pancakes.
  • French fries.
Fruit Choose Avoid
  • 2 to 4 servings each day.
  • Serving size = 1 medium-size piece of fresh fruit. 1/2 cup canned fruit. 3/4 cup fruit juice.
  • All fruit and fruit juices.
  • Avocados (high in fat).
Milk and Dairy Products Choose Avoid
  • 2 servings each day.
  • Serving size = 1 cup milk or yogurt.
  • Skim or low-fat milk.
  • Low-fat yogurt.
  • Whole milk and cream.
  • Sour cream.
Vegetables Choose Avoid
  • 3 servings each day.
  • Serving size = 1 cup raw. 1/2 cup cooked or chopped.
  • All vegetables.
  • Limit to 2 servings per week: mushrooms, dried peas and beans, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower.
  • High-fat cooking such as au gratin, fried foods, and cream sauces.
Meats, Poultry, Fish, Dried Beans, Peas, Eggs, and Cheese Choose Avoid
  • Total of 6 oz. daily.
  • Serving size = 2-3 oz. cooked: 1 egg.
    1/2 cup cooked beans. 2 tablespoons peanut butter. 1 oz. of cheese as 1 oz. of meat.
  • Beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry, fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Peanut butter, nuts.
  • Low-fat cheese.
  • Limit to 2 servings per week: dried peas and beans.
  • Sweetbreads, liver, kidneys, brains, heart.
  • Anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, scallops, mussels.
  • Goose.
  • Gravies, meat extracts.
  • Mincemeat.
Fats, Condiments, and Drinks Choose Avoid
  • Salt, herbs, spices, and condiments.
  • Carbonated drinks, coffee, cocoa, and tea.
  • Soups made with low-fat milk and vegetable-based broth.
  • Limit to 3 teaspoons daily: butter, margarine, oils, and mayonnaise.
  • Baker’s and brewer’s yeast.
  • Alcohol.
  • Meat gravies.
  • Meat stock-based soups such as bouillon, broth, and consommé.
Snacks, Sweets, and Desserts Choose Avoid
  • Gelatin, ice milk, vanilla wafers, angel food cake.
  • Low-fat frozen yogurt.
  • High-fat desserts such as ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, doughnuts, and chocolate.
  • Mincemeat pie.

Sample Menu for a Low-Purine Diet

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup farina
  • Berries
  • White toast with jelly and 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • Coffee
  • Hamburger (3 oz.) on bun
  • Baked potato with 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1 cup fruit salad
  • 2% milk
  • Tossed salad with fat-free salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup chicken breast (3 oz.) with no skin
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • Dinner roll with 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1/2 cup sherbet
  • Iced tea

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