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Low-Purine Diet

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The more you know about your health, the better prepared you are to make informed healthcare decisions. Our health library gives you the information you need to take charge of your health.

What Is Purine?

Purine is a compound found primarily in foods of animal origin. It is especially high in organ meats, anchovies, mackerel, and sardines.

Why Should I Follow a Low-Purine Diet?

A low-purine diet is usually recommended if you have gout . It may also be recommended if you have kidney stones or have had an organ transplant.

The body metabolizes purine into uric acid. A buildup of uric acid can worsen symptoms of gout. If you have gout, eating a low-purine diet can help minimize uric acid production and thereby improve symptoms.

Eating Guide for a Low-Purine Diet

Food Category Foods Recommended Foods to Limit or Avoid
Grains
  • Enriched breads, cereals, rice, noodles, pasta, and potatoes
  • Oatmeal (no more than 2/3 cup uncooked, daily)
  • Wheat bran, wheat germ (no more than ¼ cup dry, daily)
Vegetables
  • All except those on the “foods to limit or avoid” list
  • Mushrooms, green peas, dried peas and beans, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower (no more than ½ cup per day)
Fruits
  • All fruit and juices
Dairy
  • Nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Eggs
Meat and Beans
  • Eggs, peanut butter, and nuts
  • Red meat (eg, beef, lamb, pork, and veal), poultry, fish, and shellfish (no more than 4-6 ounces per day)
  • Dried peas, beans, and lentils (no more than 1 cup cooked daily)
  • Avoid: sweetbreads, sardines, anchovies, liver, kidneys, brains, meat extracts, herring, mackerel, scallops, gravies, goose, heart, mincemeat, and mussels
Oils
  • Gravies and sauces made with meat
Beverages
  • Carbonated beverages, coffee, tea, cocoa
  • Beer and other alcoholic beverages
Other
  • Low-fat milk-based or vegetable stock-based soups
  • Sugars, sweets, gelatins
  • Salt, herbs, spices, and condiments
  • Baker’s and brewer’s yeast
  • Stock-based soups (eg, bouillon- and broth-based)

Suggestions

In addition to following a low-purine diet, here are some other suggestions for decreasing uric acid production:

  • Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to come up with a personalized eating plan.

  • The Arthritis Foundation

    http://www.arthritis.org/

  • The Purine Research Society

    http://www.purineresearchsociety.org/

  • The Arthritis Society

    http://www.arthritis.ca/

  • Dietitians of Canada

    http://www.dietitians.ca/

  • Choi HK, Liu S, Curhan G. Intake of purine-rich foods, protein, and dairy products and relationship to serum levels of uric acid: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arthritis Rheum. 2005;52:283-289.

  • Fam AG. Gout: excess calories, purines, and alcohol intake and beyond. Response to a urate-lowering diet. J Rheumatol. 2005;32:903-905.

  • Gout: is a purine-restricted diet still recommended? American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/nutrition%5F5314%5FENU%5FHTML.htm. Accessed June 22, 2007.

  • Hyon CK, Mount DB, Reginato AM. Pathogenesis of gout. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143:499-516.

  • Low-purine diet. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website. Available at: http://patienteducation.upmc.com/Pdf/LowPurineDiet.PDF. Accessed June 21, 2007.

  • Nutrition care manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://nutritioncaremanual.org/auth.cfm?p=%2Findex.cfm%3F. Accessed January 3, 2009.