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Low-Purine Diet

En Español (Spanish Version)

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:
  • Avoid or limit your intake of alcohol, especially beer. While alcohol does not contain purines, it increases your production of purine.
  • Drink 8-12 cups of fluid every day. This will help dilute your urinary uric acid, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming.
  • Consume low-fat or nonfat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, on a regular basis. Research shows that these foods may help prevent gout from occurring.
  • Limit your intake of fat to 30% of your calories.
  • Don’t follow low-carbohydrate diets.
  • Avoid rapid weight loss, as this can increase your uric acid levels. If you need to lose weight, do so gradually.
  • Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to come up with a personalized eating plan.
 

RESOURCES:

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

References:

  • 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_5314_ENU_HTML.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.

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