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Low-Purine Diet

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.

RESOURCES

The Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org/

The Purine Research Society http://www.purineresearchsociety.org/

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Arthritis Society http://www.arthritis.ca/

Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/

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%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.

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