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Low Iodine Diet

Ask the Nutritionist

Q: I can't find anything for low iodine diet. What are you suggestions on this thyroid cancer related diet?

Lacey Summerall

A: When following a low-iodine diet there are specific food items we suggest to AVOID. It is recommended to stay away iodized salt and sea salt and any foods containing iodized salt. Kosher salt is non-iodized salt unless the label says it is.

Avoid dairy products (milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream, powdered dairy creamers and non-dairy creamers), seafood and sea products (e.g. fish, shellfish, seaweed and kelp), soy products (soy milk, soy sauce and tofu), whole eggs and egg yolks, cured meats, breads that contain “iodate-dough condititoners”, all commercial breads, cereals that contain red food coloring/chocolate/molasses, pancake and muffin mixes, rhubarb, potato skins, beans (red beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans and cow peas), cream or canned soups, chocolate, red dye #3, molasses, carrageen, agar-agar, alginate and nori.

The following food items are allowed in moderation. It is okay to consume 5 ounces of fresh meats per day. This includes chicken, beef, pork, lamb and veal. Whole cuts tend to contain less iodine than do ground meats. Four servings of grains, cereals, pasta, and breads without iodine-containing ingredients are fine on a low-iodine diet as well. In regards to rice, different rice vary in the amount of iodine they contain. Basmati rice is the best to eat on a low-iodine diet.

Foods that are fine to eat on a low-iodine diet consist mostly of fresh, low-fat, low-calorie foods. This includes fresh fruits and fruit juices (except for rhubarb, maraschino cherries, and fruit cocktail), raw and fresh-cooked vegetables (but not certain beans, soy products or skins of potatoes. Please see list above for more a clear list), unsalted nuts and unsalted nut butters, sugar, jelly, honey, real maple syrup, black pepper, fresh or dried herbs, oils and salad dressings provided they don’t contain iodine (check labels), homemade foods, non-instant coffee and tea.

See the Low Iodine Cookbook from the ThyCa website for homemade food recipes and suggestions.

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