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Low Iodine Diet Info

Low Iodine Diet Information

Before undergoing radioactive scanning, your doctor may ask that you follow a low-iodine diet a week or two in advance. Your doctor may have a specific diet or timeline for you to follow. If not, these tips may help you stay on the right track. Of course, as with other aspects of your therapy, it’s important to talk with your doctor about diet changes and other test preparation.

Some foods that contain iodine that you’ll probably want to avoid are listed below:

  • Iodized salt, sea salt and salty foods. Because it’s hard to know which restaurants use iodized salt, you might want to avoid eating out during this time
  • All dairy products (milk, sour cream, cheese, cream, yoghurt, butter, ice cream)
  • Margarine
  • Egg yolks
  • Seafood (fish, shellfish, seaweed, kelp)
  • Foods that contain carrageen, agar-agar, algin, or alginate — all of these are made from seaweed
  • Many prepared and/or cured meats (ham, bacon, sausage, corned beef, etc)
  • Fresh chicken or turkey with broth or additives injected
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • Commercial bakery products
  • Chocolate
  • Molasses
  • Soy products (soy sauce, soy milk, tofu)
  • Any vitamins or supplements that contain iodine
  • E 127 Erythrosine — this appears in many foods or pills that are red or brown, including colas

NOTE: You should NEVER discontinue any medication before consulting your doctor!

If this seems overwhelming, it may help to know that iodine does not equal salt or sodium. Noniodised salt, like Kosher salt, is fine to use on a low-iodine diet.

Other foods that are okay to keep eating include:

  • Egg whites
  • Fresh noncured meat from the butcher
  • Matzoh
  • Home-made bread made with noniodised salt and oil (not soy!) instead of butter or milk
  • Most fresh fruits and vegetables (but not too much spinach & broccoli), washed well
  • Frozen vegetables that don’t have high-iodine ingredients (like regular salt) added
  • Canned peaches, pears and pineapples
  • Natural unsalted peanut butter
  • Clear sodas
  • Coffee or tea, as long as it’s made with distilled water. But remember, only non-dairy creamer!
  • Sorbet — but remember to check the ingredient list for E 127 Erythrosine!

You may want to shop and freeze or store your ingredients before starting your diet to avoid being tempted by iodine-containing foods at the store. Alternatively, try shopping at a health-food store where products will be labeled if they are salt and dairy free.

Especially if you will be going off your thyroid hormones for testing, you may want to prepare several meals and freeze them ahead of time, so you can cut down on the hassle later.

For other low-iodine suggestions, check the following websites:

Light of Life Foundation cookbook

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association

National Institute of Health

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