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Nutrition – Low iodine diet

Low Iodine Diet

  • An important part of radioiodine treatment – allows radioiodine to enter thyroid cells (normal or cancerous that were not visible to the surgeon or could not be removed) 
  • Generally started 2 weeks before the radioactive iodine therapy for thyroid cancer patients. 
  • Usually needs to be continued until the whole-body-scan is completed (7 days after the radioactive iodine is given) 
  • Goal is to have < 50 microgram of iodine per day for that period. 
  • It usually means you should eat home-made food using ingredients in the “allowed” column, while avoiding the “not allowed” ingredients. 
Food Group Allowed Not Allowed 
DAIRY None Ice cream, cheese, milk, yogurt, sour cream 
EGGS None All egg containing products 
SEAFOOD None Specially shellfish, kelp, sardines, canned tuna 
SALT Non-iodized salt Iodized salt, Sea salt 
MEATS  Fresh chicken, turkey or beef Canned, dried, salted, cured meats (sausage, ham, chipped beef,liver, beef stew, bacon, TV dinners, pizza, chili, lunch meats 
GRAINS Homemade rice, Oatmeal, Unsalted crackers, Rice cakes, iodine-free bakery products Regular breads, processed cereals, pancakes, cookies, pastries, salted crackers, instant oatmeal 
FRUITS Fresh fruits & raisins Prunes, canned fruits, dried fruits 
VEGETABLES Fresh or frozen vegetables Canned vegetables 
  • Avoid chocolate, molasses, soy products, Restaurant food & Asian food 
  • Avoid food or medicine containing iodine or red dye (many vitamin-mineral supplements) 
  • Any food that has any of these ingredients: 

Iodates or Iodides 

Algin or Alginates 



(such as Store-bought bread or bakery products because they are made with iodate bread conditioners) 

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