Low Purine Diet

Low Purine Diet


Purines are organic compounds produced naturally in the human body. They are supplied from the diet. Purines are broken down by the liver into a waste product called uric acid. Most uric acid is released into the blood, filtered through the kidneys and excreted in urine. Poor kidney function or high intake of purine-rich foods may cause hyperuricemia (high uric acid in the blood). This can lead to problems, such as kidney stones and gout. A low purine diet is often recommended to help with these problems.

Check with your doctor or dietitian to see if you should follow this diet.


General tips

  • Avoid or limit high purine foods, such as organ meats, fatty red meats and certain types of seafood. These foods can increase uric acids levels and cause a gout attack.
  • Limit high fat foods. Fat holds onto uric acid in the kidneys.
  • Limit meat to 3 ounces per meal.
  • Avoid fructose-containing foods and beverages, such as soda and fruit juice.
  • Ask your doctor about drinking alcohol. Alcohol increases purine production, leading to higher uric acid levels in blood and urine. Alcohol also causes dehydration, which hinders the body’s ability to flush out uric acid.
  • Drink 64 to 96 ounces (about 2 to 3 liters) of fluid per day, at least half as water, to help reduce kidney stone formation and decrease uric acid crystals.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, drink coffee in moderation, and eat tart cherries or drink tart cherry juice to help lower uric acid levels and reduce risk of a gout flare up.
  • Increase fiber intake choosing foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables to help the body remove extra uric acid.
  • Maintain an ideal body weight. If overweight or obese, a gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is suggested. Rapid weight loss can increase uric acid levels in the body.


Avoid high purine foods

  • Anchovies
  • Anchovy paste
  • Bacon
  • Beer, gin, hard liquor
  • Brain
  • Bouillon, broth, consommé
  • Caviar or roe
  • Clams
  • Codfish
  • Cream sauces
  • Duck
  • Fried foods
  • Food with trans-fat
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Gentlemen’s Relish
  • Gravy/sauce made with meat
  • Goose
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Heart
  • Herring 
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Mackerel 
  • Meat-based soups
  • Meat extract
  • Mincemeat
  • Mussels
  • Ocean perch
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Rabbit/hare
  • Sardines
  • Scallops 
  • Smelt
  • Spleen
  • Sprat
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Squid
  • Sweetbread
  • Thai fish sauce
  • Tripe
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Veal
  • Venison
  • Vegetables cooked in animal products: high-fat butter, cream, lard, grease, gravy or fish sauce
  • Whitebait
  • Yeast: baker’s, brewer’s (taken as a supplement)


Limit medium purine foods

  • Asparagus (½ cup or less daily)
  • Avocado
  • Beans/peas, dried (1 cup cooked or less daily)
  • Beef
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower (½ cup or less daily)
  • Chicken with skin
  • Crab (6 ounces or less daily)
  • Green peas (½ cup or less daily)
  • Ham
  • Kale
  • Lamb
  • Lentils (1 cup cooked or less daily)
  • Lobster (6 ounces or less daily)
  • Miso
  • Mushrooms (½ cup or less daily)
  • Nuts 
  • Oats, Oatmeal (⅔ cup uncooked or less daily)
  • Okra 
  • Oysters (6 ounces or less daily)
  • Pork
  • Salmon 
  • Sausage
  • Shrimp (6 ounces or less daily)
  • Soybeans
  • Soy flour
  • Spinach (½ cup or less daily)
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Wheat bran and germ (¼ cup dry or less daily)
  • Whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, rice


Enjoy low purine foods

  • Cocoa
  • Eggs (4 or less per week)
  • Flax oil
  • Fruit not on list above
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy
  • Gelatin
  • Herbs, spices without salt 
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Pickles
  • Potatoes
  • Relishes
  • Soups, meatless
  • Vegetables not on list above
  • White bread, pasta, rice


Low purine diet: sample one day menu

If you have other medical conditions, discuss how this menu needs to change with your dietitian.


  • 1 to 2 cups cooked oatmeal without added sugar
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen fruit (can add to oatmeal)
  • 2 tablespoons nuts of any kind (can add to oatmeal)
  • Coffee or tea with milk (optional)
  • 8 ounces or more of water

Mid-morning snack:

  • Banana or other fruit
  • 6 ounces low sugar yogurt
  • 8 ounces or more of water


  • 2 slices, 100% whole grain bread
  • 3 ounces, baked chicken or turkey breast (avoid lunch meat as it is high in sodium)
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion and 2 teaspoons mayonnaise and/or mustard on sandwich as desired
  • 1 cup sliced raw vegetables, such as baby carrots, pepper strips, cucumbers, etc.
  • ¼ cup hummus or 2 tablespoons light ranch dip
  • Orange or other piece of fruit
  • 16 ounces or more of water

Mid-afternoon snack:

  • ¼ cup mixed nuts or seeds
  • Apple or other fruit
  • 8 ounces or more of water


  • 1 cups salad with 1 tablespoon olive oil based dressing
  • 3 ounces salmon or lean pork
  • Medium baked sweet or white potato
  • 1 cup cooked whole grain, such as brown rice, quinoa, etc.
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli or other vegetable with 2 teaspoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 cup diced melon or other fruit
  • 16 ounces or more of water

After dinner or before bed:

  • 8 ounces or more of water

© 2010 - January 24, 2020, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team if you have any questions about your care. For more health information call the Library for Health Information at 614-293-3707 or email: health-info@osu.edu.