Home » Celiac, Vegetarian and Low Iodine: What to Eat?

Celiac, Vegetarian and Low Iodine: What to Eat?

March 29, 2011

Celiac, Vegetarian and Low Iodine: What to Eat?

March 29, 2011


I have celiac disease and am a vegetarian. I recently had my thyroid removed for grave’s disease, goiters, and enlarged thyroid. They discovered thyroid cancer. I started a low iodine diet 2 days ago in preparation for radioactive iodine treatment. It is challenging right now to meet my dietary needs. I read that some recommend avoiding rice on the low iodine diet. There are also many legumes, dairy and soy items that one must avoid. Do you have any suggestions and/or insights on the rice, dairy and soy?




Hi Jacki. I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis of thyroid cancer, but glad to hear you will soon be receiving treatment for it.

You are correct that many low iodine diets do recommend limiting rice; however, most of these diets allow a moderate amount of basmati rice since it tends to be grown in low iodine soil. Other grains are allowed on a low iodine diet, although it is recommended to limit them to 4 servings per day. Some great gluten-free grains to include in your diet include corn, millet, quinoa and teff.

Soy, in all forms except for soybean oil, is best avoided on a low iodine diet. Other beans that should be avoided include: red kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans and cowpeas. Black beans and garbanzo beans, in moderate amounts, can provide a good source of protein for you. Also, nuts and nuts butters are fine to eat on a low iodine diet.

As for dairy, it is recommended that you avoid all forms of dairy products while on a low iodine diet, although some diets allow for very small amounts of dairy to be consumed. You don’t mention if you eat eggs, but if you do, you can safely consume the egg white, as most of the iodine is concentrated in the yolk.

Finally, keep in mind that this is just a temporary diet. If you include the above recommended foods in your diet, along with fruits and vegetables, your nutritional needs should be adequately met.

I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery!

In good health,

EA Stewart. MBA, RD


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