Purines list





This page - our purines list - was last reviewed or updated on 5 December 2015.


This is a page you can use for a low purine diet for gout. It categorises foods into high, medium and low purine.



You won't find purines listed on nutrition facts' panels. Maybe one day, if gout continues its world wide growth.


PURINES LIST - HIGH PURINE FOOD

It is surprising, especially to those who have never heard of uric acid or purines before, that some foods usually considered to be very healthy are high purine foods. They are - herrings, (so that means kippers too) ,sardines anchovies.

All  are high in desirable heart healthy and anti inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, but also purine rich. If you like these fish, you'll have to eat them very moderately.

Also high purine are:

  • liver (from any animal) 
  • pâtés (including foie gras, made from the liver of specially fattened ducks and geese);
  • terrines (but probably not brawn - aka souse, head cheese - see below under medium purine foods).
  • liver sausage.

Other high purine foods include:

  • consommé;
  • broth;
  • anchovy sauce and paste;
  • meat extracts, for example stock cubes, essence of chicken, (widely sold in the Far East), 
  • Bovril;
  • meat gravies from powders and granules;
  • other offal (organ meat) from any animal, for example kidneys, sweetbreads, oxtail, spleens, hearts and ox/cow lungs;
  • goose;
  • game (game meat - pheasants, grouse, partridges, venison (aka deer meat), rabbits, hares, quail etc).
  • haggis, except vegetarian haggis which would not be high purine.

More high purine fish 

  • fish roe, (except caviar which is probably medium purine) - most likely hard and soft roe (aka milt);
  • mussels;
  • scallops;
  • trout;
  • tuna;
  • pilchards, (very similar fish to sardines);
  • sprats;
  • whitebait;
  • taramasalata. 
  • lobsters and their relative, crayfish (crawfish, crawdad, yabby), have been listed as both high and medium (lobsters) or high and low (crayfish) purine. A visitor to this website reported a gout attack after eating crayfish (crawfish). 
  • shrimps and shrimp paste (its various names include bagoong, are probably medium but might be high.

                                                                                                                                                              High purine kidneys

More high purine foods 

  • Bakers' yeast (bakers' yeast is high purine but bread is not);
  • brewers yeast and products made from it such as Marmite, Vegemite and Cenovis;
  • mincemeat (the filling in Christmas mince pies).

All high purine foods should  be avoided completely on a low purine diet.

And - sorry to say - you've guessed it - alcoholic beverages are also high purine - beer is the alcoholic drink reckoned to be highest in purines. Then wine, then spirits (liquor).

Foods we strongly suspect are high purine, but which do not appear on lists of purines in foods. 

  • Lamprey's and lamperns, a small lamprey. Lampreys are an eel-like freshwater and sea water fish, much eaten and liked in medieval times. Today they are popular in some continental European countries. e.g. France, Spain, Portugal. In northern Spain they are put into empanadas (pies). Beware! You might be offered them on holiday (vacation), but they are an endangered species. 
  • Mousses made from offal (organ meat) and shell fish. e.g. duck liver mousse, chicken liver mousse, goose liver mousse, crab mousse, lobster mousse wi;; be high purine. Might tempt you at a restaurant.

MEDIUM PURINE FOODS

  • fish (other than those named and listed above);
  • legumes  (( beans, including soybeans (soyabeans), peas ));
  • other meats such as beef, (including corned beef if it has been made 100% from brisket), lamb, pork, bacon, sausages, venison (aka deer meat) , chicken, veal and turkey; horse meat; beef tongue, pork tongue, ox tongue;
  • tripe;
  • mushrooms;
  • other shellfish than those listed above;
  • spinach;
  • asparagus;
  • lentils.

Foods we suspect are medium purine  

  • Goat is probably medium purine, since there is not a mammal whose meat is low purine, and meat, unless it is offal/organ meat, is not high purine.
  • Brawn (aka souse, head cheese) is also probably medium purine. It is usually made mainly  from the meat of a pig's head (sometimes calf),  plus pig's trotters, a vegetable, jelly and spices. Pork is medium purine.

LOW PURINE FOODS

  • eggs, (and egg whites);
  • fruit, including berries;
  • milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt (yogurt), cream, ice cream;
  • potatoes;
  • vegetables (other than those in medium purine foods);
  • grain products such as bread, crackers, pasta, noodles, spaghetti, rice; cakes, biscuits (cookies), most cereals;
  • nuts and seeds;
  • olives;
  • vinegar;
  • cooking oils and fats;
  • sugar;
  • chocolate;
  • horseradish,
  • pickles from vegetables e.g. piccalilli (British, Australian and American types) and other pickles;
  • kimchi.
  • luncheon meat


Foods we strongly suspect are low purine, but which do not appear on a purines list.   

  • Whey, and whey protein powder, because milk from which whey is made as a by-product of cheese making is low purine.
  • Cranberries, because other berries such as gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are all low purine. But cranberries are probably not a good food for gout. Read why here.
  • Chutneys  are basically made from mixtures of fruit, vegetables, spices, vinegar, sugar, herbs and nuts in various combinations. Generally, these are not high purine, nor even medium. So they are unlikely to raise your uric acid, or be a gout trigger.

Beverages 

  • tea
  • coffee
  • water
  • fruit juices (including apple, cherry, grapefruit and orange)
  • vegetable juices

How do you deal with medium purine foods?

Purine rich foods have to be avoided and low purine foods are OK unless you binge on them. But what about medium purines foods? Much depends on your degree of hyperuricemia (excess uric acid), if you have hyperuricemia.(Remember that curious fact that not all gout sufferers have hyperuricemia?). Another depends on how well your low purine gout diet works.

One gout and purines dietary approach to medium level foods would be to eat them every other day, and never have more than 4ozs (113g). Once you are on a low purine gout diet of whatever intensity, subsequent uric acid tests of blood and urine levels, will tell how well your uric acid reduction programme (program) is working, and whether changes need to be made.

Constructing a low purine diet is not difficult unless you have to lose weight. The gout foods to avoid - liver, offal, a few kinds of fish and shellfish, meat extracts and the others in the high purine category above - are easily avoided since most have similar substitutes. If you like gravies, there are other ways of making gravies - the original methods, found in many cookery books and on the Internet, without using gravy powders or granules.

A caution about a list of purines Purine lists do not completely agree. For example some foods that are "medium" in some lists are "high" in others. And vice versa.

Dried fish and gout A note for readers in countries  dried fish is widely eaten. I have seen purines and uric acid numbers for eight species of dried or half-dried fish, in Japanese purines tables, and they are much higher in dried fish than in regular fish. And they were not all small dried fish varieties.

Related pages you might enjoy

Want to see the amounts of purines in foods/drinks, and how much uric acid they make ?. Visit our purines lists page, where other  purines tables. are described.

Click to our low purine food page to read how to make a 5 course low purine Sunday meal, and view a couple of videos.

Purines in fish v omega -3 in fish  For our discussion about the purines in fish compared with the gout diet benefits of their omega -3 oils,  which is an important foods for a gout diet topic,click here read our fish for gout page.

Read our introductory page about purines

Click here to read about how much a low purine diet reduced uric acid levels in a study

How much does the level of blood uric acid actually change as it falls? Here are the numbers of someone who reduced uric acid by an impressive 6.3 mg/dL in 3 months.

If your low purine diet isn't working, it could be because it is too acidic. Read how a more alkaline diet excreted more uric acid.

Read our low purine gout diet visitor testimonials page

The best fish for gout are those that deliver the most omega-3 per uric acid they create, although you must still watch the purines. Visit our best fish for gout tables to see which are best on this view.



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