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Foods to Avoid Prior to a Thyroid Uptake Scan

author image Dena McDowell
Dena McDowell started writing in 2001 with work published in the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel," "M Magazine," "Women and Cancer" magazine and online at The Diet Channel. She is a contributor to TOPS and TherapEase Cuisine. McDowell is a registered dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree in nutrition and counseling from Mount Mary College.
Foods to Avoid Prior to a Thyroid Uptake Scan
Slices of homemade pizza with olives and peppers. Photo Credit blackboard1965/iStock/Getty Images


When getting ready to undergo a thyroid uptake scan, special dietary restrictions need to be followed in order to yield effective outcomes of the test. Radioactive iodine is injected or swallowed in a pill form to identify disorders of the thyroid gland. Iodine needs to be avoided in the diet to allow the radioactive iodine to be effectively utilized in the thyroid gland.

Dietary Precautions

If you physician orders a thyroid uptake scan it is necessary to follow a low iodine diet. Do not take vitamins that contain iodine. The ingredient list on the label will indicate if iodine is part of the vitamin supplement. Avoid iodized salt. Limit consumption of fish, shellfish, milk, ice cream, yogurt, canned fruits, canned vegetables, cured meats, salted meats, white bread, tea and lemonade. Avoid salted snack foods such as pretzels, chips and nuts. Do not eat pizza, canned soups, or take-out foods from restaurants. Read the label to avoid foods that contain red dye such as medications, gelatin and hard candies.

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When to Start a Low Iodine Diet

The low iodine diet should be started at least one week before the scan is scheduled. The low iodine diet should be followed until otherwise instructed by the health care team. It is often recommended that the low iodine diet be followed for three days after the scan as a precaution.

Sample Meal Plan

Although, a low iodine diet is limiting, meal planning can be successfully accomplished. Having orange juice, hot cereal with fresh fruit and an egg on the side is a suitable breakfast option. Aim for a sandwich with turkey breast on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato with a side of carrots, fresh fruit and vanilla wafers as a healthy lunch option. For dinner, try baked chicken with white rice, fresh vegetables cooked or sauteed with fresh fruit on the side.

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