Why You Can't Buy Bread on a Low-Iodine Thyroid Cancer Diet (and What to Eat Instead)

Posted on: 21 December 2017

If you're due to undergo radioactive iodine treatment for your thyroid cancer, you'll need to follow a low-iodine diet for two weeks before your appointment. Most doctors will tell you that seafood and dairy are off-limits, but naturally-iodised foods aren't the only dangers you need to watch out for. Iodised salt is one obviously food you have to avoid, but more surprisingly, another major culprit is bread from your local store.

Why is Buying Bread a Bad Idea?

In the US, iodine is added to salt to combat iodine deficiency. You may have already heard that, unlike in the US, most salt in Australia doesn't contain iodine. However, that doesn't mean it's not added to any other food product. When research found that many Australians were iodine deficient, FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) declared that bread manufacturers  must use iodised salt in the  products to help get more of the nutrient into citizens. This has been in practice since late 2009, and while it's overwhelmingly beneficial to the population, it also means you can't buy bread if you're on a low iodine diet for thyroid cancer. Some organic breads don't use iodised salt, but only prepackaged bread needs to list iodine as an ingredient, so fresh bakery bread is off limits too. 

What Can You Eat Instead?

If bread is a staple in your diet, you may find it hard to give it up completely during your low iodine diet. Thankfully, there are some shop-bought bread alternatives you can look to.

1. Homemade Bread

One simple solution is to make your own bread at home with non-iodised salt. Iodine doesn't make any difference to the baking process, so you're free to follow your favourite recipe as long as it doesn't contain dairy. Just make sure you check the nutritional information on all your ingredients and steer clear of anything with the words iodine, iodised, or iodate in the list.

2. Pancakes

If you're not a great baker and you don't have a bread machine, why not turn to simple pancakes? While pancakes may seem like they're off limits given that they're usually made with milk and eggs, there are numerous dairy-free recipes out there (try searching online for vegan pancakes) that are just as easy to make. Pancakes can be whipped up quickly and served with sweet toppings like honey or savoury sides like bacon, making them a versatile, doughy bread alternative for every meal.

3. Alternative Carbs

For those who eat bread to get their carb fix, there are many other carbs out there that don't contain iodine. For lunches and dinners, most pasta and rice is iodine-free (but always double-check the labels), as are pototoes. For breakfast, cereals are high in carbs--just make sure you eat yours with non-dairy milk.


Staying Healthy in Old Age

Hello, my name is Maggie and I live in Queensland, Australia. When I was younger, I was always as fit as a fiddle. I would run marathons and go swimming in the sea. However, as I got older, I started to notice that I couldn't quite do what I used to. I started to get aches and pains in my back whenever I tried to exercise. My friend suggested I see the doctor and he sent me to the local health care clinic. The specialist there was able to identify the problem and he provided some fantastic treatment. He also gave me some great advice about staying healthy in old age, so I decided to start this blog.


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