Refsum Food Guide

All the information provided below is based on the foods that have been analyzed for phytanic acid content in the past and clinical experience.  The variety of foods and farming practices have changed significantly since the prior testing. Therefore, further funding is being sought to repeat previous analyses and analyze new foods to improve upon this guidance.

Meats & Dairy

The foods with the highest phytanic acid content are the meat and dairy products from cattle, sheep, lambs and goats. Organic products from these animals contain significantly more phytanic acid than the non-organic versions due to being grass fed.

Foods to Avoid

High Phytanic Acid

Meats

 

  • Cattle (steak, beef, burgers)

  • Sheep

  • Mutton

  • Lamb

  • Goat

  • Sausage containing beef

  • Meatballs containing beef

  • Cattle liver

  • Sheep liver

  • Lamb liver

  • Pigs liver

Foods to Limit Moderate Phytanic Acid

Meats

 

  • Duck/goose – limit to 80g per week

Foods to Eat

Low in Phytanic Acid

Meats

 

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Pork

  • Bacon

  • Pork sausages

  • Ham

  • Soya meat alternatives

  • Tofu

  • Eggs

  • Chicken Liver

Foods to Avoid

High Phytanic Acid

Dairy

 

Dairy products from cows, sheep, goat such as:

 

  • Cheese

  • Milk

  • Cream

  • Yoghurt including fat free

  • Butter

  • Ghee

  • Ice Cream

Foods to Limit Moderate Phytanic Acid

Dairy

 

Fat free milk (skimmed milk) – limit to 150ml daily

 

Fat free quark and fat free fromage frais can be eaten unless they contain added cream. These products should be limited to 50g day

Foods to Eat

Low in Phytanic Acid

Dairy

 

Non-dairy products made using soya, oats, rice and coconut would be good alternatives. 

 

Any nut-based products should be limited to 30g per week.

Seafood

Oily fish and large fish such as tuna are also rich sources of phytanic acid.

Foods to Avoid

High Phytanic Acid

  • Salmon

  • Mackerel

  • Herring

  • Sardines

  • Pilchards

  • Trout

  • Mullet

  • Sea bass

  • Fish oil supplements

Foods to Limit Moderate Phytanic Acid

  • Tinned Dressed Crab – limit to 80g per week

Foods to Eat

Low in Phytanic Acid

  • Cod

  • Coley

  • Haddock

  • Crab

  • Prawns

Vegetables / Fruits

Most cooked and raw vegetables, salad and fruit are low in phytanic acid. See below for recommendations of some vegetables which contain substances that are converted to phytanic acid and need to be limited.

Foods to Avoid

High Phytanic Acid

None known

Foods to Limit Moderate Phytanic Acid

Limit these to 50g per day:

  • Red Pepper

  • Yellow Pepper

  • Rocket Salad (Arugula)

Foods to Eat

Low in Phytanic Acid

All other raw and cooked vegetables, legumes, salad, fruit are low in phytanic acid.

Other Food Products

Cereal products, like breakfast cereals, rice, quinoa and pasta do not contain significant amounts of phytanic acid.

Foods to Avoid

High Phytanic Acid

  • Breads with dairy (e.g. brioche, croissants)

  • Cereals with dairy

  • Confectionary with dairy (e.g. milk chocolate, toffee, fudge)

Foods to Limit Moderate Phytanic Acid

Nuts and nut-based products (e.g. nut butters) should be limited to a total of 30g per week

Foods to Eat

Low in Phytanic Acid

  • Breads without dairy

  • Cereals without dairy

  • Confectionary without dairy (e.g. dark chocolate, carob, chocolate that doesn’t contain milk)

  • Rice

  • Pasta

  • Quinoa

  • Seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin, chia)

  • Oils: Vegetable oil, corn oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil

  • Honey, Maple Syrup

  • Jelly

  • Tea, coffee

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Disclaimer:
This website is not designed to diagnose, advise or provide medical opinions, treatment or services. It is for general knowledge purposes only. Please consult a licensed medical professional with all questions and concerns regarding a medical condition. 

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