I have a friend who has been diagnosed with Wilson's disease, and needs to go on a low-copper diet.

There are plenty of websites that spell out which foods are okay and which to avoid. (some are more complete or more detailed (2) than others ... but there isn't the wealth of information as with other food restrictions (lists of specific brands to prefer over other ones for given items, recommended substitutions (eg, for a non-soy soy sauce), recipes tailored to the restriction, etc.).

The only thing that I've found with any deeper information is a thread on a discussion board. (which requires logging in to read easily)

Is anyone aware of any other resources with advice / menu planning recommendations for dealing with this situation?

update: I was trying to not explain the health side of things, but as most people aren't familiar with Wilson's Disease (I wasn't until a couple of months ago; and it's not Wilson's Syndrome): the issue is your body absorbing too much copper, which causes liver failure (and then death). I didn't ask specifically about 'low copper diets', because although a low copper diet is part of the treatment (<1mg/day initially, so about 50% of the US FDA Daily Recommended Value), you also have to avoid anything else that would stress the liver (so alcohol is out)

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    @rackandboneman : it depends on what stage you're at. When you're first diagnosed, the goal is 1mg per day. (you're on drugs to try to expel copper from your body). Once it's under control, they change the drugs to ones that reduce absorbtion, and then the goal is closer to 1.5 to 2mg/day. (but can vary with other things like body weight, existing liver damage, etc)
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 18:44
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    @ChrisH : there have been a few questions on here over the years asking about cookbooks on a given topic. I specifically didn't ask about tips for reducing copper, as then the answers would come out more like a 'poll' question, and certain people on here would close it. (Things were so much easier before that idiotic suggestion went through, as there are lots of cases where the 'accepted' answer only applies to a very specific case, and there's a better answer that applies to many more situations ... so it is possible to have more than one correct answer)
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 12:25
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    @Jefromi : Shortly after the 'poll question' decree on ServerFault and StackOverflow, we started to get a bunch of overzealous people voting to close questions that had even the slightest bit of openness to it, and some people insisting it was a StackExchange-wide thing. It was a big part of why I gave up being a mod. We still have people closing restaurant-mimicry and uses-for-what-would-be-waste questions (that used to be explicitly stated as on-topic in the FAQ, even if they're a sub-class of recipe-request)
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 14:00
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    @Joe I admit I have been using a "we want questions with a single right answer" statement now and then to explain to newbies why I have to close their big-list question, while knowing that the truth is more complex and it is OK to have questions with a few alternative answers. The discussion here made me realize that the oversimplification may be doing some damage, I will have to think about alternative ways to word it. Thank you for pointing the problem out.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:47
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    Late to the party guys... it seems like people are circumventing the 'rule' by providing a numerous various answers in the comments and seemingly being afraid to submit an actual answer. I for one feel this is a discouraging practice. There are often multiple solutions to a problem (e.g. Ruby, and certainly cooking) so what's the BFD anyway :/
    – kettultim
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


When I saw this question a few months ago, I didn't want to answer it because:

cooking for people with any kind of nutritional disease is not only difficult, but also dangerous,

therefore, before you move on, please ensure:

  1. You have to have more than a basic understanding of (bio)chemistry
  2. You have to have more than a basic understanding of nutrition
  3. You have to have more than a basic understanding of Databases
  4. You have to consult your physician (in this case: your friend's endocrinologist) with any recipe that you come up with using the below method:

The best freely publicly available scientific source for nutrition is the United States Department of Agriculture's SR28 Database so start with reading the manual!

In this particular case of Wilson's disease, the NUTR_DEF 312 Cu is the one to look out for, so load the raw data files into your favourite RDBMS, delete all references in FOOD_DES that contain 312 and presto: you have a USDA database customised to your friend's disease!

Select any of the ingredients that are left in the database, and start coming up with safe and yummy recipes that you have to give to your friend's endocrinologist to vouch for them before actually making them... :)

Note 1: If you have multiple friends with multiple allergies and intolerances, you leave everything in the database and SELECT * FROM Food_Des WHERE Nutrient_No NOT IN (Nutrient, Nutrient, ... );

Note 2: I answered your question because I feel sorry for your friend and no one has even tempted to answer your question in the last few months that I can notice.

Note 3: No, Seasoned advice is not a recipe-writing service so don't bother asking for recipes, they're off-topic here!

Note 4: Yes, I'm a chemist and I help my cousin, who's a professional chef, come up with recipes for sick children's birthday parties, but I have her run any recipes by the child's doctor...

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