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Low Arginine Diet


The viral infection with herpes simplex has become a communicable disease problem in the developed world. Herpes genitalis is characterized by self-limiting lesions of the genital and oral areas. Although this infection is not life-threatening, it has caused considerable embarrassment and discomfort. It has been found that arginine-rich foods increase the likelihood of a herpes lesion in those individuals who are infected with the virus. Arginine-rich foods include peanuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews and filberts as well as grains which are higher in arginine and lower in lysine.

A diet lower in arginine (a non-essential amino acid) has been utilized by many herpes sufferers to help control this infection.

This diet is sufficient in all the nutrients designated by the RDA’s as essential. Because this diet is higher in lysine and lower in arginine it may result in a slight increase in blood cholesterol levels.



1/2 cup orange juice 1 egg (poached or egg substitute)
2 ounces of halibut 1 cup puffed rice
1 cup skim milk or milk (2% fat) Hot, non-caloric beverage


1 cup soup, vegetable 2 ounces sliced turkey breast
2 slices whole wheat bread (limited) 10 rice wafers
1 apple 1 cup skim milk or milk (2% fat)
2 teaspoons butter, margarine, or mayonnaise, slice lettuce and tomato for sandwich


3 ounces broiled salmon 1 cup brown rice
1 cup steamed broccoli 2 teaspoons oil and vinegar dressing
2 rice crackers 1 teaspoon margarine or butter
1/2 banana 1 cup skim milk or milk (2% fat)
Hot, non-caloric beverage 1 cup salad: romaine or Boston lettuce,
sliced carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, green pepper, celery

Nutrient Content

Calories: 2000]

Protein: 17%

Carbohydrates: 65%

Fat: 28%

Cholesterol: 320 mg

Fiber: 12 g


Bread and Cereal Exchange List:

4 or more servings per day


• Whole wheat bread (limited) • Whole wheat roll (limited)

• Whole wheat pastas (limited) • Soybean flour

• Corn or rice cereals • Brown rice

• White rice (enriched) • Rice noodles

• Potatoes • Sweet potatoes

• Beans (dried) • Green peas

• Lentils

• Breads and rolls made from:

• Arrowroot • Corn • Potato • Rice

Avoid: All others

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Fat Exchange List

Recommended: All fats not noted below

Avoid: All nuts including peanut butter

Fruit Exchange List:

2 or more servings per day

Recommended: All fruits and juices

Avoid: None

Meat and Meat Substitute Exchange List:

6 or more servings per day


• Meats • Fish

• Poultry • Shellfish

• Eggs • Natural cheeses


• Peanut butter

• Any meats prepared with the restricted grains such as:

• Luncheon meats

• Spreads

• Processed cheese

Milk Exchange List:

2 or more servings per day

Recommended: Unflavored milk and milk products


• Commercial chocolate milk

• Malted Milk

• All other milks with wheat products added

Vegetable Exchange List:

4 or more servings per day

Recommended: Fresh or frozen vegetables

Avoid: Creamed or breaded vegetables, unless prepared with the recommended ingredients

Miscellaneous Food Exchange


• Soups made with recommended ingredients

• Broths made with recommended ingredients


• Cereal beverages such as Postum and Ovaltine

• Beer, ale, and other beverages made with the restricted grains


Include 6 to 8 cups of fluids, such as water, per day.

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