Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published: November 2019. Next review: 2024.

Test diet - 5HIAA

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To avoid foods high in 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA) and its precursor, serotonin.


Avoids banana, plantain, pineapple, kiwifruit, tomato, plums, walnuts, eggplants, pecans (hickory nuts), avocado, tea, coffee and alcohol.


This is a test diet used in conjunction with urinalysis for 5-HIAA. Some but not all patients with malignant carcinoid tumours excrete elevated levels of 5-HIAA as a result of serotonin synthesis by the tumour.

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate.


The diet is required 24 hours prior to commencement of the urine collection and during the 24-hour urine sample. Tea, coffee and nicotine can elevate 5HIAA results. Alcohol can cause falsely lower 5HIAA results. Paracetamol can cause interference with some assays.


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishesAll othersDishes containing eggplant, tomatoes or plantain, pecan or walnuts
Sauces, graviesAll othersSauces containing tomato and eggplant
Starchy vegetables / pasta / riceAll othersPlantain
VegetablesAll othersEggplant, tomatoes, avocados
SoupsAll othersSoups containing eggplant, tomato or avocado
SandwichesAll othersSandwiches containing tomato, eggplant, avocado or banana
Salads, dressingsAll othersSalads containing tomato, eggplant, avocado or plantain
Breads, cerealsAll Breads and cereal containing pieces of walnut or pecan
SpreadsAll others

Spreads containing walnut or pecans

Plum, passionfruit, kiwifruit or pineapple jams

Eggplant, avocado or tomato-based spreads

Hot breakfast choicesAll othersHot breakfast items containing or served with bananas, plums, passionfruit, grapes, kiwifruit, pineapple (e.g. banana bread etc.)
FruitAll othersBananas, plums, passionfruit, grapes, kiwifruit, pineapple
YoghurtAll othersYoghurts containing bananas, plums, passionfruit, grapes, kiwifruit, pineapple, pecans or walnuts
DessertsAll others

Desserts containing bananas, plums, passionfruit, grapes, kiwifruit, pineapple, pecans or walnuts

Coffee-flavoured desserts

Desserts with alcohol as an ingredient

Milk and cheeseAll others

Milk or milk-alternative drinks containing banana or coffee

Soft and semi-soft cheese containing walnuts or pecans

BeveragesAll others

Juices including bananas, plums, passionfruit, grapes, kiwifruit or pineapple

Tea, coffee and alcohol

Other caffeinated beverages (e.g. certain energy drinks)

BiscuitsAll othersBiscuits containing walnuts or pecans

Plantain chips

Supplements containing bananas, plums, passionfruit, grapes, kiwifruit, pineapple or coffee


  1. St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. 24 hour urine collection: catecholamines / 5HIAA. 2006. [accessed 14 June 2010].
  2. QML Pathology. Urine collection diet for 5HIAA and catecholamine. 2009.
  3. Mashige F, Matsushima Y, Kanazawa H. Acidic catecholamine metabolites and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in urine: the influence of diet. Ann Clin Biochem 1996;33:43-9.
  4. Corcuff JB, Chardon L, Ridah, I and Brossaud J. Urinary sampling for 5HIAA and metanephrines determination: revisiting recommendations. Endocrine connect 2017:6(6):R87-R98.
  5. Feldman J.M, Lee E. Serotonin content of foods: effect on urinary excretion of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 1985, p 639-643.
Back to top