What Is a Low-Fiber Diet?
A low-fiber or low-residue diet contains less than 10 grams of dietary fiber per day.
What Is the Aim of a Low-Fiber Diet?
The aim of a low-fiber diet is to prevent irritation of the bowel and therefore provide it a relative rest in the following situations:
- Before or after abdominal surgery
- After radiotherapy in abdominal region or chemotherapy
- During a flare-up of diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), ischemic colitis or intestinal damage after radiotherapy or chemotherapy
- In bowel obstruction
- In other bowel conditions, according to doctor instructions.
Dietary fiber is not absorbed in the intestine, so it travels through it, stimulates its motility and gives bulk to the stool. Low-fiber foods leave only a low amount of residue and slow down bowel activity. Normally, your doctor should give you written instructions about which foods to avoid and for how long.
Low-fiber diet is usually NOT recommended in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (read about diet in IBS). Diet in acute diarrhea or chronic diarrhea depends on its cause – it often does not need to be low-fiber.
Table 1: List of low fiber foods
|ALLOWED (LOW-FIBER) FOODS||FOODS TO AVOID|
|Plain tender meats and fish||Tough and luncheon meats|
|Cooked eggs||Fried or raw eggs|
|Plain milk and dairy products of any kind, but limit it to once a day, since it may stimulate the bowel||Dairy with fruits or seeds|
|White bread and other goods from white flour: pasta, noodles cookies, pastries||Wholemeal and wholegrain breads, bran, seeds, nuts, coconut|
|White rice||Brown rice|
|Corn flakes||Morning cereals containing more than 1g/fiber per serving, popcorn, whole corn grains|
|Soft vegetables: cooked carrots, peeled potatoes, beets, alfalfa sprouts, celery, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, raw green salad, strained vegetable juice||Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, legumes: beans, peas, soy, lentils, olives, mustard, raw vegetables (except green salad)|
|Ripe bananas||Raw and dried fruits, also pears, prunes, peaches, raisins, citrus fruits, berries, figs, dates, pineapple|
|Salt||Vinegar, spiced salad dressings,|
|Hard candies, honey|
1. Besides high-fiber foods, you might need to avoid other foods to lower amount or frequency of stools:
- Dairy, if you have transient or permanent lactose intolerance
- Fruits and foods high in fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or sorbitol, if you have transient or permanent fructose malabsorption
- Chocolate or other sweets
- Caffeinated drinks
- Other foods or drinks, according to your own experience
2. After switching to low-fiber diet you will probably need to drink more to get appropriate amount of water. You can assume, you are well hydrated if you excrete at least 200 mL of clear urine each morning (in absence of kidney disease or other disease affecting urine excretion).
|DAILY MENUS 1||LOW-FIBER FOODS|
|DAILY MENUS 2|
|DAILY MENUS 3|
- List of High Fiber Foods
- Treatment of Diarrhea
- Low-Fructose Diet
- Low-FODMAP Diet in IBS
- Gluten-Free Diet
- Lactose-Free Diet
- Medical Weight Loss
Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on December 17, 2011