Low Fiber / Low Residue Diet

Background:

Dietary fiber comes from plants and grains. Dietary fiber is not digested by the stomach or small intestine, but arrives unchanged in the colon where it has two main benefits: promoting regularity and providing nourishment for beneficial bacteria. Fiber in plant foods like vegetables, fruits, and grains can retain its density in the digestive tract and promote bulkier stool, which in certain medical circumstances, is not beneficial for all patients.

Purpose:

For certain medical conditions like diverticulitis, or after surgical procedures, it may be necessary to restrict the amount of dietary fiber taken in by the body to ease stress on the digestive tract. Intestinal surgery, post-colostomy, narrowing of the bowel, or an inflammatory disease are all situations where a physician might recommend a low fiber diet. Low fiber diets usually contain less than 10-15 grams of fiber per day and are rarely permanent. Patients usually are able to add more fiber back into the diet after an appropriate healing time.

What foods and food products ARE LOW in fiber?

  • Cooked or canned vegetables without skin or seeds, including: yellow squash, green beans, wax beans, spinach, pumpkin, eggplant, potatoes without skin, asparagus, beets, carrots
  • Vegetable juices without pulp
  • Tomato sauce and paste
  • Fruit juices without pulp
  • Canned fruit except pineapple
  • Soft fruits including bananas, melons, peeled and cooked apples, apple sauce and avocado
  • Bread and cereals made from refined flours, including white bread, pancakes, rolls, biscuits, waffles, muffins, cream of wheat, cream of rice, puffed rice cereal and corn flakes
  • Pasta
  • White rice
  • Saltine crackers
  • Tapioca
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Cottage cheese

What foods and food products ARE HIGH in fiber?

  • Raw vegetables
  • Cooked vegetables not on the above list
  • Vegetable juices with pulp
  • Fruit juices with pulp
  • Canned pineapple
  • Fresh fruit except those on above list
  • Prunes, prune juice
  • Dried fruit, except raisins
  • Jam, marmalade
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals, rice, pasta
  • Bran cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Chunky peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried beans
  • Dried peas
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausage
  • Sardines
  • Fried meats,
  • Coconuts
  • Deep frying fats
  • Popcorn
  • Pickles, relish
  • Horseradish

While a low fiber diet can improve your health, there are many people who do better by not decreasing fiber in their diet. Therefore, attempting a low fiber diet without physician supervision is not recommended. Your healthcare provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to your health. To find a physician near you, please see our locations page.

Our registered dietitian can also help you build a low fiber eating plan that works for you. To schedule an appointment with our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, call 602-422-9800 or request an appointment.