What is a Low Residue Diet?
A low residue diet, also known as restricted-fiber diet is advised by doctors to limit the intake of high-fiber foods in the diet. When you follow a low-fiber diet, the “residue” or undigested food and fiber is disposed of out of your body as stool.
The main intention of having a low-fiber diet is to reduce your daily bowel moments. Through this diet plan, you can reduce the symptoms of diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps, etc.
A low-fiber diet is not eaten as and when you wish for. You have to follow this diet only under the guidance of your doctor and only when recommended by the doctor. Ideally, your personalized diet plan will be prescribed by your doctor. The time period for which this diet is followed is mainly based on the severity of your illness and the health condition of each person.
Having this diet has some of the below purposes:
- It lessens the quantity of undigested food present in your intestines and moves through bowels.
- It can improve the function of your digestive system, especially during the treatment of any disease or after surgery.
- It helps in reducing the quantity of your stool, which is essential to reduce the residue in your lower bowels.
- If you have any abdominal pains or issues of diarrhea, this diet will ease the pain and other related problems.
When is it Needed?
A low-fiber diet is prescribed by your doctor when:
- You have a tumour or inflammatory illness and your bowel is narrowed.
- After a bowel surgery
- You have done radiation and in case of digestive tract damages
This diet is necessary only until you recover from a particular health issue. Once recovered, slowly you can start adding more fiber foods in your diet.
Benefits Low Residue Diets
The main benefit of having a low-fiber diet is to have proper digestion. When you eat the foods that are rich in fiber, it leads to leftover particles in your colon. This makes digestion difficult.
These undigested materials from the fruits, vegetables, cereals or dairy products that you had, may leave a residue. This higher amount of residue can increase the stool amount of its passage through the bowels.
This is normally not an issue, However, if you are going through any specific illness wherein it is necessary to slow down the bowel movements, low-fiber diet is suggested.
If you are experiencing any bowel-related issues or digestive disorders, you need to follow this diet to ease your digestive system with low fiber foods. Having low fiber foods will reduce the hard functioning of the intestine and also reduce the undigested residue. This will result in fewer bowel movements. Low fiber foods have less likelihood to have intestine contractions.
Having a low-fiber diet is very beneficial for your intestine. It helps to relax your intestine walls. Hence, it is advisable to check the fiber content of particular vegetables or fruits before you purchase them.
Make sure that you strain these vegetables and fruits before preparing any recipe. However, prolonged use of this diet is not recommended as it can pave the way for a nutritional deficiency. Thus you can use multivitamin supplements along with other foods in the course of this diet.
Duration of Low Residue Diet
The duration of this diet is mainly based on the severity of your health issue and your health condition. Your primary physician will go through a detailed check on your health condition and other related illness factors before prescribing the diet plan for you.
If you are about to undergo a colonoscopy, this diet is suggested to make the procedure easy. Also, when you prepare for surgery, the low fiber diet is advised.
During a digestive disorder, you can follow this diet as per the prescription from your doctor for the suggested period of time.
However, it is not advisable to consider this diet on an on-going basis unless advised by your doctor. Hence, the duration of this diet is entirely based on each health issue and your personal factors. Thus, a general duration of taking low fiber foods cannot be suggested.
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Low Residue Diet Food List
When you intake the low residue foods, the fiber content and nutrients in your body will be limited. Therefore, this diet plan is not recommended for a longer period. While you follow this diet, it is better to stop taking nuts, grains, seeds, etc which contain a lot of fiber.
Here are a few examples of low fiber foods:
Grains can be a good choice in your low-fiber diet. Some of the recommended grains you can include are:
- You can eat more grains like white rice, wheat, pasta, etc.
- Boiled or cooked cereals
- Cereals like corn flakes
- Refined white flour foods such as bread and buns
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high fiber content foods. Hence, it is better to peel off its skin and remove seeds before eating.
Let’s have a look at some of the low-fiber fruits and vegetables for you:
- Ripe banana
- Skinless potato
If you are to include dairy products in your diet, it is always better to reduce the intake of dairy products that are not fermented. Dairy products leave more residues and make digestion a little tougher. Hence, using fermented dairy products is a good choice.
Meat and poultry products do not have high fiber and hence, you can intake meat during your low-fiber diet. However, it is good to have tender and lean meats like lamb, chicken, beef, pork, etc.
Fats and Condiments
Some of the fats and sauces and condiments which you can eat during your low residue diet are butter, oil, ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, jelly and so on.
You need to make sure that spices and condiments are consumed only in a moderate amount. Say no to strong spices in this diet period. Also, avoid sauces with high preservatives upset your stomach lining.
Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea consumption have to be restricted only once a day during this diet.
- Having cookies, puddings, cakes, ice creams isn’t a huge concern in this diet.
- You need to avoid alcoholic beverages of any sorts including heavy or light beverages.
Taking foods rich in protein to be consumed based on the amount of protein content in such foods. For instance, you need to take eggs when it is soft boiled or when poached. However, do not eat nuts and seeds as such. Nut creams or butter is good to take as in its creamy forms.
You can have lean meats that are high in protein when it is cooked until it is soft and tender. However, avoid frying or adding strong spices on the same. Tofu is an approved protein that you can intake while you are in this diet. Having it along with shakes and smoothies is also possible.
Recommended Meal Time
The mealtime is significant when you are under the low-fiber diet. If you are going through any digestive issues or treatment, you need to manage the diet timing as per the requirements of your body and health condition.
For instance, it is good to have three meals daily which is a balanced diet. Otherwise, you can also go with smaller meals more often combining with healthy snacks in between your meals.
The main aspect is to ensure that you have good digestion irrespective of any meal timing you choose. Go with the meal routine and timing based on the need of your body. You have to see what suits best for your digestion.
Foods To Avoid
While having a low-fiber diet, you need to also consider avoiding some food that can trigger the health issue. These include:
- Pulpy fruit juices
- Raw vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains
- Lentils and beans
- Fried and roasted foods
Low Residue Diet Menu
Now when you know about which all foods to add and avoid In your low-fiber diet, let’s have a look at some of the low residue diet menu here:
For your breakfast, a typical low-fiber diet plan can include the below:
- One egg
- One glass full of milk
- One slice of white toast
- Avocado juice
- Baked beans and potatoes
In the snack time, you can try with any of the below food choices:
- A glass of yogurt with no seeds or nuts.
- Spinach salad
- Ripe banana juice
For your lunch, you can opt to have the below menu:
- 1-2 cups of chicken soup with rice or noodles
- Low-fiber vegetable salad
- White bread with mayonnaise and tuna fish
- White toast and bread
- Fruit juice
- Cheese and bread
- ½ cup white rice
- Cooked vegetables
- Fruits salad
- Cooked lean meat/fish
Make sure that you prepare all these low-fiber diet recipes that should be cooked well or steamed, baked, microwaved, stewed or braised. However, when you roast/grill/broil the foods, it will make the dishes dry and hard. So, you need to avoid frying foods as well as the intake of spicy foods.
Important Things to Note
When you have this diet, it is necessary to note that your bowel movements will happen a few times.
Also, smaller stools will be present during this diet. Hence, you need to drink a lot of fluids to avoid constipation.
- You need to cook these low-fiber foods well before consuming the same.
- Do not roast, broil or grill foods that can make the foods dry and hard.
Some of the recommended cooking methods in this diet include steaming, simmering, microwave, braise and poach them.
Ask your doctor about the right time you can stop the low-fiber diet and switch to your normal higher fiber foods.
Having a low-fiber diet is thus advisable when you have a particular health condition as suggested by your doctor. It is also not good to be followed for a longer period. You need to consider the above mentioned important aspects while following this diet.
In case the digestion issue or pain persists, you need to talk to the doctor regarding it. Also, make sure that you choose a well-balanced diet to have a good nutritional balance in your body. This will help to sustain the energy levels of your body.
A low-fiber diet plan is usually followed for a temporary time period in order to rest your bowel and control the number of stools in your large intestine. During this diet, you can eat foods like white rice, white bread, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, poultry, lean meat, and fermented dairy products with low fat.
Eating potato chips on a low residue diet is not recommended. You have to eat foods that are easily digestible in this diet. Fried foods take more time to digest and it can contribute to more residues in your lower bowel.
When you follow a low-residue diet, you are not supposed to consume alcoholic drinks. You can drink only soft beverages like fresh fruit juices, milk, decaffeinated coffee, tea, strained vegetable juices.
While having low residue foods, it is possible that you can have dairy products like cheese twice a day. Just one ounce of cheese is taken for one serve. Thus, cheese intake has to be limited and should not be above the suggested limit per day.
You can ideally choose any low-fat cheese for your daily cheese sandwich. There is no limitation on the type of cheese to be consumed. The main reason for a low-fat cheese option is that fat in the cheese can raise the amount of your stool. This will cause more difficulty in indigestion in the intestine, which is not good on a low-residue diet.