A low-fiber/low-residue diet limits the amount of dietary fiber and residue-providing food in your diet. Dietary
is a type of carbohydrate found in plants that cannot be digested. Residue is the undigested part of food that makes up stool. Limiting dietary fiber and residue reduces the amount of food that passes through the large intestine.
This diet may be recommended if you have gastrointestinal distress or discomfort, or if your gastrointestinal system needs to rest. Conditions that may require a low-fiber/low-residue diet include
Crohn’s disease. It may also be prescribed as a transitional diet following certain types of surgery and if you are undergoing
to the abdomen.
Fiber is found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. While you can still eat some foods with fiber on this diet, high-fiber foods need to be limited. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian about how many grams of fiber you can have per day.
To decrease residue, you will need to limit your intake of fiber-containing foods, milk and milk products, and caffeine. The standard low-residue diet allows 2 cups of milk or milk products per day. You may need to avoid milk if you are
Because this diet restricts many nutrient-rich foods, it may not meet all of your vitamin and mineral requirements. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about whether you would benefit from a vitamin supplement.
|Food Group||Foods Recommended||Foods to Avoid|
|Grains|| Refined breads, crackers, cereals, pancakes, and waffles (with less than 0.5 grams fiber per serving)Pasta (like macaroni, noodles, spaghetti)White rice|| Whole-grain breads and crackers (like whole wheat, pumpernickel, rye, cornbread)Whole-grain pancakes and wafflesWhole-grain cereals (like bran, oatmeal, granola)Breads and cereals with seeds, nuts, or dried fruitsWhole-grain pastaBrown or rice|
|Vegetables|| Well-cooked and canned vegetables without skin or seedsLettuceVegetable juice without pulp or seeds|| Raw vegetablesCooked peas, winter squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, cauliflower, baked beans, and cornVegetable sauces (like tomato sauce)Vegetable skins (like potato skin)|
|Fruits|| Canned or cooked fruit with skin (except canned pineapple)ApplesauceRipe bananasRipe cantaloupe and honeydew melonFruit juices without pulp|| Raw fruitDried fruitPrune juiceCanned pineapple|
|Milk|| MilkYogurtCheese, cottage cheeseIce creamSoy, almond, and rice milkLactose-free milkNote:
Limit milk and milk products to no more than 2 cups per day.
|| Milk products with fruit, seeds, or nutsMore than 2 cups of milk or milk products per dayMilk and milk products if you are lactose intolerantMilk products with dried fruit, seeds, or nuts|
|Meats and Beans|| Well-cooked or tender beef, lamb, ham, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, and organ meatsEggsSmooth nut butters|| Tough meatsMeat with seeds (like salami)Dried beans or peasSeeds and nuts|
|Oils|| OilMayonnaiseSalad dressings without seeds|| Salad dressings with seeds|
|Fats and Sweets|| Butter, margarinePlain cakes, cookies, and pies made with allowed fruits and no nutsIce cream and frozen yogurt (within 2 cup allowance)Plain sherbet and fruit icePlain hard candy|| Candy, cakes, cookies, etc, made with whole grains, seeds, nuts, coconut, or dried fruit|
|Other|| Strained soupsPlain gravyJelly, honey, syrupPlain candySalt, pepper, and herbsKetchupCarbonated beverages|| Marmalade, jam, or preservesPopcornPicklesCoconutCoffeeTea|
When shopping for food, read food labels:
Look for products made with “refined” flour.Avoid products that say “whole grain” on the packaging.Avoid foods with the word “whole” at the beginning of the ingredient list (like whole-wheat flour).Remove skins of fruits and vegetables before cooking.Limit intake of fatty foods as these can increase residue.Work with a dietitian to create a meal plan for you.
Nutrition care manual. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Available at:
http://www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed November 17, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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