Low Residue Diet
What is a Low Residue diet?
A low residue diet, also known as a low-fiber diet, suggests decreasing the intake of foods that increase stool bulk or are less tolerated, such as fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, spicy food, and dairy products. Instead, the diet recommends choosing foods that are easily digested such as refined or processed grains, bland foods, and tender, lean meat.
But Aren’t Fruits and Vegetables Good for You!?
Yes! Eating fruits, vegetables, and many other foods excluded by the low residue diet provides lots of nutrients that our bodies need. A low residue diet is not appropriate for most people, but may temporarily benefit those who are experiencing an inflammatory bowel disease flare or recovering from bowel surgery. Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are harder to tolerate in those conditions and can cause pain and discomfort. Going on a low residue diet can provide temporary relief, but should not be used as a long-term solution because it could lead to nutritional deficiencies. If you are unsure whether or not this diet is appropriate for you, consult your physician or dietitian before changing your diet.
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, is a chronic condition in which the body’s immune system attacks and damages the gastrointestinal system, commonly known as the bowel. It may occur due to a weak immune system, genetics, or environmental factors. Inflammation that occurs from this damage negatively affects nutrient digestion, absorption, and excretion of waste. Diagnosis of an inflammatory bowel disease may require multiple health exams and x-rays. The most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s Disease (inflammation that occurs anywhere from the mouth to the rectum) and Ulcerative Colitis (inflammation that occurs in the colon or rectum).
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Low-Residue Diet Breakdown:
If you have been recommended to follow a low residue diet by your physician, follow these guidelines:
- Choose low-fiber foods. These will be foods that are refined/processed such as white bread, refined pasta, white rice, crackers, and cooked cereals.
- Fruits and vegetables are great sources of fiber and nutrients but may need to be avoided during an IBD flare. When eating fruits and vegetables, avoid the skin and seeds of fruits and go for cooked or canned vegetables without seeds. Choose soft fruits such as bananas, cantaloupe, avocados, applesauce, and canned fruits.
- Choose lean meats because high amounts of fat may be poorly tolerated.
- Avoid spicy food and opt for bland food instead
- Milk products and high-fat foods may trigger diarrhea, so choose lactose-free dairy products or take lactase pills if necessary.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, and xylitol.