by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
What is This Diet?
A low-fiber/low-residue diet limits how much dietary fiber and residue-providing food you eat. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate in plants. Your body cannot process it. Residue is the undigested part of food that makes up stool. Eating less lowers how much food passes through the large intestine.
Why Should I Follow This Diet?
This diet may be good if you have have gastrointestinal pain or if your system needs to rest. It may also help those with ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease. It may be used after surgery or if you are having radiation therapy to your belly.
Fiber is in plant-based foods such as fruits, veggies, grains, and legumes. You can still eat some foods with fiber, but high-fiber foods need to be limited. Ask your doctor or a dietitian how many grams you can have each day.
To lower residue, you will need to limit foods that have fiber, milk and milk products, and caffeine. You can have two cups of milk or milk products per day. You may need to stay away from milk if you are lactose intolerant.
You will not be able to eat some healthful foods. So this diet may not meet all of your needs. Ask your doctor or dietitian if you should take vitamins.
Here are some diet tips:
American Society for Nutrition
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada
Dietitians of Canada
Irritable bowel syndrome: dietary management. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed July 26, 2021.
Nutrition care manual. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Available at:
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Accessed July 26, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardDianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Last Updated: 7/26/2021
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