What Is a Low-Residue Diet?

A low-residue diet can give your digestive system a rest

What Is a Low-Residue Diet?

By Danyelle White Published at October 10, 2017 Views 2,919

It seems like diets always take on bizarre-sounding names: Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, Dash and the like. Doctors might prescribe patients with an inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease a different strangely named diet: a low-residue diet. It might sound scary, but it’s pretty simple: low-residue is just another way of saying low-fiber.

The fiber in fruits, veggies and grains isn’t digestible. Food, including fiber, that goes undigested by the body and remains in the intestines is referred to as residue, so a low-residue diet restricts the amount of fiber you eat on a given day to 10-15 grams, which means laying off fruits, vegetables and many grains. For some patients, dairy products should also be restricted because they leave a residue.

Why would you want to eat such a diet? Because when your bowels are narrowed due to inflammation, you want to make the digestive process as easy as you can on yourself. A low-residue diet can give your digestive system a rest, and it reduces the amount of stool you produce.

If your doctor thinks this type of diet will help you get through a relapse or the period post-surgery, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

OK to Eat

In most cases, the following foods are low-residue-diet approved:
● Think white — white bread, white rice, crackers, cereals and other foods such as waffles that contain white flour are easier to digest than whole wheat or other high-fiber grains.
● Fruits or vegetables that have been well cooked or canned and have had any seeds, skins or membranes removed are free from much of the indigestible fiber.
● Vegetables you can eat raw include lettuce, cucumbers, onion, and zucchini.
● Juices with little or no pulp provide many of the nutrients of their respective fruits and vegetables without the unwanted fiber.
● Lean proteins such as poultry, fish, tofu and eggs are fine. Just be sure the meat is tender and soft, not chewy, fibrous or gristly.
● Milk and milk products shouldn’t cause any trouble if you keep servings below 2 cups per day.
● Butter, oils, margarine and other fats are OK, as well as smooth condiments.
● Supplements might be a good idea to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need while on a restrictive diet.

Foods to Avoid

● Any whole wheat, whole grain breads, cereals or pastas, brown rice, and anything labeled “hearty”
● Seeds and nuts, and anything containing them
● Raw, undercooked or dried fruits and vegetables
● Dried beans, peas, or lentils
● Coconut
● Popcorn
● Very spicy foods
● Relishes and pickles
● Anything with caffeine, including chocolate. Sorry!
● Alcohol





To learn more about Crohn's disease:

Traveling with Crohn’s Disease
Understanding Crohn’s Disease
10 Best Foods for Crohn’s Disease

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