Low Residue Diet Guidelines What to Eat and What to Avoid

Published:  11/06/2023

New research shows that consuming small portions of low-residue (low-fiber) solid foods on the day before colonoscopy led to improved colonoscopies, compared with a clear liquid diet. PMID: 34114154 

So some doctors are now using a cleansing method of a low-residue (also called a low-fiber diet) for two to three days, followed by a clear liquid diet.  Again, check with your doctor to find out the exact method of your colonoscopy cleansing and timing.  

When you are on a low residue fiber diet, you will eat low-fiber foods that are easy for your body to digest. Your goal is to eat less than 10 to 15 grams of fiber each day.

Eating these foods may slow down your bowel movements.

Here is the list of recommended and to-be-avoided foods for a low-residue, low fiber diet:

Breads, pasta, cereal, rice, and other starches

What to choose:

•    White bread, biscuits, muffins, and rolls
•    Plain crackers
•    Croissants
•    White pasta
•    White rice
•    White noodles 
•    Cream of wheat
•    Grits
•    White pancakes, French toast, waffles 
•    Cold Cereals: Cornflakes, puffed rice, Rice Krispies
•    Cooked potatoes without skin

Fiber content should be less than 0.5 grams per serving.

What to avoid:

•    Whole-wheat, pumpernickel, rye,  or whole-grain breads, crackers, and pasta
•    Breads with seeds or nuts
•    Cornbread
•    Wild or brown rice
•    Whole-grain cereals, bran cereals, granola cereals, popcorn
•    Cereals with seeds, nuts, coconut, or dried fruit
•    Potatoes with skin

Milk and Dairy

What to choose:
•    Milk
•    Smooth yogurt
•    Ice cream, plain
•    Custard
•    Cheese
•    Cottage cheese

What to avoid:
•    Ice cream and yogurt with seeds or nuts, or with chunks of fruit


What to choose:
•    Ripe banana, ½ 
•    Ripe nectarine, peach, apricot, papaya, plum
•    Soft honeydew melon and cantaloupe
•    Cooked or canned fruit without skin or seeds
•    Applesauce
•    Strained fruit juice (without pulp)
•    Canned fruit cocktail

What to avoid:

•    Raw or dried fruit
•    All berries
•    Raisins
•    Canned and raw pineapple
•    Prunes and prune juice
•    Figs
•    Dates


What to choose:

•    Well-cooked or canned vegetables without seeds, such as eggplant, green and wax beans, carrots, yellow squash, pumpkin, beets, asparagus tips

What to avoid:
•    Vegetables with seeds, such as unstrained tomato sauce
•    Green peas
•    Lima beans
•    Broccoli
•    Corn
•    Parsnips
•    Tomatoes
•    Sauerkraut
•    Cauliflower
•    Baked Beans 
•    Brussels Sprouts

Meats and protein

What to choose:

•    Tender, well-cooked meat, including ground meat, poultry, and fish
•    Eggs
•    Tofu, as long as its soft and not hard fried
•    Creamy peanut butter

What to avoid:

•    Tough, chewy meat with gristle
•    Peas, including split, yellow, black-eyed
•    Beans, including navy, lima, black, garbanzo, soy, pinto, lentils
•    Peanuts and crunchy peanut butter
•    Fried tofu

Fats, oils, sauces, condiments

What to choose:

•    Butter
•    Margarine
•    Oils
•    Whipped cream
•    Sour cream
•    Mayonnaise
•    Smooth salad dressings and sauces
•    Plain gravy
•    Smooth condiments
•    Ketchup or mustard

What to avoid:

•    Dressing with seeds or fruit chunks
•    Pickles and relishes

Other foods and drinks

What to choose:

•    Plain gelatin
•    Plain puddings
•    Pretzels
•    Plain cookies and cakes
•    Honey
•    Sugar
•    Syrup
•    Popsicles
•    Caffeinated drinks (including tea and coffee, ask your doctor first)
•    Soda
•    Broth
•    Coffee or tea

What to avoid:

•    Popcorn
•    Spicy foods
•    Foods made with cocoa powder
•    Alcohol (ask your doctor)
•    Marmalade, jam, preserves
•    Desserts that have seeds, nuts, coconut, dried fruit, whole grains, or bran
•    Candy that has seeds or nuts
•    Coconut 
•    Dried fruit

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Maria Faires, RD

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Categories:   Food  Health Conditions 

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