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diet

Low-residue diet

Diet

A low-residue diet limits the amount of “residue” in your intestinal tract. “Residue” may sound like a weird term to use relative to your body, but in this case, it mainly refers to the undigested fiber that’s left over in your GI system. Your practitioner may recommend it as a short-term way to go easy on your gut if you have a bout of inflammation related to diverticulitis, IBD, or ulcerative colitis, or after intestinal surgery. The diet temporarily restricts the amount of fruits, vegetables, and grains (sources of the undigested fiber) to less than 10-15 grams a day, which reduces the size and number of your bowel movements. If you’re sensitive to milk and milk products, they may also be restricted because they can contribute to belly discomfort and diarrhea. (Don’t worry, fruit- and veggie-lovers—you’ll get to add them back. And think how much better your insides will feel when you’re back to normal!)

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Foods to Eat

White bread White rice, pasta, crackers Refined hot cereals like farina, cream of wheat Cold cereals, like puffed rice, with < 1 gram of fiber per serving Pancakes/waffles made from refined white flour Canned or cooked vegetables without skin or seeds (except lima beans, peas, broccoli, parsnips, corn) Canned or cooked fruits without skin or seeds Vegetable and fruit juices with no pulp Poultry, fish, eggs, tofu Meat (lamb, beef, pork) that’s tender/soft Milk and milk products such as yogurt, pudding, ice cream, cheese, sour cream (provided they are tolerated) Oils, butter, dairy-free butter substitutes Salad dressing with no seeds Decaffeinated tea and coffee

Foods to Avoid

Whole-wheat and whole-grain breads/cereals/pasta Brown or wild rice Oats, kasha, barley, quinoa, other whole grains All beans, lentils, split peas Dried fruit Fresh fruit (except banana, cantaloupe, honeydew, nectarine, papaya, peach, plum, watermelon) Fresh vegetables that are raw or undercooked Seeds, nuts, nut butters Coconut Popcorn Prune juice

What Studies Say

Eating a diet that’s bland-tasting and low in fiber has been found to reduce symptoms during a flare-up of diverticular disease. Some studies found that when people started on a low-residue diet on the first day post-op after colorectal surgery, they felt less nausea, their bowel function came back faster, and their hospital stay was shorter compared to those on a clear-fluid diet. All good things!

Effort Level

White bread White rice, pasta, crackers Refined hot cereals like farina, cream of wheat Cold cereals, like puffed rice, with < 1 gram of fiber per serving Pancakes/waffles made from refined white flour Canned or cooked vegetables without skin or seeds (except lima beans, peas, broccoli, parsnips, corn) Canned or cooked fruits without skin or seeds Vegetable and fruit juices with no pulp Poultry, fish, eggs, tofu Meat (lamb, beef, pork) that’s tender/soft Milk and milk products such as yogurt, pudding, ice cream, cheese, sour cream (provided they are tolerated) Oils, butter, dairy-free butter substitutes Salad dressing with no seeds Decaffeinated tea and coffee

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