What Is a Low-Fiber Diet?

A low-fiber diet is an eating plan that reduces the amount of non-digestible materials that pass through the intestines. This type of eating guide can relieve discomfort and problems that may occur in the digestive tract, often resulting in an inability to pass stool or excessive diarrhea. Eliminating most sources of fiber from a diet should represent a temporary solution to a digestive difficulty, and should be returned to a normal, healthy diet once such difficulties have been overcome.

Bowel surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, and intestinal inflammation are all common conditions for which a low-fiber diet may be recommended. This type of diet is typically only prescribed for a limited time, and most doctors instruct patients to gradually resume eating normal, fiber enriched foods once the problematic conditions have subsided. Individuals experiencing problematic diarrhea and abdominal cramping can choose to follow this type of diet for several days until these symptoms disappear without doctor supervision.

Breads and grains that are allowed on a low-fiber diet include enriched white bread, rice, and pasta. Whole grains in any form should be avoided entirely as these represent a significant source of fiber. Corn based foods, such as cornmeal, cornbread, and corn tortillas, should similarly not be consumed. White potatoes may be eaten, though they should be completely peeled prior to cooking.

Canned, roasted, and raw fruits are allowed on this type of diet as long as they are eaten without the skin. Any type of berry, whether blueberry, raspberry, or strawberry, cannot be eaten. These fruits are typically eaten whole with their seeds, and contain high levels of fiber.

Most forms of animal based proteins are allowed while eating a low-fiber diet. Tenderized meats, eggs, milk, and yogurt are good sources for this type of protein. Those who suffer from lactose intolerance may wish to eat more meat and egg products to avoid causing further problems in their digestive tracts.

Raw vegetables, nuts, and any type of bean cannot be eaten on this type of diet as these foods are typically very high in fiber. Individuals following such eating restrictions should increase their daily water intake and may wish to consider taking a stool softener. These measures help perform some of the work normally handled by fiber, and assist the digestive tract in moving waste through the intestines.

Patients who are consuming a low-fiber diet should expect a change in their digestive system. Bowel movements will gradually decrease, and persistent diarrhea generally ceases all together. Individuals who were experiencing pain or difficulty in passing stool should expect a lessening of these symptoms and a greater overall ease when using the bathroom.


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