How does the low residue diet work?

The low residue diet is a diet to be followed only in specific conditions, be they temporary or chronic.

By low residue diet we mean a diet poor in waste , that is those parts of the food that the body struggles or cannot assimilate and that go to settle and accumulate in the intestine, being then expelled together with the feces. The first rule to follow is therefore to reduce or eliminate the consumption of fiber and foods that are rich in it .

When to follow it

When should this diet be followed? There are temporary or permanent conditionswho need a reduction in dietary fiber and therefore a low-residue diet, such as in cases of: acute diarrhea, enterocolitis with diarrhea, meteorism, diverticulitis and in painful diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease in the active phase (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), partial stenosis of the intestinal tracts (colorectal cancer in advanced stages), intolerances and allergies in a state of acute, after surgery on the large intestine, after hemorrhoidectomies; in preparation for endoscopic diagnostic investigations of the intestinal tract. In general, in all those diagnostic tests that require a clean intestine such as abdominal ultrasound and colonoscopy. Subsequently,when normal physical conditions are restored (if possible), the low residue diet should be interrupted by replenishing the recommended amount of dietary fiber.

What not to eat

The main indications for following a low residue diet are quite simple.

To eliminate : all foods with peel; vegetables and fruit with filaments; all legumes (including soups and broths containing them); all foods with visible seeds such as tomatoes and aubergines (to be consumed only after removing the seeds); most fruits and vegetables; well-filtered juices, squeezes and centrifuged are allowed; all wholemeal foods (pasta, rice, bread and wholemeal breadsticks).

To avoid : seeds or dried fruit; meats with cartilage and smoked cured meats; jams and preserves; fatty meats and fish; the consumption of spices and aromas (pepper, chilli, coriander, cumin, turmeric, curry, etc.); alcoholic beverages (liqueurs, wine, beer, spirits, etc.); sweetened and carbonated drinks.

Tips for following the low residue diet


  1. Dress with raw extra virgin olive oil .
  2. Use skim milk , if it is well tolerated, or tea or a vegetable drink made from rice or oats .
  3. Eat toasted white bread or rice cakes with honey for breakfast.
  4. Go for lean white meat and fish .
  5. Choose between the cold cuts lean raw ham and bresaola .
  6. Consume residue-free fruit juices, freshly squeezed juices and filtered fruit extracts.
  7. Drink a lot of water , to introduce the water portion normally taken with foods of plant origin.

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