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Low Residue Diet: Is It Good Short Term or Long Term

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It’s no secret that fibre is so crucial for optimal health. It might as well be known as the fourth primary macronutrient. But, while most diets keep telling you to eat more fibre, one diet suggests eating less fibre. Enter the low-residue diet with a guideline of eating 10-15 grams or less of fibre per day. We know it is a piece of nutritional advice you likely don’t hear every day. But the low-fibre, low-residue diet helps heal your gut during problems like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, and colitis. 

As with many diet trends, you might wonder if the low residue diet can help with weight loss. The answer is NO. The low-residue diet does not focus on weight loss. Instead, it aims to put the least amount of strain possible on your digestive tract. Sticking to a restrictive diet works wonders in the short term, but none of them is a long-term solution. That’s why you consult a nutritionist or dietitian before starting any diet, including the low residue diet.

Read on to discover the pros and cons of low residue diets. You might even get the final answer if you should or shouldn’t consider this unique dietary intervention. 

Low Residue Diet: Foods That You Can Eat

Bread and Cereals

  • White bread, biscuits, rolls, muffins, and crackers
  • French toast, waffles, and pancakes
  • Puffed rice, puffed wheat, and cornflakes
  • White rice, pasta, and cooked potatoes with no skin

Fruit

  • Canned or cooked fruits (without skin and seeds) 
  • Strained fruit juice 
  • Ripe bananas 
  • Soft melon

Milk and Dairy Products

  • Milk, yoghurt
  • Cheese and cottage cheese

Vegetables

  • Well-cooked and canned vegetables without seeds 
  • Cooked potato without skin
  • Strained vegetable juice 

Non-Veg

  • Ground, well-cooked, or tender beef
  • Lamb, red meat, ham, veal, pork, fish, poultry, and organ meats 
  • Eggs

Fats, Beverages, and Condiments

  • Butter, sour cream, salad dressing, oils, mayonnaise, plain gravies, etc. 
  • Decaffeinated coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, plain cakes, cookies, and many more
  • Clear jelly, honey, sugar, and syrups
  • Spices, bouillon, broth, cooked herbs, and soups made with recommended foods
  • Gelatin, plain puddings, custard, ice cream, sherbet, and popsicles

Low Residue Diet: Foods to Avoid

Knowing what to avoid in a low-residue diet is essential. Therefore, if you wish to follow a low-residue diet, you must avoid consuming these foods.

Bread, Rice, Pasta, and Cereals

  • Bread products made with whole-grain flour, seeds, fruits, nuts, etc.
  • Cornbread and graham crackers
  • Potatoes with skin, wild rice, brown rice, and buckwheat
  • Whole grain cereals, bran cereals
  • Cereals with coconut, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, granola-type cereals, etc.

Fruits

  • Raw or dried fruits like dates, raisins, kiwi, apricots
  • All berries 
  • Prune juice

Milk and Dairy Products

  • Yoghurt with nuts or seeds

Vegetables

  • Sauerkraut, winter squash, peas, vegetables with seeds, and raw vegetables
  • Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, baked beans, corn, etc. 

Meats, Seeds, and Nuts

  • Tough, fibrous meats with gristle
  • Dry beans, peas, and lentils 
  • Peanut butter

Fats, Beverages, Snacks, and Condiments

  • Nuts, seeds, coconut 
  • Jam, marmalade, and preserves 
  • Candy made with nuts or seeds 
  • Popcorn
  • Desserts containing nuts, dried fruit, coconut, seeds, or made from whole grains or bran 
  • Pickles, olives, relish, and horseradish 

The HealthifyMe Note

Like any other diet, the low residue diet also allows and restricts the consumption of particular foods, especially foods high in fibre. For example, oranges and other fruits are rich in fibre. Hence, the low-residue diet restricts their consumption. However, if you love oranges, you can have strained orange juice occasionally because it does not contain fibre.

Is a Low-Residue Diet Healthy? 

A low residue diet is not always healthy. Besides, it is not necessary to follow such extreme diets. But when planned and supervised by a dietitian or health care provider, it can help manage gastrointestinal symptoms. However, low-fibre diets are not sustainable. Therefore, if you are a healthy person without any particular complications or being prescribed the plan by your nutritionist, you should stay far away from a low residue diet. 

Your everyday diet must be a naturally high-fibre diet. With a HealthifyMe subscription, you can get a customised, balanced and healthy meal plan. 

Here are some points to note before considering a low-residue diet.

Fibre Deficiency

Fibre is crucial for a healthy body. Following a low-residue diet prohibits the consumption of necessary fibre. Therefore, it creates a negative impact on your body. A low-residue diet is specifically helpful only for special situations. However, if you do not have a severe gut health issue, you must focus on following a balanced diet.

Reduces Bowel Movements

The fibre content balances the bowel frequency in your body. A low-residue diet will reduce your body’s stool output. As a result, it will lead to constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.

May Cause Excess Hunger

Your stomach stays full for an extended period due to the gradual breakdown of fibre, which prolongs your feeling of satiety. Conversely, hunger and unhealthy cravings will result from a diet lacking fibre. It may lead to unhealthy eating, causing weight gain, diabetes, or other serious health concerns.

Low-residue Diet: The Advantages

A low residue diet can benefit when you follow it as a short-term plan. However, remember to follow the low-fibre diet only if you have inflammatory conditions and symptoms. Once your symptoms improve, you can slowly reintroduce fibre into your diet.

Preps the Bowel Before Surgery or Colonoscopy

Doctors and medical professionals prescribe a liquid diet before colonoscopy or bowel surgery. It is also called bowel prep, where you prepare your bowel system for surgery. Before performing a colonoscopy, it is crucial to keep the colon clean. Nowadays, you can swap a liquid diet for more filling, low-residue options. Moreover, studies say that a low-residue diet is just as effective at colon preparation while vastly improving patient satisfaction. 

Aids in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes chronic digestive tract inflammation disorders such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In this disease, the digestive tract swells up. As a result, it causes discomfort and pain in bowel movements. A low-residue diet may ease bowel movement in such cases.

The Transition from Liquid to Solids

Many folks follow a liquid diet. Although switching back to solid foods is vital, a low-residue diet helps in this transition. It could be problematic if you suddenly switch to a solid diet after following a liquid diet for an extended period. In that circumstance, the body will fight against the alteration. Therefore, it’s crucial to shift gradually rather than abruptly.

Helps Resolve Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a condition where you experience delayed gastric emptying. For people suffering from the condition, a low-residue diet can be beneficial. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Although it is recommended to follow a balanced diet that contains foods from all food groups, people may benefit from a low-residue diet in some cases. However, you must only follow a low-residue diet for a short period due to its restrictive nature. Furthermore, since fibre is a crucial nutrient required for proper body functioning, do not try this diet unless instructed by a registered dietitian.

Conclusion

A healthy diet must include dietary fibre as a key ingredient. It is essential to have a balanced diet to maintain overall health and prevent diseases. Therefore, you must only follow a low-residue diet if your doctor recommends it. Since this kind of eating plan is restrictive, follow an expert’s instructions on how to do it safely. 

A low residue diet contains foods that digest quickly. Proper planning makes obtaining all the essential nutrients from various low-fibre foods easy. However, you shouldn’t adhere to a low-fibre diet for an extended period unless medically necessary. But, if you stay on a low-residue diet, stay healthy, consume a diet rich in other essential nutrients and have an active lifestyle. 

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