If you are scheduled for a colonoscopy, your doctor will likely ask you to follow a low fiber diet beforehand.
A low fiber diet helps to clean out the intestines and makes the colonoscopy procedure easier.
We will discuss what foods you should avoid eating before your colonoscopy appointment, as well as some ideas for healthy, low-fiber meals.
What are Low Fiber Foods?
Low-fiber foods are those that contain a relatively smaller amount of fiber. While all foods contain some amount of fiber, these items have been specifically chosen because they contain less than 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
Low-fiber options are ideal for people who are preparing for a colonoscopy, as a high-fiber diet can make the bowel preparation process more difficult.
In addition, low-fiber foods may be recommended for people who are struggling with constipation or other digestive issues.
Examples of low-fiber foods include refined grains (white bread, pasta, rice), processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, bacon), and dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt).
Why you should eat only low fiber foods before your colonoscopy?
Consuming a low-residue and fiber diet for at least 3 days beforehand will reduce the amount of time it takes (to prep) for surgery. Nobody wants to wait in line and have their colon probed when there isn’t enough time!
This decreases the chances of clogging which can lead to an incomplete exam. There’s nothing like waiting over 6 hours after eating because your intestines are swollen with food and waste products, we all would prefer not to experience that, don’t you agree?
Additionally, by following this regimen for several days before your procedure, you put on less weight during the recovery period. When you have less food in your system, there’s less for your body to process and absorb.
This makes it so that you don’t have to rely on as many laxatives or enemas to help you move things along after the procedure.
All of this combined will give you a much more pleasant experience when preparing for and recovering from your colonoscopy.
What to eat?
Milk and dairy
- Evaporated or powdered milk
- Hot chocolate
- Low-fat cheese (cottage cheese)
- Smooth nonfat yogurt without berries, rinds, nuts or seeds
- Sour cream
- Low-fat ice cream
Bread and grains
- White rice (also include white bread, pasta, pancakes)
- Plain crackers, such as Saltines
- Low-fiber cereal (such as puffed rice, cream of wheat, corn flakes)
- Cooked potatoes without skin
- Bread, bagels, rolls, biscuits, muffins and cereals made from white or refined flour
Cooked cereals (farina and creamy rice)
Meat & other protein-rich foods
- Lean pork
- Fish and seafood
- Ripe banana, ripe nectarine, peach, apricot, papaya, plum
- Strained fruit juice (without pulp)
- Soft honeydew melon
- Canned fruit without skin
- Peeled apple
- Canned or cooked eggplant, green and wax beans, spinach, carrots, yellow squash, mushrooms, asparagus tips)
- Peeled potatoes
- Cucumbers without seeds
Fats and oils
- Vegetable and other oils
- Whipped cream
- Mayonnaise, sour cream
- Salad dressings made without seeds or nuts
Drinks or beverages
- Clear fruit drinks
- Sports/Energy drinks (such as Gatorade)
- Soda and other carbonated beverages
What to avoid?
Milk and dairy
- Ice cream and yogurt with seeds or nuts, or with chunks of fruit
- Nuts, seeds, granola
- Fruit with skin or seeds (such as berries)
- Canned cherries, berries, watermelon (avoid cooked/canned fruits with seeds)
- Dried fruit (raisins, blueberries, apricots, coconut)
- Raw pineapple
Bread and grains
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat / Whole grain bread, crackers, pasta, and rolls
- Breads with seeds or nuts, cornbread
- Whole grains or high-fiber cereal (including granola, bran, oatmeal)
- Cereals with coconut, nuts, seeds, dried fruit
- Dried beans, peas, and lentils(including split or black-eyed)
- Kidney beans , pinto, garbanzo/chickpea)
- Any other legume
- Chewy, Tough meat with gristle
- Fried vegetables
- Potatoes skins
- Greens (mustard, turnip, collards)
- Tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms
- Raw vegetables, except lettuce
- Cucumbers with seeds and peel
- Cooked cabbage, brussels sprouts, sauerkraut
- Green peas
- Summer/winter squash
- Any Snacks/Sweets(Cookies or cakes) with seeds or nuts (dried fruit)
- Jam, marmalade, preserves
- Foods made with cocoa powder
A low-fiber diet is often recommended before a colonoscopy. This helps to ensure that the bowel is as clean as possible and makes it easier for the doctor to see any abnormalities.
While there are many foods that you should avoid while on a low-fiber diet, there are still plenty of options available.
It is important to follow the specific instructions from your doctor or nutritionist when creating your own low fiber diet plan.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your colonoscopy is successful and help improve your overall health.