How Much Fibre is Safe in a Low-Residue Diet?
The objective of a low-residue diet is to limit the amount of fibre you consume. In normal circumstances, fibre is essential for your digestive health. However, if you have any kind digestive disorder. It could actually cause more harm than good.
What is Fibre?
Firstly, fibre is only found from plant food sources. Typically fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Usually, it is an important part of our diets and it does more than just aid digestion. Fibre is broken down into two categories, soluble and insoluble. And all plant food sources contain both.
Soluble fibre dissolves into the water surrounding it in your digestive system and has numerous benefits including reducing your levels of blood cholesterol.
Insoluble fibre cannot dissolve in water. It actually passes through your gut without breaking down. The objective of this is to help other foods pass through your digestive system more easily.
FAST FACT: If you are medically advised to take more fibre. You should introduce it into your diet very slowly. As a sudden increase of fibre can lead to stomach cramps and bloating.
When Do You Need to Follow a Low-Residue Diet?
The difficulty with fibre is that it does cause resistance within your digestive tract. So by suffering from a
digestive condition, your stomach may need more time to rest. Your doctor may suggest a low-residue diet
if you have any of the following:
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS). This includes conditions such as diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
- Any recent surgery on your digestive tract such as an ileostomy or colostomy.
- An upcoming colonoscopy
- Radiation or chemotherapy
How Much Fibre Should You Have?
1. Personalise your approach
Not every digestive problem is the same and different people will have different requirements. So make sure you speak to your doctor before you embark on this meal plan in order to you know what your personal fibre limits should be.
2. Know How to Prepare Your Vegetables
Yes, vegetables are a high source of fibre. But by cooking them properly before you eat them. You are able to break down the fibre, and in doing so, making it much easier for your stomach to digest.
3. Be Selective with Fruit
Fruits with edible seeds or rind have a much higher amount of fibre. So stick to choices such as ripe bananas, melon and pears where both seeds and rind are avoidable.
4. Be Cautious with Dairy Products
Dairy doesn’t have any fibre in it, but it is still known to trigger an upset stomach. Products such as yoghurt and cottage cheese are easier to digest than other dairy forms such as hard cheese. Speak to your doctor to see what dosage of dairy they suggest you should consume on a daily basis. You will most likely be limited to 1 cup a day if you need to follow a low residue diet.
5. If you Enjoy Meat, You Can Have it in Moderation
Meat doesn’t have any fibre in it either. However, it is still very difficult for your digestive system to breakdown. Try stick to ground meat options and to limit yourself to no more than 85g per portion.
Something to Consider…
Whole grains are not recommended if you need to follow a low-residue diet as they are a high source of fibre. Though refined carbohydrates are easier to digest, they are definitely not healthier for you. So try sticking to vegetables that are good complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut and pumpkin. Just remember that they need to be well cooked.
What Foods Are Not Safe
Whatever is high in fibre or very spicy, won’t be good for you if need to follow a low-residue diet. Here are some foods you should stay away from:
- Pickles, olives and relishes
- Dried fruit
- Crunchy peanut butter