Eating low-fiber foods and cooking low-fiber recipes as part of a low-fiber diet is often recommended for those with certain medical conditions. Low-fiber foods can also be of benefit in preventing or treating certain digestive issues.
Because a low-fiber diet is restrictive, be sure to use it only as instructed by a medical professional and be careful to meet your nutritional needs.
Dos and Don’ts of Fiber
Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables and grains that are not digested by the body, explains the Mayo Clinic. Eating a low-fiber diet restricts these types of foods. A low-fiber diet may be recommended in order to prevent or ease symptoms from certain medical conditions, such as a narrowing of the bowel due to a tumor or an inflammatory disease, bowel surgery or when having a treatment such as radiation that damages or irritates the digestive tract.
A low-fiber diet consisting of low-fiber foods is often recommended before certain procedures such as a colonoscopy. Post recovery, fiber may slowly be introduced back into the system. The Mayo Clinic encourages reading food labels carefully when on a low-fiber diet, as foods you might not expect such as cereal or yogurt can have added fiber. Choose foods with no more than 1 gram of fiber in a serving.
Foods With Low Fiber
A November 2015 study published in Journal of the Academy of Dietetics suggests that certain properties of dietary fiber, such as fermentability and viscosity, are thought to be important parameters influencing the risk of disease. However, for those who have suffered an infection of the bowel, consuming low-fiber foods such as soft foods and low-fiber cereal can help the healing process.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offers a list of fiber content found in foods. Some examples of low-fiber foods include white bread without nuts and seeds, white rice, plain pasta, crackers, hot cereals such as Cream of Wheat or cold cereals with less than 1 gram of fiber per serving, canned or well-cooked vegetables and fruits without skins or seeds, tender meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, butter, margarine, oils and salad dressings without seeds. These low-fiber foods may also help prevent gas and/or bloating.
Low-Fiber Foods Prep Steps
A November 2015 study published in Advances in Nutrition suggested a low-fiber diet as a beneficial therapy for gastrointestinal disease or as colon cleansing prior to a colonoscopy. Prepare all foods with proper cooking methods, such as simmering, poaching, stewing, steaming, braising, baking or even microwaving in a covered dish until soft and tender.
Avoid roasting, broiling and grilling methods that make food dry and tough. Also stay away from fried foods, spices, whole wheat or whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, brown or whole grain rice, oats, kasha, barley, quinoa, dried fruits, prune juice, popcorn, raw or undercooked vegetables, raw fruits, dried beans, peas and lentils, seeds, nuts and nut butters.
- Health.gov: "Food Sources of Dietary Fiber"
- Mayo Clinic: "Low Fiber Foods Do's and Don'ts"
- NCBI: "Low-Residue and Low-Fiber Diets in Gastrointestinal Disease Management"
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber"