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Low Residue Diet Foods for a Colonoscopy

author image Anthony Isaac Palacios
Anthony Isaac Palacios has been a professional writer for more than five years for various media including magazine, newspaper and the Internet. He has a Master of Science in dietetics and nutrition and specializes in health and nutrition articles for the general public. Palacios enjoys cooking with wine, and sometimes even adding it to the food.
Low Residue Diet Foods for a Colonoscopy
White rice can be consumed on a low-residue diet.

Before a colonoscopy procedure, your doctor may recommend a low-residue diet. A low-residue diet limits the amount of fiber and other foods that increase bowel activity. This diet should only be performed under the supervision of your health-care provider. Consult a registered dietitian for a full list of low-residue foods and other nutritional guidelines for your condition.

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Diet Significance

Day circled on calendar
Day circled on calendar Photo Credit: kyoshino/iStock/Getty Images

Consuming low-residue foods will slow down bowel movements by reducing the size and frequency of stool. This will make it easier to examine your colon during the colonoscopy. In addition, low-residue foods may also help reduce diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Your health-care provider may recommend this diet approximately one week before your colonoscopy. A low-residue diet should only be followed for a short period of time unless recommended otherwise by your doctor. After surgery, a registered dietitian can help you plan meals specifically for your condition and lifestyle.

Protein Foods

Bowl of cottage cheese
Bowl of cottage cheese Photo Credit: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

High-protein foods such as milk, meats, poultry, fish and eggs may be consumed with certain exceptions. Choose low-fat milk products such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding, ice cream and cream-based soups. Avoid any products that include nuts and seeds. You may consume up to two servings daily of milk and dairy products, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Meat products may be consumed only if they're well-cooked, soft and tender. This includes tender pork, ham, beef, lamb, poultry, fish and tofu products. Avoid tough meats, deli meats, peanut butter, nuts and all dried beans. Consume two to three servings daily of high-protein foods.

Breads, Cereals and Starches

Spoonful of uncooked white rice
Spoonful of uncooked white rice Photo Credit: Yelena Yemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

Consume low-fiber breads, cereals and rice products such as enriched white bread, white rice, plain crackers and cold cereals. Avoid high-fiber grains such as whole wheat, oatmeal, bran cereals, brown rice and popcorn. Consume six to 11 servings of grains daily.

Fruits and Vegetables

Eggplants Photo Credit: Mariia Komar/iStock/Getty Images

In general, fruits and vegetables that are well-cooked and without coarse skins and seeds may be consumed. Examples include ripe bananas, apricots, watermelon, plums, spinach, eggplant and carrots. Canned products such as applesauce, peaches, beets and green beans may also be consumed. Avoid all dried and raw fruits and vegetables with seeds. This particularly includes berries and raisins. Consume at least five servings of various fruits and vegetables daily.

Fats, Snacks and Oils

Gelatin dessert
Gelatin dessert Photo Credit: ihorga/iStock/Getty Images

All smooth condiments, oils and other dressings are acceptable in a low-residue diet. This includes, butter, margarine, vegetable oils, whipped cream and mayonnaise. Desserts and sweets such as cakes, cookies, pies and candies are also acceptable but should not contain fruits, nuts or coconut. Consume lighter snacks, such as gelatin, ice popsicles, pudding or white crackers. Spices, seasonings and pepper should be limited on a low-residue diet.

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