Should You Be on a Low-Fiber Diet?
Although the general U.S. population is getting less than the daily recommendation for fiber intake, are there really personal benefits for being on a low-fiber diet? Should you be on a low-fiber diet?
When it comes to good health, a fiber range of 25 to 38 grams is often recommended. Although the general U.S. population is only getting an average of 15 grams per day, are there really personal benefits for being on a low-fiber diet? Should you be on a low-fiber diet?
Reasons for Being on a Low-Fiber Diet
Although there are numerous reasons to consume adequate fiber - heart health, digestive health, weight loss, etc. - bowel conditions and diseases may benefit from following a low-fiber diet. A low-fiber diet is often known as a "low-residue" diet. "Residue" refers to undigested food, generally from fiber that bulks stools. The goal of a low-fiber, low-residue diet is to reduce stools and ease associated gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloat, gas, and constipation.
Specifically, low-fiber diets may be prescribed if diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis. These IBD's can be extremely painful to individuals and result to major malabsorption issues related to chronic inflammation. If uncontrolled, these diseases and conditions may even be fatal. If dealing with IBD and/or associated symptoms, following a low-fiber diet may be ideal. Surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation therapies may also disrupt and interfere with proper digestion and may require a low-fiber diet.
Low-Fiber Diet Food Examples
Replace high-fiber whole grains and beans, nuts and seeds, and raw and dried fruits and veggies with these low-fiber diet options:
Although refined, white products are generally stripped out of nutrients, they are a low-fiber alternative. Cooked cereals such as cream of wheat and cold cereals like puffed rice and corn flakes are low-fiber options. White rice and white pasta noodles are further acceptable grains. Additionally, avoid breads with added seeds and buts.
Raw vegetables should be avoided on a low-residue diet. Consume well-cooked or soft canned veggies such as green beans, carrots, and spinach. Also, stray away from the skin on potatoes.
Go for soft applesauce over a fresh apple or canned peaches and pears that are soft in texture. Be mindful of seeds found in fruits, especially berries and tomatoes. Ripe bananas and soft cantaloupes and melons are a few suitable options.
Milk and dairy products are generally a natural low-fiber option. However, lactose may be hard to digest for some individuals. Almond and cashew milks are lactose-free alternatives if lactose intolerance is diagnosed or a concern. Additionally, soy milk is an excellent high-protein option for those with tree nut allergies. Milk alternatives may contain small amounts of fiber so stay mindful of portions and serving sizes.
Although meat products are absent of fiber, avoiding tough and fibrous meats further accompanies a low-fiber diet. Ground meats and lean fish and chicken may be digested easier while still supplying the body with ample amounts of protein. Additionally, limit fatty meats, as they can increase the bulk of stools.