Certain medical conditions require a reduction in the amount of fiber being consumed to give the intestines a rest. This may include those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulosis, or other varying conditions that cause inflammation or pain of the bowels.
Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of plants that maintains the structure of the plant. Dietary fiber includes cellulose, hemicellulose, polysaccharides, pectins, gums,
mucilages, and lignins. Although they are chemically unrelated, they all resist digestion by the human body. It is this resistance that makes these fibers important in both the normal functioning and in disorders of the large intestine or colon.
In certain medical conditions, it is important to restrict fiber. These include acute or subacute diverticulitis and the acute phases of certain inflammatory conditions of the bowel
– ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. After some types of intestinal surgery, a low fiber/ low residue diet may be used as a transition to a regular diet. A low fiber diet may also be used for a period of time after a colostomy or ileostomy is performed.
Depending upon individual food selection, the low fiber/low residue diet is adequate in all nutrients (National Research Council’s Recommended Dietary Allowance). If the diet must be strict and followed over a long period of time, the intake of fruits and vegetables may not be adequate; and/or on a low residue diet, there may not be enough calcium included. In these cases, a multivitamin supplement or liquid nutritional supplement may be needed.
If a low fiber or low residue diet results in abdominal cramps or discomfort, notify the dietitian or physician immediately.