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Low Residue Diet

The low residue diet is used to treat diarrhea, diverticulties, or other conditions where residue tends to increase symptoms. Residue is defined as those foods which contain large amounts of material that stimulate bowel activity. This may be plant fiber but also includes various complex sugars that can cause discomfort in patients with bowel problems. Roughage or fiber are other names for residue. Everyone has a different tolerance for certain foods and you may not tolerate foods recommended. Also, some recommended foods may conflict with another diet you are on. Check with a nurse or doctor if you have any questions.

Sample Diets:

Cooked rice cereal
Two slices of white toast
Magarine or jelly
Beverage with cream and sugar
Lunch and Dinner
Broth or noodle soup
2 1/2 ounces of meat or fish
1/2 cup rice, noodles, or potato
1 slice of bread
1/2 cup dessert



Foods Allowed
Postum, Sanka, Koolaide, fruit punches like Hi-C, weak tea, herbal teas, Gatorade. Creamer may be used in tea or Sanka. Lactaid, Acidophilus Milk, Diary Ease generally allowed in moderation, Ensure (over ice) slowly.

Foods to Avoid
Fruit juices like apple juice and grape juice, iced beverages, carbonated drinks, coffee, milk (including skim milk).


Foods Allowed
White bread, white bagels, soda crackers, rice cakes.

Food to Avoid
Bran, whole wheat, pumpernickel


Foods Allowed
Rice cereals are the best tolerated. Cream of wheat is usually tolerated.

Foods to Avoid
Whole grain or bran cereals, oat meal, granola.


Foods Allowed
Hard cheeses such as Swiss, Cheddar, Edam. The lactose is usually removed during formation of cheese.

Foods to Avoid
Soft cheeses such as American cheese, cheese spreads, cream cheese, or cottage cheese. These have lactose.


Foods Allowed
Cakes, cookies, Jell-O or other gelatin desserts, sherbert, all without nuts, chocolate, whipped cream or icing. Yogurt with live cultures in small amounts may be tolerated.

Foods to Avoid
Ice cream, frozen yogurts, puddings, custards, cake icing, pastries or other desserts made with pastry crusts.


May be taken in small amounts.


Foods Allowed
Butter, cream, margarine, mayonnaise and gravies in small amounts.

Foods to Avoid
Avoid fried foods.


Foods Allowed
Ripe bananas, small amounts of jellies on bread.

Foods to Avoid
All others

Meat, Fish, Poultry

Foods Allowed
Bakes, broiled, stewed. Very tender cuts of beef, veal, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey and fish.

Foods to Avoid
Lunch meat, corned beef, sausage, hot dogs. Fried meat, chicken and fish.

Potato other starches

Foods Allowed
Rice is best tolerated starch. White potatoes, sweet potatoes, grits, macaroni, pasta (with small amounts of mild tomato sauce).

Foods to Avoid
Hominy, whole grain rice, wild rice and potato skins.

Foods Allowed
Bouillon, broth, noodle soups.


Foods Allowed
Hard candies

Foods to Avoid
Chocolate, nuts, candied fruits, honey and table syrups.


Foods Allowed
Tomato juice, tender well cooked carrots, asparagus tips, zucchini or summer squash without seeds. Seeded, skinned well cooked tomatoes.

Foods to Avoid
Raw vegetables, legumes, including all beans and peas, stringy vegetables like celery. Vegetables with seeds such as tomatoes.


Foods Allowed
Salt, ketchup, mild mustard, flavorings, lemon juice, vinegar, standard cooking spices.

Foods to Avoid
Pepper, chili peppers, onions, garlic, popcorn, relishes, olives and pickles.

Additions to low residue diet. To be taken one step at time.

Addition 1 Juice of apple, orange, pear, peach or apricot
Addition 2 Pureed vegetables
Addition 3 Fried foods
Addition 4 Whole milk, skim milk, ice cream, puddings, custard
Addition 5 Avocado, canned or cooked (apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears) all without skins or seeds
Addition 6 Canned or cooked (Asparagus, beets, carrots, pumpkin, squash and string beans)
Addition 7 Shredded, green lettuce, ripe tomatoes without seeds and mild dressing
Addition 8 Whole grain cereals and breads.