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Maintaining a low fibre diet

What is fibre?

Dietary fibre (also known as roughage) is a part of cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables that are not digested in the gut. It adds bulk to stool (faeces) and helps to move contents through the bowel.

Why have I been advised to follow a low fibre diet

A low fibre diet may be recommended if:

  • your bowel is obstructed, or you are at risk of bowel obstruction
  • before and/or after bowel surgery
  • after the insertion of a colonic stent
  • during a flare-up of Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
  • when reintroducing solid food after following a liquid diet
  • persistent diarrhoea

A diet low in fibre may help reduce the amount of gas you produce and bulk of stool passing through your bowel. This should help to reduce symptoms such as bloating and abdominal discomfort and may also reduce the risk of your bowel becoming obstructed.

The need for a low fibre diet is usually temporary but can sometimes be permanent. If you need to continue a low fibre diet long term you may find it hard to meet your vitamin and mineral requirements and we recommend taking a complete multivitamin and mineral supplement which can be brought over the counter at most supermarkets and chemists.

While following this diet:

  • chew foods slowly and thoroughly
  • ensure meat and fish is tender, soft and well cooked
  • avoid tough or stringy foods
  • avoid skins, pips and seeds
  • avoid raw or hard vegetables
  • avoid tough, fibrous, gristly meat
  • include as wide variety of suitable foods from the ‘allowed’ list as possible
  • aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables from the “allowed’ list each day

For patients with diabetes

If you have diabetes you can still follow the low fibre diet advice but make sure you eat meals and snacks containing low fibre starchy foods such as white bread, white rice, pasta and cereals at each mealtime.

Last reviewed: 26 May 2023