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patient education : 16172--Low Fiber Diet

Information about foods and beverages for those who want to have less than 3 grams of fiber per serving from Nutrition Services

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     Low Fiber Diet 

    You might hear the terms “fiber” and “residue” being used as if they mean the same thing, but technically, they're not the same. Fiber is the undigested part of plants that remains in the intestinal tract and contributes to stool. Residue is a more general term that includes fiber and any other foods that may increase stool output. For example, prune juice and lactose-containing products like cow’s milk sometimes increase stool output, but neither provide any fiber.[1]

    As a general guideline, look for foods with less than 3 grams of fiber per serving if you are trying to limit your fiber intake.

    Recommended Foods

    Foods to Avoid

    Breads and Grains

    Enriched white bread, toast, rolls, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, crackers, pancakes, and waffles.


    Look for “enriched” flour as the first ingredient listed.

    Any bread product that lists whole grain flour or graham flour as the first ingredient.


    Breads made with whole grains, cracked grains, bran, seeds (including ground flaxseed), nuts, coconut, and/or dried fruit.

    Refined, ready-to-eat cereals such as puffed rice and puffed wheat (e.g., Rice Krispies®, Cornflakes®).

    Any whole grain, bran, or granola cereal; Fiber One® or store brand equivalent; oatmeal; cereal with seeds, nuts, coconut, or dried fruit.

    Hot cereal made from refined wheat, corn, or rice (e.g., Cream of Wheat, grits).


    White rice, white pasta, macaroni, egg noodles, couscous.

    Bran, barley, brown and wild rice; farro; quinoa; kasha (buckwheat).


    Whole wheat pasta, quinoa or brown rice pasta.


    All dairy and non-dairy (plant-based) alternatives are allowed except products with added or blended fruit or nuts. Check nutrition label for total fiber content.



    Yogurt, smoothies, and ice cream containing fruit, seeds, or nuts in excess of 3 grams. Check nutrition label for fiber content.


    Most vegetables if eaten in servings no larger than ½ cup: green beans, carrots, beets, spinach, kale, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, tomato.


    Eat no more than 1 serving of these at a meal, and avoid more than 2-3 total per day.


    Sweet potato with and without skin, pumpkin, winter squashes, white potato with or without skin.


    Any vegetable or vegetable dish containing seeds, stems, or skins.


    Servings of any vegetable larger than ½ cup, or multiple servings of vegetables at the same meal.


    Canned or cooked fruits, fruit cocktail, avocado, canned applesauce, Clementines (up to 2).

    Apples, pears, bananas, all berries, and other raw fruits except as noted here.

    Without skin: apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines.

    Dried fruits.

    Fruit juice (NOT made from whole fruit; strained without pulp).

    Blended smoothies made from whole fruits (e.g. Naked®, Odwalla®, or others made from whole fruit).

    Protein Foods

    All meats, poultry, and fish.

    Legumes, dried peas, or dried beans such as black, refried, pinto, kidney, lima, lentils.


    Edamame, soy nuts, tempeh.


    Tree nuts and nut butters such as pecan, walnut, almond, cashew.

    Smooth peanut butter (no more than 2 tablespoons per serving), sunflower seed butter

    Chunky peanut butter in any amount; smooth peanut butter in servings larger than 2 tablespoons.

    Fats and Snacks

    Margarine, butter, vegetable oils, mayonnaise, cream, gravies, salad dressings without seeds, olives, avocados.

    Any made with whole-grain flour, bran, seeds, nuts, coconut, dried fruit.

    For example, bran muffins, granola bars, fiber bars.

    Chocolate, pudding, cakes, cookies, pretzels.

    [1] Dried prunes contain about 6 grams of dietary fiber per 100 gram serving, while prune juice has no fiber due to filtration before bottling. The laxative action of prune juice is instead due to its high sorbitol content (6 grams/100 gram serving).



    Keep in mind that following a low-fiber diet may cause fewer bowel movements and smaller stools. You may need to drink extra fluids to help prevent constipation. Drink plenty of water unless advised otherwise, and use milk and juices as mentioned above.



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