A diet that is rich in fiber is important for promoting overall health. However, if the colon is inflamed, as with an active flare of colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, or diverticulitis, it is recommended that you follow a low residue (low fiber) diet. Once the flare has resolved, fiber can gradually be reintroduced into the diet.
If diverticulitis develops, then it is important to avoid fiber instead – as this may further irritate the colon during such episodes. The diet recommended at the beginning of a flare-up is entirely liquid.
- Clear broth
- Pulp-free fruit juices
- White bread
- White rice
- Well-cooked or canned fruit and vegetables (without seeds or skin)
Remember that a low-residue diet is recommended for a brief period of time, only. Prolonged consumption of low-residue foods leads to malnutrition, and can have serious health consequences.
Only after the patient’s symptoms improve (normally within 4-5 days), one may add the first 5 grams of dietary fiber. After several days of 5 grams of fiber - and only if one feels well - then another 5 grams of fiber may be added. Gradually, a high fiber diet may be resumed, thereby incorporating up to 25 grams of fiber per day into the diet.