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Dietary strategies for IBD: Low Fiber

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Quality Rating

Criteria for starring system: 

  • Incorporates appropriate microbiome strategies
  • Incorporates appropriate gut healing strategies 
  • Inflammation reduction is a priority
  • Long-term symptom reduction
  • Easily implemented

  • Reduces disordered eating patterns

Caveat for starring system: This system is our opinion based on the available research at this time. We reserve the right to modify our recommendations as new literature is published and we learn more about the complexities of IBD. Review our recommendations with an appropriate amount of discretion and understand that oftentimes there is not a one size fits all approach for every situation.

Low-Fiber Diet

Overview: In contrast to a low-residue diet, a low-fiber diet only restricts fiber. That said, a low-fiber diet does not have an agreed upon definition. Traditionally, a low-fiber diet has restricted overall fiber intake and particularly insoluble fiber because of its unique properties and ability to increase stool bulk. 

  • Reduces or eliminates: whole grains, beans, peas, legumes, fruits that cannot be peeled, with seeds or with membranes, fruit and vegetable juices with pulp, prune juice, coconut, flax, nuts, seeds, popcorn. 
  • Very limited studies that support the restriction of fiber in an IBD flare and many for the opposite. This is likely due to the anti-inflammatory properties of short chain fatty acids that are produced when fiber is fermented in the colon. 
  • Fiber in foods is complex, not clearly defined, and typically occurs as a mix of various fibers making it difficult to decrease or eliminate. 
  • Imposes unnecessary restrictions that may lead to lowered diversity in the gut microbiota, increase chances of flare, and potentially lead to worse health outcomes.
  • Source: https://med.virginia.edu/ginutrition/wp-content/uploads/sites/199/2014/06/Parrish-July-15.p

Meets criteria for: 

  • Short-term symptom reduction

Does not meet criteria for: 

  • Incorporates appropriate microbiome strategies
  • Incorporates appropriate gut healing strategies
  • Long-term symptom reduction
  • Inflammation reduction is a priority
  • Easily implemented
  • Reduces disordered eating patterns