We're always being told that we should get more fiber into our diet. Fiber is essential for helping to keep our digestive system healthy. However, people who suffer from conditions like bowel disorders may be advised to reduce their fiber intake instead for a time. So which foods should you avoid if you're on a low-fiber diet?
1. Beans & Lentils
Beans and lentils are excellent sources of protein, especially for vegetarians, but they're not such good news if you're on a low-fiber diet. If you buy any prepared meals or products, check the labels and avoid any with beans in. However, you should be okay with tofu if you're vegetarian, and eggs will be fine if you eat them.
2. Raw Fruit & Vegetables
A low-fiber diet often means going against the normal advice and eating things that wouldn't normally be regarded as healthy while avoiding all the healthy foods. You definitely can't be a fruitarian or follow a raw food diet! Only eat fruit and vegetables that have been cooked or canned. You should also avoid fruit with seeds and remove the peel. Also watch out for fruit juice that has pulp in it; opt for the pulp-free version instead.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains are good news for most people, but bad news for people who need a low-fiber diet. So avoid brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and wholemeal bread, and look for refined versions. You may be able to tolerate oatmeal. The best grains for you have under 1.5 grams of fiber per serving.
4. Lean Meat
Fatty meat isn't good for anyone, especially those on a low-fiber diet. Your best protein sources if you eat meat are chicken and turkey, but be sure to remove the skin. Grill, poach or steam the meat, to make it easier to digest. Fish is also another good source of protein on this diet. Avoid processed meats like sausages and hot dogs, and bacon is too fatty.
5. Seeds, Nuts & Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a good source of fiber, so leave it out of a low-fiber diet. Nuts, seeds and dried fruits are in a lot of products, so again you'll have to read the labels carefully. Look for tomato sauce without any seeds in. You'll probably find it easier to cook using simple ingredients and avoid anything that's ready-made.
6. Breakfast Cereals
You'll also have to avoid certain breakfast cereals. Muesli is an obvious problem because of its nuts and seeds. Any wholegrain cereals are out as well. The best ones will be Rice Krispies, Sugar Puffs, and the kind of cereals you usually avoid!
7. Certain Vegetables
Even if they're cooked, some vegetables are best avoided if you need to eat a low-fiber diet. Avoid corn, Brussels sprouts (not difficult for most of us!), cauliflower, peas, broccoli, cabbage, peas and onions. These vegetables produce a lot of gas and are likely to exacerbate your symptoms.
It might seem as though you'll hardly be able to eat anything while you're on this diet. But the good news is that you'll probably only need to follow a low-fiber diet for a short time until your symptoms improve, then will be able to slowly reintroduce normal foods. Always follow your doctor's instructions. What food would you most miss if you were told you couldn't eat it?