Low Fiber Diet for Diarrhea

Author: Marisa Healy, BSN, RN
Content Contributor: Katrina VB. Claghorn, M.S., R.D., L.D.N. and Allyson Distel, MPH
Last Reviewed: June 06, 2024

The fiber in food helps your bowels move and push stool through. Most people should have at least 25 grams of dietary fiber a day for good bowel health. You can find the grams of fiber listed on the labels of the foods you eat. The foods with the most fiber are:

  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Whole grains
  • Dried beans.

If you have had radiation therapy or chemotherapy, you may have diarrhea as a side effect. Too much fiber in your diet will make diarrhea worse. If you have diarrhea, you should follow a low fiber diet. A low fiber diet means you only eat about 10 grams of fiber a day. A low fiber diet helps with diarrhea because it will not stimulate (rev up) your bowels as much and it is easier to digest.

Food GroupHigh Fiber Foods to stay away fromLow Fiber Foods you can have

Raw fruits

Dried fruits



Canned fruits

Cooked fruits without skin or seeds

Fruit juices without pulp


Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, peas, peppers, radishes, and spinach

Raw vegetables

Other vegetables that are not listed to stay away from, like:

Asparagus, green beans and summer squash

*Peel, seed and cook vegetables until they are soft

Breads & pastas

Whole wheat and whole grains

Brown rice

Cracked wheat and tabouli


Any bread with dried fruits or nuts

Bread products made with refined white flour
Pasta/noodles made with refined flour
White rice
White rice cakes
Graham crackers

Whole grains


Shredded wheat

Granola and muesli

Any cereal with dried fruits or nuts

Cold cereals - Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Special K, Golden Grahams, Rice and Corn Chex

Hot cereals - Oatmeal, Cream of Rice, Cream of Wheat, Farina and Grits

Choose cereals that have less than 2 grams of fiber per serving

NutsWhole nuts and chunky nut buttersSmooth nut butters
Dried beans & legumesLentils, lima beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans, etc. 
Meat, poultry, fish and eggs All allowed
Milk and milk products Allowed unless lactose intolerant
OtherAny foods that contain corn (including popcorn and tortilla chips), seeds, nuts, coconut or dried fruitMarshmallows

Where do I find how much fiber is in the food I eat?

To find out how much fiber is in a serving of food, use the food labels listed on the packaging. Look for "Dietary Fiber" in the list of nutrients. Choose foods that have 2 grams or less of dietary fiber per serving.

Soluble fiber

Soluble fiber is a type of fiber found in some foods. Soluble fiber absorbs (soaks up) fluid and can help lessen your diarrhea. Foods high in soluble fiber include:

  • Fruits: Applesauce, bananas (ripe), canned fruit, orange, and grapefruit.
  • Vegetables: Boiled potatoes.
  • Breads and pastas: White rice and products made with white flour.
  • Cereals: Oatmeal, cream of rice, cream of wheat, and farina.

Other foods that can lead to diarrhea

 Fatty, greasy, and fried foods.

  • Spicy and highly seasoned foods.
  • Milk and milk-based drinks.
  • Try not to chew gum or eat sugar-free candies and gums that have sugar alcohols in them like sorbitol or mannitol.

Foods you should eat when you have diarrhea

Eat bland foods that are easy to digest like chicken, fish, eggs, puddings, mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream of wheat, farina, smooth peanut butter, white bread, bananas, applesauce, canned fruit, and well-cooked vegetables. Eating 5 to 6 small meals/snacks throughout the day is often better than eating 3 large meals.

Congee Soup – Chinese rice soup

¾ cup white or sushi rice
2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
Combine rice and broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and half cover the pot. Cook at a slight boil. Stir every so often and scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent rice from sticking. Simmer 1 ½ to 2 hours. Cook until the grains burst and become thick – oatmeal consistency. Season with salt for taste. Can flavor as desired e.g. ginger, soy sauce or sesame oil.

Sample menu

This is a sample meal plan to follow if you have diarrhea. It is low in dietary fiber and high in soluble fiber.


6 oz orange juice (no pulp)

1 cup Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup 2% milk

1 medium banana

Decaffeinated coffee

1 cup chicken rice soup

3 oz sliced turkey breast

2 slices white bread

1 tsp mayonnaise

4 oz salmon

1/2 cup white rice

1/2 cup asparagus

1 dinner roll

1 tsp butter

1/2 cup fruit sorbet


1 slice white bread toast

1 tablespoon peanut


1 tsp jelly

2 rice crackers

1 oz cheese

1/2 cup applesauce

1 cup vanilla yogurt


  • Calories 1946.
  • Protein 101 gm.
  • Fat 54 gm.
  • Dietary fiber 10 gm.

Talk with your care team about your diet and tell them right away if you have diarrhea.

American Cancer Society. (2024). Low-fiber foods. Retrieved from Low-Fiber Foods (cancer.org)

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). (2024). Diarrhea. Retrieved from Diarrhea | Cancer.Net.

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