Low Fiber Diet for Diarrhea
The fiber in food gives you the roughage or bulk that helps your bowels move and push stool through. Most people should take in at least 25 grams of dietary fiber a day to make sure you have good bowel health. You can find the grams of fiber listed on the labels of the foods you eat. The biggest sources of fiber are:
- 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 will be easier to digest.
High Fiber Foods to stay away from
Low Fiber Foods you can have
Cooked fruits without skin or seeds
Fruit juices without pulp
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, peas, peppers, radishes, and spinach
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
Cracked wheat and tabouli
Any bread with dried fruits or nuts
Bread products made with refined white flour
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
Whole nuts and chunky nut butters
Smooth nut butters
Dried beans & legumes
Lentils, lima beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans, etc.
Meat, poultry, fish and eggs
Milk and milk products
Allowed unless lactose intolerant
Any foods that contain corn (including popcorn and tortilla chips), seeds, nuts, coconut or dried fruit
Where do I find how much fiber is in the food I eat?
To find out how much fiber is in a serving of a food, use the food labels listed on the container. Look for "Dietary Fiber" in the list of nutrients. Choose foods that have 2 grams or less of dietary fiber per serving.
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 contain sugar alcohols like sorbitol or mannitol.
Foods you should eat when you have diarrhea
Eat bland and easy-to-digest foods 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.
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
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 how to manage your diet and let them know right away if you have diarrhea.
American Cancer Society. (2020). Low-fiber foods. Retrieved from Low-Fiber Foods (cancer.org)
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). (2020). Diarrhea. Retrieved from Diarrhea | Cancer.Net.