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Diet Before Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: DaniellaNicole • updated: 1/31/2010

A patient is put on a special diet before a colonscopy prep. The diet before colonoscopy bowel preparation helps the colonoscopy prep to go smoothly and the intestines more visible during the procedure. This article will explain what can and can not be eaten on this diet.

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    A colonoscopy is a test used to look inside a person’s large intestine. The test can be used to find cancer of the colon and other diseases of the colon. Before the procedure, the patient will be on this diet before colonoscopy bowel preparation. This diet is designed to completely clean out the colon. If there is too much waste in the colon, the doctor will not be able to see clearly. This special diet is called a low-residue diet. The low-residue diet is usually started 48 hours before the procedure.

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    What is a Low-Residue Diet?

    A low-residue diet restricts certain types of foods that cause a build up in the intestinal tract. The foods that build up in the intestinal tract and are not digested contribute to a person’s stool. So when we talk about residue, we are actually talking about fiber. Foods that contain fiber are considered residual and are not permitted on this diet.

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    Purpose of the Diet

    A doctor will prescribe this diet to their patient before a colonoscopy procedure and the day before the colonoscopy prep. The purpose of the diet is to minimize the amount of fiber you take in so that the amount stool and the frequency of bowel movements a patients has is reduced If there is too much fecal matter inside the intestines, the scope will not maneuver easily and the walls of the intestines will be hard to see. The patient's colon needs to cleaned out as much as possible for the best results from this procedure.

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    Foods You Can Eat on the Low-Residue Diet

    The types of foods you can eat are restricted to foods with very little or no fiber. The carbohydrates you are must be refined carbohydrates. These refined foods include breads, crackers, cereal, pasta and white rice as long as they contain less than one gram of fiber. You can drink vegetable and fruit juices that do not contain seeds or pulp. You may eat tender meats, fish, poultry, and eggs.

    There are many types of foods that you can eat but have to be strained first. These foods include: milk, ice cream, yogurt, broth and creamed based soups. Although dairy is allowed on the diet, you must limit this to 2 cups per day.

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    Foods You Should Avoid on the Low-Residue Diet

    The diet before colonoscopy bowel preparation requires that you avoid eating any food that contains fiber and is whole grain. This includes cereals, pastas, and breads. Foods that contain nuts such as: ice cream, yogurt, salad dressings, or pudding, should not be eaten. It takes the body longer to digest foods that contain nuts and seeds. Coarse or tough meats are not permitted on the low-residue diet. These types of meats are harder for the body to break down and can remain in the intestines for a few days. Also. do not consume any whole fruit and vegetables. This includes any fruit or vegetable that is canned or in sauce form.

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    References

    Mayo Clinic: Colonoscopy Prep Diet - www.mayoclinic.com/health/low-residue-diet