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Which diet is right for you? Get the facts.


Purpose:  A clear liquid diet is a temporary diet that is used for many different settings. This diet provides fluids, salts, and mineral to help keep your body hydrated and also provides some energy for patients when normal food intake is interrupted.  Clear liquids are easily absorbed by the body, leaves no residue in the intestinal tract, and reduce stimulation of the digestive tract.  This is why clear liquid diet is often prescribed in preparation for surgery and medical tests such as colonoscopy or certain x-rays.  Clear liquid diets are generally the first diet given after surgery as well.

Special Consideration: 

  • A clear liquid diet is not adequate in calories and nutrients.  It should not be followed for more than five days unless supplemented by high-protein gelatin or other low residue supplements.

  • It is important to follow the clear liquid diet instructions exactly.  Remember that the quality of the examination will depend on getting a thoroughly clean digestive tract.

  • Do not eat or drink anything with red or purple coloring.  Red or purple food coloring can leave a residue in the bowel resembling blood.  Keep this in mind when purchasing Jello, popsicles, drinks, ect.
Food Group Foods Allowed Foods to Avoid
Milk & Beverages No red or purple liquids! Tea (decaffeinated or regular), carbonated beverages, fruit flavored drinks Milk, milk drinks
Meats & Meat Substitutes None All
Vegetables None All
Fruits & Fruit Juices Strained fruit juices: apple, white grape, lemonade Fruit juices with unstrained fruit
Grains & Starches None All
Soups Clear broth, consomme All others
Desserts Clear flavored gelatin, popsicles (no red or purple flavors) All others
Fats None All
Miscellaneous Sugar, honey, syrup, clear hard candy, salt All others
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
4 oz. White Grape Juice 4 oz. Apple Juice 4 oz. Lemonade
6 oz. Clear Broth 6 oz. Clear Broth 6 oz. Clear Broth
Jell-O* Jell-O* Jell-O*
Tea Tea Tea
* Plain only, no fruit or toppings


Purpose:  A low residue/low fiber diet is for people who need to rest their intestinal tract.  Certain medical conditions require a low fiber diet to minimize pain and discomfort.  Patients with diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or gastroparesis (weak stomach motility) benefit from a low residue diet, as well as those undergoing chemotherapy, radiation treatments, or surgery.  A low residue diet limits the amount of food waste that has to be moved through the large intestine.  Your stool will be smaller and you may need extra water or a stool softener to have regular bowel movements.  An intake of less than 10 grams of fiber per day is generally considered a low residue/low fiber diet.  This diet is adequate in all nutrients and can be followed for a few weeks.  However, if the diet must be strict and followed over a long period of time, the intake of fruits, vegetables, and calcium may not be adequate, therefore a multi-vitamin supplement or liquid nutritional supplement may be needed.

Key Summary Points:

  • Avoid whole-grain breads and cereals
  • Avoid any food made with seeds, nuts, or raw or dried fruits.

  • Do not eat raw fruits or vegetables.  Remove skins before cooking.

  • Limit fats and milk products since these can increase stool bulk.

  • Avoid tough, fibrous meats with gristle
Food Group Foods Allowed Foods to Avoid
Meats & Meat Substitutes Well-cooked tender meats, poultryWell-cooked fishCanned tuna or salmonCheese, eggs, tofuYogurt, plain or with allowed fruitCreamy peanut butter Tough meats with gristleCheese or yogurt with fruits, vegetables, seeds or nuts Chunky peanut butter with nutsDried, canned or frozen dried peas, beans, lentils (such as chickpeas, baked beans, kidney beans)
Vegetables Lettuce, if toleratedStrained vegetable juiceCanned or cooked vegetables, except those listed as "avoid" Raw vegetablesVegetables with seedsSauerkrautWinter squashCorn, peas, celery
Fruits & Fruit Juices Canned or cooked fruitsStrained fruit juice except pruneRipe banana, peeled appleCanned orange/grapefruit sections with membranes removed Raw fruit (except banana and peeled apple)Dried fruitAll berriesPrune Juice
Grains & Starches Cooked white and sweet potatoes without skinWhite riceMacaroni, noodles, pasta Potatoes with skinBrown rice and wild riceWhole wheat macaroni, noodles or other pasta
Soups Broths, bouillonCream * soups made with allowed vegetables, noodles, rice or flour Soups made with ingredients not allowed
Desserts All except those listed as "avoid" Candies made with coconutDried fruit or nutsJams, preserves, marmalade
Miscellaneous All except those listed as "avoid" Olives, picklesPopcornNuts, seeds, coconutHerbs and spices in seed form, such as celery seed


Purpose:  This diet plan will help prevent bloating, gas, cramps, and diarrhea caused by milk and milk products.  The substance lactose, which is a type of sugar found in milk, causes these problems in patients who cannot digest milk.  This condition is called “lactose intolerance”.  People who cannot digest lactose do not make enough of the enzyme lactase.  If your body makes some lactase, you may be able to eat small amounts of foods containing lactose.  By trying small amounts of the foods with lactose, you will learn how much you can tolerate.  The amount of lactose each person can handle is different.  Some may tolerate a  low lactose diet, while others will need a strict lactose free diet.  You can buy lactase enzyme tablets such as Lactaid from the drug store to help your body digest dairy products.  Chew or swallow 1 to 6 tablets when starting to eat foods containing lactose.

Food Group Foods Allowed Foods to Avoid
Beverages Soy milk fortified with calcium & vitamin D Milk; whole, low fat, skim, buttermilk, chocolate, condensed, evaporated, dried
  Lactose-reduced milk such as Lactaid, if tolerated Cream
Lactose-free beverages such as soy, nondairy cream Eggnog, malted milk, Ovaltine
Cocoa prepared with soy milk or nondairy cream "Instant" breakfast beverages
Carbonated beverages, coffee, tea Milk shakes and cocoa prepared with milk or milk products
Meats & Meat Substitutes Plain meat, poultry, fish and shellfish Meat, poultry, fish and shellfish prepared with milk or milk products such as white sauce or cheese sauce
  Dry beans and peas Luncheon meats, sausage and hot dogs that contain lactose or milk filler
Peanut butter Cream cheese, cottage cheese
Soybean and textured vegetable protein, tofu Mozzarella, ricotta
Kosher hot dogs Processed cheese, cheese spreads
Yogurt with active cultures Eggs prepared with milk or milk products
Hard and fermented cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, gouda, edam and parmesan  
Eggs prepared without milk or milk Products  
Vegetables Canned, fresh or frozen vegetables without sauces Any prepared with milk or milk products such as cream sauce or cheese sauce
  All vegetable juices Any with lactose added in processing
Fruits & Fruit Juices All are lactose-free  
Grains & Starches White potato, sweet potato, pasta and rice, prepared without milk or milk products Mashed or escalloped potatoes or any other potato substitute prepared with milk or milk products
  Breads and rollls prepared without milk products Instant potatoes if milk or lactose is added
Crackers, melba toast, pretzels, matzos, rye wafers Breads or rolls prepared with milk or milk products
  Pancakes, waffles, biscuits
Muffins, donuts, sweet rolls
Prepared mixes
Soups Broth, bouillon and consomme soups prepared with allowed foods Cream soups or any other soup prepared with milk or milk products
  Cream soups made with nondairy cream or soy milks  
Desserts Sugar, honey, jams, jellies Chocolate, cream-filled and caramel candies
  Molasses, syrup Frostings prepared with milk or milk products
Marshmallows, hard candies, gumdrops, jellybeans, pure sugar candies Sherbet, ice cream
Carob powder, baking chocolate Custards, puddings
Gelatin, angel food cake, fruit pies, fruit ice Cream pies, cheesecake
Homemake cakes and cookies prepared without milk or milk products Commercial cookies, desserts and mixes
  Any desserts prepared with milk or milk products
Miscellaneous Cereals prepared without milk or milk products Cereals prepared with milk or milk products
  Milk-free margarine; oil; mayonnaise Cream, whipped cream, sour cream
Salad dressing prepared without milk, cream or cheese Creamy salad dressing or salad dressing made with cheese or butter
Herbs, spices, seasonings, extracts Sauces, gravies or snack "dips" prepared with milk or milk products
Vinegar, catsup, mustard, pickles, relish Sugar substitutes made with lactose
Popcorn Foods containing the fat substitute Simplesse
Sauces or gravies prepared from allowed foods Sugar substitutes made with lactose (Equal)


Purpose: Dietary fiber is plant material, which is resistant to digestion by the gastrointestinal tract.  Cooking fruits and vegetables only softens and breaks down the texture of food; it does not reduce the fiber content.  A high-fiber diet is indicated for the treatment of constipation and diverticulosis.  A lack of fiber in the diet creates harder stools that are more difficult to move through the colon.  Increasing fiber and fluids in the diet creates softer stools, which are easily excreted and keeps the bowel movements regular.

Food Group Foods in High Fiber Foods in Low Fiber
Breakfast Cereals 1 serving daily Sugar-coated cereals, refined
  Any whole grain ready-to-eat cereal such as all bran, bran flakes, bran buds, raisin bran or shredded wheat. Dry cereals and refined cooked cereals, such as cream of wheat or cream of rice.
Corn bran and whole grain cooked cereals such as oatmeal and wheatena.  
Breads and Flours 3 servings daily Whole wheat bread made from refined flour with caramel added for color; white and rye bread; cookies, pies, cakes, pastries and other products made from refined flour.
  Whole wheat bread with wheat bran added, raisin bran, bread or pumpernickel bread, whole wheat or bran muffins, specialty high fiber breads.  
Fruits 2 servings daily Clear fruits juices (apples, grape, and cranberry)
  Dried and stewed prunes, apricots and raisins, fresh fruits, especially apples, plums, peaches, pears, and grapes eaten with skins.  
All fruits.
Fruit juice containing pulp.
Vegetables 2 servings daily  
  Raw vegetable, potatoes with skins, dried beans, peas and lentils, soybeans.
Cooked and canned vegetables, and vegetables juices.
Supplements Unprocessed Bran: 2-3 teaspoons per day  
  Increased as tolerated or until desired effects are obtained.
Cellulose powders: 4 tbsp per day to resolve constipation gradually. Reduce to 2 tbsp per day for maintenance.
High fiber crackers.


Purpose: Gluten Free Diet is recommended for patients who have Celiac disease. Gluten is a protein component of many of the common food we eat like wheat, barley, rye and oat. People who have the genetic predisposition, develops an immune response to this component of the food. As a result of this, they gradually destroy the inner lining (mucosa) of the small intestine. This inner lining is responsible for absorbing the food components that we eat. Due to immune response, it gets destroyed and cannot absorb various nutrients essential for human body. Once you stop taking the Gluten Containing diet, the initiator of the immune system to destroy the small bowel lining will be withdrawn and in due course of time, normal healthy small bowel lining will grow back restoring you to normal health.

Principles of diet: You have to avoid food made with wheat, barley, rye and oats. “Reading food labels and knowing the ingredients is a must habit for Celiac disease patients” states our GI expert Dr. Meah. Following is a list of foods to be avoided:

Food Item Allowed Not allowed
Cereals and breads Cream of rice, cornmeal, hominy grits, soy cereals, corns Cereals made of wheat, rye, barley, oats, malt etc. Breads made of wheat, barley, oats or rye are not allowed
  Breads of corn, rice, sorghum, bean, potato  
Meat items Fresh, frozen, smoked items are fine as long as no filler containing any of the gluten containing ingredients Be aware of meat or fish mixed in broth or other fillers unless specifically labeled as Gluten Free
Egg Eggs are allowed  
Vegetable items Pure vegetables in fresh, frozen or dried form are fine Battered dipped vegetables could be detrimental
Beverages Soft drinks, cocoa, tea, coffee and distilled alcoholic products are okay Beer, malted beverages
Pizza   Unless made with Gluten Free ingredients
Sweets Corn syrup, honey, jam, maple syrup, sugar  
Pastas Macaroni, spaghetti, rice noodles, potato, beans and peas are fine Pastas of wheat and other gluten containing food items
Tortillas, Tacos Corn tortillas and tacos are fine Wheat tacos and tortillas to be avoided
Milk and milk products Mostly fine Malted milk and for other milk items please read labels and be aware of the Gluten containing fillers or mixers
Desserts Allowed as long as Gluten free, like cookies, ice cream, gelatin Avoid cookies, ice cream pies made of Gluten containing food items
Prepackaged food Only if specifically labeled as Gluten Free If not labeled Gluten Free, please avoid

Low Salt Diet or Sodium Restricted Diet

Diet at times plays an important part in it. This instruction is only intended for general guidelines and not a specific one. Your physician can only identify the specific one for you. You need your own physician’s permission before implementation of any new diet plan.

Purpose: Low salt diet or sodium restricted diet as it is called at times, is designed to handle several conditions including controlling blood pressure, kidney conditions, and cirrhosis of liver to mention a few. Used in appropriate situations, it can keep you from swelling by keeping low salt load in the body.

Warning: This diet when not used properly and at times in combination with other medications can also cause you danger by unbalancing the electrolytes in your body. It is utmost important to consult your treating physician.

In general, you should read labels of all food items and avoid most of the preserved and canned food items, because, salt is used as a preservative in many canned food. Your cooking should be with minimum salt and certainly, no table salt should be used whatsoever. Following is a table to help you out:

Food Items Recommended Not recommended
Meat Plain meat, grilled meat, Plain hamburgers etc Preserved meat like sausage, hot dog, cured meat etc.
Milk and milk-products Mild to moderate amount of milk is fine Cheese, butter and other milk-products that has higher concentration of salt or sodium
Vegetables Fresh vegetables are fine Cured or preserved or treated vegetables that has high salt content
Carbohydrate Rice, flour If labels indicate higher sodium content
Soups, Snacks Low sodium soups, home made soups with less salt, unsalted snacks, chips, nuts Salted snacks, chips, soups, instant soup mixes which generally has high salt content
Flavorings/ additives In general spices and herbs are fine Soy sauce, LSG, preserved olives, pickles, Gravy mixes and in general, be careful about bottled mixes or sauces which tend to have high salt content


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