It’s rare to have a diet that is wonderful for some people yet awful for others. It’s true that many diets can be more enjoyable or difficult for individuals, but rare for one to be detrimental to some groups while potentially beneficial for another. But, the low-residue diet can be helpful to people with intestinal health concerns but possibly disastrous for people with blood sugar concerns.
The low-residue diet isn’t a fad diet. While it has been making some headlines recently, it’s not something like the grapefruit diet with odd rules intended to help you lose weight. The “residue” in the name refers to fiber, as it’s indigestible and is left in your intestines when you have fully digested your food. It’s a medical diet that should only be followed if your doctor prescribes it. On the diet, a person eats incredibly low amounts of fiber. It’s designed to put minimal stress on the gastrointestinal tract. A person on the diet will go to the bathroom less frequently and have smaller stools.
Some of the foods a person on the diet avoids are legumes, nuts and seeds. Raw fruits and vegetables, as well as dried fruits, are off-limits. Whole grains are also not allowed. If this list sounds familiar, it’s because these are some of the foods people with blood sugar concerns are encouraged to eat! Nutritionists say people with blood sugar worries, constipation or high cholesterol “should stay far, far away” from the diet.
On the other hand, if you have digestive health concerns like IBS, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis or Crohn’s disease, it may be a short-term diet that could aid you under a doctor’s supervision. The diet is heavy on foods you may think of as being off-limits — white bread, white rice, cereal, fruit juice without pulp and more are fully approved. The diet is missing a lot of nutrients. Nutritionists and doctors don’t claim it’s a long-term solution to health problems. But, if a person has issues with their digestive health, it can help ease symptoms until a flare-up has passed or they have surgery or recover from treatment. It is not a diet for life.
The low-residue diet can change a person’s microbiome. Someone who follows the diet may need to take steps to revive their microbiome after finishing the diet. If you have to follow it, be sure to talk to your doctor about all your health concerns, the best way to remain healthy throughout the process and how to recover afterward. As it can be hazardous for someone with blood sugar concerns, address that with your doctor if that pertains to you. Under the right circumstances, the low-residue diet can be fantastic for some people. But, it’s not a good fit for everyone.