What is a low fibre diet?

A low fibre diet focuses on restricting foods which are high in fibre to improve bowel 
In most cases a low fibre diet is required only temporarily, although some individuals may 
need to follow it indefinitely. Please seek guidance from your doctor or Dietitian.

What is fibre?

Fibre is the roughage found in fruit, vegetable, lentils, and pulses as well as wholegrains. 

There are two types of fibre:

  1. Insoluble fibre which adds bulk to the stool and acts as a brush to clean the gut.
  2. Soluble fibre which helps to absorb fluid and soften the stool. 

This low fibre diet sheet focuses mainly on reducing the insoluble fibre.

Why do I need to follow a low fibre diet?

High fibre intake is recommended for the general population because fibre helps to keep the bowel healthy and clean. 

However, in some medical conditions which affect the bowel, fibre (especially insoluble fibre) can further aggravate symptoms.

Examples of conditions:

  • Inflammatory diarrhoea caused by a flare-up of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, or because of pelvic radiotherapy or graft versus-host disease)
  • Bowel obstruction or stricture
  • High stoma output
  • Slow gastrointestinal transit

Foods allowed and foods to avoid if you are following a low fibre diet

Allowed foods

  • White bread, English muffins, plain scones/ croissants/ bagels without dried fruits, crumpets, pancakes, white pitta and naan bread, white chapatti and tortillas, poppadums, Yorkshire pudding, dumplings
  • Refined breakfast cereal, such as Special K, 
  • Cornflakes and Rice Krispies with no dried fruit/nuts 
  • White rice, pasta, noodles, tapioca, semolina 
  • Corn/ white flour 
  • Plain biscuits such as rich tea/ custard creams
  • Plain crackers
  • Plain sponge cake

Avoid these foods

  • Wholemeal, granary, or rye bread, chapatti and pitta bread, fibre enriched bread, 
  • All fruit / nut breads, including walnut, granary or fruit muffins or scones and pastries with fruit/ dried fruit 
  • Wholegrain cereals, such as Weetabix, All Bran, porridge oats, muesli, bran, wheat 
  • germ, bulgur wheat 
  • Wholegrain and wild rice, pasta, couscous, pearl barley, quinoa, oatmeal, wholegrain noodles 
  • Brown, wholemeal or granary flour, wheat germ 
  • Wholegrain or fruit/ nut biscuits (fig rolls, Garibaldi)
  • Oat biscuits 
  • Whole wheat biscuits e.g., flapjacks, whole wheat digestives, fruit cake, rye crispbreads

Allowed foods (flesh only - no peel / skin, seeds, or stalks), cooked

  • Boiled/ mashed potato, sweet potato, pumpkin/butternut squash, zucchini (courgette) cauliflower and broccoli tips, asparagus tips, aubergine, marrow, carrot, swede, beetroot
  • Sieved tomato sauces/ tinned tomatoes, including passata and tomato puree 
  • Strained vegetable juices

Allowed foods (salad)

  • Skinless and seedless cucumber and tomato
  • Shredded lettuce, young spinach, rocket (chew thoroughly)

Avoid these foods (all raw vegetables)

• Avoid all other vegetables not listed in ‘Allowed’ list
• Including artichoke, cabbage, curly kale, celery, fennel, leeks, okra, peppers, peas, mature spinach, sprouts, sweetcorn, yam, cassava, 
• Salad/ roast/ croquette potato and chips

Allowed foods: flesh only (no peel/ skin, seeds)

  • Pawpaw, melons, banana (ripe), seedless grapes
  • Peeled/ canned/ stewed or well-cooked peaches, nectarine, apple, pear, plums, fruit cocktail, mango, lychees, apricot
  • Canned fruits except pineapple/ prunes
  • Fruit juice – no pulp
  • Avocado (smooth, guacamole

Avoid these foods: fruit with skin, pips or of a very “fibrous” texture

  • Apples, pears, pineapple, citrus fruit, berries, and currants
  • Dried fruit 
  • Canned pineapple, prunes
  • All other fruit not ‘Allowed’ 
  • Smoothies

Allowed foods

  • All types of milk and milk alternatives, cream, sour cream, crème fraiche, cottage cheese
  • Smooth yoghurt and fromage frais (no nuts or fruit)
  • Most cheeses

Avoid these foods

  • Any milk and products containing fruit, nuts, seeds, or cereals

Allowed foods

  • Any tender and soft meat, chicken, and fish. 
  • Smooth paté (crab, tuna, mackerel, chicken liver)
  • Tofu 
  • Eggs
  • Smooth paté (crab, tuna, mackerel, chicken liver)

Avoid these foods

  • All beans, lentils, and chickpeas 
  • All nuts including coconut
  • All seeds, including pumpkin, chia, sunflower and sesame seeds 
  • Plant based protein powders (pea protein, flaxseed protein)


  • Strained fruit and vegetable juices, milk and milk alternatives, water, soft drinks, tea and coffee, herbal teas

Avoid these 

  • Fruit and vegetable juices with pulp, prune juice 
  • Fruit and vegetable smoothies


  • Smooth or sieved soup
  • All fats including butter, oil, margarine 
  • Sugar, honey, golden syrup, custard powder, boiled sweets, mints, toffee, caramel, marshmallows, plain/milk/white chocolate 
  • Seedless jam and marmalade
  • Sorbet, ice cream, jelly, smooth puddings (custard, rice pudding, semolina, tapioca, mousse)
  • Pepper, salt, herbs, and spices in moderation (dried or finely chopped) 
  • Bovril, Oxo, Miso soup with no seaweed, marmite
  • Smooth sauces (gravy, ketchup, soy sauce, tamari)
  • Plain crisps, plain pretzels (without sesame seeds)
  • Smooth nut butter

It is important to maintain a varied, balanced diet especially if you follow a low fibre diet for more than few weeks. 

If you have a poor appetite you should aim to eat three small regular meals with two to three snacks or nourishing drinks in between. Chew food slowly and thoroughly.

Consider taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement daily if you need to follow a low fibre diet for more than one to two weeks.

You may also be asked to avoid large quantities of caffeine, alcohol, fizzy drinks, and large quantities of milk as well as spicy foods, fatty /gristly meat, and resistant starch. These foods do not contain fibre but in some cases may worsen gastrointestinal symptoms. 

If you notice weight loss, speak to your dietitian about ways to increase your calorie and protein intake to ensure adequate nutrition. 

Meal plan

Breakfast ideas

  • Low fibre cereal (see ‘Allowed’ list) with milk and banana
  • White toast or bagel with spread and cottage cheese/ marmite or jam (seedless)
  • Scrambled/ boiled/ poached egg and white toast with spread

Lunch ideas

  • White roll/ bread with spread and cheese/ ham, cottage cheese/ egg/ fish
  • Creamy soup and white bread/ toast with spread
  • Noodles/ white rice/ pasta with meat/ fish/ tofu, creamy sauces, and cooked/ low fibre vegetables (see ‘Allowed ‘list)
  • Baked potato (no skin) with spread and cheese/ tuna and mayo (no sweetcorn)

Dinner Ideas

  • Potato (no skin)/ white rice/ pasta with fish, meat, egg, cheese, creamy sauces, stews
  • Small portion of vegetable (see ‘allowed’ list)
  • Cheese omelette
  • Pudding: sponge and custard, jelly, smooth yoghurt

Snack Ideas

  • Plain biscuits, smooth yoghurt, crumpet with jam or marmite, fruit (see ‘allowed’ list) 

You can start reintroducing high fibre foods usually within several weeks (please confirm with your doctor or dietitian).

Introduce high fibre foods gradually in steps and observe your symptoms (for example stoma output). This will help you to rule out foods that may make your symptoms worse.

Week one

Gradually (one serving per day*) add fruit and vegetables with skins. 

  • Day one to three: add boiled potato with skin and other cooked vegetables from ‘avoid list’ (cooked kale, cabbage, celery, leaks) Avoid sweetcorn or peas
  • Day four to seven: add raw apple/ pear/ peach/ plum/ tomato/ cucumber with skin 

Week two

Add wholegrain/ wholemeal cereal/ pasta/ rice or bread (one serving per day*). 

  • Day one to three: try higher fibre cereals (porridge/ Weetabix/Shredded wheat)
  • Day four to seven: replace white bread/ pasta/ rice with wholemeal/wholegrain varieties

Week three

If you are symptom free, try adding dried fruit/ nuts; beans/ pulses and raw vegetable from ‘avoid’ list (one serving per day*). 

  • Day one to two: add raw vegetable including those from the ‘avoid’ list (e.g., cabbage, peppers, peas); one fruit or veg smoothie
  • Day three to four: try fruit cake/ dried fruit and nuts in cereal
  • Day five to seven: add baked beans/ sweetcorn/ lentils

Notes on servings

*One serving is what you can fit in a palm of your hand (one large fruit or vegetable-like tomato or apple; a handful of berries/cherries; two to three tablespoons of cooked veg/beans/pasta or rice; one to two slices of bread; tablespoon of nuts/ dried fruit).

Please keep in mind that you may be asked to introduce foods slower, quicker or in a different order depending on your symptoms and condition. 

If you have any difficulties with reintroducing foods, or require following low fibre diet long term, you should be referred to a dietitian for further advice