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Bowel Preparation Changes to Your Diet

For the procedure to be accurate, the bowel must be completely clean. This is achieved through a combination of dietary changes and bowel preparation medication. To ensure the colon is clean at the time of the procedure, a low residue diet is required.

A Low-Residue Diet is specified prior to a colonoscopy to decrease the amount of undigested food that passes through your digestive system. The term residue refers to the parts of food that pass undigested through the bowel, primarily being fibre. If this residue remains in the bowel then it may obscure areas of the colon that are required to be assessed by your doctor. By adhering to a low-residue diet in preparation for a colonoscopy you are assisting in reducing the presence of obstructions and increase the likelihood of a successful procedure.

Your doctor will nominate either a standard low-residue diet or a 'white diet'. Continue reading below for further information on the foods and drinks allowed and to view a sample menu plan for both diets.

Watch our video to learn more

Current Medications

The following instructions should be considered as general information only.
If you are currently on medication, please seek advice from your doctor.

Iron Tablets and Blood Thinners

Please cease taking iron tablets 7 days prior to colonoscopy. Consult with your doctor if you are taking blood thinners. Aspirin is generally fine to continue.

NSAID Medication

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory disease (NSAID) medication (eg. Voltaren, Indocid, Naprosyn) should generally be ceased 3 days prior to the procedure.

Diabetic Medication

This medication will need to be adjusted. This should be discussed futher with your gastroenterologist.

Other Medications

Should generally be taken as normal, unless advised to discontinue by the doctor. If medication is necessary on the morning of the procedure, please take it early with only a small sip of water. Ensure only clear fluids are consumed up to 4 hours before the procedure.

Select Diet

Low Residue Diet

Food & Drinks Allowed

A low residue diet is intended to limit daily dietary fibre intake and restricts any other foods that may stimulate bowel activity. The low residue diet should be followed for 3 days in the lead up to your procedure.

The below table suggests types of food and drinks allowed and those to be avoided.

  • Food & Drinks Allowed
  • Dairy

    • All milk, plain yoghurt, cheese and white sauces
    • Sour cream
    • Butter and mayonnaise
  • Breads & Grains

    • Breads made from refined white flour, such as plain white bread, English muffins and croissants
    • Low-fibre cereals, such as Cornflakes and Rice Bubbles
    • White rice and pasta
    • Plain crackers (rice or white flour)
  • Meat

    • Lean beef, pork, lamb, veal, fish and chicken
    • Sausages and bacon
    • Meat curries (without onion)
    • Plain meat pies
  • Fruit & Vegetables

    • Peeled pumpkin
    • Peeled potato
  • Nuts & Seeds

    • NO nuts or seeds are to be eaten
  • Dessert

    • Vanilla ice cream
    • Meringue
    • Custard
  • Drinks

    • Clear, strained (pulp-free) fruit and vegetable juice, such as clear apple or pear
    • Water and carbonated water
    • Tea and coffee
    • Bonox, Bovril, Aktavite, Sustagen, Ensure, Digestelact
  • Others

    • Eggs
    • Tofu
    • Oil
    • Strained broths, clear soups and soup cubes
    • Margarine
  • Food & Drinks to Avoid
  • Dairy

    • Flavoured or fruit yoghurts
    • Fruit cheeses
  • Breads & Grains

    • Wholemeal and fibre-enriched white bread
    • Breads containing nuts and seeds
    • Wholemeal (brown) rice or pasta
    • Cornmeal
    • High-fibre cereals, such as muesli, oats and granola
  • Meat

    • Tough and gristly meats
    • Fish and meat paste
  • Fruit & Vegetables

    • Strawberries, passionfruit, citrus fruit, grapes (including sultanas and raisins), coconut, dried fruit
    • Tomato, capsicum, peas, corn, onions
    • Legumes, such as beans, lentils, barley, split peas
    • All fruit and vegetable skin and seeds
  • Nuts & Seeds

    • All seeds, such as linseed, sesame, sunflower and poppy
    • All nuts
  • Dessert

    • Cakes or cookies made with wholegrain flour, dried fruits and seeds
    • Any dyed desserts
  • Drinks

    • Fruit and vegetable juices containing pulp
    • Cloudy fruit juices
    • High-fibre drink formula, such as Sustagen Hospital and Nutrison Multi-Fibre
  • Others

    • Jams and marmalades with skins, seeds or peel
    • Honey
    • Spreads, such as vegemite, peanut butter, lemon butter, mustards and most relishes

Low Residue Diet

Sample Menu

The menu plan below is a suggestion only and not intended for long term use, as it contains fewer vegetables and fruits than recommended in a balanced diet.

Breakfast
  • Cup of coffee with milk (regular, low fat, skim)
  • Eggs and bacon on white toast with a hashbrown
Morning Tea
  • Plain rice crackers
  • Cheese
Lunch
  • Glass of soft drink
  • Ham and cheese sandwich on a white roll
Afternoon Tea
  • Wedges
  • Sour cream
Dinner
  • Lean steak or chicken
  • Peeled potato and pumpkin
  • Boiled white rice

White Diet

Food & Drinks Allowed

The White Diet is a simple low residue diet which allows you to primarily eat white coloured foods. The white diet should be followed for 3 days in the lead up to your procedure.

The below table suggests types of food and drinks allowed and those to be avoided.

  • Food & Drinks Allowed
  • Dairy

    • All milk, plain yoghurt and white sauces
    • Soft cheeses, such as plain cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta and feta
    • Cream and sour cream
    • Butter and mayonnaise
  • Breads & Grains

    • Regular white bread
    • Low-fibre cereals, such as Rice Bubbles
    • White rice and pasta
    • Plain rice crackers
  • Meat

    • Chicken breast (no skin)
    • Grilled white fish fillets
  • Fruit & Vegetables

    • Peeled potato
    • Peeled pumpkin
  • Nuts & Seeds

    • NO nuts or seeds are to be eaten
  • Dessert

    • Vanilla ice cream
    • White chocolate
  • Drinks

    • Clear, strained (pulp-free) fruit and vegetable juice, such as clear apple or pear
    • Water and carbonated water
    • Tea and coffee
    • Bonox, Bovril, Aktavite, Sustagen, Ensure, Digestelact
    • Soft drink and sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade
  • Others

    • Eggs whites
    • Strained broths, clear soups and soup cubes
    • Margarine
  • Food & Drinks to Avoid
  • Dairy

    • Flavoured or fruit yoghurts
    • Fruit cheeses
  • Breads & Grains

    • Wholemeal and fibre-enriched white bread
    • Breads containing nuts and seeds
    • Wholemeal (brown) rice or pasta
    • High-fibre cereals, such as oats
    • Semolina, couscous and popcorn
  • Meat

    • All red meat
    • Tough and gristly meats
  • Fruit & Vegetables

    • Pears, coconut and banana
    • Parsnip, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms
    • All fruit and vegetable skin and seeds
  • Nuts & Seeds

    • All seeds, such as linseed, sesame, sunflower and poppy
    • All nuts
  • Dessert

    • Cakes or cookies made with wholegrain flour, dried fruits and seeds
  • Drinks

    • Fruit and vegetable juices containing pulp
    • Cloudy fruit juices
    • High-fibre drink formula, such as Sustagen Hospital and Nutrison Multi-Fibre
  • Others

    • Jams and marmalades with skins, seeds or peel
    • Tofu
    • Egg yolks

White Diet

Sample Menu

The menu plan below is a suggestion only and not intended for long term use, as it contains fewer vegetables and fruits than recommended in a balanced diet.

Breakfast
  • Cup of coffee with milk (regular, low fat, skim)
  • Rice bubbles with milk and white sugar
Morning Tea
  • Plain rice crackers
  • Feta cheese
Lunch
  • Sliced chicken breast, butter, regular white bread sandwich
  • White chocolate Freddo Frog or Lemonade icypole
Afternoon Tea
  • Plain vanilla yougurt
  • Vanilla milkshake
Dinner
  • Plain grilled whole fish fillet, white sauce
  • Boiled white rice or pasta
  • Peeled potato