ZocdocAnswersWhat types of food can I eat if I have ulcerative colitis?

Question

What types of food can I eat if I have ulcerative colitis?

My doctor told me to avoid high fiber foods, but I don't think I can escape fiber completely. What types of foods should I stock up on?

Answer

Sorry to hear that you are dealing with ulcerative colitis! The good new is that, with medications and dietary management, many people experience significant improvement in their symptoms. It is important to continue to have regular visits with your GI doctor and, potentially, with a nutritionist. The first principle of diet for people with ulcerative colitis is to make sure that you get plenty of calories. People with bad ulcerative colitis flares my lose a lot of weight or become malnourished, and so boosting your diet with extra calories is important. You may want to meet with a nutritionist to discuss specific strategies to ensure that you are getting sufficient calories. For some people, a low fiber diet is also helpful, because it slows down the passage of stools in the intestines, leading to less frequent bowel movements. It is not necessary to eliminate fiber entirely, but if you can limit yourself to 10 or 15 grams per day, that could be helpful. Again, a nutritionist could help you develop this plan, and reading food labels for fiber content is also very helpful. Finally, in some people with ulcerative colitis, there are specific food triggers that make symptoms worse. These are different from person to person, but keeping a food diary might be helpful for you. If you identify a specific food that makes your symptoms worse, then you can avoid that food. Of course, you should speak with your doctor before embarking on any changes. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.