Can I Normally Eat 2 Days Before Colonoscopy?

Reviewed on 5/26/2021

Colonoscopy food

Generally, a three-day low fiber diet is recommended along with laxatives.
Generally, a three-day low fiber diet is recommended along with laxatives.

Generally, a three-day low fiber diet is recommended along with laxatives. Some physicians may prescribe a low-fiber diet for a day. Nevertheless, it is better to start eating a low-fiber diet two to three days before the colonoscopy up to the time of the procedure. Low-fiber foods include are

  • Milk and milk products
    • Buttermilk
    • Custard
    • Evaporated or powdered milk
    • Sour cream
    • Low-fat ice cream
    • Skim or low-fat milk
    • Sherbet
    • Smooth non-fat or low-fat yogurt without seeds, berries, rinds or nuts
  • Vegetables
    • Any well-cooked vegetables without seeds (e.g., carrots, asparagus tips, green or wax beans, pumpkin, spinach, lima beans)
    • Lettuce
    • Potatoes without skin
    • Strained vegetable juice
  • Meats and other protein foods
    • Eggs
    • Smooth nut butter (such as creamy peanut butter)
    • Tofu
    • Tender, well-cooked chicken, turkey, lamb, lean, pork, veal, fish and seafood
  • Grains
    • Bread, bagels, rolls, crackers, pasta and cereals made from white or refined flour (e.g., crispy rice cereal and cornflakes)
    • Cooked cereals (farina and creamy rice)
    • White rice
  • Fruits
    • Fruit juice without pulp (except prune juice)
    • Most canned, soft and pureed fruit without skin (except pineapple)
    • Peeled apple
    • Ripe banana or melons
  • Snacks and sweets
    • Hard candy
    • Jell-O
    • Low-fat ice cream
    • Plain cake and plain cookies
    • Plain pudding and custard
    • Pretzels
    • Sherbet, popsicles
  • Beverages
  • Condiments
    • Ketchup and mustard
    • Margarine, butter, oils, mayonnaise, sour cream and salad dressing
    • Plain gravies
    • Spices, cooked herbs, bouillon, broth and soups made with allowed vegetables
    • Sugar, clear jelly, honey and syrup

These foods are light on the stomach and are easy to digest. Fiber is the indigestible part of foods. If these fibers remain in the intestine, they can mask areas of the colon, thus causing a hindrance for doctors to see the colon during a colonoscopy.

Foods that should be avoided before colonoscopy

  • Milk and milk products: Yogurt with seeds, berries, rinds or nuts
  • Vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage and sauerkraut
    • Cauliflower
    • Corn
    • Fried vegetables
    • Greens (mustard, turnip, collards)
    • Mushrooms
    • Okra
    • Onions
    • Peppers
    • Potato skins
    • Raw vegetables, except lettuce
    • Winter squash
  • Meats and other protein foods
    • Chunky nut butter
    • Dried, canned or frozen legumes (such as beans, peas and lentils)
    • Nuts or seeds
    • Tough or chewy cuts of meat
  • Grains
    • Brown rice and wild rice
    • Cereals made from whole grains
    • Grain products made with seeds or nuts
    • Whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, rolls, crackers or pasta
  • Fruits
    • All raw fruits except peeled apple, ripe bananas and melon
    • Canned berries and cherries
    • Dried fruits, including raisins
    • Prunes and prune juice
  • Snacks, sweets or condiments
    • All desserts containing nuts, seeds, dried fruit or coconut or made from whole grain or bran
    • Candy made with nuts or seeds
    • Jam, marmalade and preserves
    • Pickles, olives, relish, horseradish
    • Popcorn
  • Legumes
    • Dried peas (including split or black-eyed)
    • Dried beans (including kidney, pinto or garbanzo or chickpea)
    • Lentils
    • Any other legume

The most favorable method of cooking would be simmering, poaching, braising, stewing and steaming. Baking or microwaving in a covered dish is another good option. The aim is to cook foods until they are tender and soft. Frying and grilling should be avoided because they can make food difficult to digest.

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References
Kaiser Permanente. Low-fiber Diet for Colonoscopy Preparation. https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/washington/get-care/additional-services/gastroenterology/colon-diet-low-fiber

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