A diverticulitis diet is something your doctor might recommend as part of a treatment plan for acute diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis occurs when small, bulging pouches (diverticula) in your digestive tract become infected and inflamed. Mild cases are usually treated with antibiotics and a diverticulitis diet, which includes clear liquids and low-fiber foods. More-severe cases typically require hospitalization.
A diverticulitis diet is intended to give your digestive system a chance to rest.
A diverticulitis diet starts with only clear liquids for a few days. Examples of items allowed on a clear liquid diet include:
- Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple juice
- Ice chips
- Ice pops without bits of fruit or fruit pulp
- Tea or coffee without cream
As you start feeling better, your doctor will recommend that you slowly add low-fiber foods. Examples of low-fiber foods include:
- Canned or cooked fruits without skin or seeds
- Canned or cooked vegetables such as green beans, carrots and potatoes (without the skin)
- Eggs, fish and poultry
- Refined white bread
- Fruit and vegetable juice with no pulp
- Low-fiber cereals
- Milk, yogurt and cheese
- White rice, pasta and noodles
You should feel better within two or three days of starting the diet and antibiotics. If you haven't started feeling better by then, call your doctor. Also contact your doctor if:
- You develop a fever
- Your abdominal pain is worsening
- You're unable to keep clear liquids down
These may indicate a complication that requires hospitalization.
The diverticulitis diet has few risks. However, continuing a clear liquid diet for more than a few days can lead to weakness and other complications, since it doesn't provide enough of the nutrients your body needs. For this reason, your doctor will want you to transition back to a normal diet as soon as you can tolerate it.
Sept. 20, 2016
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- Nutrition Care Manual: Diverticular conditions. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://nutritioncaremanual.org/index.cfm. Accessed Aug. 30, 2016.
- Nutrition Care Manual: Low-fiber nutrition therapy. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://nutritioncaremanual.org/index.cfm. Accessed Aug. 30, 2016.