Most bowel preparation instructions for colonoscopy recommend clear liquid diet (CLD). Some studies have suggested that low fiber diet may be acceptable in some patients.

In a study by Butt J et al, 226 patients were randomized to a either CLD or low residue diet of white-colored foods. All patients received a 2-L polyethylene glycol lavage solution with ascorbate, sodium sulfate, and electrolytes, the day-before for morning and as a split-dose for afternoon procedures. Bowel preparation was assessed using the Harefield cleansing scale.

There was no statistical difference in adequacy of bowel preparation between the 2 groups (91% for CLD vs. 84.4% for the White Diet). The White Diet was significantly preferred because of less hunger and interference with daily activities. Withdrawal times and adenoma detection rates were similar between the groups.

Take Home Point: Low residue diet of white colored foods may be an acceptable alternative to clear liquid diet for bowel preparation in some patients.


Butt J et al. The White Diet is preferred, better tolerated, and non-inferior to a clear-fluid diet for bowel preparation: A randomized controlled trial. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Feb; 31(2):355-63. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13078.