High Fat/Protein, Low Fibre Diet

High Fat/Protein, Low Fibre Diet

My friend has been told by her oncologist to eat a high fat/protein and low fibre diet to avoid bowel blockage. Is anyone else following this? How have you found it? Does it really avoid bowel blockage?

I found some guidance at: health.qld.gov.au/nutrition... but it didn't seem very nutritious.

Have you got any mouthwatering recipe suggestions so I can cook up a supper for her containing only soluble fibre. What we ate yesterday looked like a school dinner.

53 Replies

  • Hi Annie,

    I followed this diet for several months following my first bowel obstruction and am on it again now following my second :-( It's far from nutritious I agree but for me for now it's doing the trick in combination with new chemo and everything is ticking along nicely. Ideally it's not meant for long term use, but I was amazed at how unconcerned all the doctors and nutritionists were to this aspect when I mentioned it to them. Needs must I suppose! I find the quantity of food I can eat in one go also has a big effect and eat much smaller portions than I used to. Am gradually introducing other foods now and take a step back if any symptoms start to appear. As for mouth watering recipe suggestions, yes I'd love to hear some too!!

    Sending all best wishes to you and your friend,

    Lynne xxxx

  • I find smaller portions are necessary as well although so far not had an obstruction

  • Thanks Lynne, that's really helpful advice because I think most people told they should follow a low fibre, high fat/protein diet would find it a bit bizarre. It goes against everything we've been taught in having a healthy lifestyle to avoid cancer. I felt sure it was the right advice and medically sound and your suggestion that it's only a short-term solution makes sense.

    It does remind me of Professor Ian McNeish telling a conference that once you've got cancer there's no point in avoiding sugar as cancer cells will convert other substances into sugar which is why people with advanced cancer can become quite underweight. He told us that the time to avoid sugars was before you get it.

    Did they suggest any food supplements to compliment the diet?

    I must admit the double cream meringues we had for pudding sweetened any memories I might have otherwise had about the overall nutritional composition of the meal.

    I'm so glad you replied to say it worked for you as I'm sure this will be really helpful to anyone starting this sort of diet. xx Annie

  • Lynne, How does this recipe look from the End IBS site:

    Mediterranean Shoulder of Lamb

    Mediterranean Shoulder of Lamb

    Serve with seasonal greens such as asparagus and purple sprouting broccoli and hasselback sweet potatoes.

    Prep: 10 min Cook: 6-7hrs

    Ingredients serve 8:

    1 large organic shoulder of lamb

    12 medium organic vine tomatoes

    2 tbsp organic dried of fresh oregano, finely chopped if fresh

    1 whole bulb of organic garlic, oak smoked if possible

    2 large handfuls green lemon stuffed olives

    1 tbsp sea salt

    2 tbsp organic coconut oil, melted


    1.Preheat your oven to 150°C,

    2.Make small slits in the lamb front and back, peel the garlic and insert into slits

    3.Sprinkle lamb with coconut oil and scatter with the oregano and seas salt

    4.Place in meat pan and scatter the tomatoes and olives across the top

    5.Place on the middle shelf of oven and roast for 5 hrs, covered loosely with baking parchment

    6.After 5 hrs baste the lamb every 30 mins to keep it moist, leaving the parchment off

    7.Serve anywhere between hour 5 and 7.

    The meat will be falling off of the bone. Slice into chunky rustic slices and serve covered with the tomatoes, olives and its own juice.

    8.Can be cooked in slow cooker.

  • Mmm that sounds good actually. My fruit and veg intake is necessarily severely limited at the moment and def no skins, pips, seeds etc, but am thoroughly enjoying tinned peaches, avocado and carrots!! Building up now though so going to try this one soon. Will have to peel the toms though.

    I take a multivitamin daily and when intake was very limited docs gave me high calorie nutrition rich drinks (Fortisip). You'd think you wld feel pretty rubbish considering the food I've been eating in general, but in fact I feel the best I have in ages. It's just getting used to eating all the what we consider to be the 'wrong things' that takes a bit of getting used to.

    Lynne xxxx

  • Thanks Lynne for the information about multivitamins and Fortisip. It's reassuring if you're starting out on a strange low non-soluble fibre diet to hear that it's worked so well for others and to hear how you feel better now than you have in ages.

    I made the lamb recipe last night and it was really delicious. I think my oven/pots require a lower temperature to cook the meat over that number of hours. It really did fall apart but everyone enjoyed it. Those who needed a low unsoluble fibre diet just had well-cooked brocolli as a veg whilst the others tucked into plenty of crisp cooked veggies. I used tinned organic vine tomatoes.

    xx Annie

  • I had three occasions of blocked bowel two years ago. I am now sticking to a low fibre diet and have been fine. One thing that concerns me in your recipe. I was told no seeds, no skins, no nuts, Definitely no mushrooms or lettuce. I can eat as much meat as I like I buy the large tomatoes, skin and de seed them to slice on a sandwich which has to be white bread. I make Spag bol using passata and well cooked onions. Veg - carrots no problems and broccoli and cauliflower florets - no stalk well cooked not cordon bleu No Peas Beans or lentils. I also take Movicol each day and now have no problems. No Skin on Potatoes Jacket or New. Hope this info helps.


  • Dear Hilary, I've only just seen your comment having been abroad with very limited access to the internet for a week. Your comments reflect the information I've been told about no seeds, skins, nuts and raw veggies/salad. I hadn't heard mushrooms were a worry.

    I'm so pleased your diet along with Movicol is working for you. Bowel blockage, I've been told, is the worst ever pain so it's good to be forewarned and advised on diets that avoid it.

    It was really lovely to meet up in Manchester and now to put a face to a name and a husband too. I hope your boating is going well. We'll be hitting the canals on a narrow boat later on in July and looking forward to it enormously.

    best wishes. Annie x

  • Dear Hilary, I've only just seen your comment having been abroad with very limited access to the internet for a week. Your comments reflect the information I've been told about no seeds, skins, nuts and raw veggies/salad. I hadn't heard mushrooms were a worry.

    I'm so pleased your diet along with Movicol is working for you. Bowel blockage, I've been told, is the worst ever pain so it's good to be forewarned and advised on diets that avoid it.

    It was really lovely to meet up in Manchester and now to put a face to a name and a husband too. I hope your boating is going well. We'll be hitting the canals on a narrow boat later on in July and looking forward to it enormously.

    best wishes. Annie x

  • Lynne, very sorry to know you're having bowel problems. Thinking of you.

    Hugs, Fernanda

  • I know that this type of diet is recommended for people with constipation type IBS. I find the use of the words high fat/protein and low fibre confusing though because it implies very little fibre and low carbs but the only restriction seems to be on insoluble fibre.

    Basically insoluble fibre adds bulk to stools so best for people prone to diahorrea whilst soluble fibre softens stools so best for people prone to constipation.

    I can't think of any recipes off the top of my head. I have some recipe books but they are currently boxed up so maybe search for IBS diets. I started reading a good book by a gastroenterologist from Oxford just before finding out I had OC.

    I have actually been recommended this type of diet as well a couple of times but when I asked the young registrar to explain why she got a bit flustered and couldn't.

    I think the science is sound and it's a specialist diet not for everyone. Imagine not being able to go for days on end it's actually pretty miserable and makes you feel ill as well as painful.

  • Thanks Lorraine, a balanced and thoughtful response as always. I've just been looking online and have found some guidance from the Mayo Clinic which even has a suggested menu for the day:

    mayoclinic.org/healthy-livi... which might be helpful to anyone catering for this type of diet.

    I'd love any other information anyone can glean. xx

  • endibsnaturally.com/recipes/

    Also look at paleo diet recipes as well

  • mmmm mmmmm those Paleo recipes listed in the End IBS site are mouthwatering!!!!! I think I'd be asking to see a nutritionist as oncologists are far too specialised to give any sensible advice on diet.

    Thanks for all the advice and pointers. xxx Annie

  • Do you mean a dietician?

  • oooh. What's the difference?

  • Dieticians are employed by the NHS and have to meet certain professional requirements. Whereas anyone can set themselves up as a nutritionist. To borrow a quote. "All dieticians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are dieticians."

    Love Mary xx

  • I have a friend who has been using Fybogel (as above) for years for a different bowel problem. She steers clear of wind-inducing /dark green foods but otherwise eats normally and uses a sachet after each meal. I wonder if that might be a more palatable approach longer term?

    The high protein/fat bit is easier, but this resource bears out what you say on the fibre front:

    this one got cooking ideas going for me a bit:



    and this site is a bit more positivehttp://jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2011/03/low-residue-diet-low-fiber-diet-recipes.html


    And as my domestic science teacher taught us many years ago, go for colour on the plate, i.e. not just white rice with chicken and a cream sauce!

    Hope this helps

  • Thanks Chris. I've just signed up to Jeanette's Recipe blog. I have loads of supper ideas now and it seems to me that they may well be helpful to anyone who has suffered constipation whilst on chemo. Has anyone heard whether it would be good practice? You'd think if it would that oncologists/chemo nurses would have this as part of the armoury. I'll ask when I'm next in clinic.

    Ahh you've reminded me of my Domestic Science Teacher - she was probably the person who instilled confidence and a love of cooking and entertaining in me. Wish it were possible sometimes to rewind the clock and thank people who have made a significant contribution to ones life. xxx

  • That's the only aspect of my domestic science teaching I've retained.... I developed an enjoyment of cooking and food despite everything I was taught in school. But the early 60s were a different world food-wise ( in fact recipe books from that period would probably be quite a help!).

    Some Crohns disease recipes might help too, except that they're pushing people more in an low fat direction....

    Clear blue sky here this morning - yippee - hope it is where you are


  • In my day they called it home economics. My first teacher was terrifying I remember she once rapped me across my knuckles with the back of a spoon

  • Nasty woman! We nicknamed my cookery teacher Funge. She was a lovely lady but couldn't control the class. The course had the highfalutin name 'Food and Nutrition' in my day but it did, to be fair, include a lot of biology and chemistry as part of the 'nutrition' element of the course.

    The practical element would have done credit to a classical cookery course going through the different methods of cake and bread making, sauces, and menu construction. I remember having an assignment that required us to cook an entire meal using an oven only. Think I failed that one as my 60s mum had no idea at all about alternative ways of cooking. She was a frying pan and pot lady.

  • My domestic science teacher was also a witch. (That's a typo.) Put me off cookery for life. Unfortunately she was also the careers teacher and seemed to believe that poor performance at cookery = all round stupid. But that's another story. :)

    Mary xx

  • hahaha Mary. Our teachers are responsible for a lot!!! Luck of the draw. If I'd been at your school perhaps I would have had a glittering career given cookery was one of my favourite lessons of the week. No girls went for careers guidance at our school. Our careers teacher was too 'handy' for comfort. Oh the memories!!!

  • Still, at least she taught me the correct way to ring out a dish cloth, even if it was embarrassing to be revealed as a person with a mother who was doing it the WRONG WAY!!!! :) xx

  • I didn't know it was possible to wring out a dish cloth the WRONG way!!! What's the right way? x

  • Hi Mary and Annie!

    Nice to start the day with a chuckle..... my sewing (same one as for cooking) teacher told me off because my hemming was done the wrong way round (as taught by my mum who had been making all our clothes beautifully for years!).

    So there are the habits that work from long practice and there are the "right" ones. I was tempted to write " a bit like some medicine" but thought it a tad unfair!

    Nice to meet you at Members day, Mary.

    Enjoy the sunshine!

  • I wonder if anyone would put up a blog on Members' Day. I've heard it was a great day.

  • I thought someone had. I have a recollection of adding something to it. Mind you, my brain may be addled.

    I've just realised that the functionality seems to have got worse. This is what I've just written on the feedback site: The "my activity" button seems to have disappeared. This was useful as a search tool. I've just failed to find a shortcut to some posts I know were posted about 3 weeks ago. I also think something beyond the search box is needed. Not all users will know to press the enter key".

  • I'm trialling the new BETA version. They're still adding to it and at the moment I don't have any 'edit' button.

    I miss loads of posts these days - but perhaps the post was put up on the Ovacome bit of the site rather than this chat forum. I'll go have a look xx

  • It was great to meet you too. A very interesting day xx

  • A bit difficult to describe. The dish cloth should be rolled up lengthwise in a sausage shape and held in both hands which are in the same position, palm upwards. Twist the right hand towards you in an overhand movement whilst keeping the left one still, clutching the left side of the cloth. Mum's method was to grab and twist both ways in opposite directions. So I'm still doing it the wrong way. :) xx

  • Have just read this on the train Mary and have been going through the movements and practicing in the RIGHT way and then the WRONG way without a dish cloth of course .... and then noticed I was getting some very strange looks from the other passengers. lol

    It started up quite a conversation and a couple of passengers round me tried out both methods, without cloth of course, and we all agree your teacher's method is rubbish. xxx

  • I had not heard of this diet Annie! In fact I am advised the opposite! I do tend to eat lots of fresh fruit and veg though at present I am mot eating much at all as I feel very sick most of the time and have abdominal pain but they have found no blockage to date!

    Anthony Worral Thompson has some good recipes in his Low GI cookbooks but whether they would be low fibre I do mot know!

    I would be inclined to make a root veg puree with carrot, celeriac and potato flavoured with nutmeg and cream served with really good sausages (or a chop or a piece of fish) and a madeira or hollandaise sauce if serving fish). A cream of mushroom soup ( i use a mix of mushrooms) to start and chocolate pots (Jamie Oliver's are quick and easy and very rich) for pudding with some langues de chat on the side!

    Hope this helps!


  • I love your recipe idea Margaret. I'd be round in a flash to try that one. I love those packs of exotic mushrooms you can buy these days. They're scrummy.

    Jeanette's website recommends fruit, but says the following are inadvisable for a low residue diet: Canned or raw pineapple, Fresh figs, Berries of any kind, Coconut, All dried fruits, Fruit seeds, Prunes and Prune juice.

    It's obviously a mine field. If I were trying to deal with constipation I'd be reaching for the prunes and prune juice!!!! I'm sure it's best to take professional advice before embarking on any radical diet and really it would be helpful if oncologists would refer patients to a dietician if they suggest a low-fibre diet. (see Lorraine's comment above where she asked her Registrar for some advice). I'll see if there's a dietician at the hospital who can advise and will post up any feedback here.

  • Hi Annie, this is interesting. I had been eating lots of fresh pineapple following chemo as I found it helped take the metallic taste away but I ended up in hospital with a bowel blockage in October. They advised a white diet for a week fgolloiweing this. Wonder did the pineapplke contribute to the blockasge? Ann

  • It's such a minefield Ann. I've just looked up fibre in pineapple and it is apparently rich in soluble fibre so you wouldn't think it would do any harm. I did find some guidance on the livestrong site that warned to limit portions to avoid discomfort in the gut. Coochie's description of 'contraction pains' makes me want to avoid bowel blockage at all costs.

    I'm going to hospital tomorrow and will have a bit of waiting around so I've asked whether I can see my CNS to see whether there are any classes to attend there on nutrition. It would be good to get some professional advice on how to avoid blockages. I'll post up if I hear anything helpful. xxx

  • Thanks Annie. ThT would be helpful. The pain with a blockage is horrendous, I was literally scarring with pain, in contrast, during labour with both my daughters, I never uttered a word! Ann xo

  • Have you thought of going to Penny Brohn? A post on another blog talks about their nutrition days and that once you've been there you can ring them for advice.

    It's funny about labour pains. It does sort of hurt but for me there was a reason I could understand. It was like doing a marathon with no training and the poor muscles were complaining. If it's pain I don't understand I find it terrifying and that makes me scream too.

    Will post with anything I learn. Sending hugs. xxx Annie

  • Thanks again. Posting from my phone so don't always notice my typos lol. Too small! I live in NI so would be difficult for me.

  • I heard this morning that Penny Brohn did a course in Jersey. I wonder if they ever do one, or would do one, in N Ireland? xx

  • It might be worthwhile looking into that. Thanks Annie.

  • Hi Annie , I have been meaning to post about a tablet I have found that has been amazing for me with my problems and may help others. Your post as prompted me , as it most certainty helps with the bowels ,big time. It's called Dida, you can get it on line or from Holland and Barrett, not cheap at just under 22.00 for 90 tablets, a months supply to start. The herbs stop the fermented of food into gas and also maintain the digestive tract. Cinnamon based with herbal extracts and nutrients. Whilst I did not have a problem with going I had this hernia problem and gas that's how I came to try them. With out going into details the daily delivery has been amazing and gas practically gone. I have been on them for a fortnight and have found them amazing. Certainty worth a try for anyone who wants to improve the daily delivery. I will post again the info in case others don't read this. Trix

  • Thanks so much Trix. Most of us suffer from upset stomachs in one way or another at some time during chemo. Sadly I find it a minefield trying to get any joined-up advice though I'm sure most centres have a dietician.

    This reminds me that there are courses at Penny Brohn that I haven't explored which would give a lot of advice on diet and food whilst managing the disease and its treatments. xxx

  • Hi, yes the Penny Brohn probably has the best advice, they are experts. I have been meaning to go up and it's close to me but for various reasons I haven't made it yet. Thanks Trix

  • For me it's the unknown. I think I'd go if I knew someone else. Isn't that stupid of me!

  • It's in Pill, I would be happy to meet you there. I have been meaning to call them and check out just what day courses they have. It is easy for me to get there and I'm sure there is a bus from Bristol bus station that goes to Pill. I've had so much going on with my husband's illness and my hernia problem that I have put it on the back burner. Trix

  • You've inspired me to take a look. We've just missed one a few months back and there's another coming up for ovarian cancer but it's intended for women who need a higher level of individual treatments and one-to-one sessions than I feel I could justify.

    Perhaps there'll be another in the autumn? I'll ring Target as they seem to know about all the courses specifically for women with Ovarian Cancer, or we could just look at one that looks at nutrition. There may be a day course for that. xx

  • Yes, I don't warrant a one to one session but would like to hear about diet. I have heard very good reports about them. X

  • Hi Annie

    We had this conversaton yesterday and my oncologist said the same to eat high fat/protein and low fibre foods but it goes against everything i eat, so i am continuing with my no dairy, no meat diet. I have had 3 obstructions since Feb and found peppers and nuts i think caused 2 of them so i just avoid these foods. I was prescribed tablets from my oncologist which i take if i feel an episode coming on and they did take the edge of the pain. Good luck to your friend and i hope she manages to avoid these obstructions as they are extremely painful, i described them like contraction pains!*!**

    Elaine x

  • Three obstructions in as many months sounds absolutely awful. Can't imagine the pain. I'll put you two in touch with one another as promised.xxx

  • Help!!!!! What can I eat being a Veggie? Im going on the Nutritional course in Maggies next week. I missed the first one as i had oncologist appointment.


  • Hello Marj, I've just decided to go on a Penny Brohn course and looking down their list of options I noticed there's one on healthy eating. Their courses are offered in a number of centres. The website is: pennybrohncancercare.org/si.... Jean also mentions a course available in her Maggies so that may be an option for you.

    I'm going to ring PB about their introductory course. It may be worth speaking to them to see if they offer a course specifically on addressing the risk of bowel blockages.

    I've been preparing some meals for my friend but they seem far from nutritious in the conventional sense in that veggies have to be very well cooked and she has to avoid most fibre. I get the feeling the term 'bowel blockage' might cover different circumstances which would necessitate different approaches to nutrition. My friend has been told she has tumours around the duodenum which are constricting the passage of food along the alimentary canal so the remedy is a low-residue diet so that food that can be processed in the stomach and high up in the alimentary canal. Other women have described being blocked by a build up of matter in the bowel. I wonder if anyone here can shed any light on whether we're talking about two completely separate issues that have an umbrella description of 'bowel blockage'?

    This makes me quite frustrated. I'm sure there's a need for oncologists to be able to discuss nutrition and other conditions arising from our cancer and the treatments. It seems disjointed at times and leaves us feeling confused as we try to fit the jigsaw pieces in place. I wonder if your cancer centre has a nutritionalist you could speak to?

    I'm not sure I've been much help. I think I may have added to the confusion!

    Looking forward to hearing what you find out.

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