What is a low residue diet?
A low residue diet is where high fibre foods that are harder for your body to digest are restricted. Fiber is made up of plant material that cannot be completely digested by the body. High fibre foods include whole-grain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, and raw or dried fruits. Fibre is a very important component of a healthy diet and adopting a low residue diet goes against everything a nutritionist will usually advocate! However, adopting a short-term (24 hours) low residue diet can help athletes feel lighter on race day and reduce gastrointestinal problems during the race without incurring any health problems.
How do I use a low residue diet?
Adopting a low-residue diet for the last 24 hours before racing will help to reduce weight as it empties the gut of indigested food and fibre. A low residue diet can achieve between a 0.5kg – 1.5kg technical weight loss whilst maintaining energy levels. Consuming nutritious foods with minimal fibre can help athletes feel lighter on competition day or aid efficiency in weight bearing sports such as climbing.
48 hours out: Change breakfast and snacks
24 hours out: Change main meals. Consider meal replacement for lunch with fruit or yogurt and increase snacks
Competition Day: Sports drinks, yoghurt, liquid meal supplements, jam/honey sandwiches
Low Residue Foods
Foods to Avoid
Low-fibre cereal (e.g. corn flakes, rice bubbles)
Over cooked vegetables
Well cooked meats
Cordial, sports drinks, tea, coffee
Whole-grains (including pasta, bread and rice)
Beef and pork
Fresh fruit with skin or seeds
Certain cooked vegetables (peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes with skin, baked beans)
Beans, lentils, and tofu
Nuts and seeds
Crunchy Peanut butter
Whole coconut foods
Juices with pulp
Remember, a low-residue diet is not a healthy way to eat for a long period of time because it lacks many important nutrients. You may want to consider supplementing with a multi-vitamin during this time.
Low-Residue Diet: Sample Menu
There are many meal options to choose from on a low residue diet and many helpful cookbooks to provide you with some ideas. Here are some meal options to get you started: