Don’t Eat These 10 Foods Before A Colonoscopy, Eat These 10 Instead

Don’t Eat These 10 Foods Before A Colonoscopy, Eat These 10 Instead

What you eat before a colonoscopy makes all the difference between a successful and unsuccessful exam. While most patients know about the clear liquid diet leading up to their procedure, it’s just as important to know what to eat several days before that. Here are 10 foods to keep away from before your exam and which 10 you can still turn to.

1. Milk

Milk is often perfectly fine several days before a colonoscopy; a full day beforehand, however, is usually the cutoff. Certain dairy products like milk or cheese can leave residue in your system, making it harder for doctors to see what’s going on. Dairy can also exacerbate lactose intolerance symptoms, potentially causing bloating and an uncomfortable procedure.  

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2. Nuts

Colonoscopies are all about clear images and high-fiber foods obstruct that. Though we love a fibrous snack any other day, nuts are harder to digest and therefore off the menu for at least several days before the procedure. That includes anything with nuts, too, such as granola, bread, or dessert.

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3. Beans and Lentils

While we’re on the topic of fiber, beans and lentils are loaded with fiber and protein, so they’re best left in the pantry a few days beforehand. They’re also harder to digest, which means they can obstruct a doctor’s view; anything from kidney beans to lima beans is a no-go.

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4. Soup

Don’t even think about certain soups before a colonoscopy—pea, corn, or cream-based soups are off the table for a couple of days on account of their ingredients. Not only are some filled with no-no veggies, but creamy ones obstruct the doctor’s view. Not to mention, canned soup is packed with sodium and can easily lead to water retention or bloating, both of which make for an uncomfortable procedure.



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5. Alcohol

Despite some varieties being clear, that doesn’t mean alcohol belongs in your diet before a colonoscopy. All alcohol is dehydrating, and considering you’ll lose enough fluid in the days beforehand, you don’t need to exacerbate the issue. More importantly, alcohol can negatively affect sedation. 

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6. Seeds

Certain fruits, cereals, desserts, and multigrain bread all have seeds, which means they’re all to be avoided. Not only do seeds pose a threat to images, they can actually get lodged in your system and force procedure termination. To keep things clear and on track, avoid them several days beforehand. 

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7. Brown Rice

While white rice is usually okay, brown rice is high in fiber and therefore off the menu for a few days. Successful colonoscopies require low-fiber diets, so cutting out things like brown rice or even wild rice is crucial.

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8. Peanut Butter

Given that nuts are a temporary no-go, nut butters are commonly removed from diets, too. Crunchy varieties in particular often need to be avoided, but speak with your physician about whether smooth peanut butter is still on the table.

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9. Fruit and Veggie Peels

Fruits and vegetables are already risky on account of their high fiber content, but their peels pose just as big a threat to your procedure. Foods like cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes have skins that are harder to digest, making for a potentially difficult exam.


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10. Smoothies

Put the blender down because smoothies are often filled with foods you’re supposed to avoid. Fruits with seeds, nuts, and dairy, are just some of the common foods tossed in, meaning you should forego them for a few days beforehand. 

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Colonoscopies require low-fiber diets filled with clear liquids, so let’s dive into which foods are safest to indulge in.

1. Clear Liquids

Clear broth, water, and some electrolyte drinks are top ticket items before a colonoscopy. They’re easy to digest, don’t leave anything behind your system, and most importantly, prevent dehydration before your procedure. You’ll often have to stick to a clear liquid diet the day beforehand. 

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2. Lean Meat

Lean protein like chicken, fish, and turkey are ideal options several days before a colonopscopy. You’ll get all the fiber and nutrients without added fat, not to mention a protein source that’s easy to digest. Lean meats ensure the doctor gets clean images and there’s nothing left behind in your system.

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3. Tofu

If you’re looking for a plant-based protein, tofu is often allowed a few days before your exam. It’s a lean option that’s as easy to digest as turkey or fish, meaning you won’t have to deal with any leftover internal residue or interrupted images. 

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4. Applesauce

Though you’ll likely have to avoid applesauce the day before a colonoscopy, there’s usually nothing wrong with indulging two to three days prior to that. Speak with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you specifically. 

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5. Eggs

Eggs are versatile, loaded with protein, and easy to digest, making them one of the safer foods to enjoy several days before a colonoscopy.


Boil, scramble, or poach them to fill up on essential nutrients and fiber that won’t clog your digestive system.

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6. White Bread

We finally landed on an example of when white bread trumps whole wheat—white bread, rice, and pasta are often easier to digest than whole wheat, so you’ll want to stick with them. Refined grains provide energy without a ton of added fiber, allowing for a clearer exam.

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7. Black Coffee and Tea

Though some prefer to cut out caffeine altogether before their exam, it’s not necessarily a requirement. Coffee and tea are still permitted for your diet so long as you don’t add any milk or cream. Unfortunately, sugar is generally off the table, too. 

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8. Soda

Clear liquids are the name of the game before your exam, meaning you can still reach for that can of ginger ale, especially because it’s easy to digest and can also calm your stomach. Even with the clear liquid rule, other sodas are also often okay, but it’s best to check with your doctor first. 

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9. Ice Cream

Though the day leading up to your exam follows the “clear liquid diet,” but your doctor may permit ice cream a few days before this. Small amounts of vanilla ice cream or sherbert are generally okay, but you’ll want to speak with your physician about whether you can actually indulge.

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10. Honey

You may not be allowed sugar in that mug of tea, but honey is a perfectly fine replacement.


Honey is a well-known soother of stomachs, so you won’t have to worry about any digestion issues or clogs in your system before the big day. 

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