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      You mean I can actually eat before my colonoscopy?
      RGA doctors publish research study on a low-residue diet before colonoscopy

      Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for preventing colon cancer, and the majority of patients report that the procedure itself is well tolerated. But the part that every patient dreads is the bowel preparation, which means eating nothing but a clear liquid diet the day before the exam and drinking a laxative regimen to cleanse the bowel.

      This month, RGA doctors published a study of over 100 patients who were offered a low-residue diet prior to their screening colonoscopies and compared the results to a similar group of 100 patients who were given a clear liquid diet in addition to the standard bowel preparation in both groups.

      "There was no difference in how clean the large bowel appeared during colonoscopy," says Dr. Chandrashekhar Thukral, RGA physician and lead author for this study. Coauthors of the study also include RGA physicians Sumeet Tewani, Aaron Shiels, and Joseph Vicari.

      Dr. Thukral goes on to say, "We used a standard set of criteria to evaluate the bowel prep and did not tell the doctor performing the procedure whether the patient received the low-residue diet or clear liquid diet. That way, we could have an unbiased assessment."

      Both groups tolerated their colonoscopies well, but the study found that patient satisfaction with the bowel prep was substantially higher in the low-residue diet group compared to those patients receiving the standard clear liquid diet.

      The RGA study also found no difference in the number of precancerous polyps (adenomas) detected between the groups. Dr. Tewani adds that "finding and then removing precancerous adenomas is one of the most important goals of a colonoscopy. Seeing no difference between the groups gives us more confidence that our patients can continue to receive the high-quality exam they deserve while making the preparation more pleasant."

      On the day before their colonoscopy, study patients were permitted to eat two eggs and white bread for breakfast, chicken and cottage cheese for lunch, and pretzels as a snack before their prep started. Vegetarian options were also available. No further solid food was permitted once the laxative prep started.

      Dr. Thukral is optimistic that having this low-residue option will encourage patients to have their colonoscopy when they otherwise might have avoided the procedure. He adds, "Not being as hungry on the day before exam will hopefully improve the overall experience for our patients."

      The authors caution that a low-residue diet is not suitable for everyone. Patients with constipation, those with certain medical conditions, or those taking certain medications may require the standard liquid diet prep or other modifications to the bowel cleanse.

      The article appears in this month’s Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology:

      To find out if you might be eligible for a low-residue diet for your colonoscopy, complete the patient information at this link,, or call RGA at 815-397-7340.