Diet for Malabsorption
You might need to follow a diet for malabsorption if you have had surgery to either your stomach or small intestine, suffer from pancreatic insufficiency or have an inflamed bowel caused by a chronic disease such as celiac disease or ulcerative colitis. The diet requires you to limit your intake of fiber, fat and lactose -- the sugar found in milk -- as well as other sugars in some cases.
Other foods might also need to be limited, depending on your degree of malabsorption and additional medical issues. The following is a basic guide, and you should consult your doctor or dietitian to help you design a plan based on your individual needs.
The diet for malabsorption is meant to help decrease your diarrhea and improve your nutritional status. Eating small, frequent meals might improve tolerance and decrease diarrhea.
Limiting your intake of foods that exacerbate diarrhea can also help, including foods high in fat such as fried foods, high fat meats, gravies and rich desserts, and foods high in fiber such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
The lactose in milk and other dairy products can also cause diarrhea and should be avoided.
Concentrated sweets, such as soda, sugar and sweet desserts, might also be a problem and should be avoided or limited depending on your tolerance. It is also recommended that you drink liquids between meals.
- The diet for malabsorption is meant to help decrease your diarrhea and improve your nutritional status.
- The lactose in milk and other dairy products can also cause diarrhea and should be avoided.
The Microscopic Colitis Diet
Grains provide your body with calories, energy and B vitamins. All of your grain choices should be made from refined flours to reduce fiber and roughage. Good choices include white bread, white rice, white pasta and refined ready-to-eat cereals such as corn flakes, farina and saltine crackers.
Fruits are an important source of nutrients in your diet, especially potassium. Chronic diarrhea causes your body to lose a lot of potassium, making it important that you get adequate intakes from your diet.
Fruits are also a source of fiber, so you need to be careful of your choices. Good fruit choices for malabsorption include ripe bananas, canned or cooked fruits without skins or seeds, and diluted juice.
- Fruits are an important source of nutrients in your diet, especially potassium.
- Chronic diarrhea causes your body to lose a lot of potassium, making it important that you get adequate intakes from your diet.
Colitis Diet Foods to Avoid
Vegetables are also a good source of potassium -- and like fruits, a source of fiber. Good choices include cooked or canned green beans, carrots, potatoes without the skin, beets, spinach, squash, mushrooms, asparagus and peas. Chronic diarrhea also causes your body to lose a lot of sodium. Vegetable juices are high in potassium and sodium, and can help you replace your losses.
- Vegetables are also a good source of potassium -- and like fruits, a source of fiber.
- Vegetable juices are high in potassium and sodium, and can help you replace your losses.
Your body needs an adequate intake of protein to support immune health and lean body mass.
Good choices on your diet include lean, tender or ground meats such as poultry, veal, pork, beef or fish. Eggs are also a good source of protein and usually are well tolerated, along with creamy peanut butter.
Dairy foods provide your body with calcium for bone health.
However, you need to be careful about your choices to limit your intake of lactose. Include lactose-free, low-fat or nonfat milk, small amounts of cottage cheese, cream cheese and yogurt without fruit or nuts.
Added fats provide calories, but you need to limit your intake to four to six servings a day to help limit malabsorption. Healthy fats and serving sizes include 1 tsp. of butter, margarine or oil; 1 tbsp.
of low-fat mayonnaise; 1 tbsp. of salad dressing; 2 tbsp.
of low-fat salad dressing; or 1 tbsp. of gravy.
- Added fats provide calories, but you need to limit your intake to four to six servings a day to help limit malabsorption.
- of low-fat mayonnaise; 1 tbsp.
The Microscopic Colitis Diet
Colitis Diet Foods to Avoid
Chronic Diarrhea & Weight Loss
List of Roughage Foods
What Foods Can You Eat If You Have Crohn's Disease or Colitis?
Diet & Nutrition for Collagenous Colitis
How to Stop Diarrhea with Household Items
Diet for Diarrhea With Bloating
The Best Foods for a Celiac Flare
Diabetic Diet Food List
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Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.