Study: Less restrictive diet superior to clear liquids before colonoscopy

Colonoscopy patients who adhered to a low residue diet prior to the procedure reported higher satisfaction and were found to have better bowel preparations on average than patients who fasted, according to a new study presented at the 2016 Digestive Diseases Week meeting in San Diego on May 23.

For the study, researchers from the University of California, Irvine, conducted a trial involving 83 colonoscopy patients. The participants were split into two groups — one prescribed a diet of clear liquids and the other told to adhere to a low residue diet the day before the colonoscopy. Participants in the clear liquid group were allowed to consume beverages like broth, black coffee and tea, while the low residue participants were permitted to eat three meals consisting of small portions of foods like eggs, yogurt, bread, rice, chicken breast and ice cream.

Researchers evaluated the adequacy of bowel preparations in accordance with the Boston Bowel Preparation Scale. Pre- and post-procedure hunger and fatigue were quantified on a 10-point scale. The studies researchers found that BBPS scores for the participants in the low residue diet group indicated a higher level of adequacy on average than those in the clear liquid group. Patients adhering to the low residue diet also reported lower levels of hunger and fatigue as well as higher satisfaction with their diet.

"Colon cancer deaths can be prevented by colonoscopy, yet colorectal screening participation remains low," said Jason B. Samarasena, MD, gastroenterologist with UC Irvine Health and presenter of the findings. "Bowel preparation and dietary restrictions are the most-often cited deterrents to undergoing colonoscopy...this study shows that a low residue diet results in a high quality bowel preparation score, and significantly better patient tolerability, which may help increase participation in colorectal screening."

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