12 Foods to Avoid with Diverticulitis

Foods to Avoid with Diverticulitis

When your digestive tract functions optimally, you probably don’t have to worry about your digestive health. However, certain conditions, like diverticulitis, can affect it, so you should know how to deal with them. 

As you may know, diverticulitis is a type of diverticular disease. The small pouches in your colon, known as diverticula, become infected when you have this condition. 

If you visit a health practitioner and they diagnose you with diverticulitis, you should know that avoiding specific foods can help you manage symptoms. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there, so you should be careful.

The information in this article is general and may not apply to everyone with diverticulitis; dietary needs can vary greatly, so it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Foods to Avoid

Foods to Avoid with Diverticulitis

List of Foods to Avoid with Diverticulitis

It’s recommended to follow a clear liquid diet or a very low fiber diet during acute diverticulitis flare-ups, as this can help rest the colon. Once symptoms improve, gradually transitioning to a high-fiber diet is advised for the long-term management of diverticular disease. Once symptoms improve, a high-fiber diet, including veggies and whole grains, is recommended for long-term management of diverticulosis. Recent guidelines no longer recommend avoiding nuts, seeds, and popcorn for individuals with diverticulosis or diverticulitis, as current evidence does not support the idea that these foods increase the risk of complications.

Below is a list of foods that may aggravate diverticulitis symptoms. You may be able to consume these foods; if you do, proceed cautiously. 

1. Coffee

Coffee consumption should be individualized based on tolerance. While not specifically linked to diverticulitis flare-ups, individuals with this condition should note their symptoms in response to coffee and adjust their intake accordingly. Individual tolerance varies, so it’s advisable to monitor your own response to coffee. However, if you have recovered and received a green light from your doctor, you can take coffee, albeit not too strong.

2. Corn

While thorough chewing is generally beneficial for digestion, no specific evidence links corn consumption to diverticulitis flare-ups. If corn or popcorn does not exacerbate symptoms for an individual, it may not need to be avoided. As a result, the fiber and sugar content in corn and corn-like foods such as popcorn can cause discomfort in the gut, possibly due to inflammation. 

3. Cruciferous Veggies

While some people with diverticulitis may experience discomfort from high-fiber foods like cruciferous vegetables during flare-ups, these foods are part of a healthy diet for long-term diverticulosis. Lettuce, however, is not typically categorized as a cruciferous vegetable.

4. Dairy

Lactose intolerance varies among individuals with diverticulitis. Dairy products do not necessarily need to be avoided unless they cause symptoms for the individual. It is important to monitor personal tolerance to dairy when managing diverticulitis.

5. Excessive Alcohol

While moderate alcohol consumption has not been definitively linked to diverticulitis flare-ups, excessive alcohol intake can contribute to overall poor gut health and should be consumed with caution, especially in individuals with digestive health concerns.

6. Fatty Foods

You might also want to cut fatty foods from your diet if you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulitis. Why? Because they can worsen gut issues like nausea and vomiting. Some people might even experience diarrhea symptoms. 

Instead of frying your food, try baking, boiling or steaming it. You should also opt for lean proteins like poultry until diverticulitis symptoms disappear. 

7. High FODMAP Foods

According to a logical hypothesis, avoiding high FODMAP foods might benefit some individuals with diverticulitis.(1) FODMAPs are short for fermented oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are carbs that may trigger symptoms like bloating and diarrhea. 

Some of the foods rich in FODMAPs include:

Beans: kidney beans, lentils, yellow beans, etc. 

Fruits like apples, berries, cherries, peaches, pears, etc. 

Wheat-based foods like bread, crackers, etc. 

Remember that some of these high FODMAP foods have fiber that a person with diverticulitis needs. So, it would be best to discuss them with a dietitian before eliminating them. We respond differently to various foods, and doctors are best placed to offer advice. 

8. Meats

Studies have linked high intakes of red meat (beef, mutton and pork) and processed meats (bacon, brawn, sausages, etc.) with worsening diverticulitis symptoms. 

A 2017 study suggests dietary modifications, including reducing red meat and increasing fiber intake, might help lower the risk of diverticulitis. However, the impact of diet varies, and these guidelines should be adapted to individual health needs and responses.

This study’s recommendations included that people shouldn’t consume more than 50g of red meat daily and should consume about 25g of dietary fiber per day. 

Another NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) study focused on males in the United States found that higher intakes of red meat were linked to an increased risk of diverticulitis. The study recommended fish and poultry as alternatives. 

9. Raw Veggies

Raw vegetables contain insoluble fiber, which may be difficult for some individuals with diverticulitis to digest during flare-ups. However, they can be reintroduced gradually as symptoms improve and are an important part of a healthy diet for diverticulosis.

10. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods do not universally cause diverticulitis flare-ups, and their effect can vary by individual. If spicy foods do not worsen your symptoms, they may not need to be avoided. It’s important to observe your own dietary triggers.

11. Sugary Foods

High-sugar and low-fiber foods typically found in Western diets can trigger or worsen diverticulitis symptoms. Some of these foods include:

Candy like fondants, jellies, licorice, nougats, etc. 

Granola and granola bars

Pastries like cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pies, etc.

Processed sugary drinks like energy drinks, juices, soda, etc. 

Sauces: barbeque, honey mustard, ketchup, etc. 

How Else Can You Battle Diverticulitis?


Regular, moderate exercise benefits overall gut health and may help reduce the risk of developing diverticulitis. While vigorous exercise has potential benefits, the intensity and type of exercise should be suited to an individual’s overall health status and physical capabilities.


If you have severe flare-ups, your physician can prescribe an antibiotic to help combat the infection, reducing inflammation. Sometimes, physicians will prescribe meds immediately after diagnosing you with diverticulitis to prevent worsening symptoms. 

In conclusion, avoid the foods listed above if you have been diagnosed with diverticulitis. Indeed, some of them might not affect you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Either way, ensure you consult a dietitian on what to avoid eating. 

See Also

What Soups Can I Eat With Diverticulitis

Liquid Diet for Diverticulitis

High Fiber Diet for Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis Diet Plan

Low Purine Diet Plan

Dr Sebi Food List

Fatty Fish List

Ulcer Diet Food List

Keto Smoothies for Constipation

Current Version
March 1, 2024
Updated By
Guido Forti
October 8, 2022
Written By
Damla Sengul
January 18, 2024
Updated By
Guido Forti