6 Reasons your weight-loss plan may cause constipation

Do you have constipation from dieting?

Some simple lifestyle changes can help.Weight-loss diets often cause constipation. Here are causes and ways to prevent and treat this annoying condition.Weight loss and constipation—unfriendly but coexistingToday, you may not be “regular,” but what is constipation? The AGA defines constipation as infrequent (less than three times a week) or hard-to-pass bowel movements.Constipation causes discomfort and increases the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Some weight-loss plans can cause constipation, but there are ways to support your digestive system.

6 reasons weight loss may cause constipation

1. Fast weight loss or low calories

Any low-calorie diet can cause constipation. It usually results from decreased food waste volume and digestive tract waste movement.Rapid weight loss, especially on a low-carb diet, can cause hard stools. Avoid extreme weight-loss plans because they slow metabolism and cause constipation.

2. Fasting or skipping meals

Intermittent fasting is popular for weight loss, but long fasts can cause constipation. A meal stimulates the digestive tract to move waste. The most important meal for digestive tract movement is breakfast. If you intermittent fast, move your eating window earlier to benefit from the morning meal effect on your bowels. Try breakfast if you don’t usually eat it to reduce constipation.

3. Not enough fiber

Fiber, an indigestible carbohydrate, softens and bulks stools, speeding digestion. If you cut whole grains, fruits, and legumes to cut calories and carbs, you may lose fiber. Seeds, nuts, berries, chia, and flaxseeds are low-carb sources of fiber.MyNetDiary lets you track fiber to avoid underestimating this digestive aid. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend 14 grams per 1000 calories, but low-calorie weight-loss plans may benefit from more. Adjust your goal in Settings.You may get enough fiber, but not enough good fiber. Well-formed poops require insoluble and soluble fiber. Fiber that doesn’t dissolve in water bulks up stool, speeding digestion. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, nuts, and vegetables. Fiber that absorbs water softens and eases stool passage. Barley, carrots, oats, flaxseed, beans, and psyllium are soluble fiber sources.

4. Not enough liquid

About 20% of your water comes from food. Eating less reduces this hidden fluid source. However, you may need more fluids after cutting out sugary drinks (good for you!) but not enough water or other no-calorie drinks.Consider adding fluid as you increase fiber from foods or supplements. A high-fiber diet without enough fluid can make stools harder to pass.Start with one mL of fluid per calorie. If you eat 2000 calories, drink 2000 mL (8 cups). Setting and tracking your fluid goal is easy with MyNetDiary’s Water Tracker.

5. Fruitless

Fruit is limited in many diets to cut calories and carbs. Fruit provides more than fiber. Many fruits are high in fructose and sugar alcohols like sorbitol, which hydrate the digestive tract. Some people experience loose stools from eating too much fruit.There are other fruits that relieve constipation besides prunes. Kiwifruit reduces constipation-related bloating and gas better than prunes. Two fuzzy fruits a day improves regularity, according to research.

6. Drugs or supplements

Are you taking new supplements or eating a lot of fortified shakes or bars? Avoid excess iron and calcium, which can cause constipation.Numerous prescription weight-loss drugs can cause constipation. Discuss medication-related constipation concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to prevent constipation?

You may have increased fiber and fluid but still have constipation. Thankfully, there are other methods.

Move more.

Exercise is essential to weight loss and helps move your bowels and strengthen digestive muscles. Do 30 minutes of exercise most days. Due to gravity and movement, upright activities like walking, running, and dancing may be especially effective.

Honor your desire to goIgnoring the first bowel movement urge can reduce the signal. Meanwhile, stool hardens and becomes harder to pass. The timing may be inconvenient, but answering “nature’s call” will prevent constipation. Consider adding a few minutes to your morning routine for bathroom time.Fiber supplementIf you limit carbohydrates, getting enough fiber from food on a weight-loss diet may be difficult. Psyllium (Metamucil) may be the best fiber supplement for constipation.

Try an OTC remedy.If lifestyle changes fail, non-prescription laxatives may help. Consult your doctor to determine if they are safe to use regularly and which products are best.

Customize your gut tracker.MyNetDiary lets you make any tracker. Track stool frequency and consistency to find links between diet, exercise, supplements, and other factors.

MyNetDiary’s “Notes” feature lets you record additional observations.

Do not assume constipation is part of losing weight.

Getting enough fluid and fiber and living a healthy, active lifestyle promotes regular bowel movements. Know when to seek help. The AGA recommends consulting a doctor if any of the following apply:

  • More than three weeks of symptoms
  • Severe symptoms include stool pain.
  • Your stools are always thinner.
  • Bloody stools or black stools
  • You’re anemicYou have unexplained weight loss and other symptoms.
  • When dieting, unexplained weight loss can be hard to spot.

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