Monday, February 25, 2013

Low Fiber Diet – Culprit of Your Constipation

How does low fiber diet cause constipation?
If stool moves freely in the colon and gets evacuated completely on daily basis, there are no issues. But, if the stool movement is slow, you may have partial excretion or irregular excretion or both. This is constipation.

You need three things for free movement of stool in the colon.
  1. Enough water content in the stool to keep it soft.
  2.  Enough mass to move the stool properly
  3. Peristaltic movement of colon walls to push the stool.
Sufficient quantity of fiber is required to meet condition no.2. When fiber absorbs water, its bulk (mass) increases and also makes the stool soft. If you consume low fiber diet, you get into problems.

Blocked colon
 In the absence of fiber, movement of stool slows down. As stool remains longer in the colon, more water gets absorbed and stool becomes dry and hard. This further slows down the movement.

 If you consume high fiber diet, you are less likely to get constipated. Obviously, you need to drink enough water in increase the bulk of the fiber.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Formerly the American Dietetic Association) recommends 14 g dietary fiber per 1,000 kcal, or 25 gm for adult women and 38 gm for adult men per day.

Average daily intake of dietary fiber is only 15 gm. in U.S.
Consumption of refined and processed foods, which lose natural fiber during such processes. Another major reason is non veg foods. Animal based foods
have zero fiber. No wonder, constipation is more widespread in U.S.

Fast food
This type of American culture of eating refined and processed foods (low fiber diet) is spreading to other developing countries like India, as preparation of such foods is easy and fast. Fast food culture is the prime reason for constipation to become so common.

People having dental problems find chewing fiber rich food difficult. Seniors may find it hard to chew as well as swallow. Such people may opt for easy ways- by going for refined and processed foods and get into constipation problems. The pain an elderly constipated person has to undergo during evacuation is unimaginable. Low fiber diet has such terrible impact on health.

Dietary fiber
All plant foods contain dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is of two types - soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is what is required to avoid constipation.

Low fiber diet examples

If your diet consists of considerable amount of meat, eggs, bakery products made of refined flour, polished grains like white rice and dairy products, you are going to be in trouble- if you are already not. These low fiber diets or more properly called ‘no fiber diets’ definitely cause constipation and many associated harmful side effects.

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