Fibre myths: constipation
Carnivores do poop!
Several studies bust the myth that fibre reduces constipation.
In one such study, people with constipation were divided into three groups: high fibre, reduced fibre and no fibre.
After one and six months, each group was examined for stool frequency, difficulty in the evacuation of stools, anal bleeding, abdominal bloating, and abdominal pain.
Those in the no-fibre group had their bowel frequency increase from one motion in 3.75 days to one motion in 1 day.
There was no change in frequency of bowel movements for patients in the high-fibre group.
For symptoms of bloating, all of those in the high-fibre group continued to be symptomatic, while only 31.3% in the reduced-fibre group and none in the no-fibre group had symptoms.
All those in the no-fibre group no longer had to strain to pass stools.
Symptoms of abdominal pain only improved in patients in the no-fibre group, while those in the high-fibre and reduced-fibre groups did not show any improvement.
In addition, those in the no-fibre group no longer had symptoms of anal bleeding.
In summary, 100% of the study participants with constipation who completely removed fibre from the diet had a complete resolution of all symptoms.
Another study compared high- and low-fibre groups and concluded that there is no significant benefit in terms of a reduction in laxative use or increased stool frequency associated with additional fibre intake.
A further paper analysed the results of five studies and showed that fibre intake increases stool frequency in patients with constipation but does not improve stool consistency, laxative use or painful defecation.
- Ho K. Stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation and its associated symptoms. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2012;18(33):4593.
- Sullivan PB, Alder N, Shrestha B, Turton L, Lambert B. Effectiveness of using a behavioural intervention to improve dietary fibre intakes in children with constipation. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 2011;25(1):33–42.
- Yang J. Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: A meta analysis. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2012;8(48):7378.
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