The 5 Most Common Constipation Culprits

Constipation / IBS-C are real problems which can cause significant inconvenience, discomfort, and even disability for some individuals.  For most people, these are likely to be food sensitivity problems, as opposed to irreversible pathological diseases. Chronic constipation is not an inevitable consequence of aging; it can usually be alleviated by knowing which foods are gumming up the works.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is commonly divided into two main types:  “IBS-C” (IBS with constipation) and “IBS-D” (IBS with diarrhea). This article focuses on IBS-C.

GOLDEN RULE OF IBS-C:  IBS-C is primarily about indigestion.  If a food is hard to digest, it will slow things down.  It’s that simple.

When exploring the connection between your symptoms and these foods for yourself, keep in mind that poorly-digested foods can cause delayed or prolonged symptoms because they are processed so slowly.  Most of these foods can affect digestion for several days after you swallow them.  It is also important to recognize that sluggish digestion can cause all kinds of other problems north of the intestines, including heartburn, reflux (“GERD”), burping and hiccups.


  1. GLUTEN and GRAINSGluten is a sticky protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale.  This protein has a special globular structure that our enzymes can’t fully break down. Other grains can pose problems for our digestive tract, though, even those that don’t contain gluten, such as corn and oats. The grain that seems easiest on the innards may be rice, so some people may tolerate rice better than other grains.
  2. CASEINCasein is a sticky protein found in most dairy products. Baby cows come with a special enzyme in their stomachs called rennet, which is designed especially to break down casein.  Humans do not have rennet, so casein is very hard for us to digest.  Hard cheeses and high-protein yogurts (such as “Greek style” yogurts) are especially good at triggering IBS-C.
  3. CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES.   Lots of veggies happen to be crucifers, including broccoli, kale, and cabbage.  This veggie family contains high amounts of an indigestible short-chain carbohydrate (or oligosaccharide) called raffinose.  Human enzymes cannot break down raffinose into sugar, but bacteria in the colon love to munch on raffinose and turn it into a lovely gas called methane.  This will not only make you unpopular at parties, but can slow digestion and cause significant bloating and discomfort, as well.
  4. LEGUMESLegumes are beans and pod vegetables, including soy, lentils, green beans, peas, and garbanzo beans.  There are two main reasons why these foods are hard to digest.  One is that they contain lots of raffinose (see #3), and the other is that they contain high amounts of soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber acts like a sponge in the digestive tract—it absorbs water and swells into a big sticky gel that can form a large, lovely CLOG.  Soluble fiber cannot be digested except by bacteria in the colon, so it also eventually forms delightful gases.
  5. NUTS and SEEDS.  Nuts are very closely related to legumes.  Nuts and legumes are both types of seeds, and therefore contain similar compounds, namely indigestible short-chain carbohydrates and soluble fiber.  All seeds also contain enzyme inhibitors which interfere with our ability to digest the proteins within these foods.  These inhibitors are damaged or destroyed by cooking, but we often do not cook nuts before eating them. This may be why some people find nuts even more difficult to digest than legumes, which are always thoroughly cooked before eating.

The above are just the most likely suspects in constipation, but keep in mind that everyone is different, and these are not the only foods that can cause problems for people. In my clinical experience I have had patients tell me that lots of other foods can be problematic, including raw vegetables of all kinds (especially the tough, fibrous vegetables like carrot), gelatin (especially if very concentrated, such as in gummi candies), and certainn fruits high in pectin and insoluble fiber, such as apples and bananas.

If you have the opposite problem, IBS-D, please read my post Is Fructose Malabsorption Causing Your IBS?

How about you?

If you have noticed any connection between the foods you eat and your symptoms, and you’d like to share your experience, please leave a comment below so that we can all learn from one another.

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  • TruthCkr

    Very helpful article! Thank you!

  • Des

    Hi Dr. Ede, what do you think about butter? Should I be concerned with the lactose and casein in it?

  • Butter contains no lactose and almost no casein. Ghee, which is clarified butter, is virtually casein-free.

    • Des

      Great, thank you

  • John

    Just read this page and realize I need to do some rethinking about what I am eating. Til now #2, #3 and #5 have formed a large part of my diet.

  • seashell

    This is very helpful and I’ve gone through a LOT (10 years) of trying to figure out what is going on. Trying gluten/dairy free for 30 days yet still having terrible conditions when eating beans & nuts. What I really, REALLY, need knowing this information is a guide on what I CAN eat. Any links to a good diet plan to follow?

    • Hi Seashell

      I’m so glad you’ve found this helpful. There is no one diet that works for everyone, because we each differ in how we respond to various foods. However, I can say that the easiest foods to digest are meats (all types–meat, poultry, fish), fats, and fruits, including fruits that we think of as vegetables (vegetables with seeds–cucumbers, tomatoes, squash). If you base your diet on these foods, you would probably feel much better.

    • Joy

      I’d recommend Paleo or Specific Carb Diet!

  • Terri D

    In addition to above foods, eggs (particularly the whites) cause problems with constipation in myself. Took awhile to narrow this one down. Of interest, they also seem to make me feel dysthymic…but not immediately! Both effects seem to follow about 48-72 hours after ingestion. Who would have ever guessed!? Cruciferous veggies seem fine here. I’d like to try a nearly all meat diet to see if I could eliminate severe chronic constipation, but having to prepare food for my family puts the temptations firmly in my hand. So I settle for mostly meat, low fruit, and veggies I tolerate well. But at least my current diet allows magnesium to actually work, whereas it didn’t a year ago! I still am stunned that diet plays this much of a role, and I’m still eliminating/reintroducing over and over again to keep proving to myself that I can produce a specified symptom just by eating a certain food/food group.

  • anjie

    I take daily magnesium tablets before I go to bed. They relax me and I never have constipation. I take these in addition to my regular vitamins and minerals.

  • Casey

    Hi Dr. Ede,
    I have had major gut issues for the past 18 months and need help from someone. They have changed my world – not in a good way – and I have become obsessed with finding an answer/solution to feel whole again. I have been diagnosed with IBS and was doing well for a few months, but new symptoms are presenting themselves. I do not know who to turn to. I find that I have become depressed and lethargic in the midst of this. In fact, I cry as I write this. My husband and I want to have children and even my hormones are affected. I don’t know if this is all due to an underlying cause, but I need help. Most recently, I have found I wake during the night feeling nauseous and my arms and legs will get a flushed sensation. Then I have to use the restroom. I am not sure what type of diet to eat at this point. I am scared and tired. Thank you very much, in advance, for your

    • Hello, Casey
      I am sorry to hear that you are feeling so unwell. Unfortunately I cannot provide personal medical advice on this site, however, in addition to the information in this IBS article, you might also find my blog article about histamine intolerance useful, as fermented foods can cause a variety of very frustrating symptoms including flushing. If you have not already done so, you may want to start keeping a food&symptom diary in hopes of noticing connections between what you eat and when you get symptoms. Sounds like you were doing well there for a while and then something changed, so you might be able to figure it out if you keep a journal. You may also want to consider meeting with an allergy specialist or at least consider trying a low-allergen diet for a couple of weeks (no nuts, dairy, gluten, seafood, soy, corn, or eggs). Best of luck~

  • Thankful

    Bingo! After years – make that decades – of bloating, burping, and constipation, I think I found my answer on this board. Casein is the problem. After consulting friends, doctors, and anyone who would listen….they all had similar responses. MORE FIBER. But that never made sense to me, as I was eating enough fiber for an army. And I got plenty of exercise. I’m 5′ 2″ and 105 pounds.

    I tried playing with my diet, i tried gluten-free, prunes, miralax, and all the usual suspects. Nothing worked. The only constant in my died was yogurt and fruit. There should be nothing wrong with that, right? After all, I tested negative for an allergy to lactose and I never have the runs. There was no immediate reaction after I ate yogurt. I was just in a constant state of bloat and constipation. Keep in mind, I was eat yogurt almost every day.

    Fast forward – I have not eaten yogurt for 2 months and I feel great, no bloating, burping, or constipation. I’ve finally found the cause – casein. Wow!

    • Hello, Thankful
      I am so happy that you have found your culprit!

  • PatriotEngineerAnalystUSA

    A year ago, I discovered Greek yogurt, and I love it! High in protein and calcium, low in fat and calories. I eat a lot of it, daily.

    But, it appears I have to give it up. Recently, I’ve had terrible “C,” like never before. Since I exercise frequently, and drink lots of water, it’s likely the culprit.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Jolly

    I have felt cursed for years (I’m now 85) because of my extreme sensitivity to all the culprits you describe so visually in your explanation of trouble-causing foods. Gluten, dairy, cruciferous vegetables, beans, and more (including hard cheese which my holistic doctor says is OK). I can’t even look at eggs in the morning! I’m attracted to grains like bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and try to eat gluten-free grains but it’s not fun and I feel deprived of the things I like best! I have also lost some taste and smell, which is fairly uncommon, but enjoy salty, sweet, and sour foods. I think your diagnosis of foods is right on, though after years of work and research on diet and nutrition, I also believe there’s no “quick fix,” no “one size fits all.”

  • A

    After years and years on a gluten free, casein free diet that was mostly vegetables with lean meats and limited grains/starches….and having chronic constipation the entire time… I accidentally discovered that if I ate virtually no vegetables, I had no digestive problems at all. In fact, on a diet of hot cereal, egg whites, and chicken, I am completely regular, every day, free of all issues. No gas, no stomach pain, constipation, no nothing. If I have 1 salad, or a couple pieces of raw fruit, I have stomach pain and can’t poop for days. I do ok with cooked and pureed veggies in a soup, like baby food, but it is getting old. I don’t know what to do, exactly – clearly this is not a long term plan, but it is so wonderful being free from these problems I’ve had for so many years I can’t help but sticking to my chicken tender diet.

  • Finally it makes sense!

    I am sad that I must now give up my beloved Greek yogurt but it seems as though this is probably the likely culprit of my problems. Thanks for this post and to all the commentors which have helped me realize that the thing things I have been eating and thinking were good for me are probably not so good for my digestion.

  • Jenny

    If a person has problem with the veggies on the list…would Juicing it actually help as in less raffinose be there ? Also does cooking it a very long time as in a soup help destroy the raffinose?

  • Claire

    THANK YOU DR. EDE. I have had multiple horrible digestive issues for 30 years. I’ve read about FODMAPS and SCD diet and experimented and tested and listened to gastro doctors who say things like “Prunes are good for you!” (8 prunes made me so bloated I felt my stomach would literally burst open), and “white flour won’t hurt you,” (white flour gives me a hellish headache and makes my whole body feel ill), and “You’re not lactose intolerant so drink all the milk you want,” (dairy plugs me up even worse). After reading your very short article, I feel like I’ve been told the secret to the universe. IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE.

  • Makes sense to me

    At last, what I feel may be the answer to the gooey clog that has caused me fecal impaction twice now. I am encouraged and grateful to you. Who would have guessed Greek Yogurt and Nuts.

  • terre

    Hi, after years of constipation, bloating, abdominal discomfort and IBS, witch induced neurologic problems (depression, irritability, anxiety) and allergies. I have tried many depression drugs without effect. I have tried gluten and caseine free diet for three years with many vegetables (letuce, cumcumber,…) and fruits without any result, also specific carbohydrate diet without any effect. but when I tried keto diet (very limited carbohydrates and sugar) I fell great (especialy with neurologic symptoms) and constipation was not gone but reduced. and when I eat foods witch contain sugar (fructose, glucose,,…), the abdominal discomfort, allergies, constipation and neurological symptoms rises.
    any advice please?

  • Tracy

    I never thought yougurt would be the culprit for constipation until today. I Googled it and found this article. Thanks — no more Greek style yogurt for me!

  • Hi Dr Ede, your information here is very in-depth but I see that you haven’t updated the site in a while, will there be any further updates? I haven’t seen anything else like it.

  • Zak

    I find that beautiful tasting FC yogurt and FCMilk are constipating, but due to my “unhealthy” digestive system and inability to eat most solid foods without vomiting, I’ve been told by the head dietitian of a large city hospital to try and eat as much protein as I can, regardless of the fat content. High nutrient drinks (Jevity, 2Cal, Forisip etc) are part of my diet and I LOVE everything I’ve mentioned but they’re IBS-C inducing. I find most fruits very tasty but not filling, except of course for even ripe bananas which constipate me terribly as well.
    It seems everything I adore or is good for me (that I won’t bring up) is an IBS-C trigger.
    The odd thing is that a few years ago I was constipated and I was eating 500g (1 lb) of full fat yogurt a day and it made no difference to my constipation at all in that when I stopped eating it, my bowel habits did not change.

  • daffodil

    Totally shocked that after years of constipation, pain and discomfort I have discovered that my so called healthy eating was causing the problem. I have stopped eating yoghurts, cheese, and other dairy products and my bowels have regained a natural rhythm. I thought by eating lots of yoghurt and dairy I was looking after myself how wrong I was! My only concern now is that as a 58 year old woman I am worried that by cutting out dairy I will lose out on vital calcium. What should I eat to compensate for eliminating dairy or should I take a supplement? Thanks for your help.

  • Rebecca Henderson

    So after a year of battling major constipation. Multiple tests and doctors, this may be the answer to all my questions! I intake bread daily which contains gluten. My doctor said to eat greek yogurt so I do even though I am lactose intolerance. I also drink almond milk even though it isn’t soy it is still a nut. This could be the solution to all my problems! I take linzess and align daily and have myself on a super strict diet only drinking water and a glass of almond milk in the mornings and 100% all natural fruit smoothie with frozen fruit and I eat lots of fruit and veggies. Not knowing green beans shouldn’t be eaten I was only told broccoli. Thank you for this post! I see an allergen next week thinking I might be allergic to a food i’m eating thank you for all the good advice!!!!! 🙂

  • Russ 88

    I have struggled with C for about ten years; I’m 69 now. All that time refined grains and milk were, to a great degree, avoided. I eat a lot of the other things on the list. The one thing that has worked to relieve C, and still does, is 3 Tbsp of psylium husk in 10 oz of water, daily. Your mileage may vary. I’m going to post a link to a really enlightening video by IHMC on the microbiome, right now. I would include it here, but I suspect doing that would cause THIS post to be blocked. We’ll see. If it doesn’t show up, you’ll know what happened.

    • susan henderson

      Psylium husks would indeed cause constipation in me.

  • Russ 88

    Well, there is a message on the post which says: “Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Diagnosis Diet.” I guess the policy is, at least for me, “No Links Allowed”. Thought all you readers might like to know. As of now, if you want to see the vid, search for the title on google.

    • Russ 88

      Just to see what would happen here, I looked up: “Larry Smarr – The Human Microbiome and the Revolution in Digital Health” on Ixquick, clicked the youtube link, and then copied the address. Here it is except for the (dot): .

      • Russ 88

        It worked! Yeehah!

  • Josie

    Hi I have recently become more aware that things were not quite right with my stomach as I had terrible rumblings and lots of wind and on some occasions when I felt I needed to go well I needed to go in a hurry and had explosive watery bowel movements ( sorry about the explicit details ) then I started to notice what looked like floating oversize corn niblets , as I hadn’t eaten corn or had capsules of any kind this was quite disturbing, so concern got the better of me and I pulled one out and after washing it well took a good look at it, it was about a 1/4 inch square with rounded edges and looked like it was a kind of soft gel capsule, I opened it up to find to my amazement what seemed like perfectly dry white compressed powder, very puzzling and concerning, what could it possibly be? I Googled it to find that quite a few other adults had found the very same thing varying sometimes in shape and size but with the same content. Many said that they had lots of tests that didn’t show any problems but still they had those terrible symptoms and more pods, it seems these pods could be found in infants but was not heard of in adults, so here we are and I believe what we are experiencing is Casein pods, an immune system problem to casein protein found in milk or dairy products and the body is attacking and encasing it and its being passed enveloped and undigested. Anyway I have kept these to show my doctor but I think I need to see an immunologist to be tested for Casein intolerance in dairy products. Hopefully I will be able to let you know how I go soon.I have had pain in my shoulders and neck for a long time and pains in my chest up to my throat and I’m thinking this could all be connected somehow, runny nose and watery eyes also with headache at times, sound familiar to anyone out there?. all the best with your journey to health, God bless.

    • Russ 88

      Hi Josie,
      That is quite a list! The first question that comes to mind is: are you eating any gluten (wheat, barley or rye)? That could be causing a lot of your symptoms, except for the white powder capsules.

    • SDkathy

      Josie, did you ever go to the doctor about these pods and if so, what did they tell you?

  • Thank you!!

    WOW this is incredible. I’ve never thought about greek yogurt being the cause of my almost constant bloating/constipation issues. I eat it every day and am willing to bet this is the cause of soo many tummy aches. Thank you for posting this article!

    • Graham Ansell

      Well humans aren’t designed to consume cows milk, common sense really

  • Lori

    In the last 7 months I have gone gluten free and dairy free. I rely heavily on Almond Milk and Almonds and other nuts for protein, maybe too much! I have had extreme constipation/sluggish bowels and couldn’t figure it out. Wondering if the amount of Almond I have in my diet is effecting this? Maybe exchanging Coconut Milk for the Almond Milk would be helpful.

  • Girl

    I’m glad to have found this article because I just talked with someone today about Greek Yogurt. I’m generally a VERY regular person. Often my stools are “textbook perfect.” However, I noticed the last few days (after buying Greek Yogurt that I haven’t purchased in weeks), that I’ve become more constipated. I decided to Google this and that’s how I found this article. I’m sad to hear about cruciferous vegetables, beans, and bananas being possible causes because I eat that stuff a lot. I haven’t noticed an issue with them as much, though. It’s mostly just the Greek Yogurt. Glad I’m not crazy!

    • dkaj

      Greek yogurt has more proteins in it than NON-Greek yogurt. If you want to try homemade yogurt, I would use goat milk as proteins are easier to digest for some and the fats are easier to break down. Most other countries do not drink cows milk – they do goats milk.

  • Mike Bell

    Green beans are not legumes.

  • Mel Tartaglia

    When I reached age 45, my digestive system went to hell. Suddenly my daily diet of yogurt, raw almonds, avocado and Ezekiel bread were making me terribly constipated. Adding more fiber made it even worse. Cutting out dairy, nuts, legumes and fiber made it better, but I had to take the RDA of magnesium in a supplement to make me regular. Basically, my diet consisted of animal products and white rice, and magnesium. Three months ago, I visited a friend who was battling cancer and who had taken up drinking a veggie smoothie every night which she whipped up in her VitaMix. Out of politeness, I drank one with her, thinking to myself that I’d no doubt be unable to poop the next morning. The smoothie contained kale, spinach, lime juice and water. I was surprised the next morning when I had no problems going. I was more surprised when I went again a few hours later. I didn’t pursue further experimentation right away. But when my daughter offered me a veggie-fruit smoothie from her Magic Bullet a few weeks later, I accepted. That night, I purposely didn’t take my magnesium supplement, to see how the smoothie would affect my digestion without magnesium. I was happy when I had no problems going the next morning. So, I decided to invest in a NutriBullet and explore smoothies a bit more. This is what I’ve discovered. I can put any combination of whole fresh veggies and fruits (except fruits containing pectin) in my smoothie as long as I let it whir for at least 60 seconds. As long as I have my daily smoothie, and don’t eat nuts, dairy or legumes, my magnesium supplement is no longer needed in order for me to poop. Crucifers do make me gassy but they don’t bind me up. I’m not saying these smoothies will work with everyone, or that cutting out dairy, nuts, etc. will cure your constipation. What I am saying is that everyone’s digestive system is unique. You may have to try an elimination diet to discover what your sensitivities are. I did, and that is when I found I could not eat dairy, nuts and legumes. It’s a slow, inconvenient process, but in about 6 weeks, you’ll learn the peculiarities of your own digestive system, and help it to function better. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t take anyone’s word as gospel when it comes to your body. No one has the answer for everyone, there’s no room for loyalty to any professed dietary guru. It’s all about you and your health and happiness.

    • Dear Mel

      Thanks for your insights! I completely agree that we are each unique and need to experiment with foods to figure out what works best, and completely agree that adding fiber can make constipation worse for a lot of people. Rice is a grain that most people digest more easily than other grains, so it is unlikely that rice is one of your culprits, but my guess is you already tried removing that without success, and your diet was already so limited–it’s great that you found a strategy that works for you and allows you to eat a more varied diet!

  • viktoria

    when ever i eat any dairy products my belly grumbles an rumbles and sometimes i have really bad belly aches and diarrhea ? do you guys know what this might mean?

    • Hi Viktoria
      The two most likely possibilities are:

      1. Lactose intolerance. Many people can’t absorb lactose (milk sugar). If this is the case you may feel better if you tried lactose-free products or chose dairy foods which are naturally low in lactose such as hard cheeses, heavy cream, butter, etc. Check dairy food labels; if it has zero carbs, it’s lactose-free.

      2. Casein sensitivity. Many people can’t digest casein (a dairy protein). If this is the case, you may need to avoid almost all dairy foods in order to feel better. Some dairy foods are low in casein or virtually casein-free, such as heavy cream and butter. Check labels; if it has zero grams of protein, it’s casein-free.

      If neither of the above work, you may need to remove dairy completely from your diet in order to feel well (which is what I had to do).

      • viktoria

        thank you for replying, this helped me a lot

  • Leo

    Howdie Dr Ede,
    I have started my KETO way 1 week ago. After eating heavy Carbs, sweets and so on i have decided to put a stop to them all. I go to the Gym 4-5 times per week but still with a jelly belly around me :/
    Anyway.. I have been eating 4 full eggs in the morning, cooked in Butter (full fat) along with Bacon. Mainly fish all week, again fried in Butter, with green salad and lately Spinach (also cooked in butter).
    A few Espressos, Mature cheddar cheese, Smoked fat bacon also in as some kind of snacks.
    Tried double thick cream but changed my mind straight away… as I think there’s sugar in it.
    Full fat Mayo? My friend suggests there’s too much oil in it and can cause inflammation?
    Recently introduced Greek Fat Yoghurt too…
    Results: Using KETOSTIXS I see my ketosis levels being med-high (1-2-3 below the darkest) still have the belly (but I guess that takes time!) but been constipated since the beginning.
    I thinking of going to the Pharmacy for a lassative ? also (having read your articles) I shall eliminate Mature cheddar and Yougurt ?
    Any other suggestions?

    Many thanks and kid regards

    • Hi Leo

      Congratulations for getting started on this new path! Yes, the first potential culprit to explore is dairy, unfortunately. It only takes a few days or so to figure it out, but removing all dairy (including the butter, sadly) is the first experiment to try. If that doesn’t help, take a look at the raw vegetables in your salad. While too much of any raw vegetable can be problematic for some people, it’s most often the crucifers. [for a complete list of cruciferous veggies: The third, much less likely possibility is eggs. Most people tolerate eggs very well, but they are one of the top 9 foods that can cause food allergy and sensitivity, so if all else fails, take a look at the eggs.

      I’m hopeful that the dairy experiment will help you in two potential ways: 1) it is the food most likely causing your tummy troubles and 2) it is the most common roadblock to weight loss on LCHF and ketogenic diets, due to its ability to raise insulin levels [for more info:

      As for the mayo, most mayonnaise is made with refined seed oils such as canola oil, which are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. These can tilt the body in the direction of inflammation. However, you have to choose your battles. There are olive oil mayos out there if you’re interested. Check out Melissa Hartwig’s recipe on the (excellent) Whole 30 website:

      Hope this helps!

      • Leo

        Thank you very much for your prompt reply…
        I shall start today with no cheese and yogurt..
        If constipation doesn’t end in 2 days, I will cut the butter too. 🙁
        Shall I go for some lassative in the mean time? or best to wait?

        Thank you,

        P.S. Going to make my own mayo: Extra Virgin Olive oil, Eggs and lemon 😉

        • Howdie again Leo!

          I’ll leave that to your good judgment, but I see no reason to avoid taking one if you need one. Good luck with your dairy experiment and feel free to keep us posted if you’d like!

          • Leo

            I surely will !
            And here’s the first TIP if I may: Let’s call it KETO MAYO ?
            2 Eggs, 250 ml (circa) Extra Virgin olive oil, tick of salt (very little thick), half lemon squeezed.
            Need a hand blender and a blender glass…
            2 eggs and start blending, add Olive oil while blending and salt, and Lemon.. keep blending till consistence reached… more oil = more consistence…
            2 min max = healthy and great…

          • That mayo sounds fabulous and healthy; thank you for sharing this recipe with us here! I so wish I could eat eggs!

  • utpal sinha

    Hello Dr. Ede, I want to know that whether nuts are okay to give to a 3 year old toddler daily in breakfast as it seems from your article that it would cause constipation. I am giving my child daily some walnuts, almonds, pistachois. He likes to eat those but ya from past few days he poops more and that whats make me concerned…

    • Dear Utpal

      Nuts are a common cause of constipation, but not for everyone. Some people seem to do just fine with them, and others find that they cause the opposite problem (diarrhea). We are each different in how we respond to plant foods. If your son likes nuts and they don’t bother him, they may be fine for him, but it sounds as if he may be having the opposite problem with them? The only way to know for sure is to take the nuts out of the diet to see if they are the culprit, then put them back in to see what happens. Also, some people have trouble with only certain kinds of nuts, so you may want to explore this possibility by testing only one kind of nut at a time. I hope the issue becomes clearer for you and your son with a bit of experimentation.

  • Hello, Ovennamedheats

    I wish I could tell you exactly what’s causing your symptoms but unfortunately there is no substitute for trial and error when it comes to things like this. It is true that meat, fat (and certain simple sugars like glucose) are easily absorbed compared to absolutely everything else, from dairy proteins to vegetable matter. If you have IBS-C something is interfering with your good digestion and there are many possible culprits. For IBS-C it can be helpful to reduce the diet to meats (by which I mean any animal–poultry, seafood, red meats, including their natural fats) and if you want to include plant foods and/or carbohydrates, than you could include fruits, which are typically rapidly digested and can actually cause IBS-D in some people. Fruits disguised as vegetables are probably ok to include as well, such as cucumbers, avocado, and squash. All of those have seeds, which makes them fruits. Then if you felt better you could add back other foods one at a time to see how things go.

    Some people (especially people with insulin resistance) feel sluggish if they overeat carbs or overeat protein, so we can’t rule out those potential issues, but grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, fermented foods, and artificial ingredients are very common culprits in fatigue syndromes. FODMAPS encourage fermentation in the gut, generating gases and other noxious by-products which can make some people feel awful.

  • cruzi5

    Medically speaking, constipation usually is defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week. Severe constipation is defined as less than one bowel movement per week. There is no medical reason to have a bowel movement every day.

    I used to have constipation issues, but i started taking a supplement that keeps me regular. I have a bowel movement EVERY DAY since I started taking the Lady Soma Fiber Cleanse. I take them for about 2-3 weeks out of the month. I do not always need it every day, but it has totally regulated my system.

  • Mary Rodriguez

    I have been doing it all wring it seems. Coming off a trainers diet and trying Keto, I was having difficulty getting my “allotted” 30g of fiber. I’ve been eating broccoli, peas, lots of almonds/walnuts, and cheese. Maybe now I won’t worry so much about getting the fiber and switching up the diet a little. This is a much different diet than I’m used to so it’s still a bit of a struggle finding the right foods to eat to get ALL that fat 🙂

    • Hi Mary

      Enjoy the search for delicious fats that don’t bother you! Some favorites among the keto crowd are: avocado, butter, egg yolks, and bacon fat. Fatty meats, fish and poultry (dark meat or meat with roasted skin) are excellent staple foods. I personally have trouble with heavy cream, coconut, and nuts, which many people on ketogenic diets enjoy and do fine with, but it’s important to figure out which ones your body likes best. Good luck!

  • Orion Antares

    Would coconut meat fall under the nuts issue or would that be safe to continue eating if you’re trying to eliminate these items to test for if any are related to constipation? Also, what would be a cheapeasy low carb vegetable alternative to broccoli and green beans?

    • rana

      Asparagus is very low carb and low calorie, and sugar snap peas differ from green beans, they are even lower carb. Also parsnips are great but they’re slightly higher in carbs. Bell peppers are awesome. Also collard greens and spinach are easier for me to digest than kale

    • Hi Orion

      You would have to experiment with coconut vs other nuts to see how you do with them. Coconut for me personally seems to affect me in similar ways to all other nuts, but everyone is different. I would recommend taking out all nuts for a little while and then adding back just coconut to see what happens.

      Great low-carb vegetables with low risk for constipation include:

      yellow squash
      green/red peppers and tomatoes (unless you are sensitive to nightshades)
      non-cruciferous lettuces (iceberg, romaine, escarole, red leaf, green leaf)
      beet greens
      spaghetti squash

      Hope that helps!

  • Hi again–sorry for the delay! I do not claim to be an IBS expert and encourage everyone to do their own dietary experiments to see what works best for them. There are lots of and lots of people on the internet offering solutions for IBS, and some of them are making a lot of money on supplements and other products that promise relief. I can’t tell you whether or not their approach would work for you, I can only tell you what the science says about digestion. My individual detailed pages on fruits, fiber, and meat, include numerous scientific references that support what I write. Unfortunately, what I have come to understand about nutrition flies in the face of what most conventionally trained dieticians will tell you. I have not yet written a book but hope to do so in the near future. I am sorry that I don’t currently offer phone consultations but I am in the process of considering that, and will let you know if I can make that happen.

  • Mariam

    After female surgery including directions for no straining! IBS-Constipation and gas.. History of not able to eat raw foods . Very difficult to get proteins in. Meat chicken bad. Canned green beans great since childhood especially after surgeries / 1 per year growing up probably trashed flora. Rarely able to eat salads. Certainly not while in Episode mode. Steamed carrots fine and baked yams. Graham crackers and Barbara’s spoonfuls cereal. Strawberries frozen black cherries in smoothies with brown rice protein powder ok. Not sure if fish is giving me trouble. Boring diet choices

  • kyle

    Oh, really? Casein should be the culprit for me. I take a class of milk everyday, that is the dessert I usually like and constipation has been the order of the day. Thank you for the information.

  • Cyndi

    I do eat 4 of these foods everyday. I gave up meat and dairy about 40
    years ago and eat a 98% plant based/raw diet. My IBSC symptoms just about
    disappeared! I have had IBSC
    since my 20’s. Because I see my hubbies frozen yogurt each time
    I open the freezer, I gave in and started eating it about 4
    months ago. About that time I became so clogged up that my family Dr
    finally prescribed a whole bottle of magnesium citrate, which
    worked. The problem returned since I didn’t want to believe the
    yogurt was causing it, since I have eaten regular refrigerated yogurt
    occasionally through the years for a week at a time with no apparent problem, I
    am wondering if the frozen yogurt is really causing this
    problem. I am going to give it up for a month and see what
    happens. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Hi Cyndi

      Interesting history–thanks for sharing! Dairy in general and yogurt in particular are major culprits in digestive problems, so I’m hopeful that you will notice a big difference over the next month. Please feel free to keep us posted!

      • Cyndi

        Thank you, I will. I am hoping it will be a good update!

  • disqus_nocmkvBMwY

    Can you refer us to the studies on which these claims are based? I need to read them. Thanks.

  • Mark van der Enden

    Dear Dr. Ede,

    I have read the information on your site with great interest. I have been suffering from chronic constipation for over 10 years now and are at loss what to do. All checks with my doctor and at the hospital turned out negative. I have been experimenting during this time with my diet going from a meat based diet to a vegetarian and finally vegan dieet. I have noticed, however, no difference whatsoever in my constipation issues.
    I was wondering if you could advice me regarding the most appropriate diet for somebody with chronic constipation who wants to follow a vegetarian/vegan diet. What should be the basic staples. I now primarily eat legumes, lost of vegetables rice/pasta’s.
    The strange regarding my constipation is that every year when I go on fieldwork (I am on archaeologist) to Greece , (but only in the summer and not during winter) but constipation magically disappears almost immediately and I have a normal bowel movement everyday. As soon as I am back home, same problem again. Could this be related to what I eat, I have tried to replicate this at home but no positive results.
    I very much appreciate your advice.

    • Hi Mark

      Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to avoid the grains/beans/nuts/seeds when eating a vegan diet, because those are staple protein sources of the vegan diet. Since you can’t safely remove those from a vegan diet without risking malnutrition, you are left with a few half-measures that may or may not help, including:

      increasing fat intake (fat lubricates the gut and improves digestibility of food
      minimizing raw fibrous vegetables
      avoiding cruciferous vegetables
      removing all grains that contain gluten
      eating more fruit and choosing vegetables that contain seeds (fruits in disguise) over vegetables without seeds

      Hope it helps!

      • Mark van der Enden

        Dear Dr. Ede,

        Many thanks for your reply and advice, much appreciated. Would tofu be a good source of protein to eat instead of beans and nuts? And are avocado’s good for increasing fat intake. I usually only have a lot of olive oil with my meals.
        Would it be possible to avoid the potential problems you mention on a vegetarian diet?
        I am certainly going to take your advice and see if things improve.
        Best wishes,

        • Hi Mark

          Unfortunately tofu is a refined legume (bean) product, so it does contribute to constipation in some people.

          Avocado is a great way to increase healthy fats in the diet!

          A vegetarian diet is superior to a vegan diet because you can eat eggs as one of your protein sources (unless you have an egg sensitivity). You can also eat dairy on a vegetarian diet, but dairy is a gastrointestinal culprit for quite a few people. You’d have to experiment with eggs and dairy to see what’s true for you…

          • Mark van der Enden

            Dear Dr. Ede,

            Many thanks again for all the information. Much appreciated. Sorry for my late reply is was on holiday.
            Would gluten free pasta and rice be ok to eat?

            Best wishes,


  • JBKayak

    I think nutrition like medicine is always being refined by new scientific break through. Unfortunately, not everyone is one the newest revision, including educators, so you will here different advice. Use time on your side by isolating variables and try to find what works for you and search out people that align with what you are experiencing. Then it’s easier to trust their knowledge and gain from their experiences

  • melissa spiegler

    Okay, That makes sense with what causes it. Now can there be some discussion of natural alternatives for promoting a productive digestive system with no stress bowel movements. I seem to have problems with yogurt, cheeses, nuts, apples any candy,soy, any things “high in fiber” which are my major difficulty with pain and lack of bowel movements. What bugs me is that I think I need to “go” and then when it’s time to sit down my system has no intention of releasing anything. If I take “Metamucil” it takes two to three days to work at all. I’m not a complainer…I go with the flow LOL!!! I do know however how important healthy daily bowel movements are to our overall system and health and I am always stressing that to other people.

  • Dippy

    Well what about when u eat too much sugar and then end up getting constipated? I am guessing that if I completely stay away from sugar for a couple days the problem will resolve? Also is it common for laxities to work like once then stop working?

  • Dippy

    I usually poop everyday but yesterday was hard and today not much at all. I feel like I should poop but cant