High-Fibre And High-Protein Diet Can Lead To Constipation: Expert Shares Ways To Alleviate The Risk

High-fibre and protein-rich diets have become the go-to recommendations for weight management, muscle building, and overall well-being. However, despite their numerous benefits, these diets can sometimes lead to an uncomfortable and often misunderstood side effect: constipation. Read on to know expert tips to alleviate constipation risk while having high fibre and protein diet.
High-Fibre And High-Protein Diet Can Lead To Constipation

High-Fibre And High-Protein Diet Can Lead To Constipation (Image Credits: Freepik)

While high-fibre and high-protein diets are often recommended for healthy living, did you know that they can also present challenges for digestive health? Recent studies have shed light on how the high-fibre and protein diet may contribute to constipation in some individuals. Both fibre and protein play crucial roles in digestive function. Fibre adds bulk to stool and promotes regular bowel movements, while protein is essential for muscle function and repair throughout the body. However, when consumed in excess these nutrients can disrupt the balance of the digestive system.
We got in touch with a health expert who explains how having a high-fibre and protein diet can lead to constipation, and what measures should be taken to alleviate constipation.

How Does a High-Fibre Diet Cause Constipation?

Dr Neeti Sharma, Senior Consultant, Nutrition and Dietetics, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Gurugram shares that fibre is essential for digestive health. It adds bulk to the stool and promotes regular bowel movements. However, a sudden increase in dietary fibre, especially from sources such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can lead to constipation if not managed correctly.
1. Lack of Hydration: Fibre absorbs water to form soft, bulky stools. Without adequate fluid intake, fibre can make the stool dry and hard, leading to constipation.
2. Rapid Increase in Fibre: A drastic increase in fibre intake can overwhelm the digestive system, resulting in bloating, gas, and constipation.
3. Types of Fibre: There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can help soften stool, while insoluble fibre adds bulk. An imbalance, particularly an excess of insoluble fibre without enough water, can exacerbate constipation.

How Does Protein Cause Constipation?

Dr Neeti Sharma shares that protein is a critical nutrient for muscle repair, immune function, and overall health. Diets high in protein, particularly those low in carbohydrates, such as ketogenic or Atkins diets, are popular for weight loss and fitness.
1. Low Fiber Intake: High-protein diets often lead to a reduction in carbohydrate consumption, which in turn reduces fibre intake. This lack of fibre is a significant contributor to constipation.
2. Dehydration: Protein metabolism requires more water. Without increased fluid intake, dehydration can occur, making stools harder to pass.
3. Dietary Imbalance: Overemphasis on protein at the expense of other nutrients can disrupt the digestive process and contribute to constipation.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Constipation
Dr Neeti Sharma shares that while high-fibre and high-protein diets have their benefits, it is crucial to adopt strategies to mitigate the risk of constipation.
Hydration is Key: Ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. For every gram of fibre consumed, it's advisable to drink an additional 8 ounces of water.
Gradual Increase in Fiber: Instead of a sudden surge, gradually increase your fibre intake to allow your digestive system to adjust. Aim for a balanced mix of soluble and insoluble fibres.
Balanced Diet: Include a variety of nutrients in your diet. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to maintain an adequate fibre intake while consuming protein.
Regular Physical Activity: Exercise helps stimulate digestion and promotes regular bowel movements. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking or cycling, into your daily routine.
Mindful Eating: Pay attention to how your body responds to dietary changes. Chew your food thoroughly and eat smaller, more frequent meals to ease the digestive process.
Probiotics and Prebiotics: Incorporate probiotics (such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods) and prebiotics (such as garlic, onions, and bananas) to support gut health and regular bowel movements.
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