Why Your Healthy New Diet Is Making You Constipated

You resolved to clean up your eating act, and started to adopt a healthier diet. Maybe you broke up with sugar and gave up red meat. Maybe you started eating more salads. Maybe you adopted a full-on keto diet or similar strict, low-carb eating plan.

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Or perhaps you eliminated grains, legumes, dairy and sugar as part of a Whole30 type regimen. Or conversely, you even embraced a full-fledged whole foods, plant-based – or minimally-processed vegan – diet. But as the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Whatever the nature of your big, seemingly healthy eating change, there’s been another unexpected change that accompanied it: You’re suddenly constipated, and you simply cannot figure out why.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s not at all uncommon for people to experience a downgrade in their digestive regularity alongside an upgrade in their diet quality. Here are three of the most common reasons why people become constipated – and how to fix them, including what foods help with constipation.

3 Reasons You’re Constipated

1. Your new diet lacks soluble fiber.

Many popular diet regimens – like gluten-free, paleo, keto, Whole30 and low-carb plans – significantly cut grains. And some involve a reduction in root vegetable and fruit intake as well. These foods, which are rich in a type of fiber called soluble fiber, are often replaced by lower-carb alternatives like leafy greens, berries and nuts, which are rich in a type of fiber called insoluble fiber. These foods with insoluble fiber are some examples of foods to avoid when constipated.

While this may seem like an even trade, in fact, the two types of fiber behave very differently in your digestive tract. Soluble fiber can hold onto water, serving to plump up your poops and help keep them bulky and soft, no matter how long their journey to the exit may last.

The insoluble fiber that predominates in “roughage,” veggie skins and seeds, on the other hand, can’t really hold onto water as it passes through the digestive tract. Therefore, if you’re someone whose bowels trend toward the slower side, there’s a fair chance that your insoluble fiber-predominant diet includes foods that cause…

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