Does Peanut Butter Cause Constipation? – What You Should Know

Infrequent bowel movements, the feeling of not being able to empty yourself on the toilet, straining and having difficulty passing stools... these are all signs that you are constipated.

And these are all signs that no one wants to have to deal with.

There are a million and one reasons why someone may be constipated, but is eating peanut butter one of them?

Does peanut butter cause constipation or can you leave this page with relief that you can still enjoy those delicious peanut butter sandwiches and Reese's peanut butter cups without spending 30+ minutes trying to pass a bowel movement?

The good news is that peanut butter is not likely to cause constipation. The bad news is that there are the slim possibilities that it can.

Some Reasons Peanut Butter Might Make You Constipated

1) It's High In Saturated Fat

A serving (2 tbsp) of the popular Jif Creamy Peanut Butter will provide you with 3.5g of saturated fat, which is about 17% of the recommended daily value.

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This is pretty high for such a small serving, and although higher amounts of fat are often associated with constipation relief and the increase of bowel movements, eating too much saturated fat is also linked to constipation.

Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that there is a connection between high saturated fat intake and constipation, in particular with diabetics and the elderly population who are already at higher risks of getting constipated.

That said, there really hasn't been much research in this particular area and it seems unlikely to cause such problems with the majority of the population.

Note: A 100g serving of peanuts alone will provide only 7g of saturated fat, which is a much lower percentage than most peanut butters (source: USDA). The higher saturated fat content of peanut butter is due to the added ingredients, which often includes hydrogenated vegetable oils.

*Trans-fat is the worst kind of fat and you will find some peanut butters with this unnatural substance. It is known to cause digestive issues and is best to avoid.

2) Too Much Niacin

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is important for many processes that go on in the body... playing a role in turning carbs into glucose, fat and protein metabolism and more.

Peanuts happen to be a great source this and are often recommended to those who are niacin deficient.

Going along with the example used above, a 2 tbsp serving of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter will provide you with 5mg of niacin, which is about 30% of the RDA.

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That's great and all, however, one of the possible side effects of too much niacin listed on WebMD is constipation.

It's very unlikely that this would be the actual cause, but if you are already getting a lot of niacin in your diet and eating peanut butter on top of that, it is a possibility.

3) Intolerance to Peanuts

Food intolerances are non-allergic hypersensitivities and have nothing to do with allergic reactions where your body mounts an immune response to what it thinks is a problem.

Being intolerant to peanuts simply means that your body has difficulty digesting them. 

These conditions may not be all that well understood by doctors, but nut intolerances do exist.

One such potential culprit for these hypersensitivities is salicylate. Salicylate sensitivity is not all that uncommon and is known to cause all sorts of symptoms, including constipation. If you do have this kind of hypersensitivity then you should also experience symptoms from raisins, prunes, blackberries, oranges, strawberries and others foods with high amounts this substance.

4) Peanut Allergies

Having an allergy to peanuts is much more likely to cause diarrhea, a problem on the opposite side of the infrequent bowel movement spectrum. But it seems that it could also lead to constipation, particularly for young children.

Constipation as a symptom of food allergies is something more prevalent for children under the age of 3, and then dissipates with age.

But Don't Throw Out All Your Peanut Butter Just Yet

This purpose of this article isn't meant to frighten you. While there are problems that can arise with peanut consumption, it should be noted that a healthy/natural peanut butter is much more likely to be beneficial for digestion and overall health.

Peanuts and peanut butter are a great source of fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins like niacin, folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, iron and more.

It's Actually More Likely to Help Relieve Constipation

The good news is that, while it can potentially cause constipation, it isn't likely to. 

In fact, it seems more plausible that peanut butter would help to relieve a case of constipation.

Lots of Fiber

Fiber provides no nutritional value but is extremely important for digestion and can help your body absorb other food nutrients better.

There are about 1.9g of fiber in 2 tbsp of peanut butter, which is about 8% of the RDA... pretty good for such a small amount. This fiber it provides comes in both forms, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is, as the name suggests, soluble in water. It absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance. It can help to pull more water into the stool and soften it while also absorbing excess water as there is in the case of diarrhea.

Insoluble fiber is the more common of the two and adds bulk to the stool, helping increase how fast foods pass through the intestines. This type of fiber is great for treating constipation and a lack of it is often a cause of such.

Heavy In Fats

While we did go over how having too much saturated fat has been linked to constipation in elderly people and diabetics, fat isn't a bad thing and what you get from peanut butter is more likely to be of benefit, assuming you are eating a healthy type of peanut butter and not something with a bunch of added ingredients.

*Most of the fat content that peanuts provide is unsaturated anyhow.

Fat actually helps your body absorb nutrients, such as carotenoids for example. So if you want to increase the benefits of your veggies then you need to have enough fats as well... which might not be what you'd think. 

Additionally, fats can act as a lubricant in your intestines which is exactly what you want if you are constipated... making hard stool easier to pass. And there is also some evidence that it can help stool hold onto more water, thus softening it.

Peanut Allergies

If you are allergic to peanuts then it is definitely advised that you avoid them altogether. That said, it's worth noting that having allergy to peanuts is much more likely to cause diarrhea than constipation... and most estimates are that somewhere around 0.6 - 1.4% of the population in the USA have this allergy.

An allergic reaction to peanuts or peanut butter happens when your body mistakes the proteins it has as a threat, which causes an immune response that may lead to cramps, itching, swollen throat, diarrhea, etc.

Symptoms will likely be noticeable within minutes after consumption.

Solutions for Proper BM's

1) Go Natural

If you do think peanut butter is the cause of your constipation, or someone else's, then it may be worth a try going natural if it isn't too bad.

Maybe it could be the peanuts of maybe it could be another added ingredient, or maybe it could be all the extra saturated fat that comes from hydrogenated vegetable oils in some of the less healthy products out there.

There are lots of possibilities and if you like peanut butter too much to go cold turkey, try a healthier natural product if you aren't already. The natural peanut butter products might not taste quite as great or be quite as creamy, but they are healthier and less likely to cause BM infrequencies.

2) Stop Eating Peanut Butter

Unfortunately the areas where peanut butter may cause constipation are very understudied. Methods for finding out whether or not peanut butter is the cause and what exactly it is about peanut butter need to improve and at this point it is easiest, and probably best, to just eliminate peanut butter from your diet if your condition is too much to bear.

A simple elimination diet is very easy to follow and can be done at no cost. The downside is that, if you find peanut butter to be the culprit, you won't know what exactly it is about it that is the cause. Is it the proteins, the salicylate, the fats?? Who knows.

3) Use an Alternative

Peanut butter isn't the only type of nut butter out there. While it may not taste quite as good to some, almond butter is healthier in a lot of ways and the taste is said to grow on you.

Almond butter is higher in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, peanut butter is a bit higher in the highly coveted, much sought after, protein.

It might be worth giving a try. You can substitute it in where you used to use peanut butter for many different foods/snacks.

*If your constipation is severe then it is always recommended that you consult with your doctor to find a solution.

Got Diarrhea? – What to Eat & What to Avoid

Diarrhea... no one wants to deal with it, but everyone gets it at some point or another. It is estimated that in America everyone gets about one bout of diarrhea per year.

Cancel your plans, prepare the toilet, and lace up your running shoes... because you will be running to the bathroom frequently. 

Well, that is how it usually goes. But there are some ways to avoid this, and that is what this post is all about.

Let's start out with a list of some good foods you can eat to help you get rid of diarrhea--so that you can put an end to it if you are experiencing it currently, or be prepared before it happens again.

What to Eat

The BRAT diet has been around since the early 1900's and use to be commonly recommended for those with diarrhea, especially by pediatricians for children. 

This diet consists of:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

While this diet isn't recommended all that much anymore due to it being overly-restrictive, these foods are still good choices that you should consider.

High Fiber vs Low Fiber

Generally speaking, if you are constipated and want to encourage a BM you should eat foods high in fiber, and vice versa if you have diarrhea.

Soluble fibers like pectin would still be good to consume, because of how they absorb excess water and can help firm-up loose stool, but it is usually more insoluble fiber that you get from high-fiber foods... which is why it's best to try to avoid foods high in fiber altogether. 

The BRAT foods are all low in fiber.

Both bananas and applesauce provide pectin (the good, soluble fiber) to help firm loose stool and little insoluble fiber. However, this would be different if you were eating whole apples with the skin, which is where much of the insoluble fiber is located.

Easy on The Stomach

Another name for the BRAT Diet is actually the Bland Diet, due to how bland it is of course.

Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast... these are all mild foods and are easy on the stomach.

While the BRAT diet might not be recommended anymore due to being too restrictive, it is still a good and simple diet to follow when in need. What you might want to do, however, is take some multivitamins along with this diet because of how basic it is.

Some other bland foods that could also be put on the list, but I assume are excluded to help keep things as short and simple as possible, are:

  • Boiled potatoes
  • and cream of wheat

Probiotics Can Be a Good Addition Too

A healthy gut microbiota is essential for good digestion and proper bowel movements. And if you don't already know, probiotics are 'good' bacteria that is beneficial to our guts and help out in the digestive process.

Taking probiotics when you have diarrhea or at anytime can be of benefit. However, most probiotics are sold in milk or yogurt drinks, which might not be the best choice because of how diary is a common cause of diarrhea.

Our suggestion would be to eat vegan sources of probiotics like sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, water kefir, etc.

What to Avoid

Spicy Foods

Hot peppers, horse radish, ginger... these are foods you are going to want to avoid for the time being. They may further irritate your digestive system and exacerbate the problem.

Dairy Products

If you are lactose intolerant this means that your body can't properly process lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. This condition commonly causes upset stomach and diarrhea.

However, even if you don't suffer from this problem it might be a good idea to avoid dairy if you have diarrhea.

Lots of Fiber

As mentioned, lots of fiber is something you want if you are constipated, but generally not if you have diarrhea.

You may want to avoid foods like oat-bran, broccoli and other dark-green vegetables, eating fruits with the skin, seeds and nuts... all of which are high in fiber.

High Amounts or Sugar

High amounts of sugar is something you are also going to want to avoid, so this means putting the candy out of sight.

Sugar alcohols aren't very easy for your body to digest. Because of this they are fermented by bacteria, and during this process gas is released. This then can lead to cramps, stomach pain, and of course... diarrhea.

This commonly happens to people who have fructose intolerance and eat too much fruit (fructose is a natural sugar in fruit), which is the reason grapes, watermelon, etc. will give some people diarrhea.

Greasy Fast-Food

Don't order any Big Macs or Whoopers. These types of foods are better off being avoided... and not just when you have diarrhea, but at any time.

Not only are the artificial preservatives and flavors that some fast-food has not good for healthy digestion, but also the high fat content can lead to diarrhea, or worsen it if you have the problem already.

Artificial Sweeteners

Stay away from foods that are overly-sweet in general, whether it be from real sugar or from artificial sweeteners.

The body isn't used to artificial ingredients and this leads to improper digestion, which can cause diarrhea. This is the reason so many people complain about getting diarrhea from eating sugar-free gummy bears, as an example.

Artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, have also been shown to kill good gut bacteria, which as mentioned is important for proper digestion.

'One-Size-Fits-All' Doesn't Exist

One thing to be aware of is that there is no blanket approach to getting rid of diarrhea. One-size-fits-all doesn't exist.

There are many different causes of diarrhea and everyone's body reacts differently to different foods.

While one person may be able to eat spicy Mexican dishes all day long, someone else may lose 5 lbs running to the bathroom over and over again after eating a mildly spiced taco.

That said, the foods that are recommended above are, generally speaking, what you should eat and avoid if you have diarrhea.

Resume Normal Eating

Of course no one wants to eat bland food forever, and it also isn't all that healthy to do such.

As soon as you can you should resume normal eating... unless your "normal" eating consists of a poorly well-balanced diet.

The reason the BRAT diet isn't often recommended to children anymore is because of it not being very well-rounded. It only consists of 4 foods and isn't healthy long-term... although it is still a simple and effective way to get over diarrhea.

A well balanced diet is important for overall health and proper digestion.

Note: If you experience abnormally frequent diarrhea and have already taken the advice given here, it is wise to seek advice from a trained professional. You may have an underlying and potentially serious condition that is to blame.

Can Watermelon Cause Diarrhea? – It Sure Can!

Watermelon... it's a nutritiously delicious hydrating snack that is great for outdoor get-togethers, if you don't get diarrhea from it that is.

Can watermelon cause diarrhea? 

The answer is yes... for some people. 

The fruit has been around for thousands of years. According to watermelon.org, the first watermelon harvest ever recorded dates back about 5,000 years to ancient Egypt. And they enjoyed the food just as much as we do today... sometimes placing watermelons in burials with kings to help nourish them into the afterlife.

But... as tasty as they are... for some people eating some watermelon means diarrhea later on... and no one wants to have to deal with that.

Yes, Watermelon Can Cause Diarrhea & Here are 3 Reasons Why

#1 - Fructose Malabsorption

The first reason watermelon may lead to diarrhea, and probably the most common, is fructose malabsorption.

Fructose is a sugar that is found in many plants, but is found in the highest amounts in fruits.

Bananas, peaches, grapes, strawberries, cherries, apples, watermelon, etc... these all have fructose and all can potentially cause diarrhea.

An apple a day may keep the doctor away for some people, but for others it may give diarrhea and stomach cramping... which might send them to the doctor. The same goes for watermelon.

Fructose malabsorption (aka fructose intolerance) is when your intestines aren't able to efficiently break down fructose during digestion. The absorption of fructose usually happens in the small intestine, but when it isn't absorbed properly it can travel to the large intestine where it is then fermented by bacteria... causing bloating, cramps and potentially diarrhea.

This condition is a common symptom of other larger conditions like IBS but you can also have it on its own also.

According to SFGate you should probably avoid fruits that contain fructose as more than half of their natural sugar content, which includes watermelon.

In 100g of raw, natural watermelon there is about 6g of sugar total, of which 3.36g is fructose (source: Traditional Oven).

#2 - Lycopene Could Be The Cause

If you are a big watermelon eater then this could very well be the cause if you are not intolerant to fructose. 

Watermelon is said to contain about 9-13 mg of lycopene per 1.5 cups. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 30 mg of lycopene consumed on a daily basis may be enough to cause bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea... and considering the fact that other fruits like pink grapefruit & tomatoes also have it... the amount watermelon provides could put you over the unofficial 30 mg threshold. 

Lycopene is a carotenoid that is what gives tomatoes and watermelon (and others) their red color. Even if you aren't a big red fruit eater, you could be getting it from lots of other sources, like ketchup for example, which is made from tomatoes.

The potential of this substance to cause diarrhea is very understudied, but there is evidence that suggests it can, and will, if consumed in too high amounts.

#3 - High Water Content

Watermelons are about 92% water (some sources claim even higher!), which is very high and probably the reason they have the word 'water' in their name.

This is unlikely to cause diarrhea, but foods with high water content can certainly encourage bowel movements and could potentially help tip the scales a little too far in that direction.

But It's Also Good for Digestion

Yes, watermelon does have some potential to cause diarrhea. However, for the majority of people out there enjoying a nice slice of the fruit on a hot summer day isn't going to cause any harm... and can be beneficial for digestion instead.

The high water content and the fiber it provides are important for healthy digestion. They can help to prevent constipation and aren't likely to cause diarrhea.

Watermelon is far from being a 'good' source of fiber, but will give you 0.4 g per 100 g (source: USDA). This is enough to provide some benefit for proper BM's but certainly isn't so much that you should worry about it leading to diarrhea.

The Most Likely Cause

If you experience diarrhea after eating watermelon the most likely cause seems to be fructose malabsorption (#1 on the list)

And if you do have this problem then you should experience diarrhea from a range of different fruits that are high in fructose, not just watermelon alone.

If you think that watermelon is the cause, but are not quite sure, we suggest doing an elimination diet, which is something you can do on your own at home... for free.

Foods That Help Stop Diarrhea

Generally speaking, if you have the runs and want to stop this unwanted and sometimes embarrassing problem you should eat foods that are low in fiber. Watermelon falls into this category, but there are other reasons why it's not generally a good choice, such as its high fructose content for example.

Foods like white bread, pasta, and white rice are examples of good foods that aren't high in fiber and likely won't cause problems--making them good foods for stopping diarrhea.

The popular diarrhea-preventing BRAT diet says that people who have diarrhea should eat Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. This will work for some, but as you know bananas and applesauce have a lot of fructose, which may not be suitable for everyone.

For Severe Diarrhea Sufferers

If your diarrhea is to the point where you would consider it severe we recommend getting in contact with your doctor as well as avoiding watermelon for the time being, if you do believe this to be the cause. 

Additionally, it may be a smart idea to avoid foods high in fructose in general, since this is the likely root cause.

Is Oatmeal a Laxative & Will It Make You Poop? – Explained

The effects that oatmeal has on your digestive system are somewhat confusing, and you may have heard conflicting stories.

Is oatmeal a laxative that will make you poop? Or does it work in the opposite direction and can it help harden loose stool and take care of diarrhea?

The quick answer is that it oatmeal is a good choice if you are looking to stimulate bowel movements... because it has laxative effects.

The Reason for Oatmeal's Laxative Effect

A laxative is anything that can help stimulate or facilitate the evacuation of the bowels... anything that can help you poop. 

When it comes to natural laxatives you want foods that are high in fiber--and you want the opposite if you have diarrhea and are trying to get rid of it, which is why the low-fiber BRAT diet is often recommended for diarrhea sufferers.

Fiber In Oatmeal

According to the USDA, one cup of cooked oatmeal will provide you with about 4 grams of fiber, which is about 15-20% of what is recommended daily.

Most Americans only get about 15 grams of fiber per day due to eating too many processed foods. Throwing vegetables, fruit, and whole grains like oatmeal are good choices to boost fiber intake and help stimulate BM's.

There are 2 types of fiber and both can actually have somewhat of a laxative effect--and oatmeal contains both.

Insoluble fiber is fiber that is not broken down in the digestive system and remains intact. It helps stimulate bowel movements by adding bulk to stool and helping speed up passage.

Soluble fiber, on the other hand, absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance. It can help stimulate BM's by bringing water into hardened stool and softening it.

Both forms of fiber work hand-in-hand. The extra bulk from insoluble fiber and the softening effect of soluble fiber make for a great natural laxative.

Are Natural Laxatives a Better Choice?

Taking laxatives every once in a while isn't a problem. The problem comes from overuse... and of course how strong the laxatives are.

Laxatives help stimulate BM's, which is good. The bad thing is that if they increase BM frequency too much then you are basically flushing out your system without allowing your body to absorb the important nutrients you are eating--and this is why people who overuse laxatives are often frail and malnourished.

Over-the-counter laxatives can be more potent but can also have more negative side effects, such as dependency, decreased bowel function, and can lead to less nutrient absorptio.

Natural laxatives, like oatmeal and other foods high in fiber, aren't going to have such noticeable effects but can be eaten consistently without any negative effects.

So while an over-the-counter laxative may be a better choice for a serious case of constipation that you need relief from instantly, oatmeal and other foods that have a natural laxative effect may be a better choice for long-term use to keep BM's normal.

Additionally there are many other benefits from eating a healthy natural food like oatmeal, some of which include:

  • Oatmeal can lower cholesterol and reduce risk of diabetes
  • Oats are rich in antioxidants that help fight off cell-damaging free-radicals
  • They have been shown to improve blood sugar levels
  • Oatmeal is very filling, which is good if you are trying to lose weight

... and more.

Oatmeal is also a great source of slow digesting carbs, which provide a slow source of energy--and this is the reason oatmeal is often the pre-workout meal of choice among many athletes.

Oatmeal As a 'Binding Food'

If you have diarrhea you are likely to be recommended binding foods.

What the heck is a binding food?

A binding food is a food that helps bind your stool, or hold it together which can help eliminate diarrhea.

Oatmeal, although it can definitely help loosen up stool and help one poop, also has some binding qualities to it.

The soluble fiber in particular is what can help bind lose stool--which Today's Dietitian claims oatmeal provides as much as 3g of in 3/4 cup dry oats.

As mentioned, soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance. This can help harden overly-loose stool and hold it together.

Will It Give You Diarrhea or Constipation?

The good news is that oatmeal isn't likely to give most people either problem. It is much more likely to help normalize bowel movements, which means if you are constipated it can help loosen stool and if you have diarrhea it can help harden it.

That said, there is no doubt that oatmeal leans more heavily to the side of being a laxative... so although there are some qualities that it has which could be beneficial for helping harden the stool, there are much better alternatives out there and if you do have diarrhea oatmeal is something we'd recommend that you stop eating for a bit.

Generally speaking, foods that you want to eat if you have diarrhea are those low in fiber. Foods that you want to eat if you are constipated are high in fiber.

Oatmeal is considered a high fiber food, which means it's a better choice for it's laxative effect--to help fight off constipation.

Why It Won't Always Help

As we know, the big reason oatmeal has laxative-type effects is because of its fiber content, which it is high in.

However, there are many causes of constipation.

Lack of fiber is a very common cause and if this is one's problem then oatmeal could very well help out... but if constipation is caused by some other reason it may not be beneficial in this area.

A Better Natural Laxative Alternative

If you are a fan of oatmeal and looking to stimulate a BM, you might also be a fan of oat bran, which is even better for stimulating BMs.

Oat bran is made from the same oats as oatmeal, but only consists of the bran of the oats whereas oatmeal is the whole grain. It has a creamier texture that some people prefer and is often eaten as a porridge.

*The bran is the hard outer layer of the oat

Oat bran has about 50% more fiber than oatmeal. That's a big difference and the reason oat bran is pretty much the undisputed better choice when it comes to the question of which is the better natural laxative.

In fact, it's such a good natural laxative that in a 2009 study in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging it was able to be used as a substitute to over-the-counter laxatives. In this study frail elderly patients who were on heavy amounts of laxatives were given 7-8g of oat bran per day for 12 weeks. The results were that 59% were able to discontinue using laxatives.

Oatmeal, oat bran... both are good choices. Both are high in fiber and have laxative effects.

So next time you are a bit constipated and are looking for a healthy way to stimulate a BM, whip up a bowl of oatmeal and give that try.

PS: If you think something that you may be eating is causing irregular BM's, you may want to try an elimination diet!

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Cause Diarrhea? – Yes & Here’s Why

It's used to lose weight, to lower blood sugar levels, to improve digestion, lower cholesterol, improve hearth health, and the list goes on... but does it also cause the unwanted and extremely inconvenient side effect of diarrhea?

What we're talking about here is good ol' Apple Cider Vinegar, which seems to have become a natural remedy to just about every problem under the sun.

Can it cause diarrhea? Well, in short... yes... but it probably won't. In fact, it seems to be more likely to help treat it.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar, or ACV for short, is basically fermented apple juice, which in the end consists of about 94% water, about 1% carbs and doesn't have any fat or protein.

Most of the claimed health benefits surrounding this "super-food" are very loosely proven with scientific evidence, which is why ACV falls into the category of being a folk medicine.

Does It Cause Diarrhea?

No one wants to deal with the hassle of running to the restroom in excess... nor do any of us want the uncomfortable side effects that come along with this condition... or the potentially embarrassing social impact it can have.

Not only that, but taking ACV would pretty much be a complete waste of time since an eruption of diarrhea would lead to loss of nutrients and also little absorption of the ACV.

2 Ways It May Cause Diarrhea

1. There is a theory that drinking too much at one time will cause excess water to be pulled into the bowel, which will lead to watery stools, aka diarrhea--but not much in the way of proof here. That said, drinking or eating excessive amounts of even the healthiest foods can cause digestive issues, so this could be true.

But we aren't talking about what will happen if you chug an entire bottle of ACV. We are talking about consuming recommended amounts, which might be as little as a tablespoon once a day.

2. Some people with sensitive stomachs may experience stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea. If you fall into this category it might be best to avoid all acidic foods as best you can and likely spicy foods as well.

The reason for this is because of ACV's acidity, which is usually around a pH of 3.3-3.5 at 5%. This, however, is less than other vinegars. ACV is more alkaline due to having more alkaline nutrients.

Acidity is also a reason why some people get diarrhea from orange juice, but this is also very rare.

A Constipation Treatment?

One of this folk medicine's uses is to treat constipation, which we all know is the opposite of diarrhea.

Supporters of ACV supplementation for constipation say that it has a laxative effect, which is pretty much like saying that it can cause diarrhea if supplemented in large enough amounts. 

One of the arguments for its laxative health benefits are that it contains the soluble fiber called pectin, which is all-around good for healthy bowel movements. However, the amount of pectin in apples is only about 1 - 1.5% (source: Wikipedia) and the incredibly small doses of ACV that most people are taking for health benefits isn't going to provide much in the way of this soluble fiber at all... and besides... wouldn't it just make more sense to eat an apple if you are looking for some pectin?

While there are some reasons (as discussed) that ACV may have laxative effects and cause diarrhea, it definitely does not seem to be that great of a choice for a constipation treatment.

Study Shows It Slows Down Bowel Movements

Contrary to it causing diarrhea, apple cider vinegar has actually been shown in studies to slow down gastric emptying.

A 2007 study published in BMC Gastroenterology had 10 patients with diabetic gastroparesis (condition where digestion is abnormally slow and stomach cannot fully empty itself) supplement ACV. The results were that it made the condition even worse by slowing down the gastric emptying rate even more... which would suggest that it could potentially help with diarrhea.

A Cause or Cure for Explosive Bowel Movements?

If you are consuming small doses of ACV for health reasons you are unlikely to get diarrhea from it--and seem to be more likely to treat the condition if you have it.

While there is very little evidence suggesting either, according to some sources it is likely that a healthy dose of ACV will help return bowel movements to normal no matter what the situation--by improving gut health in various ways.

4 Ways ACV Is Good for Your Gut

#1 - Improves Digestion

There isn't really much in the way of proof here, but legend has it that ACV increases the acidity of your stomach and this then leads to the body creating more pepsin, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down protein. 

Pepsin has been found to occur more rapidly in acidic environment (source: 2015 article in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology) and it makes perfect sense that an acidic beverage such as ACV would increase the overall acidity of one's stomach.

It is for this reason that ACV is sometimes consumed before meals rich in protein... to help aid the digestion.

#2 - Helps With Upset Stomach

When you think about stomach acid being the problem behind an upset stomach, indigestion, heartburn, etc... you usually think of there being too much. However, some sources claim that too little stomach acid may be the more common problem.

A small sip of diluted ACV before meals can help balance acid levels and return digestion to normal.

#3 - Improves Gut Microbiota

The bacteria that resides in our guts is incredibly important. Without it we would have horrible digestion and much of the nutrients from the food we eat would go in one end and right out the other, without being absorbed.

ACV can actually help improve gut bacteria because it has prebiotic effects, which basically means that it provides food for good gut bacteria. ACV has prebiotics from the fermented apples and is also a source of pectin, which is an soluble fiber that helps with digestion and is a prebiotic itself.

#4 - Reduces Inflammation

It is also recommended by some as a treatment for gastritis, which is when one's stomach becomes inflamed and swollen for various reasons.

In the Chiroprator Kyle D. Christensen's book titled Herbal First Aid and Health Care, he talks about how lack of hydrochloric acid production in the stomach is often to blame for gastritis and how ACV can help cure this problem.

ACV is also consumed as a way to reduce inflammation of all kinds, although its effectiveness is not proven.

With or Without Mother?

You will hear a lot of natural health enthusiasts saying that you should be buying ACV with "mother", but what the heck does this even mean?

Well, if you look at ACV with and without "mother" you will see that when it has "mother" it is a lot more murky and has sediment at the bottom.

That's the difference. With "mother" isn't filtered and because of this you are left with a liquid that has cellulose and acetic acid bacteria in it--a more raw form that will provide you with a bit more.

Before Drinking

If you are thinking about jumping on the ACV health craze and are looking to drink the liquid yourself, be sure to dilute it beforehand. The high acidity can eat away at the enamel on your teeth and can irritate your throat--and the strong taste isn't exactly inviting.

You may see people taking a spoonful of it right to the mouth, but this isn't the best choice and these people may regret it later down the road if they do so consistently.

What you can do is add a teaspoon or tablespoon to a cup of water, which is what most people do. This will dilute it plenty but you don't have to go this far. Just a small 50/50 mix of ACV and water is plenty.

Summary

  • Apple cider vinegar is unlikely to cause diarrhea when consumed in small amounts
  • The acidity of ACV can irritate those with sensitive stomachs, potentially leading to diarrhea--and it is also said that ACV can cause excess water to enter the colon
  • ACV's doesn't seem to be a very good laxative treatment for constipation
  • Some evidence suggests it helps slow bowel movements
  • ACV is good for overall gut health

While apple cider vinegar can potentially cause diarrhea for some people, most of us who supplement small amounts for health reasons aren't going to have any problem with it--and will benefit in various ways.

Much of the hype surrounding ACV is folk-medicine, so you can't always trust everything you here. It may not be the amazing super-food it is touted as being but it can be a healthy supplement to add to your diet... one that can help normalize bowel movements.

*If you are experiencing diarrhea from ACV you should discontinue supplementation and you may want to try eating these foods to help stop it. Or, if it is severe, we always recommend consulting with a doctor.

Does Popcorn Make You Poop? – Should You Prepare The Toilet?

While popcorn won't necessarily make you poop, it can help, which is the reason it is often recommended as a snack if you are constipated.

The food has been around for much longer than you may think. While Orville Redenbacher often gets a lot of credit for inventing popcorn, this is far from the truth.

Popcorn has actually been around for thousands of years, the oldest piece of popcorn being discovered in a New Mexican cave that is estimated to be around 4,000 years old (source: Popcorn.org).

Were our ancestors eating it just because they could, or was this an ancient remedy to treat constipation and make one poop? 

The answer is unclear, but the point is that popcorn is very old and can help return your bowel movements to normal... or potentially increase them a bit too much and lead to diarrhea...

2 Ways It Helps With BM's

#1) It's a Good Source of Fiber

As explained on the popular show The Doctors, popcorn is a great source of fiber which is excellent for pooping...

One of the most common reasons for irregular bowel movements, whether it be constipation or diarrhea, is not getting the right amount of fiber.

For most people this means not getting enough. There are plenty of studies out there showing that many people, Americans for one, don't get close to enough, largely because of an inadequate consumption of whole grains.  It was recently reported that only about 5 percent of Americans meet the Institute of Medicine's RDA, which is 25g for women and 38g for men.

Luckily for us, the tasty treat of popcorn is a 100% whole grain and is loaded with fiber. A three cup serving of air popped popcorn (the healthy kind) will provide you with about 3.5g of fiber.

A serving like this every now and again could tip the scales in your favor.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps soften stool, making it easier to pass. Insoluble fiber, which is what popcorn mainly has, adds bulk and helps ease the passage as well. Both can help. 

#2) Fats Can Help With Bowel Movements

While the actual popcorn itself doesn't have much fat at all, we all know that most popcorn that you find out there is coated in some sort of oil or butter, which adds to the delicious taste--and subtracts from the health benefits.

According to VeryWellFit, a serving of popcorn (3 cups) popped in oil will give you about 14g of fat and a serving popped in butter about 12 grams.

Butters and oils can help induce bowel movements in more ways than one.

Just as a you want to keep the transmission in your car lubricated, it also helps to have some fats and oils in your diet which can help keep your insides lubricated, making it easier for BM's to happen.

Additionally, some people have trouble digesting fasts, which can lead to increased water being secreted by the colon and small intestine--and this can help loosen stool to make it easier to pass--or if you have too much it can cause diarrhea.

One of the problems here, however, is that it is advisable to avoid popcorn that is coated in butter and whatnot, simply because it's unhealthy. 

So while this is definitely a reason that eating popcorn can make you poop (although not the actual popcorn), it should be avoided. Sorry to those of you reading this with the hopes of resolving your constipation problem--but hey, the fiber will still help!

Popcorn and Gastrointestinal Problems - When Not To Eat It

While eating some good quality air-popped popcorn (the healthy kind) may be a good choice for helping get a bowel movement going for some people, if you have gastrointestinal problems it may not be.

Those who suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) are going to want to proceed with caution. It will depend on the person and many people with IBS will be able to eat popcorn with no problem, but for some it will trigger flareups, which could result in stomach pain, diarrhea, etc.

The same goes for people with Crohn's disease--the fiber that popcorn is packing can make symptoms worse. Insoluble fiber in particular is what Crohn's disease sufferers want to avoid, and this happens to be what popcorn has the most of.

Furthermore, popcorn is notorious for having very hard and large pieces of fiber. Much of its hulls and shells won't digest and will rub on the inside of the intestines, causing irritation.

Popcorn and Diarrhea

While eating popcorn isn't likely to cause any problems if you are in good health, it can--as many healthy foods can when consumed too much.

Insoluble fiber is great and all, but having too much adds too much bulk to stool and causes too much water to come into the colon. Eating a lot of popcorn will give you a lot of insoluble fiber and there won't be much soluble fiber to balance it out, which is the fiber that absorbs water. The outcome can potentially be diarrhea.

And as mentioned above, consuming too much fat can also lead to diarrhea, which could easily happen if you are eating a lot of popcorn that is doused in butters and oils, such as your typical movie theater popcorn.

It's also worth mentioning that if you currently have diarrhea it's smart to avoid eating such. This is why many of the top foods for diarrhea sufferers are very low in fiber, the opposite of popcorn.

Benefits

Besides being a potentially healthy snack (as long as you eat the healthy kind) that is a great source of fiber and can relieve you of constipation, popcorn has other benefits.

A Great Source of Antioxidants

When you think of foods that are high in antioxidants you often think of fruits, vegetables and whatnot. You don't really think about popcorn, but what you have to remember is that corn is a fruit.​

Popcorn is loaded with polyphenols, which are antioxidants. 

Antioxidants are substances that help protect cells in your body from harm, which can lead to everything from signs of aging to diseases.

It actually has more than most of your vegetables and fruits, and is considered to be the best snack food for antioxidants.

That said, don't think you can start cutting all the healthy fruits and vegetables out of your diet. This is not a replacement.

Good For Weight Loss

As long as you are eating healthy air-popped popcorn and not that greasy movie theater stuff, it can help aid in weight loss.

Its low calorie density and high fiber content make for a weight loss friendly food that will help give you a fuller feeling without as much calories as most foods.

Vitamins & Minerals

While it may not be that great of a source of these nutrients, popcorn will provide you with some B vitamins and minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium and manganese--which is better than nothing.

Conclusion - Good for Pooping & Overall Health

Whether you are constipated or just looking for healthy snack that isn't going to fill you up without too many calories, popcorn is a good choice.

Air-popped is always the way to go. This type of popcorn doesn't need oil or butter, unlike the microwavable popcorn that is often coated in a semi-toxic artificial butter flavoring--not to mention that the microwavable bags contain potentially harmful chemicals themselves.

CBD Oil and Diarrhea – Will It Give You The Runs?

Will CBD oil cause diarrhea? Will it make you poop? 

For those who have felt sick or experienced an uneasy feeling in their stomach after taking CBD, the reason might be more complicated than a simple yes or no answer--and you will see why.

It's a great natural health choice that is considered a 'miracle' product by some due to its ability to help with so many problems/conditions--but causing diarrhea would be a serious downside.

No one wants diarrhea but we all get it at some point. 

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Loose and watery stools
  • Abdominal pain and bloating

... these are all common symptoms that we all know too well, but would rather not.

Will CBD cause such?

In this short article we'll be going over the strange way that it can cause diarrhea--and can help! But first, what exactly is this stuff to begin with?

What Exactly Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is one of the most popular health supplements on the market right now, but what the heck is this stuff in the first place?... and will it get you high?

CBD oil is short for Cannabidiol and is a cannabinoid, or a compound of the cannabis plant. That's right, it comes from cannabis, but no... it will not get you high.

CBD

CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant without the extraction of THC, which is the stuff responsible for marijuana's psychoactive affects.

Among the many benefits that CBD oil has, some of the most common are it's ability to promote relaxation, sleep and pain relief--which many more benefits branch off from.

CBD oil is such a versitile substance that it has been shown to help from everything from heart disease, to IBS, to epilepsy, psychotic disorders, depression and more.

It Has Been Shown to Both Help & Cause Diarrhea

If you spent any amount of time Googling the relationship of CBD oil and diarrhea, you likely came across some articles about how it causes such. 

This is nothing new. Even before CBD oil came on the market in it's extracted form, medical marijuana was known to cause diarrhea for some people--and the cannabinoid CBD was labeled one of the potential culprits.

That said, the strange thing is that it has also been shown to help with diarrhea.

CBD Oil Is Good for Gastrointestinal Issues

IBS or Irritable Bowl Syndrome affects about 10%-15% of the population and is a condition where the large intestine becomes irritated very easily, leading to abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc. Foods & beverages like coffee, alcohol, high amounts of fiber and fructose are known to trigger symptoms along with many others--and even those without IBS can get diarrhea from too much of such.

Anti-inflammatory & Pain Reduction

One of the ways CBD can help is with it's anti-inflammatory effects, which should help sooth and lessen pain/discomfort. According to Harvard Health CBD can inhibit both inflammatory and neuropathic pain, both of which can come from IBS.

2008 study from European Review for Medical and Pharmocological Sciences explains how CBD can decrease the intestinal motility induced by inflammation--thus providing treatment for disorders of gastrointestinal motility, such as diarrhea. This likely comes from it's ability to reduce inflammation in the intestines through the control of neuroimmune axix, as described in a 2011 study published in PLoS One.

Stress

Additionally, stress and anxiety can actually trigger flareups in people who suffer from IBS as well as diarrhea in those who are perfectly healthy. 

Being stressed out can lead to an upset stomach and intestinal cramping, which can lead to diarrhea. Stress actually causes the release of stress hormones which slow movement in the small intestine but increase movement in the large intestine--meaning diarrhea is a potential outcome.

This is another area where CBD can help, due to it's ability to help balance the nervous system, calm the body and so on.

CBD has ability to help people with IBS and other gastrointestinal distress diseases as well as those who are healthy. It's calming and anti-inflammatory properties can benefit anyone. And besides it's ability to help with diarrhea, it also is recommended by doctors for treatment of other gastrointestinal problems, such as acid reflux and peptic ulcers.

Yes, CBD Can Help, But It Depends On Your Situation

There are many different causes of diarrhea: spicy foods, fructose intolerance, allergies, IBS, fiber, etc.--and CBD will help in some situations but not in others.

For example, inflammation of the intestines is a symptom of IBS that CBD could help with due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which could help with diarrhea. However, if your diarrhea is coming from consuming too much insoluble fiber, it isn't going to help.

Why It Causes Diarrhea As Well

Besides the personal stories you may find all over the internet from people who have taken CBD oil and got diarrhea, there have been some studies documenting such unwanted side effects.

One clinical study from 2015 took a look at the effects of CBD on various forms of epilepsy from 137 children. The results were good, but 17% of the patients did experience diarrhea.

An even larger study with 261 patients, all of whom suffered from severe epilepsy, found great results from giving the patients CBD--but again, diarrhea was an unfortunate side effect--this time affecting 10% of the patients.

It Might Not Be The CBD Itself

CBD oil's relationship with diarrhea is a very understudied subject. While the side effect could possibly be due to CBD itself, this seems unlikely and many people think otherwise.

One reason people could be experiencing diarrhea after supplementation could be from the carrier oil, if there is one.

Coconut oil, hemp oil, MCT oil etc.--there is often a carrier oil mixed in with the CBD and this could easily be the cause. Oils are very high in fat and some people have difficulty digesting high amounts of such, which leads to unabsorbed fat and increased water secretion in the small intestine and colon, equaling likely diarrhea.

How to Avoid Diarrhea

The first thing you should do is take a look at the product you have. 

What are the ingredients? Is there anything else here that could be the cause?

You should also look at the quality of what you are taking. If the CBD oil is being extracted from marijuana or hemp that is poorly grown, then you aren't getting a good final product. You might also not be getting a good product if the manufacturer is using poor extraction processes with harmful chemicals. The qualities of CBD products on the market vary a heck of a lot and taking a good quality and trusted product should be priority #1.

What Is The Carrier Oil?

If there is a carrier oil then it could easily be the problem as mentioned above. What you may want to try is switching to a new CBD oil product that uses a different carrier oil.

If the carrier oil is help oil, try switching to a product that has coconut oil as the carrier, and vice versa

Try Lowering the Dosage

CBD oil hasn't been known to cause any deaths and the side effects are rare, and mild, but taking anything in excess can be harmful, no matter how good it is.

Lowering the dosage is always a good choice if you are getting unwanted diarrhea.

Maybe Take It In a Different Form

If you are taking liquid CBD then it may be worth a try to buy something that is in solid form, such as CBD gummies. Or if you want to really change it up then try out a topical CBD product that is not taken orally. This way you will still be able to benefit due to absorption through the skin, but there will be no digestion of anything.

Final Thoughts

While there are stories of people getting diarrhea from taking CBD oil products, the occurrences are rare and it is likely that the CBD itself is not to blame, but rather the other ingredients such as the carrier oils could be.

That said, this is still a very understudied subject and there is a lack of research/evidence to go off of.

If you have been experiencing severe diarrhea it is always best to see your doctor and go from there--or just discontinue use if that is an option for you.

Does MCT Oil Make You Poop? – Prepare The Toilet!

Are the rumors true? Does MCT oil make you poop?

Or maybe these aren't even rumors that you have heard. Maybe you have experienced such an unwanted side effect for yourself.

More people are mixing in MCT oil with their drinks, like coffee, tea, smoothies etc. And, it seems that because of this more people are running to the toilet and pooping more frequently than ever before.

But is this phenomenon just a coincidence or does MCT oil actually cause some sort of disruption in your digestive system that leads you to frequent the toilet more often?

The quick answer is: Yes, MCT very well might be making you poop more often. But we will get to that in a minute. Let's first talk about what exactly this peculiar oil substances in the first place…

What Exactly Is MCT Oil?

Medium-chain triglyceride is what MCT stands for. MCTs are triglycercides with two or three of the fatty acids having carbon-hydrogen tail of 6-12 carbon atoms long.

These tryglycerides are often extracted from oils such as palm kernel oil and coconut oil.

Some of the claimed benefits of MCT oil includes things like...

  • Promote weight loss
  • Helps with cognitive ability
  • May help you recover faster from workouts
  • Antimicrobial effects

One of the benefits of MCTs over LCTs (long-chain triglycerides) is that they can be used as fuel or stored as fat much more quickly. They do not require modification in order to be put to use by the body and are readily absorbed, without the requirement of bile to be broken down like LCTs.

Overall they are generally considered a good source of energy that our bodies can easily metabolize.

MCT Oil & Digestion

As already mentioned, the digestion and metabolism of MCTs is much simpler than its longer cousin, the LCTs. MCTs do not require energy to be digested and metabolized, since they are readily absorbed.

However, although this seems like it would lead to nothing but positive side effects, it also could potentially cause some problems. Some of the isolated fatty acids that MCT oils contain, which are digested extremely quickly, may lead to irritation of the lining in the gut.

This irritation can then signal to the gut command center that it needs to excrete the waste as fast as possible, a.k.a. poop immediately.

In addition to this possible cause for immediate pooping, MCTs also contain glycerols which are known to cause the intestines to hold more water than normal, leading to softer and more watery stools.

The combination of the two of these is what might be making you run to the bathroom after consumption.

Yes, it does it make you poop

MCT oil does have the potential to increase the frequency of bowel movements. However, how much this frequency will be increased is up in the air. 

Some sources say that MCT oil has no more of a laxative effect than common oils like canola oil, which is something that has long been used as a digestion aid and a treatment for constipation.

Unfortunately there isn't all that much hard science to go off of on this particular subject.

It might actually help with diarrhea... huh?

Although the is no doubt that MCT can have at least somewhat of a laxative effect, believe it or not it can also potentially help with diarrhea.

MCT oil has long been used to treat malnutrition and malabsorption, which have the potential to cause diarrhea in the first place. So if you do experience diarrhea from some sort of malabsorption issue, which isn't all that uncommon, then taking MCTs may help.

A Coupled Effect for Extreme Pooping

A lot of people that are experiencing diarrhea-like symptoms after taking MCT oil are likely having such explosive episodes due to a coupling effect.

It seems that the coffee and MCT oil mixture is one of the popular trends. And since coffee already has a laxative effect, it is somewhat like throwing gas on a fire. MCTs seem to enhance the effect of caffeine.

Additionally, many MCT takers are on the keto diet. MCT oil is a common supplement of keto diet-ers and is said to help keep one energized and in a state of ketosis. The problem is that the keto diet itself is often the cause of diarrhea.

So not only might MCT oil be increasing the chances of frequent pooping, but being on a keto diet and mixing it with coffee may make it even more risky.

How to Decrease The Side Effects

If it is actually the oil that is causing the excessive pooping, then one of the easiest ways to decrease the chances of side effects would be to break up your intake throughout the day.

Instead of consuming the full daily dose in one drink, or in one meal, break it up into 2 half servings or 3 third servings throughout the day.

There has also been the suggestion made that digestive enzymes like lipase may help relieve such unwanted symptoms.

Getting MCT from Natural Sources

Don't fall for all the overpriced MCT oil products out there. You can get this good stuff from natural sources. And, I mean, why wouldn't you want to? After all, pure MCT oil is processed.

Processed doesn't necessarily mean it is bad, but often times it does and natural products seem to be the trend nowadays.

The top 2 sources of extracting MCT Oil are coconut oil and palm kernel oil, both which have over 50% MCT content. 

So why not just add coconut oil or palm kernel oil to your diet? Sure, coconut oil doesn't have as high the concentration of MCTs, but with it you are also getting a lot of other good nutrients besides just that.

Some other sources of MCTs include dairy products like butter, milk, cheese and yogurt. They aren't nearly as concentrated in MCT, but it might be easier for you to get depending on what your diet is like.

Does Fiber Help Diarrhea or Make It Worse? – Explained

Fiber… Some say that it helps diarrhea while others say that it makes it worse, so which is it?

If you suffer from diarrhea should you be hunting through the grocery store for foods containing high amounts of fiber or should you be trying to avoid it?

No one wants to have diarrhea. Frequent trips to the bathroom, a whole day's plans being messed up, a hard time getting work done… These are all side effects that come from loose and watery stools, a.k.a. diarrhea.

We wish that there was a simple answer to give, such as "avoid fiber" or "eat more fiber", but unfortunately the answer is a bit more complicated than that.

There are 2 different types of fiber, and these 2 types have different effects on diarrhea…

Insoluble vs Soluble Fiber

Insoluble

Insoluble fiber, as you can imagine, is not soluble in water. This type of fiber goes through the G.I. tract unaffected and ends up in the colon, where it then can be fermented by the healthy bacteria living there.

This type of fiber, because it does not absorb water, is the kind you would want to avoid it if you have diarrhea.

  • Speeds up bowel movement transit time
  • Helps balance pH level in the GI tract

Some sources of insoluble fiber include…

  • Cellulose - Found in grains, seeds, nuts, fruit & vegetable skins
  • Lignin - Found in grain, nuts, seeds, fruit & vegetable skins

Soluble

And then there is soluble fiber, which is the type of fiber that is soluble in water. This type of fiber also goes through the G.I. tract and is fermented by bacteria, but there is a key difference… It absorbs water.

Soluble fiber absorbs water in the intestines and turns into a gelatinous substance, adding bulk and helping firm up loose stool.

  • Absorbs water and firms up stool
  • Reduces transit time of bowel movements
  • Lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar level

Some good sources of this type of fiber include…

  • Pectin - Commonly found in fruits
  • Resistant Starch - Found in unripe bananas and oats

Soluble Fiber Seems to Be Good All-Around, While Insoluble Fiber Isn't Recommended for Those With Diarrhea

Fiber does not get digested and because of this can cause an osmotic effect, where the undigested particles attract more water into the colon, which is great for constipation but not so great for diarrhea.

The reason soluble fiber can help with both is because, not only does it attract water into the colon, but it also absorbs water, which leads to a healthy balance of stool overall. Whereas insoluble fiber just attracts more water and does not absorb, leading to looser and more watery stool.

In a 2015 study 87 patients who had IBS and were prone to developing diarrhea received 24 g of pectin (soluble fiber) for a 6 week treatment. The results were positive and that the patients'symptoms had reduced.

On the flip-side, a separate 2014 study conducted on 80 patients with constipation experimented by giving them 24 g of pectin per day for 4 weeks. The results here were that it also alleviates symptoms of constipation.

Pretty interesting, but it makes sense.

As far as insoluble fiber goes, it is only shown to help treat constipation, but have negative effects when it comes to diarrhea if consumed in too high amounts.

Fiber Is Often The Cause of Diarrhea

There are numerous causes of diarrhea. One could be experiencing diarrhea from an allergy, an intolerance to some substance they have eaten, too much insoluble fiber, a bacterial infection, and so on. HOWEVER, having an imbalance of fiber definitely seems to be one of the most common causes.

Insoluble fiber, as you already know, is great for treating constipation but when someone eats too much of it, it can lead to diarrhea.

The good thing is that having diarrhea from a fiber imbalance is not a big deal. All you have to do is make changes to your diet and you will see results very quickly.

How Much Fiber Should You Get Per Day?

Most Americans only get around 15 g of fiber per day which is not enough. The daily recommended amount ranges from 25 to 30 g per day.

The reason for this mostly comes from Americans eating too much processed foods as well as just not knowing what they should be eating. For example, the trendy gluten-free diet will likely result in very low fiber intake, but most people on this diet don't know and/or care.

Not only is getting the recommended amount of daily fiber good for regular bowel movements, but it is also good for gut bacteria, which can impact your overall health.

What to Eat for Diarrhea

It would be nice if there were foods that only contained in soluble fiber and that only contains soluble fiber. However, there isn't. All plant foods contain a mixture of both insoluble and soluble fiber.

So if you are going to eat real food and want to get as much soluble fiber as possible you are also going to have to take in some insoluble fiber. And unfortunately, the insoluble fiber is always higher than the amount of soluble fiber.

One good recommendation if you have diarrhea and believe it is caused by your fiber intake would be to try the BRAT diet. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

This diet, while not the most effective, is easy to follow and commonly used. The goal of this diet is to provide very little overall fiber and attack diarrhea from an overall reduction standpoint. This wouldn't be a great diet to follow for the rest of your life, but it may be worth giving a try to see if it can put an end to your ridiculously frequent bathroom visits.

Something else you may want to look into adding to your diet are Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are a very great source of soluble fiber, one of the best.

Here are other foods that help with diarrhea.

Do Bananas Help Constipation? – Explained

Is it true that bananas help constipation? Or do they just make it worse?

There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding the subject and information that says both… That they can help constipation as well as cause it.

Of course if you have this condition the last thing you want to do is to make it worse. Constipation is characterized by…

  • Unusually low frequency in bowel movements
  • Hard and lumpy stools
  • Difficulty having bowel movements
  • The feeling that there is a blockage, etc.

Everyone gets constipated every once in a while, and usually it is nothing serious, but if constipated for an extended period of time it can be very serious and even worth seeking medical attention over.

There are lots of over-the-counter laxatives that you can buy at any pharmacy to help resolve this issue, but we're guessing you are looking into a more natural and healthy solution. After all, bananas are a great source of manganese, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. 

AND... Luckily they do have potential to help eliminate constipation…

Why Bananas Can Put an End to The Vein-popping Bathroom Visits

1. Pectin to Save the Day

The USDA lists a medium sized banana as having 3.1g of fiber. That is a fair amount considering that the daily recommended amount for most adults is around 25 to 30 g.

Some of this fiber is what is called pectin, which is a soluble fiber found in many other fruits as well, such as strawberries for example. According to the World's Healthiest Foods about 1/3 of the fiber in bananas is this soluble pectin fiber.

Why does this matter?

Well… Because soluble fiber can help stop diarrhea as well as constipation (which is why pectin-containing fruits are also good for treating diarrhea). It can do so by helping bring water into the intestines as well as absorb water, overall keeping a healthy balance of large and soft stool, rather than the hard/compact stool that you will experience when you are constipated.

A 2014 study published in a Chinese journal found pectin to accelerate bowel movements and alleviates symptoms of constipation. In this study 80 patients with constipation were given a 4-week supplementation of pectin, at 24 g per day.

*Of course in the study these people were given very high amounts of pectin. You would have to eat a considerable amount of bananas to reach that amount.

2. Insoluble Fiber

It's true that a small percentage of the fiber in bananas is soluble, but this isn't a big deal because insoluble fiber is great for treating constipation as well.

Insoluble fiber, as you can probably imagine, is not soluble. It does not absorb water but is still great as a constipation treatment, helping bring more water into the colon.

As a general role of thumb, soluble fiber is good for treating both constipation and diarrhea, but you only want to up your intake of insoluble fiber when you have constipation.

3. Fructose May Help

Bananas are considered as moderately high in fructose, which is a sugar. They can be very sweet so it might be surprising that they are only "moderately" high in this.

Why is this good potentially?

Because fructose is difficult for our human bodies to digest, which is why "fructose intolerance" is common. This difficulty with digestion is something that often leads to faster and more lose stools.

HOWEVER, fructose intolerance may be a good thing according to an article in Global Pediatric Health. It depends on the person, but for someone with constipation it may be a good solution to help soften and loosen their stools. But for others it can be too much and cause diarrhea.

Under-ripe Bananas - Good or Bad

Much of the controversy as to whether bananas are a cause or cure for constipation is focused around bananas that are not fully ripe, a.k.a. green bananas.

Some sources say that they cause constipation while others disagree.

The fact of the matter is that green bananas contain a lot more starch than yellow, fully ripened bananas. This is because because the starch has not yet went through the process of being converted into sugar, which makes ripe yellow bananas so much more sweet than green bananas.

The problem here is that much of this starch is "resistant starch", meaning that it is resistant to digestion. Before a banana is fully ripened it is said that around 70 to 80% of its weight is starch, most of which is resistant.

This starch is difficult for our bodies to digest and because of this it makes its way through the small intestine into the large intestine, where acts as a food for good bacteria living there.

What Studies Say About It:

2019 study published in the Jornal de Pediatria that took 80 children with functional constipation and tested the effectiveness of eating green bananas as well as taking laxatives. The results were that at a "statistically significant" reduction in constipation was observed.

There was also an earlier study performed in 2014 that is published in Journal of Medicinal Food that tested the resistant starch that is found in bananas' effectiveness against constipation in mice. It was found to increase the digestion speed through the small intestine and quicken bowel movements overall.

While there are claims that green bananas may cause constipation, there doesn't seem to be any good proof of this. 

That said, they have also been shown to help relieve diarrhea, by firming up loose stools, which may be surprising. This may make it seem more acceptable that they could harden it up "too much", but it seems that they are best for supporting an overall balance in digestion.

Don't Eat Too Much

It is well known that you don't want to eat too much of anything, including bananas. It doesn't really matter how healthy a food is, if you eat too much of it, it can become unhealthy.

There have been reports of eating too many bananas leading to constipation and/or diarrhea… Just digestion problems in general.

How much is too much?

Well, this depends on how big of a person you are, but generally speaking adults can eat quite a bit. 

Potassium is a mineral that bananas are well known for having quite a bit of and could be considered the "limiting factor" for how much one should consume, and since the average banana has around 450 mg of potassium and the recommended daily dose is around 3500 mg, you can consume somewhere in the range of 6 to 7 bananas in one day before even reaching that recommended amount. 

Of course this is just a very general number. Many people will be able to eat more without a problem while some may have problems and may want to be less.

Cause or Cure?

So do bananas help constipation or not? There seems to be some conflicting information given here.

The answer is that they can potentially be a cause and a cure. Results will vary greatly depending on the person and many variables, such as what their diet looks like, intolerances they might have, and so on.

As with any food or supplement, you have to find what works for you. If you are constipated and have not tried eating bananas, it very well could be worth the attempt.