Foods that Cause Constipation

Below is a list of foods that cause constipation. In processing this list, think lack of fiber, and think of poor digestion, which can result in stools that are dry and hard. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.

  • Most pastas are also made from white flour. That means no fiber, and empty calories.

  • Meat can be difficult for the body to digest, plus it has very little fiber (see constipation caused by fish). Chewing it well does help.

  • Cooked carrots, beets and other root vegetables can gum up the digestive system.

  • White rice has had the bran and germ stripped away to “improve” it’s texture. However, brown rice still has it’s bran (fiber) and germ (oils) intact. It is definitely one of the foods that cause constipation.

Baked goods

Baked goods made from white flour, especially sweets like pie and cake, cookies, pastries and donuts. Sweets inherently slow down digestion, plus these foods are ultra low in fiber.

Processed foods

Processed foods generally have most of the fiber processed out. Fiber holds water, thus helping to keep stools from becoming hard and impacted.

So chips and many other snack foods,  instant mashed potatoes, pizza, and TV dinners are foods that cause constipation.

High protein foods

High protein foods tend to move more slowly through the digestive tract. Not just meat, but soy products and nuts, too.

In my experience, nuts can prompt a quick bowel movement by moving out foods in front of them, but they in turn can then aggravate constipation.

See Atkins Diet effect on constipation

Dairy products

Dairy products, like ice cream, cheese and milk contain the insoluble proteins which can be difficult for us to digest, and therefore slow down transition time.

But why is it hard to digest?
Could it be that in our zeal to “protect”
ourselves against bacteria, we have
done ourselves a great disservice?

Raw milk contains the enzymes needed to digest these proteins. The problem isn't that we can’t digest cow or goat milk, it is that when we pasteurize milk, killing the enzymes needed for digesting milk.

Pasteurized dairy can produce constipation, bloating, gas and cramps. Also, milk is ultra low in magnesium, so supplementing with magnesium may do the trick. Magnesium also has other health benefits.

My experience is that when raw, unpasteurized milk is consumed with dairy products, lactose intolerance and digestion issues disappear.

Bakery products

Most breads, rolls, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies, crackers, pretzels, donuts, bagels, muffins and breakfast cereals are made from white flour, which is wheat that has been stripped of it’s bran and germ.

They are among the worst foods that cause constipation. This is so sad, because the bran is the fiber, and the germ is where most of the nutrients are. Talk about empty calories, plus foods that easily lead to constipation.


Sugar, including High Fructose Corn Syrup, creates a slimy substance that coats the intestinal walls. It is usually found in processed foods and desserts.

Sugar feeds undesirable microbes in the gut, like Candida and other yeast, which can produce constipation or diarrhea, depending on the person.

Natural sugars like agave, barley malt, molasses, honey and brown rice syrup have the same effect. I choose to use Stevia whenever possible.

Caffeinated beverages

Coffee and other caffeinated drinks can promote constipation in two ways.

  • First, they are diuretics, which means they force our bodies to get rid of water.

    This can result in mild dehydration, meaning we may not have available enough fluids to moisten our stools.

  • Second, caffeine tends to increase our stress level, triggering the body to secrete adrenaline and cortisol.

    Stress puts our body on alert and redirects our blood to other parts of the body instead of assigning it to help digest our food.

Bananas, unripe fruit

Bananas contain fiber, but also have binding properties that can promote constipation. Keep this in mind when you need something for diarrhea!!!

Also, we tend to consume unripe bananas. Many unripe fruits are full of tannins, which tend to diminish the secretions of water into the colon, promoting hard, dry stools.

Moderation is key

I am not suggesting that these foods all need to be eliminated from the diet. Moderation and balance are the keys.

Heavy meals tend to cause a back up in the digestive system. Yes, we would do well to replace breads, pastas and any other food made from white flour with something more nutritious, with the bran intact.

We would do well to cut down on processed foodsBut more importantly, we need to balance out the above foods with other foods that help alleviate constipation.

Finally, there is a mineral supplement, high in magnesium, that has practically eliminated constipation for both me and my wife.  We have taken it every day since 2006.

(Return from Foods that Cause Constipation to Best Constipation Remedies)

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