More than 4 million Americans frequently suffer from constipation, and this gastrointestinal problem accounts for 2.5 million physician visits a year, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Lack of dietary fiber, physical inactivity, mild dehydration, medications and irritable bowel syndrome can all contribute to infrequent bowel movements, but the role of food sensitivities is largely unrecognized. Tomato-based foods, such as tomato soup, can be involved in your constipation issues.
If you eat tomato soup on a regular basis and have less than three bowel movements a week, you can eliminate tomato soup and other tomato-based foods from your diet for two to three weeks and see if it helps. This elimination trial will allow you to determine if tomato soup is responsible for your gastrointestinal problems. If you are no longer constipated after two to three weeks on your tomato-free diet, you will know it is best to keep tomato-based foods out of your diet.
There are several compounds in tomato soup that could cause constipation and other gastrointestinal issues in certain people. One is its high fructose content, which can be problematic for people with a condition called fructose malabsorption. Another factor is the high amounts of natural food chemicals called salicylates, amines and glutamates that are present in tomato soup. Most people dealing with constipation are not aware that fructose and natural food chemicals found in some foods could be responsible for their problem.
Other Tomato-Based Foods
When doing your two- to three-week elimination trial to evaluate the role of tomato soup in your constipation problem, eliminate all other tomato-based foods from your diet. They contain the same compounds as tomato soup, including fructose and natural food chemicals. Keep tomato juice, tomato sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, ketchup, tomato paste, salsas and dishes containing a lot of tomatoes out of your diet for the elimination trial period.
If eliminating tomato soup and tomato-containing foods from your diet only partially resolves your constipation, it may be because your diet still contain fructose, natural food chemicals or other compounds that could be preventing you from having regular bowel movements. Further investigation may be needed to completely alleviate your constipation problems. Consult a registered dietitian with experience in this area to help you design a more complete elimination diet to identify other foods that could be involved with your constipation.
- "Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology"; Evidence-Based Dietary Management of Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: The FODMAP Approach; Peter R Gibson, Susan J Shepherd; 2010
- "Journal of the American Dietetic Association"; Fructose Malabsorption and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Guidelines for Effective Dietary Management; Susan J. Shepherd, Peter R. Gibson; 2006
- "The Low FODMAP Diet -- Reducing Poorly Absorbed Sugars to Control Gastrointestinal Symptoms"; Eastern Health Clinical School -- Monash University; 2010
- "RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook"; The Allergy Unit, RPA Hospital; 2011
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Constipation