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Can a High Fiber Diet Cause Constipation?

by
author image Nina K.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.
Can a High Fiber Diet Cause Constipation?
A large variety of fruits and vegetables Photo Credit: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Rather than causing constipation, a high-fiber diet may help relieve this uncomfortable condition. In fact, a low-fiber diet is among the most common culprits for constipation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Other causes may include a sedentary lifestyle, low fluid intake, stress, travel or "holding it in."

Fiber and Constipation

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can't digest. When eaten, fiber goes through your digestive system and bulks up stool, promoting bowel movements. Although high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and beans don't cause constipation, they may lead to constipationlike symptoms such as bloating, gas and cramping. This is most likely to happen if you increase fiber intake suddenly. For healthy digestion, aim for 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day, gradually building up to this amount if you eat a low-fiber diet now.

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