Having fewer than three bowel movements in a week is a sign of constipation. Although you can take laxatives to help move things along, making dietary changes can sometimes help establish regularity without having to resort to these medications. Drinking certain types of fruit juice, such as pear juice, can be a delicious way to prevent or treat constipation.
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The Importance of Liquids
One potential cause of constipation is not drinking enough fluids. Fluids can include juice, soup, water, tea or any other beverage that doesn't contain alcohol. So, adding a glass or two of pear juice to your diet may be helpful if you're suffering from constipation. Just remember that pear juice can be high in calories, with 120 in an 8-ounce glass, so if you just need more fluids, water may be a better choice.
The Sorbitol Solution
One of the reasons pear juice can be better than plain water for treating constipation is because it contains a significant amount of sorbitol, sometimes prescribed in a solution to treat constipation. An 8-ounce glass of pear juice can have as much as 7 grams of this sugar alcohol, which isn't well absorbed by your body. Sorbitol helps with constipation by drawing water into your intestines, which softens stool so it moves more easily through the intestinal tract. Don't drink too much pear juice at once, however, because getting too much sorbitol can cause diarrhea, especially in children.
The Fructose Factor
Approximately 50 percent of Americans have difficulty absorbing large amounts of fructose, one of the sugars found in pear juice. This is especially true in foods, like pear juice, that contain more fructose than glucose. As with sorbitol, when fructose isn't well absorbed, it can draw more water toward the stool, making it easier to pass. It, too, can cause diarrhea when consumed in large amounts.
Eating a pear may be better than drinking pear juice because the fruit contains fiber, and not getting enough fiber in your diet is one cause of constipation. A cup of pear slices has 4.3 grams of fiber, or about 17 percent of the daily value, and the same amount of canned pear halves in juice has 4 grams. If you want to drink juice, reach for prune juice, which provides sorbitol, fructose and 2.6 grams of fiber per cup.