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For centuries, eggs have been recognized as one of the healthiest foods on earth. They are packed with nutrients and provide several proven health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Despite their nutritional value, they are linked to multiple digestive systems disorders, including constipation. But can eggs really cause constipation? Here’s what I discovered.
Do eggs cause constipation? A diet rich in fat and low in fiber, such as eggs, can slow down the body’s digestive process and cause constipation, particularly when consumed in large quantities. Consuming eggs along with other suitable, nutritious foods for a more balanced diet can help avoid constipation.
Let’s take a look at what experts and health authorities have to say about eggs and constipation, and how you can prevent it.
Do eggs cause constipation?
Constipation is a common digestive problem affecting people of all ages and populations worldwide.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease reported that in the United States alone, about 16% of adults experience constipation symptoms while around 33% of people aged 60 and beyond have the condition.
You may have constipation if you experience the following conditions:
- Less than three bowel movement weekly
- Pass stools which are dry, hard, and lumpy
- Having a hard time passing stools
- Have a feeling that some stool still remains
According to the National Institute on Aging, consuming plenty of eggs may cause constipation.
Surprising, isn’t it?
Still, the keyword here is “plenty”.
Dr. Rob Hicks, one of the most famous media doctors in the United Kingdom, explained that boiled eggs could cause constipation only if you consume an awful lot of them.
So you won’t actually get constipated if you only eat a few eggs, regardless of whether they are boiled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, soft-boiled eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, or deviled eggs.
Now let’s get down to another bugging question?
Why do eggs, which are well-known as one of the superfoods, could get you constipated?
Why do eggs make you constipated?
Eggs may cause constipation due to 2 primary reasons:
- They contain little fiber
- They are high in fat
Here’s how these nutrient combinations increase your risk of getting constipation.
Eggs and Fibers
According to USDA FoodData Central, a large, grade-A whole egg (around 50 g) contains zero grams of dietary fibers.
Yes, you heard me right. Eggs DO NOT have fibers.
So what’s the deal with fibers and constipation anyway?
In case you didn’t know, fibers are a crucial part of a healthy diet, especially for your bowel movements.
Your body cannot digest them and they help add bulk to your stools, allowing your stool to pass through the digestive tract easily.
Generally, fibers are categorized into two types:
- Soluble fiber: This fiber can hold water and transforms into a gel-like substance during digestion. It helps your stool become softer and easier to move along the tract. Examples of excellent food sources for soluble fiber are whole grain oats, nuts, and vegetables.
- Insoluble fiber: Unlike soluble fiber, this fiber does not dissolve in water. Instead, it absorbs water and makes your stool softer yet bulkier. It promotes regularity and relieves constipation. Excellent sources of insoluble fiber are wheat, brown rice, and tomatoes.
Basically, if you eat plenty of high-fiber foods, your bowel movement will be more regular and you are less likely to experience constipation.
So what will happen if you eat a diet rich in eggs that contain no fiber?
Well, you guess it; You may get constipation.
This is especially true if you replace most of your fiber-rich foods with eggs in your daily meal.
Eating too much low-fiber eggs without getting sufficient amounts of fibers every day potentially increases your risk of becoming constipated.
Eggs and Fats
Apart from having low fiber, eggs are high in fats.
According to USDA FoodData Central, one large, grade-A whole egg contains about 5 g of total fat, which provides roughly around 8% of the daily fat value.
Fortunately, only around 1.6 g of their fats are saturated.
In the past, people used to consider eggs as unhealthy food since their yolks are high in fat and cholesterol.
In fact, one whole egg contains more than 210 mg of cholesterol, which contributes to over 70% of your recommended daily intake.
What’s more alarming is that over 60% of the egg’s calories come from fat.
But lucky for you and me, a recent review released in the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care reported that in the majority of the population, eggs’ cholesterol does not affect blood’s cholesterol level.
Still, since eggs are usually consumed along with other high-fat foods, such as sausage and cheese, they are seen as a high-fat food.
So what’s the connection between fat and constipation?
Research shows that your body takes a longer time to digest high-fat food.
In certain situations, slow digestion may cause constipation.
For instance, in one recent study released in the Journal of Free Radical Biology and Medicine, a researcher from Japan reported that a high-fat diet may lead to constipation through oxidative stress.
You are more likely to get constipation if you replace most of your fiber-rich food with high-fat eggs.
Food tips: The healthiest eggs you can buy are pastured eggs and omega-3-enriched eggs.
How to prevent constipation when eating eggs?
Now that you know what’s causing you to be constipated when eating eggs, it’s time to start taking action and lower your constipation risk, particularly if you are an egg lover like me.
Again, if you’re not really eating a ton of eggs every day, then you don’t really have to worry about getting constipated.
But if you do, don’t worry, experts and health authorities have provided a clear and effective solution for you and me.
This means that you don’t have to completely take the eggs off your menu. (Yay!)
So, what’s the solution?
Obviously, the first thing you need to do is to cut down on your egg intake.
Next, you need to increase your fiber intake.
But if you’re reluctant to cut down on eggs, experts said that it’s totally fine.
All you need do is add in some high-fiber foods in your egg meal.
So how much fiber should you consume per day?
These recommendations, however, depend on the individual’s sex and age.
For instance, women under 50 years old, should consume about 21 g to 25 g of fibers daily while men below the age of 50 should eat around 30 g to 38 g of fibers each day.
On the other hand, children between 1 and 18 years old should consume around 14 g to 31 g of fibers daily, as recommended by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Examples of food packed with fibers that you can try including in your diet are fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, beans, legumes, and dried fruits, such as figs and apricots.
Recommeded read: Why Do Apricots Make You Poop?
Interestingly, research shows that preventing constipation is not the only benefit dietary fibers have to offer.
In one study published in the journal of Nutritional Reviews, researchers from the United State’s University of Kentucky reported that dietary fibers can provide the following health benefits:
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, and diabetes
- Lower risk of hypertension and stroke
- Decrease the risk of developing certain GI disorders
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduce blood cholesterol levels
- Enhance glycemia and insulin sensitivity in both diabetic and non-diabetic people
While adding fiber to your diet is a great idea, you do need to practice moderation.
Too much of everything, even if it is good, will still be bad for your body.
If you eat an excessive amount of fiber, your body will have a hard time absorbing nutrients and you may even get diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
Also, eating too much fiber at once may cause you to experience abdominal discomfort, such as feeling gassy, bloated, and cramping.
So the key here is to go slow.
Add fiber into your diet gradually. Try not to make drastic changes.
This will give enough time for your GI tract to adapt.
As you eat more fiber, be sure to drink more fluid, especially caffeine-free and non-alcoholic drinks.
Water helps soften and plump up your stool, allowing it to travel through the digestive tract smoothly.
Nevertheless, if you have a gastrointestinal disorder, including constipation, you should check with your health practitioner first.
Which foods cause constipation? Other common foods that cause constipation
Aside from eggs, other common foods that may cause constipation according to studies include:
- Red meat: Similar to eggs, red meat are high-fat, low-fat food that may increase your risk of constipation. It is also packed with iron that can be constipating.
- Unripe bananas: In contrast to ripe bananas that can relieve constipation, ripe bananas can result in constipation as they contain plenty of starch, which are difficult for the body to process.
- Milk and dairy: Dairy is a common cause of constipation for certain people. Populations that are particularly at risk are toddlers, infants, and children. If you have constipation after consuming dairy products, you’re most probably sensitive to proteins in cow’s milk.
- Fast foods: Aside from lacking nutritional value, fast foods, such as fries and burgers, are low in fiber and rich in fat and salt, all of which elevate the risk of constipation.
- Gluten: People who are gluten-intolerance, have celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome may get constipation when they consume foods containing gluten.
- Persimmons: This famous Eastern Asia fruit can cause constipation to some people as it contains tannins, a kind of substance that may result in constipation by slowing down the digestion process.
Other factors that cause constipation?
Apart from diet, there are many other reasons that lead to constipation.
The following are some factors that may cause you to be constipated (as listed by the National Institute of Aging):
- Lack of exercise: Leading a passive, inactive life for a long time, either due to disease or other reasons, may lead to constipation.
- Using laxatives too often: Although laxatives can treat constipation, using them too much and too often can result in laxative abuse and causes constipation. Over time, laxative abuse may damage the colon’s nerve cells and muscle, causing it to become dilated, and eventually lose the capability to move the poop out.
- Holding back poop: Ignoring the urge to poop can cause constipation, especially if the delay is too long.
- Certain medical problems: Some health conditions, such as diabetes and stroke, may lead to constipation as they may affect the nerves or muscle used for normal bowel function.
- Medications: Certain medications may cause constipation. Examples of such medications include some painkillers, drugs for depression and high blood pressure, allergy medication, and diuretics.
Eggs can cause constipation because they are rich in fat, which slows down your digestion, and low in fiber, which is needed to add bulk and soften your poop.
However, you won’t become constipated simply by eating one egg per day.
Your likelihood of getting constipation will only increase if you eat a whole load of eggs each day while replacing most of your nutritious, fiber-rich food with high-fat, low-fiber eggs.
Luckily, you don’t have to take them off your daily diet.
You can avoid becoming constipated by cutting down on your egg consumption (if you eat a lot of them) and eat more fiber-rich foods (gradually).
For instance, try eating scrambled eggs with fresh or cooked tomatoes or salad.
Recommended read: 9 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Cooked Tomatoes
You also need to drink plenty of water and liquids to help fiber do their job well and make your bowel movement smoother.
Nonetheless, if you have any GI disorder, which includes constipation, you should check with your physician first.
Does black tea cause constipation?
While black tea is often used to treat constipation, it can also trigger constipation, especially in a dehydrated individual. This situation is due to the caffeine in black teas which act as diuretics, causing the body to lose more water through urination and result in a drier stool that is hard to pass.
Does rice cause constipation?
Brown rice helps relieve constipation, but white rice may lead to constipation since its primary nutrients and fibers, including germ, husk, and bran, have been removed. However, pairing white rice with fibrous foods like vegetables and whole grains can help avoid this digestive condition.
Does chicken cause constipation?
Although chicken meat has no fiber, it is a healthier option than red meat as it contains less amount of fat, which helps the body digest faster while preventing constipation. However, fried chickens may cause constipation since fried foods contain a low amount of fiber and a rich amount of salt.