For the longest time, people have had this belief that cheese is the main reason why they get constipated. It made them stay away from eating cheese, no matter how much they love it.
But are the claims really true? Does cheese bung you up?
Despite the longstanding belief, it seems there has been little research conducted on the subject. The results of the study also revealed that cheese in and of itself doesn’t have any negative impact on your regularity.
Does Cheese Cause Constipation?
Constipation is a common affliction for many adults. The condition is defined as getting less than three bowel movements a week. It is not a surprise that a lot of sufferers find themselves wondering about the dietary factors that might contribute to their condition. You might have even heard of the claims that cheese is one of the culprits behind constipation. However, do these claims hold any truth?
Sadly, there is very little scientific evidence to prove if cheese can cause constipation or not. A study in 2021 reached the conclusion that women who ate a serving or two of dairy per day had fewer cases of constipation compared to women who consumed less than one serving daily. But the data only revealed moderately reduced chances of constipation.
Studies related to food are very tricky to set up, mainly because it is rarely possible for the researchers to be in full control of all the things that the subjects of the study choose or decide to eat. It means that changing and isolating a particular food like cheese is not easy, except if the test subjects are already on a controlled and managed diet.
A good example of such an environment is a retirement home, and researchers from Scandinavia took advantage of this to conduct one of the very limited studies on constipation and cheese. In a 1994 published paper in a Scandinavian Journey of Gastroenterology, the researchers alternated a nursing home’s 21 residents between a cheese-free diet and a cheese-heavy diet.
The results revealed that there are no discernible differences in terms of the consistency and frequency of the bowel movements of the test subjects. It led the researchers to the conclusion that there is no direct connection between constipation and cheese. They also added that removing cheese from the diet is not necessarily an effective way to prevent constipation altogether.
What are the Common Causes of Constipation?
Several factors can contribute or lead to contribution. Several medical conditions can slow down the progression of food as it passes through the digestive tract. An example of these medical conditions is IBS-C, which is a form of irritable bowel syndrome.
Antacids and iron supplements that many people usually take even without the supervision of their doctor can result in constipation. It is also the case in some classes of drugs such as calcium channel blockers, diuretics, narcotics, as well as some antispasmodics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.
Even getting older can also be a factor here. It means that the risks of constipation can also increase with age. However, the primary causes at any age are most probably a diet low in fiber and a lack of physical activity.
Other Factors That Contribute to Constipation
Despite the absence of supporting evidence, several health experts still seem to believe that there might be a connection between constipation and eating cheese.
The bad reputation of cheese probably has something to do with its high-fat content and lack of fiber. Doctors state that constipation has a higher chance to occur in people who don’t consume enough vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
These types of foods are known as the best and richest sources of fiber in people’s regular diets. If you always eat more foods high in fat such as full-fat dairy rather than foods rich in fiber, you can significantly increase your risk of suffering from constipation.
The absence of supporting evidence to back up the claims that cheese can bung you up might be good news to you if you happen to be a cheese lover. However, if you always experience constipation, things might feel a bit frustrating for you. Sadly, the dietary associations about things such as constipation and cheese consumption are not well-known.
If you consider other factors such as fiber intake, water intake, and exercise, you may also help improve your constipation. Some experts claim that preventing constipation must be regarded as a multipronged approach instead of assuming that you can just remove the cheese from your diet and expect things to get going.
How to Balance Your Diet to Improve Regularity
Experts recommend that adults should consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber or even more every day, depending on the person’s gender and age. Cheese is naturally high in fat and protein. However, since it is an animal product, it definitely doesn’t contain any fiber.
If your regular diet is low in plant foods rich in fiber but high in cheese, you might blame cheese for your constipation when the truth is that the lack of fiber might be the culprit for it. You can promote regularity and prevent constipation if you balance your diet with the addition of more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
How to Prevent Constipation
If you usually have a hard time with constipation, it probably won’t help if you just remove the cheese from your diet. You can always enjoy cheese as much as you want but at the same time, you need to make some lifestyle changes as you do so.
You also need to remember that diet and exercise work together to encourage better health and well-being. They also recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly to bring about several health benefits, with improved regularity being one of them.
It will also help to increase your fiber intake although you need to work up to it little by little. Adding excessive fiber to your diet within a short time can cause discomfort. Fiber can absorb lots of moisture from your system, so you have to drink lots of fluids when increasing your intake of foods high in fiber.