Food & Nutrition

10 Foods That Make Constipation Worse

As many as 42 million Americans make less than three visits to a toilet each week, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Eating a healthy diet can go a long way in terms of maintaining healthy bowel movements—and the wrong foods can make your constipation worse. Here are ten foods that you should avoid.

Frozen meals

A TV dinner consisting of turkey, ham, peas and mashed potatoes isolated on whiteJoe Belanger/Shutterstock

Frozen foods, though high in convenience, are often stripped of nutrients, including the fiber your body needs to maintain regular bowel movements. (Adults need about 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day.) Additionally, frozen foods often contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and bad-for-you fats, making them more difficult to digest. “Foods that are high in fat are usually low in fiber,” explains Linzy Unger, RD. “When a food is high in fat your body digests it slower.” Looking to add more fiber to your diet? Check out these foods that are natural laxatives.

Red meat

Big juicy grilled beef steak close upVall Rade/Shutterstock

Choosing foods with high fiber and low fat content is the best way to stay regular. No type of meat from chicken to turkey to pork contains fiber, but red meat is the fattiest, making it the most difficult to digest. “Since red meat is higher in fat than other meats, it may cause more constipation,” says Unger. “Even though chicken, turkey, and fish don’t contain fiber, they are lower in fat, which helps them digest faster.” Don’t miss these other surprising reasons you’re constipated.

Alcohol and coffee

CoffeeSubbotina Anna/Shutterstock

“Dehydration can back you up, because you need to have fluids to digest your meals,” Unger says. Alcohol and coffee both can cause dehydration. If you are an avid coffee drinker or enjoy a drink or two at night, you need to balance it out with an adequate amount of water to keep your body hydrated. Most dietitians recommend drinking eight cups of H20 each day, though this can vary depending on your weight, height, and physical activity level. Find out 7 ways to avoid constipation when you travel.

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