Does Cheese Cause Constipation? – Overview
Constipation happens when you can barely pass stools and strain so hard to do so. This is often the cause when you have less than three bowel movements in seven days.
Certain conditions may be triggered, such as irritable bowel disease, obstruction, bacterial or viral infection, or a more severe illness.
It may also be due to dietary factors, such as eating dairy products, so those who love cheese often ask, does cheese cause constipation? Find out more about this here.
Does Cheese Cause Constipation? Here’s What the Research Has to Say
The answer to the question above would be no. Cheese does not cause constipation. This is what one of the studies published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1994 found out.
However, consuming too much cheese increases the likelihood of constipation because this particular dairy product displaces fiber-rich foods.
The study found no significant change in how constipated the participants got when they ate a regular diet, a cheese-free diet, or a cheese-filled diet.
The Scandinavian study is one of the few studies on the relationship between cheese and constipation.
Researchers conducted the study on care home residents and subjected them to an alternating diet between one with heavy cheese and another that is completely devoid of cheese.
The researchers found no major difference in the participants’ bowel movements. They then concluded that the answer is “no” to the question, does cheese cause constipation?
Typical Causes of Constipation
People get constipated due to plenty of reasons, including medical conditions that reduce the speed of food traveling throughout the digestive tract. A good example would be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Other medications that may lead to constipation include antacids and iron supplements, especially when these are taken without a proper doctor’s prescription.
Some other drugs that may increase the risks of getting constipated include diuretics, antidepressants, narcotics, blood pressure maintenance, antispasmodics, and anticonvulsants.
A shift in your routine may also disrupt your internal clock, which can also interfere with your regular bowel movement. It would be best to establish a routine and stay on track to avoid derailing the pattern in your bowel movement.
Not drinking enough water can also trigger constipation.
It doesn’t help if you don’t move around enough because the lack of exercise may also lead to being constipated.
Maintaining a low-fiber diet is also a trigger because you need fiber to add bulk to the stool, making it easier to push along your digestive tract.
It is not healthy to keep holding off a bowel movement because delaying the process will only remove water from the stool, increasing the difficulty in passing it.
Some pregnant women find it hard to pass a stool, probably due to the lack of exercise, the growing uterus pressing on the intestines, or the hormones working against bowel movement.
What to Do to Reduce Constipation While Still Eating Cheese
There is no clear scientific proof that the answer is affirmative to the question, “does cheese cause constipation?”
However, it still pays to control how much cheese you consume and know the right things to do to prevent or stop constipation. These include the following reminders:
- Don’t overindulge in cheese. Limit your cheese consumption. If you’re craving cheese, don’t exceed two servings of this dairy product and make sure the content of the cheese is not high in fat. It would be a healthier option to go for fat-free or low-fat cheese.
- Consume more fiber-rich foods. These are the types of food that absorb water when they reach the gastrointestinal tract. The more water the stools get, the softer they become so they can move easily along the digestive tract without straining on your part. Any fiber source works, but the most effective ones would be oat bran and wheat, according to a Harvard School of Public Health report.
- Eat cheese alternatives instead. You don’t have to control much of what you eat if you know better substitutes. This works in dealing with cheese, too. Does cheese cause constipation? Even if it is uncertain that it does, it helps to be cautious about this particular food. Just pick cheese substitutes made out of nuts or soy. Any of these choices is rich in dietary fiber but low in fat. You can even find them in whole-food markets and grocery stores.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activities encourage the digestive tract to contract and move more, reducing the risk of constipation. Exercise for at least 150 minutes a week to promote a healthy GI tract and healthy bowel movements.
If you want to know the response to “How does cheese cause constipation?” this should have clarified the answer. No, there is no definite scientific proof, especially when a lot of things can lead to constipation.
However, you can still do a few things, like those mentioned above, to ensure that you will not get constipated.