Is there a direct correlation bewteen protein and constipation?
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Posted 01 July 2014 - 08:34 AM
I am wondering, is it more protein in general worsening constipation or is it animal protein (as opposed to protein from grains like pasta or protein from vegetables, beans, etc.). Protein from grains can add up. I am limiting my meat to about 5 ounces a day. I still get more than enough protein from pasta, rice, etc. I know that meat is a main source of protein for a lot of people but I am wondering if anyone has noticed whether or not constipation due to too much protein has anything to do with the source of the protein. Just curious.
Posted 01 July 2014 - 04:02 PM
There is a direct correlation between protein and constipation.
There’s a strong link between opioid peptides from food and constipation. The worst foods seem to be wheat, meat and milk. I tried an Atkins type diet recently with mainly pork and veges and evacuation took 2 hours, when I had got it down to 1 hour. I don’t eat red meat but maybe all meat has a constipating property. The main point is that certain peptides in proteins have an antiperistaltic affect on the colon which slows down motility.
Yesterday evacuation took 15 minutes which is very fast. The previous day I had porridge for breakfast, some chips for lunch which caused a lot of gas as they’re very starchy and an omelette and a big bowl of cooked veges – potato, sweet potato, pumpkin & peas. I can’t say that evacuation was 100% complete as the gas started at midday but the quick evacuation was a nice surprise. I can’t find any studies on why certain foods cause constipation apart from this theory about opioid peptides. I’ve found that cooked low-FODMAP vegetables seem to be the best thing to eat and I try to fill up on these as much as possible. Out of the proteins, I think eggs and fish are the least constipating.
The opioid peptides include casomorphin from milk and gluten exorphin from wheat, rye and barley. I drink A2 milk which doesn’t have this. I only drink milk in tea and porridge.
I found other studies that suggested that all grains have opioid peptides. I know I have a particular problem with rice so don’t eat this anymore.
Dietary Proteins and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
Food derived peptides with biological activity
MU-OPIOID RECEPTORS AND DIETARY PROTEIN
STIMULATE A GUT-BRAIN CIRCUITRY
LIMITING FOOD INTAKE
Food opioids – addiction to constipation
(I posted this and provided a lot of interesting links)
My long-term IBS symptom cure (over the last 10 years): complete evacuation
IBS type: IBS-C (Leaky Gas). IBS strategy: No meds. No overeating and a non-inflammatory diet.
Posted 02 July 2014 - 12:05 PM
Kathleen is right, there is no correlation between protein and constipation. There is 100% zero correlation between protein and pelvic floor dysfunction. In fact, protein is something that stimulates peristalsis. Now, if you're taking some sort of whey protein 'substitute' or getting your protein through processed foods, then it may cause constipation simply because your eating something processed. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (at least speaking to tension - very common) comes from years years of tension and going to the bathroom in the 'wrong' way. One starts to poop in a tensed manner, which causes certain muscles to be used that should NOT be used. One may also have a habit of simply 'tensing' their pelvic floor frequently and causing the dysfunction. There are some studies that claim PFD is hereditary and you have to have muscles that are 'off' in order to develop it. Pelvic Floor problems are extremely common though. Most cases are quite mild, others are severe and debilitating.
If you're spending that much time on the toilet, I would wager your pelvic floor dysfunction is quite severe. Most that have problems with their pelvic floor want to 'overlook' this condition. They don't receive the proper biofeedback/balloon expulsion treatment and they don't keep up with the treatment, which is vital to releasing the pelvic floor. Even if your PFD comes from a problem with your colon, if you do not treat the PFD - you will simply always have trouble going to the bathroom or not be able to go at all. If your pelvic floor always has high tension, your bowels simply can not move. The muscle coordination can not be 'kicked off' and no urge will come.
As for spending hours on the toilet, my guess is that your pelvic floor is so tight that you aren't able to go 'as much' as you would like. So it could be that once you get a slight urge, you're going prematurely to the toilet. You should have a VERY strong urge before heading to the restroom. I mean to the point of sweating and feel like you can't hold it. You should be getting an urge before going to the toilet.
Posted 04 July 2014 - 08:05 AM
Chiming in here as a bodybuilder and open water swimmer who has had protein consumption as high as 175g (currently sitting at 150g—and I should mention about 75% of that protein comes from "processed sources" like protein powder, whey isolate breads, etc. I think I only get about 44g from chicken because I find that more binding than anything else):
Protein didn't affect my digestive system at all other than making me feel incredibly, INCREDIBLY full, and I had one week at 175g of protein as my best digestive week ever—I went every day. For me, it's more a) making sure I get AT LEAST 64 oz. of water in, and b ) keeping my fiber to 17-20g, and most of that being soluble. So even though I haven't read the studies, I'd agree with the others saying there's no direct correlation other than fullness and people not eating what they need to to get their bowels moving.