Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Is your low-carb diet causing constipation?

25 March 2014, 15:24 Luqman Ahmed

Abuja - If you are following a low-carb diet such as the Tim Noakes diet, the Atkins diet or any other high protein /high fat diet (good fats of course), you may have to deal with constipation - either chronically or occasionally.

Why do these diets cause constipation?

Well, there are two likely reasons:

– You're not getting enough dietary fibre. Most carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits and veggies like sweet potato are avoided in high fat or high protein diets.

Fibre aids digestion, and without it you could be setting yourself up for a hard time.   

– Dehydration. Protein is processed and broken down by the liver and kidneys, and both these organs use water to do this. So the more water your body uses, the more dehydrated it becomes.

Why is this bad you ask? Well dehydration causes your stools to harden which inadvertently leads to constipation.   
Read: Low carb diet debate continues

Tips that will help loosen things up

You're probably worried that you might have to change your diet again – but don't worry, that's not necessary. Here are a couple of sure-fire tips that will prevent constipation:

• Eat more fibre! Whole grains aren't the only source of fibre; you can get lots of it from (unsalted) seeds and nuts as well as from (preferably raw) fruit and vegetables.

On the Tim Noakes diet, however, fruit is limited, so if you're following this diet, be sure to up your intake of green leafy veggies. Luckily nuts are included on the menu.

The American Dietetic Association recommends at least 30g of fibre a day if you suffer from constipation (see chart below for how to up your fibre through food).

• Drink lots of water! Water cleanses and detoxes your body, so it washes out all the toxins, including your stools. (As we said, water prevents your stools from hardening.)

You need between six and eight glasses of water a day.

• Exercise! This helps your gut to work more effectively, digesting everything much more quickly. Exercising also increases your nitric oxide levels, which helps your colon to empty. The best exercise, experts have found, is walking.

• Cut down on caffeine and alcohol! Studies have shown that drinking large volumes of both of these have a diuretic effect on the body. Coffee increases urine production as does alcohol.

• Don't over-eat! Too much protein (and food in general) in the body means your liver and kidneys have to use lots of water, which will dehydrate you. Also, being overfull means that you're less likely to want to drink water.

• Tuck in to natural laxative foods! The following foods, spices and herbs are reputed to be natural laxatives: prunes, aloe vera, sour figs, cayenne pepper, turmeric, ginger, garlic, citrus fruits, omega-3 fatty acids, beans, avocados.

Also, tuck in to foods that are rich in natural probiotics, such as kefir (a fermented milk drink similar to yoghurt) and sauerkraut.

Prebiotics (provided by bananas, berries, asparagus and onion) can also do the trick. These are plant components that promote colon health because they increase the bulk of the food that passes through the colon and also serve as food for 'good microorganisms' or probiotics.

• Fibre supplements! If the above tips sound like too much effort, a supplement is the last resort. Psyllium husks are a good bet – get sachets at your pharmacy. However, remember to drink lots of water with it – this is soluble fibre that absorbs water like a sponge.

If the above mentioned tips don't work, high protein/high fat diets may not be for you. But just to make sure, consult your doctor first because these types of diets have their fair share of risks, and not all bodies are strong enough to handle it.

REMEMBER: Constipation may lead to irritable bowel syndrome or even worse, bowel cancer. So, don't take this condition lightly if you don't have a bowel movement for 2 - 3 days.

- Health24


What to do after breakup

26 October 2016, 10:15

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
What to do after breakup

Your life does not end after breakup. Here are tips to move on: Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Rare gift for President Uhuru Ken...

Young Jubilee supporters have a rare surprise gift for the President. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Illegal milk nabbed in Mombasa wa...

Milk powder is considered a sensitive commodity under the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) and attracts an import duty at a rate of 60 per cent. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Athlete collapses, dies in Machak...

His coach blamed his untimely death on the supplements the athletes are given. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Popular radio presenter found dea...

Grace Makosewe was working for Capital FM before moving to Urban Radio in Kisumu. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Four wards to elect new MCAs in b...

This follows the death of former office holders between April and August this year. Read more...