Are you on a high-protein diet? If so, do it right. The wrong approach can make you constipated! Eating protein isn’t the problem, though. It’s what you’re not eating.
What Are The Benefits Of A High-Protein Diet?
There are several reasons for you to go on a high-protein diet. Maybe you’re recovering from a bout of sickness and need to regain strength. Or, maybe you’re training and building muscle. Perhaps, you’re trying to shed pounds and gain control over your weight. High-protein diets have been shown to benefit overweight and obese individuals.1
As a major macronutrient, protein is a “building block” of the body. It’s digested slower than carbs, so it keeps you full for a long time and prevents overeating. If you’re going on a diet, protein is your best friend. It is a nutrient every cell and tissue in your body needs. The daily recommended intake is 10 to 35 percent of your caloric intake.2 A high-protein diet exceeds that ratio. Often, carbs and fats are restricted, putting you at a risk of constipation.
High-Protein, Fiber, And Constipation
Fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body. Thus, it passes right through, playing an important part in bulking up the stool for its easy removal. Fiber is found in foods have little to no protein. Examples include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
It’s easy to overlook fibers when you’re focused on protein. Hence, a high-protein diet will not provide you with the required fiber content that is essential to prevent constipation.3 However, it’s possible to stick to a high-protein diet and obtain enough fiber. Here are some foods rich in fiber that also form a part of your high-protein diet.
Fiber-Rich Foods To Go With A High-Protein Diet
1. Beans And Lentils
Legumes are rich in plant-based protein. They’re also low in saturated fat, unlike red and processed meats. In fact, replacing meat with beans can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Thanks to the fiber in legumes, you can easily avoid being constipated! One cup of cooked navy, pinto, or kidney beans has 6.2 to 9.6 grams of fiber. With so many options, you’ll never get bored. Examples include garbanzo, black, pink, and white beans.4
Asparagus is a surprising source of protein. One cup of boiled stalks has 4.32 grams. It’s also considered to be a non-starchy veggie, so it’ll fit your diet well.5
3. Leafy Greens
You can never go wrong with leafy greens, another group of low-carb veggies. Half a cup of cooked spinach, collards, and turnip greens has 2.5 to 3.5 grams of fiber. Eat them in salads or smoothies for a constipation-fighting boost.6
High-water veggies like cucumber are a smart choice. They’re on the non-starchy list but also have 1 gram of fiber in every 8 slices. Toss them in smoothies and juices for a refreshing drink.7
Nuts are full of protein and fiber, making them a must for high-protein diets. Swapping out red meat for nuts can help you lose weight over time. If you’re trying to shed pounds, reach for nuts. Choose unsalted nuts to avoid extra sodium.8
Fruits That Suit A High-Protein Diet
Fruits are high in both fiber and carbs, but don’t let this deter you. They’re the best source of what little carbohydrates you do eat. From berries to apples, fruits are excellent for avoiding constipation. They’re also filling, tasty, and nutritious. For example, one medium pear with skin has 5.5 grams of fiber.9
When you do eat carbs, choose fiber-rich fruits. It’ll kill two birds with one stone. As always, before going high-protein, discuss with your doctor and dietitian about a diet that suits your body best.
|↑1||Brehm, Bonnie J., and David A. D’alessio. “Benefits of high-protein weight loss diets: enough evidence for practice?.” Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity 15, no. 5 (2008): 416-421.|
|↑2||Protein. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑3||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑4, ↑6, ↑9||Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑5||Nutrient Lists. Food Composition Databases. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑7||Cucumber. University of Illinois Extension.|
|↑8||Ley, Sylvia H., Qi Sun, Walter C. Willett, A. Heather Eliassen, Kana Wu, An Pan, Fran Grodstein, and Frank B. Hu. “Associations between red meat intake and biomarkers of inflammation and glucose metabolism in women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2014): ajcn-075663.|