Bowel Movement Frequency
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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.
Bowel Movement Frequency
by Michael Greger, MD
With a title like "Nutrition and Lifestyle in Relation to Bowel Movement Frequency," I knew it just had to be good. In the biggest study of it's kind ever, British researchers compared the reported bowel habits of about 15,000 meateaters to 5000 vegetarians and about 1000 vegans.
The study was peppered with memorable quotes like "That non meat-eaters have a higher frequency of defecation is well documented" and "Our finding of a very clear trend towards an increasing number of bowel movements with a more rigorous degree of vegetarianism could be a field for further investigation."
Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States, leading to millions of doctor visits every year. Constipation can increase one's risk for a hiatal hernia, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and painful conditions with names like "anal fissure."
The researchers conclude "Being vegetarian and especially vegan is strongly associated with a higher frequency of bowel movements." Vegans, for example, were three times more likely to have daily BMs.
It's like we've always said: vegans are just regular people :)
1 Public Health Nutrition: 7(2004):77.
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