Eating too much protein can undoubtedly cause constipation. In fact, many high protein diets such as the South Beach Diet and the Atkins diet remove starchy, fiber-rich foods from the diet. These diets were really the forerunners of the current paleo diets that have become so trendy.
The Induction Phase of the Atkins diet recommended avoiding a lot of foods with significant fiber content. Potatoes, whole grain bread, carrots, and the like were all off-limits. Yet, these are the foods that provide energy and help bulk up the stool.
Atkins really promoted a high intake of meat – from bacon through to chicken breast. Dr. Atkins even allowed two to three tablespoons of heavy cream daily.
Plunging into a high protein diet can be hard on the digestive system. The body is not used to that amount of protein, and either is the gut microbiome. I used to regularly see patients at week two or three of the Atkins induction phase with significant constipation. In fact, if you look at the book written by Dr. Atkins, he recommends Metamucil because he knew constipation was going to be an issue.
Ironically, Dr. Atkins was obese when he passed away. I believe that the doctor who designed the South Beach Diet also passed away due to heart disease.
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I am not a fan of high protein diets. If you look at the diets I recommend, they contain protein, but they also include vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and whole grains like brown rice.
High protein diets can lead to kidney damage. They can also contribute to heart disease, make cholesterol problems worse, and set the stage for significant constipation.
Meat doesn’t contain fiber, which makes its passage through the gut quite slow. It’s essential to balance your protein intake with vegetables and other fiber-containing foods.
I’m not a huge fan of vegan diets, but I am a strong supporter of vegetarian diets. I also support reducing meat intake for anyone following an omnivore diet. Personally, I regularly eat meals that contain no meat at all. I don’t think it’s healthy to eat meat every single day of the week. Animal fat is where toxins are stored, so the more meat you eat, the more toxins you are ingesting.
If the protein in your diet seems to be causing constipation, digestive enzymes may help. It may also help to cut back on the amount of protein you are eating. Fish protein is easier to digest than beef. Some countries, such as England, recommend not eating any more than 250 grams of red meat per week.
My recommendations are to eat less red meat, eat more white meat, and eat more fiber. Those three things will help your constipation quite a lot.