Fats and constipation

How Fats Can Help Prevent Constipation

Fats and constipation

The Stigma That Is Fat…

Straight off the bat, I want to make it clear that a high fat diet does not mean A: weight gain B: Unhealthy. There is so much stigma to ‘fat’ in the food we eat (we can give thanks to the early 90’s for the low fat diet that emerged…thanks 90’s). The truth is the body needs fats to function smoothly and help the body reach optimal health. Read my last blog ‘A Quick Guide To Fats’

So Why can A High Fat Diet Help Chronic Constipation/IBS-C?

In my last post I wrote about the The Gut Brain Connection and how to trigger the gastrocolic reflex in sufferers of constipation dominant IBS (IBS-C). I mention that sufferers with constipation dominant IBS have a hypoactive gatrocolic reflex which is triggered by: waking in the morning, after a hearty meal consisting of fat and carbohydrates or exercise. The reason a diet that consists of healthy fats is beneficial, is for many reasons, so lets start with the effect it has on the gallbladder. The gallbladder realises gastric juices, such as bile into the digestive tract, making it easier for the small intestines to absorb the nutrients from the fat we eat. If we eliminate fat completely from our diet the bile can become thick, as it just sits there and the less fat we eat the harder your gallbladder has to work and can lead to a build up of toxins.

You also need fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, which is vital in the promotion of a healthy gut. You are not able to get them from vegetable fats and they it isn’t produced independently by the body, instead we find them rich in organ meats, dairy and fish eggs.


Like I mentioned above, fat has been known to induce the gastrocolic reflex and by eating carbohydrates; with lesser degrees of effect (see fig, right). This is why eating a diet that consist of healthy fats i.e olive oil, and eating 3 substantial meals (containing some form of carbohydrate) a day rather than eating little and often is not always effective for those of us who suffer with constipation.

Healthy fats provide your body with key amino acids (the building blocks) in order to  keep the nervous system and smooth intestinal muscles (responsible for peristalsis and moving stools through your bowel) working properly. If you don’t consume sufficient healthy fats it is likely that you will diminish motility.

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