One-third of preschoolers in the United States are now constipated due to the under-consumption of plant foods. Americans, and especially New Yorkers, are among the most constipated people on earth. Not surprisingly, then, constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States. The minimum fecal output should be about half a pound per day for cancer prevention. Larger bowel movements have also been associated with lower rates of appendicitis, colon cancer, constipation, and diverticulitis. Vegetarians and vegans, on average, have the healthiest stools and are the most regular.

Certain artificial sweeteners can have a laxative effect. In Latin America, greta, made almost of pure lead, is alarmingly used to treat constipation.

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