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.

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
To help out on the site, email

Watch videos about constipation

  • Bowels of the Earth
    Bowels of the Earth
    Which country has the largest (and smallest) average stool size.
  • Food Mass Transit
    Food Mass Transit
    Most women experience a four-day intestine transit time, likely too long to meet the target 200 gram (half pound) minimum fecal output for cancer prevention.
  • Stool Size Matters
    Stool Size Matters
    Larger bowel movements are associated with lower risk of appendicitis, colon cancer, constipation, and diverticulitis.
  • Bristol Stool Scale
    Bristol Stool Scale
    Classifying the fecal form of omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.
  • Waistline Expanding Food
    Waistline Expanding Food
    Which food has been associated with increased waist circumference?
  • Diverticulosis & Nuts
    Diverticulosis & Nuts
    Should people with diverticulosis avoid nuts, seeds, and popcorn?
  • A Harmless Artificial Sweetener
    A Harmless Artificial Sweetener
    Most of the artificial sweeteners on the market have been associated with health problems.
  • Bowel Movement Frequency
    Bowel Movement Frequency
    Comparing the regularity of omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.
Page 2 of 212