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Bowel Movement Frequency

Comparing the regularity of omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.

August 21, 2010 |
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The fiber in flax seeds and other whole plant foods is more than just about reducing our risk for the number one and two killers of Americans, heart disease and cancer. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States leading to  millions of doctor visits every year. More than just the discomfort constipation can increase risk for hiatal hernia, varicose veins, hemorrhoids and painful conditions with names like anal fissure. The biggest study on bowel movement frequency in history was recently published comparing the bowel habits of 15,000 meat eaters to 5000 vegetarians and a thousand vegans. The researchers conclude that being vegetarian especially vegan, is strongly associated with a higher frequency of bowel movements. Vegans for example were about 3 times more likely to have daily BMs. Like i always said, vegans are just regular people.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on bowel movements. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Bowel Movements: The Scoop on Poop and Poultry Paunch: Meat & Weight Gain.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on bowel movements. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/beachwalker/ Beachwalker

    Although I’m a vegetarian, I don’t have a BM everyday, Maybe every other day. And on the Bristol stool scale, I’m a type 4 when ever I do have a BM.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also be sure to check out my associated blog post Bowel Movements: The Scoop on Poop!

  • Arroyon1975

    So Dr.Greger vegetarians have more BM than meat eaters is that true.

    • Epifurious

      watch/listen at  0:56.  vegetarians (especially vegans) have more BM than meat eaters

  • Epifurious

    i have 3-5 BM’s per day!!! vegan, 6 years and counting.  greatest thing i ever did for my body

    • carmen @Vegan_Nurse

      same here! (9 months vegan). love love LOVE it!

      • Lolatheblackdog

         amazing! i always thought i was “regular” with on average 5 or 6 bowl movements a week. when i went on a vegan diet i was shocked at having 3 a day!!!

  • bellybuttonblue

    I eat a spoonful of psyllium husk every day to enhance my bowel movement. I’ve read studies that it also has a cholesterol-lowering effect: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/2/472.short But this research was done in 2000. Have there been recent studies on psyllium? Are there any adverse effects? 

  • esther

    LOL!

  • tavit

    I proud to say that after I start eat vegan my BM increase from 1 time for 2-3 days to 2 times a day.