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Does Eating Rice Cause Constipation?

The short answer:

Eating rice could cause constipation and could also improve the symptoms of constipation. This depends on its fiber content which varied according to the type of rice you eat. White rice could cause constipation while brown rice could improve symptoms of constipation. In this article, read more about the difference between white and brown rice and their effects on your bowel movements.

Key facts:

  • Two types of rice with different nutritional values and different effects on your bowel movements.
  • White rice is processed rice with almost its fibers removed during the milling process.
  • Brown rice is non-processed rice with husk, bran, and germ and it is also rich in fibers.
  • Eating white rice could lead to constipation.
  • Eating brown rice could improve your bowel movements and relief the symptoms of constipation.
  • For a healthy diet, if you prefer white rice, you should eat vegetables and other fiber-rich food with it.

White and brown rice | Rice and constipation | FAQs about constipation

What is the difference between white and brown rice?

Rice is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. The nutritional value of rice depends on its type.

There are two main types of rice. Brown and white rice. They differ from each other based on the processing of preparation. The milling process converts brown rice into white. As a result, the milling process is sometimes called the whitening process. This process greatly affects the nutritional value of rice. Milling could strips off the bran layer of rice leaving only a core of carbohydrates.

The complete milling and polishing convert brown rice to white rice causing rice to lose most of its nutritional value.

This process destroys about 67 % of vitamin B3, 80% of vitamin B1, about 90 % of vitamin B6, half of the magnesium and phosphorous content, 60 % of its iron content, and also destroys all its fiber content (Ref).

The table below illustrates the difference in nutritional value between brown and white rice. The nutrient content in brown and white rice (Ref).

Nutrients (mg/100g)Brown riceWhite rice
Nutrients in brown and white rice

Does eating rice cause constipation?

In some cases, rice has been seen to cause constipation. While in another case it relieves symptoms of constipation. The question now is, does rice cause constipation or improve the condition? What are the reasons?

Actually, rice can cause constipation and could also improve the symptoms of constipation. This depends on its fiber content which varied according to the type of rice you eat. As previously mentioned, there are two types of rice with different compositions. White rice and brown rice.

White rice:

  • It is more processed and polished compared to brown rice.
  • White rice has no husk, bran, or germ. They have been removed. As a result, white rice loses its fiber and nutrients. Thus, eating white rice could cause constipation (Ref).
  • It is advised to pair white rice with fiber-rich vegetables, cumin seeds, and flaxseeds to avoid developing constipation.

Brown rice:

  • Non-processed rice.
  • Brown rice still has the husk, bran, and germ. It is rich in fiber.
  • Due to its fiber content, brown rice could help improve symptoms of constipation.
  • It represents a good source of whole grains.
  • Each cup of brown rice has about 3.5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein
  • Due to the fiber and nutritional value of brown rice, most health experts recommend it over white rice.

A study published in 2020 studied the effect of brown and white rice on total colon transit time. After about one month, results showed a significant reduction in the total colon transit time among groups fed brown rice compared to groups fed white rice. The decreased colon transit time indicates an increase in bowel movement and improves the symptoms of constipation.

RAQs about constipation

1. Does eating eggs and constipation?

Eating eggs alone or moderate consumption of eggs couldn’t cause constipation. However, when you eat eggs with high fat and protein diet, you will have a risk to be constipated.

High consumption of eggs alone could cause constipation. This is due to the following

1. Eggs have very low fiber content.

  • Fibers are good stool softeners. They could improve bowel movement by drawing water into your intestine. This makes your stool soft, and bulky.
  • According to GoodData Central, one large egg of 50 grams weight has only 0.75 grams of fiber.
  • Consequently, eating a large number of eggs with their reduced fiber content increases your risk to have constipation.

2. They are rich in fats (especially egg yolk) and protein.

  • According to FoodData Central, one large egg of 50 grams weight has 5 grams of fat.
  • Fats are hard to digest. They take more time in your intestine. This allows more time for water absorption, hence your stool becomes harder.
  • Also, proteins in eggs are difficult to digest. High consumption of eggs could increase the risk of constipation.

Evidence-based data:

A 2016 study involving 2623 participants showed that 13.6 % (359 participants) had symptoms of constipation after eating eggs compared to 23 cases who didn’t consume eggs and didn’t show symptoms of constipation. Researchers attributed this effect to proteins in eggs which are hard to digest leading to constipation.

A 2015 study showed that increasing fiber intake could significantly reduce symptoms of constipation.

Accordingly. eggs with low fiber content and high fats could increase the risk of constipation. However, they represent an essential source of protein, hence we shouldn’t stop eating eggs but it is advised to be taken with a diet rich in fiber as eating eggs with spinach and tomatoes.

2. Do potatoes cause constipation?

No, eating potatoes doesn’t cause constipation.

There are two main types of potatoes. Regular potatoes and sweet potatoes. Both types are rich in fiber and are reported to not cause constipation**.**

Both regular and sweet potatoes are root vegetables and represent good sources of carbs and calories and both are rich in fiber which improves bowel movements.

Regular potatoes

  • They are a variety of underground tubers that grow on the roots of the plant scientifically known as Solanum tuberosum.
  • Regular potatoes originated in South America. However, nowadays they are cultivated all around the world.
  • They are commonly eaten boiled, fried, or baked.
  • When they are cooked with the skin, they provide a rich source of minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C and potassium.

Sweet potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes have copper-colored skin with orange flesh inside.
  • There are hundreds of other varieties of sweet potatoes that are cultivated everywhere around the world.
  • They are commonly eaten boiled, roasted, or baked, and their natural sweetness gets boosted when they are cooked.
  • Sweet potatoes represent a rich source of dietary fiber.
  • Sweet potatoes are naturally sweeter than regular potatoes