Cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products have a reputation of being “binding” or constipating foods. As it turns out, this reputation is well deserved. Mark Spielmann, RD, nutrition manager at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago, says it’s due to the high-fat and low-fiber content of many of these products. Dairy products made from milk can cause constipation in many individuals, particularly toddlers, he says. “To prevent constipation, try fruit sherbets instead.”
Though red meat by itself isn’t a specific cause of constipation, the problem is that red meat takes the place of fiber-rich options in our diet when it’s consumed regularly. “Several servings of red meat per week may lead to a backed-up feeling,” Dr. Spielmann says. Instead of adding more foods that cause constipation to your meal, make sure that your steak comes with plenty of fiber-rich foods, like a baked potato (eat the skin) and a large salad for constipation relief.
Snacks such as potato chips make the list of constipating foods mainly because they almost always replace a snack or side dish that is richer in fiber. There’s another issue at play here, too. “High-fat foods like potato chips cause delayed digestion, leading to a ‘too-full’ feeling that mirrors constipation,” says Spielmann. For constipation relief, look for reduced-fat snack foods that contain whole grains to increase your fiber intake.