Dietary fiber is of paramount importance in the prevention of large-bowel diseases, yet fiber intake in many high income countries is well below daily recommendations. Vegetarian diets high in fiber-rich plant-foods have been associated with a higher frequency of bowel movements and softer stools. Thus, vegetarians appear to suffer less frequently from constipation and other bowel disorders. The number of studies investigating these associations, however, is limited. The present study sought to investigate bowel health and constipation prevalence in a self-identified vegetarian population from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007–2010). Bowel health assessment included Bristol Stool Scale (BSS), Bowel Movement (BM) frequency and Fecal Incontinence Severity Index (FISI). The present study included 9531 non-vegetarians and 212 vegetarians. We found no associations between vegetarian status and all examined bowel health items (BM frequency, BSS and FISI). Vegetarians consumed significantly more fiber than omnivores (21.33 vs. 16.43 g/d, p < 0.001) but had a lower moisture intake (2811.15 vs. 3042.78 g/d, p = 0.045). The lack of an association of vegetarian status and bowel health is surprising, and may be a result of the relatively low fiber intake in this particular vegetarian cohort, which did not meet the daily fiber recommendations.

Bowel Health in U.S. Vegetarians: A 4-Year Data Report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Lombardo, Mauro
2022-01-01

Abstract

Dietary fiber is of paramount importance in the prevention of large-bowel diseases, yet fiber intake in many high income countries is well below daily recommendations. Vegetarian diets high in fiber-rich plant-foods have been associated with a higher frequency of bowel movements and softer stools. Thus, vegetarians appear to suffer less frequently from constipation and other bowel disorders. The number of studies investigating these associations, however, is limited. The present study sought to investigate bowel health and constipation prevalence in a self-identified vegetarian population from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007–2010). Bowel health assessment included Bristol Stool Scale (BSS), Bowel Movement (BM) frequency and Fecal Incontinence Severity Index (FISI). The present study included 9531 non-vegetarians and 212 vegetarians. We found no associations between vegetarian status and all examined bowel health items (BM frequency, BSS and FISI). Vegetarians consumed significantly more fiber than omnivores (21.33 vs. 16.43 g/d, p < 0.001) but had a lower moisture intake (2811.15 vs. 3042.78 g/d, p = 0.045). The lack of an association of vegetarian status and bowel health is surprising, and may be a result of the relatively low fiber intake in this particular vegetarian cohort, which did not meet the daily fiber recommendations.
2022
vegetarian; plant-based; fiber; bowel health; constipation; NHANES; bristol stool scale; stool
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12078/9565
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