Brown rice, wheat diets ease constipation among women

16 Nov 2020

Brown rice-based (BRD) and wheat-based (WD) diets improve bowel movement and total colon transit time (TCTT) among women with functional constipation, finds a recent Korea study. Diets reliant on white rice (WRD), on the other hand, show no such effect.

Researchers randomly assigned 39 young women (mean age, 21.8±2.0 years) with functional constipation to a BRD, WRD, or WD, at a 1:1:1 ratio, for a period of 4 weeks. Participants were given three meals a day (at 7 AM, 12 noon, and 6 PM), through a 14-day menu cycle based on an estimated daily energy need of 2,100 kcal. The primary outcome measure was TCTT.

Women assigned to the BRD intervention saw a decrease in TCTT in the total colon (p=0.032), driven particularly by a similar change in the left colon (p=0.030). Both the BRD (p=0.028) and WD (p=0.022) groups saw significant reductions in TCTT relative to the WRD group.

Similarly, stool frequency in the BRD group jumped from 3.4±1.1 times per week before the trial to 5.0±1.1 times per week after (p<0.002). A similar and statistical change was also seen in the WD arm, though to a slightly attenuated degree (2.8±1.0 to 3.9±1.3 times per week; p<0.012). There was also a tendency toward increasing bowel frequency, though it failed to reach significance.

These bowel benefits came with no safety concerns. The researchers documented no subjective or objective adverse events, nor were there any substantial changes in vital signs and in physical and diagnostic exams. Laboratory markers all likewise stayed within normal ranges.

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