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Article

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

1
Department of Internal Medicine II, Center for Complementary Medicine, Freiburg University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
2
Independent Researcher, Via Venezuela 66, 98121 Messina, Italy
3
Department of Human Sciences and Promotion of the Quality of Life, San Raffaele Roma Open University, 00166 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Carol Johnston
Nutrients 2022, 14(3), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030681
Received: 22 January 2022 / Revised: 1 February 2022 / Accepted: 2 February 2022 / Published: 6 February 2022
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetarian; plant-based; fiber; bowel health; constipation; NHANES; bristol stool scale; stool vegetarian; plant-based; fiber; bowel health; constipation; NHANES; bristol stool scale; stool
MDPI and ACS Style

Storz, M.A.; Rizzo, G.; Müller, A.; Lombardo, M. Bowel Health in U.S. Vegetarians: A 4-Year Data Report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Nutrients 2022, 14, 681. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030681

AMA Style

Storz MA, Rizzo G, Müller A, Lombardo M. Bowel Health in U.S. Vegetarians: A 4-Year Data Report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Nutrients. 2022; 14(3):681. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030681

Chicago/Turabian Style

Storz, Maximilian A., Gianluca Rizzo, Alexander Müller, and Mauro Lombardo. 2022. "Bowel Health in U.S. Vegetarians: A 4-Year Data Report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)" Nutrients 14, no. 3: 681. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030681

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