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Say What?: Who Green-lighted This?

dulcolaxEarlier today, I relaxed on the couch and enjoyed an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.

Don’t you love that show?  Those producers do a marvelous job of mixing humor and repulsiveness.

During the second commercial break, an advertisement for a product named Dulcolax popped up.

It was rather vague, claiming that while water is helpful for constipation, it sometimes “doesn’t get where it needs to”, which is why Dulcolax is a better choice.

Utterly confused — and with red flags in mind — I Googled the product (which, I’m sure, is exactly what its makers want).

Here are some “are you kidding me?” snippets from the website:

  • “Water alone may not be enough [to treat constipation] because you can’t be sure that the water you drink will go directly to the colon.”
  • “Dulcolax works with the water.”
  • “Dulcolax makes water work harder to help restore balance gently.”

Looks like someone completely tossed basic human physiology out the window!

For whatever reason, both the television advertisement and the product’s webpage leave out a vital piece of information — Dulcolax simply contains a popular laxative known as polyethylene glycol 3350.

It’s not that Dulcolax contains some secret magic spell that makes water work harder; it’s nothing more than a laxative in powder form that you add to liquids!

The notion that water is not enough to help with constipation is silly; one of the most effective ways to treat that condition is to consume more fiber and water.

Truth is, the vast majority of individuals with constipation do not need laxatives.  All they require is additional fiber in their diet, which is not a difficult task:

  • Apple (medium, with skin): 3.5 grams
  • Almonds (23 pieces): 3.4 grams
  • Avocado (medium, one half): 6.5 grams
  • Banana (medium): 3 grams
  • Barley (1/2 cup, cooked): 3 grams
  • Black beans (1/2 cup): 7 grams
  • Broccoli (1/2 cup, cooked): 3 grams
  • Chickpeas (1/2 cup): 5 grams
  • Ground flaxseed (2 tablespoons): 4 grams
  • Lentils (1/2 cup): 8 grams
  • Medjool dates (2 pieces): 3 grams
  • Nutritional yeast (2 tablespoons): 4 grams
  • Oatmeal (1 cup, cooked): 4 grams
  • Potato (medium, with skin): 4 grams
  • Raspberries (1/2 cup): 4 grams
  • Sunflower seeds (1/4 cup): 3 grams
  • Sweet potato (medium, with skin): 4 grams
  • Tempeh (4 ounces/half package of Lightlife brand): 8 grams
  • Whole wheat pasta (1 cup, cooked): 4 grams
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One Comment

  1. sandy said on December 29th, 2009

    what happens when we take more fiber and don’t enough water? and is there any rule like “* water is needed for *grams of fiber”?

    My doctor recommend to pass stools 2 times a day to completely empty colon.

    What he tells us is:

    After waking up drink 1-1.5 liters of water and walk around for a while by concentrating on stomach area.
    Due to pressure of water there will be movements and waste material will come outside of colon easily.

    Again after 1-1.5 hrs follow the same method so that colon will be completely cleansed.

    Do you find any sense in that? How many times we’ve to pass stools in a day(in general)?

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