Prunes Better Than Psyllium Fiber For Constipation

Here’s a chart about something people don’t like to talk about, bowel movements:

From: Randomized Clinical Trial: Dried Plums (Prunes) Vs. Psyllium For Constipation, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, February 2011

Each dot represents the number of complete spontaneous bowel movements (CSBM)/week. Note how many people had zero bowel movements per week before the study started (baseline). Paticipants were between 18 and 75 years old and reported mild to moderate constipation.

Before any intervention, people were averaging about 1.7 bowel movements per week. While taking psyllium (Metamucil) that increased to 2.8 times/week. On prunes it increased to 3.5 times/week. Prunes won, don’t tell Metamucil.

Conclusion: Dried plums are safe, palatable and more effective than psyllium for the treatment of mild to moderate constipation, and should be considered as a first line therapy.

The intervention lasted 3 weeks, They were eating either:

  • Dried Plums, 50 g twice a day with meals (1 pitted prune is about 10 grams so this is 10-12 prunes a day)
  • Psyllium, 11 g with 8 oz of water twice a day (this is 1 tablespoon twice a day, so 2 tablespoons a day)

The graph is a screen cap from Greger’s video:

Greger ends this video:

Where do vegans rate? Going, going, gone. Not 2, not 3, but 10.9 [bowel movements] a week.

5 thoughts on “Prunes Better Than Psyllium Fiber For Constipation

  1. Anonymous

    Interesting. I love prunes, have a bunch, and am thinking of eating some raw and some as stewed prunes, 2 tbsp psyllium seems like a huge amount.


  2. Bix Post author

    2 tablespoons does seem like a lot. I may be wrong there…

    When I was growing up we called them prunes. First time I heard “dried plums” I didn’t know what they were. Also, when I was a child, when we went out to a restaurant, you could usually get a side of stewed prunes, and I did not know what in the world the adults were thinking.


  3. mboydp

    Do you think “dried plums” is an attempt to make prunes seem more interesting or palatable. A lot of people hate prunes, though as I said, I like them.


    1. Bix Post author

      I do. “Prunes” seems dated.

      I haven’t had any in like forever so I bought some to stew. They’re so good! I have another favorite food.



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