Foods like pizza that are low in fiber and high in fat can cause constipation by slowing down your natural digestive processes and drying out your stool as it goes through your colon.

Constipation happens when you have difficulty passing a bowel movement, typically three or fewer times per week. And while it’s hard to draw a direct connection between specific foods and constipation, there are some recommendations that can help you avoid constipation caused by pizza or other foods.

Read on to learn more about the possible link between pizza and constipation, other popular foods that can lead to constipation, and what you can eat to help relieve constipation.

Pizza contains many ingredients that are some of the main culprits behind constipation:

Several other foods may cause constipation, especially if you don’t get regular exercise or drink enough water.

Fried foods

Fried foods are a double-whammy. They’re high in fat and low in fiber, which are two of the most common causes of constipation.

Fried foods are also sometimes high in salt content. Sodium in your diet can cause you to retain water that would normally be used to moisten your stool in your colon, drying it out and making it harder to pass through your colon.

Dairy

Dairy is more commonly known to cause diarrhea, especially in people who are lactose intolerant.

But dairy has been linked to constipation, especially in young children who might be sensitive to proteins in cow milk, like casein, and whey in dairy products that can cause immune system responses.

The link between dairy and constipation 2022 study suggests that a moderate amount of dairy in females’ diets might actually help relieve or prevent constipation. But more research is needed.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats can cause a flurry of changes in your normal gut function that can lead to constipation, including:

  • affecting how long it takes for food to pass through your colon
  • changing your serotonin levels
  • killing cells in your gut involved in bowel muscle contractions
  • lowering mucus in your intestines that help move stool through
  • causing oxidative stress that affects gut functions

Red and processed meats

Red meat and processed meats are low in fiber, high in salt, and full of tough fibrous muscle tissues that are hard for your digestive tract to process.

All of these factors contribute to constipation by making stool harder and slowing it down through the colon.

But the link between red meat and constipation isn’t clear, either. A 2019 empirical study of more than 2,000 people suggests that red meats may actually help lower your chances of constipation.

Packaged foods

Many packaged foods are processed and high in salt, fat, and sugar. They also contain preservatives, sweeteners, and other artificial ingredients that can cause inflammation in your gut and slow down digestion.

They’re also often dry, meaning that there’s less moisture that can travel to your bowels to help keep stool soft.

Refined grains

Eating large amounts of refined, low-fiber grains may contribute to constipation by lowering the amount of water and bulk in your stool, which can make it harder to pass.

You shouldn’t eat pizza if you’re constipated because it can make your symptoms worse.

If you’re doing other things to relieve constipation, such as exercising or adding fiber to your diet, you may be able to eat a little bit of pizza when you’re constipated.

And some pizzas made with whole grains or raw vegetables may be safer to eat when you’re constipated.

Here are some foods to help relieve constipation:

  • fruits like citrus, prunes, apples, pears, or kiwis
  • figs
  • leafy greens like spinach
  • artichokes
  • rhubarb
  • sweet potatoes
  • beans, peas, and lentils
  • chia seeds or flaxseeds
  • whole grain rye bread
  • oat bran
  • Greek yogurt or kefir

There’s not much science supporting the idea that eating specific foods can help digest pizza.

But here are some foods and beverages that may help promote digestion:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat ginger.
  • Eat a light, healthy dessert that’s rich in high-fiber fruits and fermented dairy.
  • Eat citrus or drink lime juice.
  • Try a hot lemon ginger tea.

Pizza can be a delicious meal to share with family or friends — but it can also cause or worsen constipation.

Try eating pizza with whole grains and natural ingredients or combine it with other high-fiber foods and exercise to make sure you can enjoy a slice without slowing down your gut.