Pho and Digestion: Does It Cause Constipation?

Pho is a popular Vietnamese dish that has gained worldwide popularity in recent years. Made with rice noodles, broth, meat, and herbs, pho is a delicious and nutritious meal that many people enjoy. However, there have been some concerns about whether pho can cause constipation. In this article, we will separate fact from fiction and answer the question – does pho cause constipation?

What is Pho?

Before we dive into the topic of whether pho causes constipation or not, let’s first understand what pho is. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup made with bone broth, rice noodles, meat (usually beef), and an assortment of herbs and spices. It is a popular street food in Vietnam and has become a staple at Vietnamese restaurants around the world.

How is Pho Made?

Pho is typically made by simmering beef bones, oxtail, and spices for several hours to create a flavorful broth. The broth is then strained and served with cooked rice noodles and slices of meat. The dish is garnished with fresh herbs such as Thai basil, cilantro, and scallions and is served with a side of bean sprouts, lime wedges, and jalapenos.

What Causes Constipation?

What Causes Constipation
What Causes Constipation

Before we can determine whether pho causes constipation or not, it’s important to understand what causes constipation. Constipation is a condition where bowel movements are infrequent or difficult to pass. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as low fiber intake, dehydration, lack of physical activity, and certain medications.

Pho Ingredients: Does Pho Cause Constipation?

Can Pho Cause Constipation
Can Pho Cause Constipation

Contrary to rumors circulating, there is no evidence to support the claim that pho can cause constipation. On the contrary, pho contains a variety of ingredients that can aid in promoting regular bowel movements and maintaining digestive health.

One of the key components of pho is rice noodles, which are a good source of fiber. Fiber plays an essential role in regulating the digestive system by adding bulk to stool, which helps move it through the intestines more efficiently. Incorporating high-fiber foods into one’s diet has been shown to improve overall digestive health and prevent constipation.

Moreover, the broth used in pho is made from bones rich in collagen and gelatin. Studies have demonstrated that collagen and gelatin can help promote gut health by reducing inflammation and improving the integrity of the intestinal lining. In addition, they can aid in regularity by stimulating the production of gastric juices and aiding in the absorption of nutrients.

Pros and Cons of Eating Pho

Pros and Cons of Eating Pho
Pros and Cons of Eating Pho

Like any food, there are both pros and cons to eating pho. Here are a few of them:


  • Nutritious: Pho contains many essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Low Calorie: Compared to other restaurant meals, pho is relatively low in calories.
  • Delicious: Many people find pho to be a delicious and satisfying meal.


  • High Sodium: Pho can be high in sodium due to the use of salt in the broth.
  • Contains Gluten: The rice noodles used in pho are typically made with wheat flour, which may not be suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
  • Potential Allergens: Some pho recipes may contain common allergens such as peanuts or shellfish.

Alternatives to Pho

If you’re looking for alternatives to pho, here are a few suggestions:

  • Ramen: Another popular Asian soup, ramen typically features meat, vegetables, and noodles in a flavorful broth.
  • Tom Yum Soup: A spicy and sour Thai soup made with shrimp, lemongrass, and chili peppers.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup: A classic comfort food made with chicken, vegetables, and noodles.

Tips for Making Pho at Home

Tips for Making Pho at Home
Tips for Making Pho at Home

If you’re interested in making pho at home, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Use High-Quality Ingredients: The quality of your ingredients will determine the flavor of your pho, so be sure to use high-quality beef bones and fresh herbs.
  2. Simmer for a Long Time: To extract the most flavor from your bones, simmer them for at least 6-8 hours.
  3. Skim the Broth: As your broth simmers, skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
  4. Toast Your Spices: Toasting your spices before adding them to your broth will help bring out their flavors.
  5. Serve with Fresh Herbs and Spices: Garnish your pho with fresh herbs such as Thai basil and cilantro, and serve it with lime wedges and jalapenos for added flavor.


So, does pho cause constipation? In conclusion, there is no evidence to suggest that pho causes constipation. In fact, pho contains many ingredients that can help promote regular bowel movements. While pho may not be suitable for everyone due to its high sodium content or use of gluten, it can be a nutritious and delicious meal for those who enjoy it.


  1. Will eating pho help me with my constipation? Eating pho may help promote regular bowel movements due to its high fiber content and gut-friendly ingredients.
  2. How often should I eat pho? It’s up to personal preference and dietary needs, but incorporating pho into your diet once or twice a week can be a healthy choice.
  3. Can I make pho with chicken instead of beef? Yes, you can make pho with chicken instead of beef. Use chicken bones and meat instead of beef and follow the same recipe.
  4. Is pho high in calories? Compared to other restaurant meals, pho is relatively low in calories, but it can vary depending on the ingredients used and the portion size.
  5. Can I freeze leftover pho? Yes, you can freeze leftover pho for later consumption. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and heat in a pot on the stove until heated through.
About Yen Le

Welcome to Bunker Vietnamese, a website dedicated to exploring the diverse world of Vietnamese cuisine. As a proud Vietnamese-American, my passion for cooking and sharing my cultural heritage has led me to create this platform. Join me on this culinary journey and discover the vibrant flavors and textures that make Vietnamese food so unique and delicious.

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