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Foods with a laxative effect

Ella Vader Nov 18, 2003 10:37 PM

I'd like to get and stay more 'regular' and would like to know what foods I can have that will have a strong laxative effect. I know that cabbage is a good one. What are some others, based on your personal experience? I assume fibrous vegetables in general, but would like to know what specifically are especially good. I also wonder if popcorn works well or not?

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  1. t
    The Rogue Nov 18, 2003 11:00 PM

    Lots of nice 'n greasy fried foods...yum... Slip 'n slide. Ok, Ok I know in bad taste but...

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Rogue
      Colleen Nov 18, 2003 11:34 PM

      The great philosopher Red Green once advised that to avoid arthritis and other joint ills, you should eat bacon, butter, and so on. And lots of them. All that grease is bound to keep the joints lubricated. :-)

    2. j
      Joseph Nov 18, 2003 11:11 PM

      Popcorn would be lousy.
      Try beets, or cauliflower, or senna tea, or flax (in cereal) or sprouted garbanzos, or ginger or papaya or lentils...you want things with high fiber, preferably insoluble. This should be listed on most food nutrition labels. Also, drink LOTS of water.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joseph
        bulavinaka May 28, 2011 12:51 PM

        Beets always work for me, and the evidence is always there - can't miss the "bleeding" dyes.

      2. p
        poot Nov 18, 2003 11:42 PM

        popcorn is good if you want to get nice and gassy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: poot
          malcarne Nov 19, 2003 02:07 PM

          There was that infamous Christmas a few years back of the giant tubs of popcorn given to each family group by a well-meaning aunt. She still gives the tubs of popcorn. Yummy it might be, but beware!

        2. s
          Stoolio Nov 19, 2003 12:39 AM

          It has been my experience that prunes achieve the outcome you're looking for rather promptly... and rather repeatedly. :O

          1 Reply
          1. re: Stoolio
            monavano May 27, 2011 09:42 AM

            Gosh, this reminds me of my parents who ate stewed prunes so they would stay "regular". They loved eating them too!

          2. s
            Shaewbones Nov 19, 2003 02:12 AM

            Mix some Fiber One cereal into your regular cereal in the morning.

            1. k
              Karl S. Nov 19, 2003 06:52 AM

              Scandinavian crispbreads like Ryvita dark rye are loaded with whole-grain fiber.

              As for fruits and vegetables, you might be suprised at the fiber content of things. There are lots of fruits and vegetables that might seem to be fibrous that do not actually have a lot of fiber. And vice-versa. So research, don't assume.

              1. g
                GG Mora Nov 19, 2003 07:42 AM

                Pears. Raw pears. It can be rather alarming. Also, dried fruits, especially prunes and apricots. I'm talking about an actual laxative effect, not just bulking up stools with fiber.

                1 Reply
                1. re: GG Mora
                  georgeb Nov 19, 2003 09:42 AM

                  I'll second GG on the pears. Try pear juice, too. Works like a charm.

                2. a
                  Amy B. Nov 19, 2003 08:37 AM

                  If you eat more than about 12 macadamia nuts at one time it can have the result that you're looking for. It must be their high oil content...

                  1. a
                    AlanH Nov 19, 2003 08:42 AM

                    There is a big difference between a laxative and regularity. You do seem to be on the right track with the fiber though. I have IBS, and I take extra fiber, I am supposed to limit my intake of fruits, and drinking plenty of water is essential.

                    1. b
                      Becca Porter Nov 19, 2003 09:08 AM

                      Its not exactly the healthy alternative but lots of coffee. Especially black!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Becca Porter
                        hungryabbey May 28, 2011 05:31 PM

                        Second this.. I cant have a single cup without the effect.

                      2. r
                        RKN Nov 19, 2003 09:23 AM


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: RKN
                          valerie Nov 19, 2003 12:45 PM

                          Yes, spinach. I can't stand it raw, but I eat a lot of steamed or sauteed spinach with garlic.

                          1. re: valerie
                            valerie Nov 19, 2003 12:50 PM

                            And I also mix the spinach with fresh chopped tomatoes. Tastes good and works great!

                        2. j
                          jacinthe Nov 19, 2003 09:31 AM

                          Apples. My father swears by that saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Except he eats at least 3 a day. And it never worked for me, keeping the doctor away, since both my parents are doctors, which really annoyed me as a kid, sometimes. I always felt deceived by that saying.

                          It's not exactly a laxative effect, but rather keeps you regular. My father's also opined at length on the consequences if he doesn't have his daily apples. Eeew.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jacinthe
                            swingline Nov 19, 2003 10:19 AM

                            Apples and apple juice will definitly do the trick. Ask anyone who is trying to make weight to wrestle.

                            1. re: swingline
                              Leper Jun 6, 2011 10:53 AM

                              Eat one Granny Smith apple with a glass of lemon juice (Lemonade without sugar) first thing in the morning. Just make sure you don't plan any long trips right after....

                          2. a
                            arifa Nov 19, 2003 11:29 AM

                            pineapple and/or pineapple juice - i always keep some in my pantry =)

                            1. j
                              josephsm Nov 19, 2003 11:54 AM

                              dried figs will zip right through you! I'm not sure if Fig Newtons do the same....

                              1. a
                                Annabelle Nov 19, 2003 12:10 PM

                                All-Bran cereal (you'll get to like it after a while)
                                Concord grapes (for me, work better than other varieties for some reason)

                                1. e
                                  Emme Nov 19, 2003 01:15 PM

                                  I find that if I eat a couple of handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes, or a few roma tomatoes sliced up that they tend to go right through me.

                                  1. a
                                    Ann Nov 19, 2003 05:32 PM

                                    oatmeal. I like instant oatmeal and add honey and raisins. Dried plums (prunes) work great too. Prune juice.

                                    1. c
                                      christina z Nov 19, 2003 06:13 PM

                                      Beets. Spinach. I love them both but I've got to be careful because they go right through.

                                      1. j
                                        JJ Boxer Nov 19, 2003 08:54 PM

                                        Definately a nice, big latte. Also I found out the hard way that sugar-free gummie bears do the trick all too painfully well. Avoid these.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JJ Boxer
                                          --susan Nov 21, 2003 09:08 AM

                                          It's the sorbitol. Sugar-free candy has sorbitol in it for moisture-stabilizing effect and sweetness, but eating too much of it produces a pretty uncomfortable laxative effect.

                                        2. v
                                          villagechow Nov 20, 2003 03:40 PM

                                          Raisin Bran cereal is extremely high in fiber. Have a small bowl.

                                          1. g
                                            GretchenS Nov 21, 2003 12:17 PM

                                            Regularity (as opposed to actual laxative effect) is greatly aided by drinking enough water, as others have noted. That means 8 x 8oz glasses per day (2 quarts).

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: GretchenS
                                              Perumexican May 27, 2011 09:06 AM

                                              That's a myth: http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8...

                                              1. re: Perumexican
                                                Val May 27, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                Peru, surely you mean the part about the "8x8oz per day" is a myth but not the part about staying well enough hydrated each day to help regularity? Just gently saying, I've read and have been told that drinking plenty of water each day DOES help one stay regular ("plenty" being a variable from person to person)

                                                1. re: Val
                                                  Perumexican May 27, 2011 09:55 AM

                                                  Yes, of course. That's what the link refers to. There was a Men's Health article about this way back as well. It's really one of those sayings that has never been backed up in peer-reviewed literature, but that is often repeated even by doctors.

                                            2. monavano May 27, 2011 09:45 AM

                                              Fiber One cereal is POTENT!! Use with caution ;-)
                                              Then again, there's Colon Blow:

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: monavano
                                                vegasmike May 27, 2011 11:15 AM

                                                Lol, I remember in the Army if you did not wash your mess kit really well, it was a wonderful laxitive, just not when you wanted it!

                                                1. re: vegasmike
                                                  Hue May 28, 2011 11:28 AM

                                                  This was also called the G.I.'s, the Hot Trots, or the flamin a 's

                                              2. eLizard May 27, 2011 09:47 AM

                                                coffee and a (politically incorrect) cigarette.....

                                                1. lilgi May 27, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                  I'm surprised no one mentioned rhubarb. I love it in desserts, but always apprehensive about using it :P

                                                  1. Peg May 27, 2011 10:09 AM

                                                    A large gin before bedtime.
                                                    I have no idea why!

                                                    1. Sue in Mt P May 27, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                      One word. Collards.

                                                      1. C. Hamster May 27, 2011 11:00 AM



                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: C. Hamster
                                                          scubadoo97 May 27, 2011 11:40 AM

                                                          Have you ever suffered ill effects from escolar?

                                                          As far as sunchokes, they are big gastric gas producers but haven't seen or heard of them having a laxative effect

                                                          1. re: scubadoo97
                                                            ette May 28, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                            Ugh, I can't think escolar promotes 'regularity' as much as 'explosivity'

                                                            1. re: ette
                                                              scubadoo97 May 28, 2011 11:14 AM

                                                              I was just kinda wondering what the incident rate was. I've eaten it many times and never had a problem

                                                            2. re: scubadoo97
                                                              C. Hamster Jun 2, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                              Re: escolar. Not personally, but I know people who have had the foul oily orange discharge it can cause.

                                                              Re: Sunchokes. OMG. I had gas for three days but my partner could not leave the house for 48 hours due to terrible diarrhea.

                                                              1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                Perumexican Jun 2, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                That must be why it's also called orange roughy, lol.

                                                                1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                  scubadoo97 Jun 2, 2011 03:29 PM

                                                                  Thanks for the update :)

                                                                2. re: scubadoo97
                                                                  Leadmine Jun 6, 2011 08:02 AM

                                                                  Re: escolar

                                                                  Internet search for 'wax ester'

                                                                  Most people don't know about this until it happens to them, and due to that sudden discovery it's almost always learned the hard way - at work, in a business meeting, etc.

                                                              2. Bill Hunt May 27, 2011 05:57 PM

                                                                One word - Escolar, aka Oil Cod, Snake Mackerel, White Tuna, and some other names. It tastes lovely, BUT - stay close to the WC.


                                                                [Edit] Teach me to NOT read all replies. C.Hamster beat me to it. Did not see that reply, until mine posted. Let me second Escolar.

                                                                For Scubadoo97,

                                                                I have, and so has my young wife.

                                                                1. t
                                                                  tastesgoodwhatisit May 27, 2011 09:17 PM

                                                                  I'm not sure if it counts as a food, but for some people the artificial sweetener has a strong laxative effect. But it's strong enough I wouldn't recommend it.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                    goodhealthgourmet May 27, 2011 09:44 PM

                                                                    it's not all artificial sweeteners, just sugar alcohols. sorbitol & mannitol are the worst offenders.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                      mrbigshotno.1 Jun 3, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                                      You are right on there, got ahold of some sorbitol real cheap once, never again, had to change the bed. Bad, bad, bad.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                        tastesgoodwhatisit Jun 8, 2011 03:03 AM

                                                                        I've had the worst problems with Xylitol. I don't think I"ve seen in much in the west, but in Asia it's standard in sugar free candies and gums. I now know the names of various sweeteners in Chinese, in order to buy gum and cough candy that won't give me the runs.

                                                                      2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                        Fromageball May 29, 2011 11:06 AM

                                                                        Ugh, be careful with that stuff. Several years ago I was trying to be "healthy" by avoiding sugar and ate a small box of those sugar free valentine hearts(similar to necco). Put it this way, I had to leave work and felt awful for the rest of the day. I've never touched sugar-free candy again and if I were to become diabetic or something I would give up sweets before consuming the stuff.

                                                                      3. j
                                                                        jlhinwa May 27, 2011 10:41 PM

                                                                        Just was reminded yesterday of the laxative effect of cherries. My daughter at least a cup and probably more like two of fresh cherries yesterday. Oh boy.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa
                                                                          julesrules May 29, 2011 11:11 AM

                                                                          Dried cherries work very well. A tasty something to keep around for this purpose if one doesn't like dried apricots or prunes.

                                                                        2. b
                                                                          beevod May 28, 2011 09:00 AM

                                                                          Depends on what you mean by "regular." My first eating tutor swore by prune juice and herring.

                                                                          1. iL Divo May 28, 2011 11:33 AM

                                                                            Black jelly beans
                                                                            Black licorice

                                                                            My moms girlfriend and her husband were on a diet to eat perfect foods only and avoided all and any fat in their diets. Oh they were thin alright but their faces appeared gaunt and dried up like prunes and their real problems mom heard way too much about, bathroom problems.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: iL Divo
                                                                              jumpingmonk May 28, 2011 04:56 PM

                                                                              There are a LOT of things I eat that could be described in a general manner as "laxative", but most of then I would not reccoment, as in my book, diahrrea does not count as "regularity" and a good laxative shoud be one that makes you go PAINLESSLY (no gas, no stomach cramps, no movements so acidic they burn your asshole till it bleeds.)
                                                                              On the more moderate (and frankly less repulsive) side, there is a Eastern European (Slovenia, I belive) called Donat. When I encountered a bottle and bought it the woman in the store warned me that, due to the mineral balance, it basically was the natural equivalent of the stuff that you doctor gives you to drink the day before a colonoscopy. It did not affect me so, but I only had a tiny sip of it (didn't like the flavor).

                                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk
                                                                                iL Divo May 29, 2011 09:51 AM


                                                                                I have no idea what you're talking about.
                                                                                the question is what makes you more regular............
                                                                                my answer is above

                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk
                                                                                  shoo bee doo May 29, 2011 09:00 PM

                                                                                  A Slovene doctor actually told me to drink a bottle of Donat mineral water for the problem. I did that and it worked beautifully. It's a little salty. Also, Slovenia's very famous Radenska is a little less effective, but that also works.

                                                                                  1. re: shoo bee doo
                                                                                    jumpingmonk May 30, 2011 04:54 AM

                                                                                    I never noticed the saltiness (probably becuse I am used to waters like Borjomi and Nablegavi) I just found it a bit too bitter for my taste

                                                                              2. b
                                                                                burlgurl May 28, 2011 05:57 PM

                                                                                ALOE JUICE DRINKS! whoa.. those things should come with a warning!

                                                                                1. j
                                                                                  jamieeats May 29, 2011 07:12 AM

                                                                                  it depends on whether you want to be more regular, or if you want the laxative effect. diets high in fiber won't necessarily make you go more often, but will provide regularity. try high-fiber cereals, brown rice, apples, beans, and many vegetables.

                                                                                  1. MandalayVA May 29, 2011 07:21 AM

                                                                                    If you're not feeling constipated you'll poop when you poop. Stop stressing out over it.

                                                                                    1. k
                                                                                      klyeoh May 29, 2011 08:40 AM

                                                                                      Tamarind juice - didn't know then - now I do. Had that in Saigon. Tasted so good chilled, I had a second then a third glass. Had me scrambling before the Mekong burst :-(

                                                                                      1. DiningDiva May 29, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                                                        Increase consumption of whole grains
                                                                                        Increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in a form most palatable to you. Dried fruits work too
                                                                                        Maintain hydration, fluid moves things along through the body.
                                                                                        Probiotics (something like Yakult, tastes like lemon yogurt, used regularly it will keep you regular)

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                          Arynnah May 29, 2011 09:19 AM

                                                                                          Took the words right out of my mouth. :)
                                                                                          You sound like a dietitian. Are you?

                                                                                          1. re: Arynnah
                                                                                            DiningDiva May 29, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                                                            No, I am not a dietitian, but I do have a Bachelor's degree in Food & Nutrition. I've spent 30+ years in the non-commerical food service industry

                                                                                          2. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                            Isolda May 31, 2011 02:10 PM

                                                                                            Yes, this is how to stay regular. Eating a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber, plus getting enough liquid and exercise does the trick.

                                                                                            I am convinced that many of the modern bowel ailments (IBS, constipation) would be greatly reduced if people were able to consume a better balance of fibers and fluids, and exercised more.

                                                                                            1. re: Isolda
                                                                                              DiningDiva May 31, 2011 02:27 PM

                                                                                              Couldn't agree more

                                                                                              1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                jamieeats Jun 4, 2011 12:02 PM

                                                                                                i agree with you for the most part, but some people really do have ibs/constipation issues that they can do nothing about. i run between 5-7 miles each day, and go to the gym about 4 times a week. i eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet with tons of fruits and vegetables, and there is nothing i can do about my irritable stomach... i have learned to avoid cheeses, onions, and other foods that "set me off."

                                                                                                1. re: jamieeats
                                                                                                  mrbigshotno.1 Jun 7, 2011 05:50 AM

                                                                                                  People have no idea what IBS can do to a person.

                                                                                                  1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                                                                                                    jdoyle2254 Jun 7, 2011 11:34 AM

                                                                                                    Amen to that No. 1.
                                                                                                    When I was diagnosed with IBS about five years ago my reaction to the doctor was something like; "Just IBS! That's all?!"
                                                                                                    I had been having visions of flesh eating bacteria dismantling my insides. Or something equally grotesque.
                                                                                                    After a short adjustment period I learned to just eat as properly as I can and hope for the best.

                                                                                            2. iL Divo May 29, 2011 09:51 AM

                                                                                              a boatload of dried apricots


                                                                                              those deliciously scented flavored prunes that come in those little tiny packages

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                1sweetpea May 29, 2011 02:29 PM

                                                                                                Okra, fenugreek seeds, chia seeds or flax seeds, soaked in water until they gel. I find all legumes keep me moving. One of the more extreme reactions I've had is to dandelion greens and melokhia, which is a dish made with mallow leaves. They are seriously mucilaginous and float suspended in their own gel when stewed with a whole chicken, lots of lemon, garlic and spices. For me, a lot of chiles will do the trick. Barley is also good for a cleanout. My best recommendation is to make a hearty bean soup with barley, kale, onions and a whole lot of garlic. That should do it. Or, make a homemade onion soup with every member of the onion family you can get your hands on. I once made a vegan version with red onions, shallots, leeks, Spanish onions, scallions and garlic, in a miso broth. It was sensational, but I suffered the effects for a while after.

                                                                                                Some odd options: cantaloupe seeds ground and mixed with water or melon juice. Also, papaya seeds swallowed whole have a slimy quality and will pass through whole, but carry a lot of other waste with them.

                                                                                                Bottom line: DiningDiva summed it up nicely. If you're eating a variety of grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, plus taking in plenty of fluids, you'd have a hard time being anything other than clockwork regular, especially keeping your insides humming with probiotics.

                                                                                                1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                                                  EWSflash May 31, 2011 04:34 PM

                                                                                                  A coworker introduced me to chia seeds suspended in water- it's miraculous stuff. I now keep a Maker's Mark bottle of it in the fridge both at work and at home, if i feel hungry I'll drink several glugs of it and it takes the edge off my hunger. And the 'end result' is, for lack of a term that's more specific but still polite, perfect.
                                                                                                  No gas or bloating, either. I've actually developed a taste for it.

                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                                    mrbigshotno.1 Jun 3, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                                                                    Just about everything at Mi Nidito.

                                                                                              2. LorenM May 30, 2011 09:42 AM

                                                                                                This works every time for me, unfortunately. Drink a big glass of V8 juice with a couple of pickles, followed by an energy drink (Red Bull, Rockstar, etc.). This combo I discovered will have me running to the bathroom within a few minutes (and the results aint pretty).

                                                                                                1. pdxgastro Jun 1, 2011 08:22 PM

                                                                                                  (Fan fair).......FIG NEWTONS! Available year round. And yummy. And the seeds will make you floss so your dentist will love you.

                                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                                    MRS Jun 3, 2011 06:00 PM

                                                                                                    Holy God- my mother once ate a whole bunch of "sugar-free" chocolate on our way home from picking me up on college break to go home. ( She is a diabetic who is loathe to refuse herself anything she "really wants".) Anyway, I can't tell you about the atrociousness and the number of rest-stop breaks we had to make for her on the way home!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: MRS
                                                                                                      DiningDiva Jun 3, 2011 07:43 PM

                                                                                                      Reduced fat Oreos have a similar effect for me....

                                                                                                      These "artificial" replacement ingredients are killer on the body

                                                                                                      1. re: MRS
                                                                                                        natewrites Jun 7, 2011 08:28 AM

                                                                                                        MRS: I'm howling. The same thing happened to my mother and I when we discovered a "sugar free" taffy at a tourist trap in Keystone, SD. It tasted so divine, that we split a small bag (about 9 pieces each). We had to make copious stops to any bathroom we could find on the short 20 min. ride back to Rapid City. The key ingredient was Malitol. My dad sure had a good laugh.

                                                                                                        1. re: natewrites
                                                                                                          MRS Jun 7, 2011 03:36 PM

                                                                                                          SO AWFUL!!!!! It was like a scene out of a movie. I have never let her forget it!

                                                                                                        2. re: MRS
                                                                                                          jdoyle2254 Jun 7, 2011 11:42 AM

                                                                                                          I was lucky enough to experience this after reciving an economy pack of my favorite sugar-free gum for Christmas my sophomore year of high school. I saved them so I could bring them to school. Long story short, my friends and I had a lunch of gum and Dr. Pepper then went to our various classes. We all saw eachother in passing all afternoon, on our way to or from the bathroom. Misery loving company and all that, I suppose it could have been worse.

                                                                                                        3. deet13 Jun 3, 2011 06:01 PM

                                                                                                          A big bowl of oatmeal with a couple of strong cups of coffee, followed by a smoke will sort me out within an hour....

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: deet13
                                                                                                            crowmuncher Jul 31, 2011 08:25 PM

                                                                                                            yeah coffee works; just an excuse to tell you what an awesome avatar you have...

                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                            MRS Jun 4, 2011 06:56 AM

                                                                                                            oh yeah coffee and Grape Nuts cereal...

                                                                                                            1. letsindulge Jun 4, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                                                                              Okra, or after an Indian meal.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: letsindulge
                                                                                                                CapeCodBob Jun 4, 2011 03:37 PM

                                                                                                                Mangos do it for (to) me. Prune juicve is sooo good, buit onew LITTLE cup and ...

                                                                                                              2. Monica Jun 6, 2011 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                my mother in law's food.

                                                                                                                coffee, sweet potato, bagel.

                                                                                                                1. roxlet Jun 6, 2011 12:19 PM

                                                                                                                  Onion soup.

                                                                                                                  1. l
                                                                                                                    loveballet101 Jun 8, 2011 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                    dried fruit in large quantities

                                                                                                                    1. mcel215 Jun 8, 2011 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                      I'm very regular and don't ever need a laxative, but I do notice that when I add corn on the cob in the summer, it moves things along even more quickly.

                                                                                                                      1. crowmuncher Jul 31, 2011 08:30 PM

                                                                                                                        there's a new Nature's Path Cereal...


                                                                                                                        13 grams of fiber per 2/3 cup serving and no nasty chemicals

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