Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Sep

Dietary Fiber Is Bad for Sex – That’s the Only Claim About It That Isn’t a Myth

brancerealToday’s article is a guest post from Konstantin Monastyrsky of GutSense.org. In keeping with the mission statement of Mark’s Daily Apple to investigate, discuss, and critically rethink everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness, I like to periodically give credible researchers who are challenging conventional wisdom the opportunity to share their insights and findings here. It’s a great way to open a dialogue on topics that deserve challenging. Like fiber, for instance. Everyone knows that fiber is good for you, right? Well, let’s find out what Konstantin—a guy who’s spent an incredible amount of time researching this topic—thinks about this truism. Enter Konstantin…

Does dietary fiber contain anything of nutritional value? No, it doesn’t. Zero vitamins… Zero minerals… Zero protein… Zero fat… Nothing, zilch, not even digestible carbohydrates. Why, then, is it considered a healthy nutrient? As the story goes, you can thank Dr. John Harvey Kellogg for that:

“Dr. Kellogg was obsessed with chastity and constipation. True to principle, he never made love to his wife. To “remedy” the sin of masturbation, he advocated circumcision without anesthetic for boys, and mutilation of the clitoris with carbolic acid for girls. He blamed constipation for “nymphomania” in women, and lust in men, because, according to Kellogg, impacted stools inside one’s rectum were stimulating the prostate gland and the female vagina into sexual proclivity.” [link]

To fix these “ailments,” Dr. Kellogg was prescribing a coarse vegetarian diet along with 1 to 3 ounces of bran daily, and mineral oil with every meal. As any nutritionist will tell you, the decline of libido and infertility are among the very first symptoms of malnutrition prevalent among ardent vegans. And in this particular case, extra bran and mineral oil were “enhancing” damage by blocking the assimilation of nutrients from an already meager diet.

And what was Dr. Kellogg’s rationale for prescribing mineral oil? Well, because so much fiber was enlarging stools, intense straining was required to expel them. The oil was used as a lubricant to reduce pain caused by straining, and to prevent bloody anal fissures inside the anal canal.

However, the ultimate fame and money came to Dr. Kellogg not from crusading against sex, but from ready-to-eat morning cereals after he found that baking bran into cereals proved to be incredibly profitable for Kellogg Company. From that point on, it took another sixty years or so of relentless brainwashing to turn what once used to be a dirt-cheap livestock feed into a premium health food.

Well, that’s an old story, and I can understand if you doubt it—it sounds too incredulous to be true! So, let’s debunk fiber’s mythology with facts and science. Here we go, one myth at a time:

Myth #1: For maximum health, obtain 30 to 40 g of fiber daily from fresh fruits and vegetables.

Reality: Here is how many fresh fruits you’ll need to eat throughout the day in order to obtain those 30 to 40 grams (1-1.4 oz.) of daily fiber:

fruit

As you can see, that comes to five apples, three pears, and two oranges. A small apple contains 3.6 g of fiber and 15.5 g of sugars. A small pear—4.6 g and 14.5 g; and a small orange—2.3 g and 11.3 g, respectively (USDA National Nutrient Database; NDB #s: 09003; 09200; 09252 [link]).

These ten small (not medium or large) fruits will provide you with 36.4 g of indigestible fiber and a whopping 143.6 g of digestible sugars, or an equivalent of that many (ten) tablespoons of plain table sugar!

spoons

And that‘s before accounting for all the other carbs consumed throughout the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and from snacks and beverages.

So ask yourself this question: even if you are a 100% healthy 25-year-old muscle-bound athlete, would you ever ingest that much sugar willingly? Well, maybe under the influence of a controlled substance or torture…

But that’s exactly what’s being recommended for “health purposes” to children and adults. It‘s not surprising that so many Americans are suffering from the ravages of diabetes and obesity—a moderately active adult can utilize no more than about 200 grams of carbohydrates per day without encountering a scourge of the inevitable obesity, prediabetes, or diabetes.

The ratio of digestible carbohydrates (sugars) to fiber in vegetables, cereals, breads, beans, and legumes is, on average, similar to fruits. Thus, no matter how hard you try to mix’n’match, you’ll be getting harmed all the same.

Please do note that if you are healthy, active, and normal weight, there is nothing wrong with consuming fruits and vegetables in moderation. The point of this section is to impress on you that it is NOT OK to binge on fruits to ingest recommended daily intake of fiber.

This myth—that fruits and vegetables are the best source of dietary fiber—is probably the most pervasive and damaging of all. If 30 grams of fiber is what you’re really after, you’re better off getting it from supplements. These, after all, have almost no digestible carbs. But, then, of course, you run into those other persistent falsehoods…

Myth #2: Fiber reduces blood sugar levels and prevents diabetes, metabolic disorders, and weight gain.

Reality: That’s a blatant deception. If you consume 100 g of plain table sugar at once, the blood absorbs all 100 g of sugar almost as soon as it reaches the small intestine, where the assimilation takes place. If you add 30 g of fiber into the mix, the fiber may extend the rate of sugar assimilation into the blood, from, let‘s say, one hour to three.

But at the end of those extra three hours the blood will still absorb exactly the same 100 g of sugar—not an iota more, not an iota less. If you are a diabetic, the only difference will be that you‘ll require more extended (long-acting) insulin for type 1 diabetes, or larger doses of medication for type 2 diabetes in order to deal with slow-digesting sugars, and your blood glucose test will not spike as high after the meal.

But you‘re fooling no one but a glucose meter. In all other respects, the damage will be all the same, or even worse. And that‘s even before taking into account the negative impact of fiber on the digestive organs, or hyperinsulinemia and triglycerides on the heart, blood vessels, and blood pressure.

Myth #3: Fiber-rich foods improve digestion by slowing down the digestive process.

Reality: Fiber indeed slows down the “digestive process,” because it interferes with digestion in the stomach and, later, clogs the intestines the “whole nine yards.” The myth is that it can be good for health and the digestive process.

Here is what you get from delayed digestion: indigestion (dyspepsia), heartburn (GERD), gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach‘s mucosal membrane), peptic ulcers, enteritis (the inflammation of the intestinal mucosal membrane), and further down the chain, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn‘s disease.

All this, in fact, is the core message of Fiber Menace: fiber slows down the digestive process! And slow digestion is ruinous for your health. Don‘t mess with fiber unless your gut is made of steel!

Myth #4: Fiber speeds food through the digestive tract, helping to protect it against cancer.

Reality: Not true. In fact, this claim directly contradicts the claim that fiber-rich foods slow down the digestive process. For a reality check, here’s an excerpt from a college-level physiology textbook that reveals the truth:

“Colonic Motility: Energy-rich meals with a high fat content increase motility [the rate of intestinal propulsion]; carbohydrates and proteins have no effect.”

R.F. Schmidt, G. Thews; Human Physiology, 2nd edition. 29.7:730 [link]

This, incidentally, is why low-fat diets and constipation commonly accompany each other. And don’t count on getting any cancer protection from fiber, either. That‘s yet another oft-repeated deception.

Myth #5: Fiber promotes a healthy digestive tract and reduces cancer risk.

Reality: Not true. Here’s what doctors-in-the-know have to say on the subject of the colon cancer/fiber connection:

Lack of Effect of a Low-Fat, High-Fiber Diet on the Recurrence of Colorectal Adenomas

“Adopting a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables does not influence the risk of recurrence of colorectal adenomas.”

Arthur Schatzkin, M.D et al. The New England Journal of Medicine; [link]

The excerpt below comes, of all places, from the Harvard School of Public Health:

Fiber and colon cancer

“For years, Americans have been told to consume a high-fiber diet to lower the risk of colon cancer—mainly on the basis of results from relatively small studies. Larger and better-designed studies have failed to show a link between fiber and colon cancer.”

Fiber: Start Roughing It [link]

Not convinced yet? Well, here is even more damning evidence from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

Letter Regarding Dietary Supplement Health Claim for Fiber With Respect to Colorectal Cancer

“Based on its review of the scientific evidence, FDA finds that (1) the most directly relevant, scientifically probative, and therefore most persuasive evidence (i.e., randomized, controlled clinical trials with fiber as a test substance) consistently finds that dietary fiber has no [preventive] effect on incidence of adenomatous polyps, a precursor of and surrogate marker for colorectal cancer; and (2) other available human evidence does not adequately differentiate dietary fiber from other components of diets rich in foods of plant origin, and thus is inconclusive as to whether diet-disease associations can be directly attributed to dietary fiber. FDA has concluded from this review that the totality of the publicly available scientific evidence not only demonstrates lack of significant scientific agreement as to the validity of a [preventive] relationship between dietary fiber and colorectal cancer, but also provides strong evidence that such a relationship does not exist.”

U. S. Food and Drug Administration – Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements; [link]

Alas, the story doesn’t end there. Adding insult to injury, Chapter 10 of my book entitled Fiber Menace, “Colon Cancer” cites studies that demonstrate the connection between increased fiber consumption and colon cancer. Also, countries with the highest and lowest consumption of meat are compared. Not surprisingly, the countries with the lowest consumption of meat and, correspondingly, the highest consumption of carbohydrates, including fiber, have the highest rate of digestive cancers, particularly of the stomach.

Myth #6: Fiber offers protection from breast cancer.

Reality: A blatant, preposterous lie. According to the recent massive study jointly conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ministry of Health of Mexico, and the American Institute for Cancer Research, it’s the opposite: women with the highest consumption of carbohydrates, and, correspondingly, of fiber, had the highest rates of breast cancer:

Carbohydrates and the Risk of Breast Cancer among Mexican Women

“In this population, a high percentage of calories from carbohydrate, but not from fat, was associated with increased breast cancer risk.”

Isabelle Romieu, et al; Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; 2004 13: 1283–1289. [link]

Although this study has singled out carbohydrates as the culprit behind various cancers, where there’s smoke, there’s also fire: carbs and fiber are as inseparable as Siamese twins, as I have already explained in Myth #1.

Myth #7: Fiber lowers blood cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and prevents heart disease.

The myths about fiber’s role in coronary heart disease (CHD) and the management of elevated cholesterol have their roots in some dubious research, which culminated in “reduced mineral absorption and myriad of gastrointestinal disturbances” after the study participants were given supplements containing a mixture of guar gum, pectin, soy fiber, pea fiber, and corn bran along with a low-fat and reduced cholesterol diet.

The total reduction of LDL cholesterol after 15 weeks was from “7% to 8%”. As any cardiologist will tell you, the reduction of “bad” cholesterol from, let’s say, 180 to 166 mg/dL (-8%) is completely meaningless. Besides, if you cause someone to have a “myriad of gastrointestinal disturbances” in the process, that person is more likely to die prematurely from malnutrition and cancer than of stroke or heart attack.

Even then, this marginal reduction of cholesterol had little to do with fiber, and everything to do with the reduction of dietary fats. LDL cholesterol happens to be a major precursor to bile. The moment a person is placed on a low-fat diet, their cholesterol level drops because their liver no longer needs to produce as much bile.

In addition, intestinal inflammation caused by soluble fiber blocks the ability of bile components to get absorbed back into the bloodstream, further lowering the cholesterol level. This is as basic as the physiology of nutrition gets, and it makes the whole claim of a fiber-cholesterol connection a deliberate con.

There is another dimension to the con used to “prove” fiber‘s role in reducing cholesterol. Most of the studies on fiber’s cholesterol-lowering effect—particularly psyllium—used The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Step 1 diet.

The Step 1 diet is high in carbohydrates and low in fat by design, with less than 10% of total energy derived from saturated fat. During clinical studies among people using the Step 1 diet without added fiber, their total cholesterol fell by 8%, LDL cholesterol fell by 6%, and HDL cholesterol fell by 16%.

In other words, the Step 1 diet on its own, without any extra fiber and/or digestive side effects, demonstrates an almost identical drop in cholesterol as with added fiber. In legalese, this particular “coincidence” is called fraud, plain and simple.

So one fraud more, one fraud less…what‘s the worry, if my cholesterol goes down?

Well, there is a legitimate worry, at least, according to this respected source:

Problem with American Heart Association “Step 1″ diet

“Although the AHA Step 1 diet decreased total and LDL cholesterol levels in this group of women, it decreased HDL cholesterol by an even greater proportion. In women, a low HDL cholesterol concentration is a stronger independent predictor of cardiovascular disease risk than is elevated total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol. Therefore, women who follow AHA guidelines for lowering their serum cholesterol may actually be increasing their risk of heart disease”

Alan R. Gaby, M.D. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients [link]

Amazingly, back in 2001, the AHA replaced the Step 1 diet with the Step II, TLC, and ATP III diets [link], which are even more restrictive in terms of fat, and even more permissive in terms of carbohydrates.

And don’t get me started on triglycerides… First, nothing raises triglycerides as profoundly as a high-fiber diet does, because, paraphrasing the smoke-fire cliché, where there’s fiber, there’re carbohydrates, usually eight to ten times as much.

This fact—the more fiber you consume, particularly from natural sources, the higher your level of triglycerides from carbohydrates intake—has been dodging Dr. Dean Ornish [link] one of the most prominent proponents of a high-carb/high-fiber diet.

Second, once inside the colon, fiber itself gets fermented by intestinal bacteria. Among the byproducts of bacterial fermentation are short-chain fatty acids—butyrate, acetate, and propionate. Most of these fatty acids get assimilated directly into the bloodstream to provide energy.

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes manual “current data indicate that the [energy] yield is in the range of 1.5 to 2.5” calories per each gram of consumed fiber [link]. If you aren’t starving, the absorbed fatty acids unused for energy get metabolized by the liver into triglycerides for further storage as body fat.

Granted, a few calories here, a few calories there, may not seem like a lot. Still, if you are consuming 30 to 40 grams of fiber daily plus whatever “hidden” carbohydrates you are ingesting unknowingly along with processed food, it all adds up to epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Myth #8: Fiber satisfies hunger and reduces appetite.

Reality: When the scientists from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University decided to look at this dubious claim, here is what they have found out:

Fermentable and Nonfermentable Fiber Supplements Did Not Alter Hunger, Satiety or Body Weight in a Pilot Study of Men and Women Consuming Self-Selected Diets

“Despite the large total intakes of FF [fermentable fiber - ed.] and NFF [non-fermetable fiber - ed.] supplements, there were no significant changes in body weight or fat during consumption of either type of fiber, even among the subjects with higher BMI.”

The Journal of Nutrition [link]

And as you keep digging deeper, you soon realize that consuming too much fiber may actually contribute to obesity. Because fiber rapidly absorbs water and expands in the stomach up to five times its original size and weight, it indeed pacifies the appetite for a short while.

Unfortunately, while faking satiety, expanded fiber also stretches out the stomach‘s chamber, and each new fill-up requires progressively more and more fiber to accomplish the same trick. Lo and behold, in order to reduce its capacity and “speed up” satiety, surgeons suture the stretched-out stomachs of obese individuals or squeeze them with a bridle (LAP-BAND©). A complete opposite of what fiber does.

Myth #9: Fiber prevents gallstones and kidney stones.

Reality: I‘ve seen several observational studies that claim fiber can prevent gallstones. It isn‘t true. It‘s common knowledge that diabetes and obesity are consistently associated with higher risk for gallstones, and both of these conditions are the direct outcome of excessive consumption of carbohydrates, and correspondingly, of fiber. Beyond these few studies, there isn‘t a shred of physiological, anatomical, clinical, or nutritional evidence that connects gallstone formation with fiber consumption.

Here‘s an excerpt from Fiber Menace that sheds further light on the gallstone-fiber connection:

Fiber’s affect on the small intestine: Not welcome at any price

Gallstones are formed from concentrated bile salts when the outflow of bile from the gallbladder is blocked. […] before they can form, something else must first obstruct the biliary ducts. Just like with pancreatitis, that “something” is either inflammatory disease or obstruction caused by fiber.

Women (in the West) are affected by gallstones far more than men, because they are more likely to maintain a “healthy” diet, which nowadays means a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber. Since the gallbladder concentrates bile pending a fatty meal, no fat in the meal means no release of bile. The longer the concentrated bile remains in the gallbladder, the higher the chance for gallstones to form (from bile salts).

Fiber Menace, page 25 [link]

Just as with gallstones, kidney stones are also common among people who suffer from diabetes and obesity, because excessive consumption of carbohydrates increases the excretion of urine, changes its chemistry, and predisposes to kidney stones.

To investigate this myth further, I consulted PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, which is the most thorough compendium of medical research. I reviewed eighty-one articles published between 1972 and 2005 (the year I was researching my book) that mention the words “fiber” and “kidney stones”. Not a single one of them connected kidney stones to fiber consumption, while several specifically pointed out that an increased consumption of carbohydrates is one of the major contributing factors.

One article suggested that a diet free of digestible carbs, but containing fiber, makes urine composition less stones-prone. You don‘t have to be Dr. Watson to deduce that fiber—an indigestible substance—can‘t materially affect urine chemistry, because what can‘t get digested also can‘t reach the kidneys. Besides, it wasn’t the presence of fiber that did the “trick,” for those investigators, but the reduction in digestible carbohydrates.

Myth #10: Fiber prevents diverticular disease.

For a while, it was difficult to disprove this absurdity by appealing to common sense. So I devoted a whole chapter in Fiber Menace to explaining why fiber CAUSES diverticular disease. Thank God, I am no longer alone in this thinking:

Fiber Not Protective Against Diverticulosis

Contrary to popular medical wisdom, following a high-fiber diet has no protective effect against developing asymptomatic diverticulosis, according to a colonoscopy-based study presented at the 2011 Digestive Disease Week (DDW) meeting (abstract 275). In fact, the study showed that patients who ate more fiber actually had higher prevalence of the disease.

Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News, July 2011, Volume: 62:07 [link]

Fiber May Not Prevent Diverticular Disease

For decades, doctors have recommended high-fiber diets to patients at risk for developing the intestinal pouches, known as diverticula. The thinking has been that by keeping patients regular, a high-fiber diet can keep diverticula from forming. But the new study suggests the opposite may be true.

WebMD, January 23, 2012 [link]

A High-Fiber Diet Does Not Protect Against Asymptomatic Diverticulosis

A high-fiber diet and increased frequency of bowel movements are associated with greater, rather than lower, prevalence of diverticulosis. Hypotheses regarding risk factors for asymptomatic diverticulosis should be reconsidered.

Gastroenterology; Volume 142, Issue 2, Pages 266-272.e1, Feb. 2012 [link]

The only problem with all of the above research is that it may take another six to eight years to tell people what I was telling them eight years ago: if you wish to protect your gut from diverticular disease, keep fiber out of it.

Myth #11: Fiber is safe and effective for the treatment and prevention of diarrhea.

Reality: Actually, it’s the complete opposite—fiber, particularly soluble, is the most common cause of diarrhea in children and adults. That’s why it’s recommended as a laxative to begin with. The idea of fiber as a preventive treatment for diarrhea is one of the most preposterous and harmful fiber-related frauds.

Soluble fiber is widely present in fruits, vegetables, laxatives, and processed foods, such as yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese, soy milk, non-dairy creamers, preserves, jellies, candies, cakes, snack bars, canned soups, frozen dinners, sauces, dressings, and endless others.

It’s always expertly concealed from scrutiny behind obscure names such as agar-agar, algae, alginate, β-glucan, cellulose gum, carrageen, fructooligosaccharides, guaran, guar gum, hemicellulose, Irish moss, kelp, lignin, mucilage, pectin, oligofructose, polydextrose, polylos, resistant dextrin, resistant starch, red algae, and others.

These inexpensive industrial fillers are added as stabilizers and volumizers to practically all processed foods, because they hold water, maintain shape, and fake “fattiness.” Besides, they are cheaply bought by the ton, and are resold retail by the gram for immense profit.

Once inside the body, these fiber fillers remain indigestible, hold onto water just as tight, and prevent absorption. This property—the malabsorption of fluids—lies behind soluble fiber‘s laxative effect: under normal circumstances a very limited amount of fluids enter the large intestine. When their amount exceeds the colon’s holding capacity, you get hit with diarrhea.

In other words, the term “laxative” is just a euphemism for a “diarrheal” agent. If you overdose on a fiber laxative, you’ll end up with diarrhea. If you “overdose” on fiber from food, you’ll end up with exactly the same diarrhea. But since fiber in food can’t be measured as reliably as fiber in capsules, wafers, or powders, it’s much easier to “overdose” the latter fiber and cause severe diarrhea.

Besides, fiber is even more offensive than synthetic laxatives, because the byproducts of its fermentation cause intestinal inflammation, flatulence, bloating, and cramping—just as described in medical references:

Malabsorption Syndromes

Colonic bacteria ferment unabsorbed carbohydrates into CO2, methane, H2, and short-chain fatty acids (butyrate, propionate, acetate, and lactate). These fatty acids cause diarrhea. The gases cause abdominal distention and bloating.

Gastrointestinal Disorders; The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy [link]

The diarrheal effect of soluble fiber is particularly harmful for children, because their smaller intestines need lesser amounts to provoke diarrhea. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The Management of Acute Diarrhea in Children

…diarrhea remains one of the most common pediatric illnesses. Each year, children less than 5 years of age experience 20-35 million episodes of diarrhea, which result in 2-3.5 million doctor visits, greater than 200,000 hospitalizations, and 325-425 deaths.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [link]

These figures are from 1992, the latest statistic I could find. It must be much worse today because fiber is so much more prevalent. And if you analyze the most basic facts, you’ll understand immediately why this travesty is taking place. Consider this:

A single adult dose of Metamucil®—a popular fiber laxative made from psyllium seed husks—contains 2 g of soluble fiber in 6 capsules [link]. One apple, one orange, and one banana—not an unusual number of fruits a child may eat throughout the day—contain a total 4 g of soluble fiber, or an equivalent of 12 capsules of Metamucil for a much larger adult.

And that’s on top of all the juices, cereals, yogurts, ice creams, candies, cakes, and all other processed food consumed on the same day, all loaded with fiber as well. No wonder that “diarrhea remains one of the most common pediatric illnesses” in the United States, and there is an acute shortage of pediatricians nationwide.

Myth #12: Fiber relieves chronic constipation.

I left this myth for last because it is the most pervasive. For the same false reasons that people believe in the cleansing prowess of fiber, everyone and their uncle also believes that fiber relieves constipation.

Not quite true. According to the experts from the American College of Gastroenterology’s Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Task Force, all legitimate clinical trials “…did not demonstrate a significant improvement in stool frequency or consistency when compared with placebo.” [link]

In plain English, it means fiber is no better at relieving constipation than a sugar pill. Indeed, how could it be, when fiber causes constipation in the first place! Again, I describe the exact reasons behind the fiber-constipation connection in Fiber Menace.

Even The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the very first book your doctor consults when needing up-to-date medical advice, has recently changed their tune regarding fiber, clearly the outcome of my work.

“Fiber supplementation is particularly effective in treating normal-transit constipation but is not very effective for slow-transit constipation or defecatory disorders” [link]

In plain English, it means the following: “Fiber supplements will catapult healthy people into a loo because of their laxative effect. But for anyone with a history of chronic constipation, they don’t work.”

Finally, consider the stern warnings, that accompany Metamucil, a fiber supplement made from psyllium:

riteaid

So not only do fiber supplements not work for most people with chronic constipation, but they may also make them ill. Probably not ill enough to kill their libido as Dr. Kellogg originally intended, but imagine enjoying sex with your partner while being bloated and flatulent courtesy of extra fiber in your morning cereals.

That doesn’t describe a health food, does it?

Learn More About Fiber Menace at GutSense.org

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. What about vegetables? You only looked at fiber being added to a diet via fruits, but in reality, vegetables are a lot healthier.

    Nida wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • I was also wondering why he decided to use fruit instead of veggies. Veggies have a lot more fiber unless you are talking about avocados which are a fruit.

      Toad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Aside from melons, fruits have more fiber than vegetables. and by veggie, i’m not talking legumes which trump both fruits & veggies. and yes the avocado fruit is high in fiber.

        michael wrote on September 4th, 2013
        • One regular sized Hass (Mexican/California) avocado has about 9 grams of fiber. Most of it is Soluble fiber and lesser amounts of the roughage insoluble fiber. Whole Grains are extremely high in intestine scraping insoluble fiber. Large amounts of Insoluble fiber causes intestinal cramps, bloating, pain and abdominal heaviness. It strecthes out the stomach and makes you look 9 months pregnant. I think a little fiber depending on the size of your abdomen should determine how much you need on a daily basis. Another thing folks. You DO NOT need to have a bowel movement every single day. Although it’s comfortable to have at least one BM a day, it is not necessary.

          Gio wrote on September 16th, 2013
    • He is not saying to avoid fruits and vegetables, just don’t binge on them for various bogus CW reasons.

      “Please do note that if you are healthy, active, and normal weight, there is nothing wrong with consuming fruits and vegetables in moderation. The point of this section is to impress on you that it is NOT OK to binge on fruits to ingest recommended daily intake of fiber.”

      Harry Mossman wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Agree. Would have been more clear if he had addressed veggies. I feel that with the amount of veggies I consume while eating paleo or primal, the total fiber does approach 25-30 gm…

      Bjjcaveman wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • I agree. That was his weakest argument because he used ten servings of fruit, which no one recommends. Ten leafy green vegetables would have proved this “myth” true.

      Harriet wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • I had the same thought… However he did address this by saying:

        “The ratio of digestible carbohydrates (sugars) to fiber in vegetables, cereals, breads, beans, and legumes is, on average, similar to fruits. Thus, no matter how hard you try to mix’n’match, you’ll be getting harmed all the same.”

        Not sure the truth in that statement. Just thought I would point out that he did address this.

        Christin wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • “On average” maybe, but that is misleading– average greens with bread & beans & you remove some very crucial distinctions!

          Paleo-curious wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • It is a weak argument. On the other hand CW advises several servings of fruits and vegetables like they are interchangeable.

        Amy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • And where is the differentiation between soluble and insoluble fiber? Soluble fiber is converted into medium chain triglycerides by gut bacteria which in turn reduces inflammation in the body once absorbed through the gut. Anyway, who in their right mind would binge on fruits for the sake of fiber? Just the amount of fructose would scare me away. The author is trying to kick a door open which is barely hanging on it’s hinges anyway.

      einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Exactly! Not only does he not differentiate between soluble and insoluble fiber or talk about the very different effect they have, he doesn’t mention “resistant starch” at all other than in one spot where it is mentioned as an industrial “filler” instead of a 3rd type of fiber, which it is… a prebiotic that feeds your gut bacteria just like soluble fiber. He talks about short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate as if it’s a bad thing but doesn’t mention it’s healthy effects, particularly for intestinal health and reducing the chance of colon cancer.

        In short, I think this article is complete garbage and I’m surprised to see such junk on Sisson’s site.

        Brad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • This article is anything but junk. Fiber is very very overrated. I have been going to the bathroom less and less since eating a low fiber diet and feel better overall.

          Ray wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • he did address veggies. He said they have a similar ratio of fiber to sugar. Is he correct? Maybe not.

      Joshua wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Wow this has sparked great discussion. This post about fiber is contrary to conventional wisdom and I believe some studies. I don’t think that there is enough here to give a definitive answer to fiber being bad or good. It seems to raise questions which I think may be the point.

        Tom T. wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Nida,

      …because most people prefer to consume fruits for taste, flavor, etc… To some extent, fiber-rich vegetables are even more harmful than fruits because, in addition to a similar sugar content, they may contain more fiber, particularly a soluble kind, which may be even more damaging for children and older adults because its ill effects starts showing themselves in the small intestine.

      Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Konstantin – I think the biggest issue is that you lump all fiber together which kind of negates the theory that gut microbes are beneficial and require prebiotics to feed them.

        Prebiotics are all fiber, they don’t get digested in the gut. The terms soluble and insoluble only refer to a fiber’s relationship with water, not whether it’s fermentable by gut microbes. Resistant Starch is non-soluble, yet fermentable, and a prebiotic. Sugar Alcohols are soluble fiber yet are not considered prebiotic in that they are favored by non-beneficial bacteria.

        You are using CW from the 70′s to make an argument against fiber. As you will see–the readers of this blog are very much in tune with which fibers they should avoid and which are very important–pay attention and learn!

        Tim wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • I am sorry for creating a wrong impression, but I don’t lump all sorts of fiber together. This post was about a completely different subject. I do discuss these differences at length in my book as well as on my site.

          Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 4th, 2013
      • One of the core tenets of Primal Blueprint is that our guts host a wide variety of microbes, some harmful some beneficial. With proper feeding (prebiotics) the good will outnumber the bad and great health will result.

        That you say beneficial microbes simply feed off of the colonic mucous membrane, and no thought needs to be given to support a healthy gut flora, shows me that you have not kept up with current research in gut microflora.

        I agree that adding ‘fiber’ is a futile effort, but focusing your eating in a way to get added prebiotics is paramount to health.

        The real problem here is terminology…’fiber’ is a meaningless term. ‘soluble and insoluble’ mean nothing. What needs to be discussed is ‘fermentable and non-fermentable’ and ‘prebiotic’ fibers–that’s all that matters…

        Tim wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • I’m with you there. I for one think this author’s post is quite weak. It’s also kind of easy to find one research article on any topic that contradicts the medical train of thought (not that there’s anything wrong with going against the grain). However, the intake for fiber being around 40g is a little high anyway and most people are probably fine with around 20-25g of fiber intake. Also, why just fruits? Throw in some kale and you’ll get some great fiber AND antioxidants. There’s also some pretty good research out there showing fiber DOES decrease hunger and help to keep cholesterol levels in check (yes I’m aware high cholesterol isn’t the problem but you still don’t want massive amounts of it floating around in your vasculature).

      Matt wrote on September 4th, 2013
  2. Fantastic. Just fantastic. Thank you for spreading the info!!

    Brendan Coburn wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  3. Except for this… “a moderately active adult can utilize no more than about 200 grams of carbohydrates per day without encountering a scourge of the inevitable obesity, prediabetes, or diabetes.”

    That is just blatantly false.

    Brendan Coburn wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Yes. Beyond false. Perhaps we should call it the Carbohydrate Paradox for those that consume 200, even 300+ grams of carbs a day yet never become obese or come near to the point of pre-diabetes.

      Toad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Including those that don’t workout much. Maybe walk a fair amount, move throughout the day and engage in some strength twice a week. There are millions of us in the world.

        Toad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Do you also reject MDA’s generalized and simplified carb curve?

        Christine H. wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • “Reject” is not the right word. I do think it’s oversimplified and while it may work for some folks, it’s not going to work for others. Adding carbs may help you lose weight.

          Also, I dare someone to get fat on plain white potatoes. Or plain table sugar with absolutely nothing else.

          Toad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • Who eats a single ingredient diet?

          Cloudy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • Cloudy – Nobody does. We used to think fat was evil. Now we don’t. Now we think sugar is evil. Yet it’s not. Not by a long shot.

          Toad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • I agree, Brendan. I often eat more than 200 grams of carbs in a day. Yesterday, I ate 280 grams of carbs.! Those carbs came from plantain chips (114 g), hummus (80 g) and rice crackers (87 g). Rarely do I eat less than 100 grams of carbs in a day. And I’m very slim. I recently had my fasting blood sugar checked. It was 81.

      Tim wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Agreed.

      As much as we hate to admit it, look at some vegans for pete’s sake! That guy DurianRiders (as much as I loathe him) is one skinny dude and does marathons, and eats 30 bananas a day – that’s 800+ grams of digestible carbs, with most of it being pure sugar.

      I regularly get 200 grams or more of carbs a day now. My health seems just fine.

      That one blogger Danny Roddy is a huge proponent of sugar, after being vegan for a year, then VLC paleo for two years. I think the overly-generalized gist of his message is that PUFA-consumption impairs glucose oxidation, which results in diabetes, bad health, etc.

      I did a quick write-up about this issue, which I point people to when talking about sugar and paleo – http://www.brainbodybelly.com/2013/06/19/paleo-vs-vegan/

      I’ve certainly come to question the fear of sugars

      Mark P wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • I have as well. Thanks to Matt Stone and others like Danny Roddy and Ray Peat. And Emily from ButterBeliever.com. And a bunch of other folks I trust.

        Toad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • Oh, thank you for the author writers. I’ll check them out. Ray Peat’s stuff is really interesting.

          Mark P wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • Danny Roddy? He doesn’t think Ketosis has any benefits. How bout people with Grand Mal siezures having them go away completely on Ketosis? It has been in the medical journals for a long time. The guy talks in riddles wrapped up in smoke and mirrors. I’ll check out Emily and Mr. Ray Peat and see what they are up to…

          Nocona wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • “And Emily from ButterBeliever.com. And a bunch of other folks I trust.”

          I once wrote a comment pointing out that the BP diet stated that women should consume a good deal of carbs at least twice a week. She didn’t let it go through because she just wanted to be right, regardless if she was wrong. I’m assuming she does that regularly.

          “In the end, everything is bad because no matter what we do, we are going to die. So, my view is that nothing is inherently unhealthy.”

          That’s literally one of the stupidest comments I’ve ever heard.

          MC wrote on September 4th, 2013
        • @Nocona, he doesn’t deny the benefits of a ketogenic diet, but he also recognizes its negative effects.

          Mark P wrote on September 5th, 2013
        • I think you should amend that statement that sugar isn’t bad to carbohydrates aren’t bad. Clearly sugar can devastate your health, the main distinction being that sugar is 50% fructose while starch breaks down to 100% glucose. We have hundreds of studies clearly demonstrating the dangers of fructose, if you doubt that then you have some serious reading to do.

          marcus volke wrote on January 3rd, 2014
      • You should really read some of the hypotheses of Dr. Otto Warburg, if you haven’t already. He won the nobel prize in the 30′s for his research on cancer cell physiology…. basically that sugar feeds cancer cells.

        Erin wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • And of course, carbs are sugar.

          Nocona wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • In the end, everything is bad because no matter what we do, we are going to die. So, my view is that nothing is inherently unhealthy. If you sit on your ass all day and barely move, then the sugar you consume is not being used so perhaps it will feed cancer cells. However, if you are standing all day, walking a lot, engaging in various movements, just simply active, then the sugar you consume is being put to use. It’s being used as energy and is getting stored in your muscles and other places.

          Sugar is good. Too much is bad. Kind of like how water is good. Too much is bad. Sunlight too. And sleep.

          Balance is the key. We all have to enjoy life!

          Toad wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • OK Toad, we are all gonna die. So you can die being a balanced sugar/carb addicted person.

          Nocona wrote on September 4th, 2013
        • Well, as a fan of Danny Roddy’s blog, let me give you my response, which are quotes from him.

          “Otto Warburg found that the defining feature of cancer was the production of lactic acid in the presence of oxygen (aerobic glycolysis). Warburg believed that cancer cells had a “respiratory defect,” or some kind of injury to the mitochondria that caused them to use up very large quantities of glucose by fermentation, even though oxygen was present. Therefore cancer cells demonstrate a failure of the pasteur effect, which is the normal response of cells to restrain glycolysis in the presence of adequate oxygen…

          … A very low consumption of polyunsaturated fats increases mitochondrial respiration (Rafeal, et al., 1984)…”

          While starving the cancer cells of glucose would certainly work, that is not attacking the cause of the cancer, so it seems.

          If you want to read more, this is the post I got it from – http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2013/8/19/a-bioenergetic-view-of-high-fat-diets-part-ii-metabolic-stress

          The ball is your court, Erin and Nocona!

          Mark P wrote on September 5th, 2013
        • Mark P, thanks for the info. Looking at your photo, it appears you are pretty young. I’ll say this again…guys like Mark S., myself and thousands of other athletes who were thin and are now older (50′s-60′s), totally burned out our systems by living on carbs for fuel. We feel 100′s of times better now burning fat for fuel. Look at all the Friday Success stories too. It is a scientific fact you would die very quickly without fat or protein. You can live a long and healthy life without carbs and there are no needs for carb at all in the human diet.

          Nocona wrote on September 6th, 2013
        • Also Mark P. Go live with the Inuit from 100 years ago up in Alaska and then tell me how much you need carbs.

          Nocona wrote on September 6th, 2013
      • Wow, 30 bananas a day? That’s pretty impressive.

        Jenny wrote on September 8th, 2013
    • Could we keep the carb wars off the front page please?

      oxide wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • This statement isn’t related to how much “a moderately active adult” can eat (intake), but to how much the body can utilize without dispatching excess calories into fat stores. If you care to learn more about this subject, here is the link: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Energy/265-338.pdf

      Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • As a recently diagnosed T2D, I found this statement suspect as well :/

      Antoinette wrote on September 4th, 2013
  4. This article should be on the front page of every magazine/newspaper!

    Hilda wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  5. Why for Myth 1, does the writer state that fiber should be obtained from ‘fresh fruits and vegetables’ – and then debunk that using nothing but fruit as an example, as if vegetables don’t count and people would need to gorge on fruit all day to get ‘enough’ fiber? Plenty of vegetables are high in fiber and low in carbs (if that’s what you’re going for anyway).

    Also, hunter-gatherer diets are generally considered to be very high in fiber – up to 100 grams per day (http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v51/n4/pdf/1600389a.pdf) which is a lot more than most people consume.

    While I think some of the claims surrounding fiber and other nutrients are a bit ridiculous, I’m not sure this article does the best job at debunking them.

    Kate wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  6. Does fibre cause diarrhoea or constipation? Which one?

    Goran wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Exactly, would you clarify that please, Konstantin?

      First you said –
      “fiber, particularly soluble, is the most common cause of diarrhea in children and adults. That’s why it’s recommended as a laxative to begin with.”

      Then later –
      ” it means fiber is no better at relieving constipation than a sugar pill. Indeed, how could it be, when fiber causes constipation in the first place”

      Fiber is both laxative and a cause for constipation? Is it like soluble fibres are laxatives and insolube ones are constipators?

      Keerthy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Can you guys not read? Read it again! He explains the difference.

        Jay wrote on September 4th, 2013
      • >> Exactly, would you clarify that please, Konstantin?

        I cover this subject in depth on my site. I didn’t address it here simply because I had to stay on topic…

        Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 5th, 2013
  7. My non-primal friend just had a lumpectomy. Despite my giving her info I got from cancer survivors here, she read the cw nonsense about cancer and now eats a lot more fiber, fruit, other carbs, and therefore sugar. I’ll pass this great blog along to her but I’m not holding my breath.

    Harry Mossman wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  8. I’ve found that two teaspoons of plain old whole psyllium husk stirred into a glass of water–not Metamucil–works well for IBS, so Myth #11 isn’t always a myth. This was recommended to me by a naturopathic doctor to use on an as-needed basis. I do not experience any of the side effects associated with commercial products like Metamucil.

    Eliminating most grains from my diet, particularly wheat products, helped considerably, but sometimes something (possibly certain foods, maybe stress) still sets off an episode of loose bowels. I normally eat a lot of veggies and a modest amount of fruit, but it doesn’t help with an IBS flare-up. Whole psyllium husk and probiotics are the only things that really calm everything down for me.

    Shary wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Thank you for this information. I am having a terrible time with IBS – diarrhea and haven’t found anything that helps. I will try the psyllium husk and probiotics. What kind of probiotics do you use?

      Yolanda wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • I used to have IBS too. Dairy was the culprit. Try to skip dairy for a month and see if it helps.

        einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • I have found probiotics to be helpful with IBS too and the only kind that work for me are the kind found in the refrigerated section of the market (I buy mine at Whole Foods). I think I’ll give psyllium husk a shot though.

        kate wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • I’ve had IBS since birth, but since switching to a paleo style diet a couple of years ago have found it’s about 85-90% improved. I definitely recommend checking out the GAPS diet as well. Bone broth does amazing things to help IBS. Further, most people with IBS need to completely avoid psyllium fiber. It’s a horrible irritant! Better to cut out sugar, grains and dairy, and increase your fat intake. Fermented veggies are great for the gut as well.

        As for this article, I have to agree with the other commenters that it’s got a ton of problems. Vegetable fiber is not even addressed. And overall fiber is just painted as “bad”, when in reality it does have a place in a healthy diet. It’s just not a good idea to obsess over it or consider it a cure-all or the cause of all illness. Common sense, people! :)

        Janice wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • “…most people with IBS need to avoid psyllium fiber. It’s a horrible irritant…”

          No they don’t, and no it isn’t. It depends largely on the person since everyone is different. I would not recommend commercial products such as Metamucil since they usually contain additives and other ingredients.

          Shary wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • I think it definitely depends on your individual case of IBS. Psyllium powder (which Mark Sisson recommends over whole husks) can work very well because it’s a PREbiotic, giving your gut bacteria something to eat & thrive on. Probiotics alone are not always enough, but it really depends on the state of your gut in the first place.

          Tasha wrote on September 4th, 2013
        • What do you guys think about healing laxative abuse through fibre? Four years of anorexia (down to a BMI of 10.75) followed by 6 years of bulimia (laxative abuse) has rendered my gut pretty much destroyed. Making a conscious (REALLY conscious) effort to heal naturally using supps like Aloe vera and therapies like colonics and massage over the past year has definitely helped a little, but most resources I consult (doctors included) suggest fibre supplements.
          And now, I am royally confused. Would love some input.

          lucy wrote on September 4th, 2013
      • Yolanda, right now I’m using Prodophilus probiotics by Progena. It’s a powder that you stir into water. VSL#3 probiotics probably work better but are more expensive. It comes as either a capsule or a sachet. Both types MUST be kept refrigerated. I think both of these are available from Amazon but not sure. Some drugstores carry VSL#3. Check their website.

        Whole Psyllium husks are inexpensive and are available at most health food stores. Don’t buy the powdered kind. It doesn’t dissolve worth a darn. The whiole psyllium husks stir easily into a glass of water. Follow the directions and drink a lot of water with it.

        Keep a diary of which foods set off your IBS episodes so you will know what to avoid. Most people with IBS have problems with beans and legumes, onions, too much fruit, and dairy products. I can’t take much supplemental magnesium either and try to get that mainly from my diet.

        Shary wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • > I am having a terrible time with IBS – diarrhea and haven’t found anything
        > that helps. I will try the psyllium husk and probiotics. What kind of probiotics
        > do you use?

        While you are having diarrhea, probiotics are pointless because they will not stick inside the large intestine, and if they do — they’ll only make it worth. Same with fiber. And what you have isn’t IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), but IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). You can only stop diarrhea for good by eliminating inflammation by using what I call “elementary diet.” I discuss this subject at length in the last two chapters of Fiber Menace.

        Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 5th, 2013
    • Try a low FODMAP diet

      Jennifer wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • This study showed butyrate supplements helped with IBS-diarrhea problems. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1594580408600066

      Butyrate is the short chain fatty acid produced in the gut by friendly bacteria (from probiotics, for example) acting on fermentable fiber.

      Perhaps the author of this controversial piece could distinguish between fermentable and non-fermentable fiber.

      Harriet Sugar Miller wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • the studies show that supplemental fiber is no more effective than a palcebo.

      marcus volke wrote on January 3rd, 2014
  9. Wow. A little side of freak with those Corn Flakes?

    KTH wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  10. While I don’t think fiber is of great value I do think it has a purpose if for no other reason than we evolved eating more of it in the tougher fruits in vegetables that had not been bred yet into the sweet perfect orbs of today. I believe there is some value in the intestinal bulk and easing of sugar rushes and containment of nutrients. That’s a major reason that those with teeth should avoid juicing. Naturally they want to sell you cellulose because it must be damn near free to produce and it can’t really hurt anyone when it’s not even absorbed. I’d estimate the article is maybe 80% correct but I must say this is one of the few posting that I do not completely feel comfortable with. Maybe it’s because my “one sided argument” sense is tingling.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  11. OK, well, Mark, if that’s your mission — I didn’t realize that was your mission. But I don’t think this piece is up to the standard of the site generally. It reminds me of Gary Taubes’ followers arguing that exercise won’t help you lose weight and calories are irrelevant. You don’t need to just take the polar opposite of every mainstream opinion…

    Martha wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Calories ARE irrelevant, it is basic science.

      Anthony Gustin wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Formal exercise won’t help you loose weight. And isn’t necessary for good health either. It will make you strong, feeling good etc. but hungry too – you will compensate for the lost energy eating that many more calories, that’s a given.

      einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Stick with the informal exercise: strolling, shrugs maybe? Of course nothing will help you “loose” weight…it’s “lose” Don’t loose your grip on grammar!

        Tom B-D wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • I hate the Grammar police!

          The phonetics of English are so messed up that it is impossible to stick to grammar. The English grammar is almost like an irresponsible government – arbitrary rules and arbitrary exceptions to every rule.

          With just 26 letters available to make all sounds and rules allowing people to pronounce ‘ghoti’ as ‘fish’, there is no way people can always be sure about their grammar. It is as if like, English Grammarians will never go without a job as long as Writing exists because it is impossible to codify all English grammar rules in a computer program ;)

          Keerthy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • That was not a grammar mistake. It was a spelling mistake, most likely a typological error. Grammar pertains to the structure of language.

          Kathryn wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • Sorry Martha, try again. Put on your research cap…

      Nocona wrote on September 5th, 2013
  12. Myth #2 and #7 are the ones I encounter most on a daily basis. Thanks for those!

    Anthony Gustin wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  13. I really feel like this is a fairly imbalanced article, which is inconsistent with the usual MDA approach of considering both sides of the debate. It is unfortunate, because I really would like to have an article on this topic to send to a few ‘concerned’ family members who think I’m crazy for eating primal for the last three years.

    Jillian wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • I am sorry that you feel that way. There is nothing positive about fiber that I can describe. The whole thing is a fraud. Besides, I don’t say anywhere — “don’t consume natural foods that may contain fiber.” My message is “don’t pig out on processed food fortified with bran” and don’t take fiber laxatives because they harm your digestive organs.

      Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 4th, 2013
      • I think your article was fantastic with one exception – fermentable fiber which produces butyric acid does have some tremendous health benefits. There are studies showing that butyric acid put IBS and crohn’s patients in remission, and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12769445/ oat bran was used in this study.

        marcus volke wrote on January 3rd, 2014
  14. So are there any benefits to fiber at all?
    I find it hard to believe that a “nutrient” as prevalent as fiber does nothing but harm our bodies. One would think mother nature is smarter than that.

    Nicholas wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Of course there is. See my note above.

      einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • No benefits, zero, zilch… When consumed in excess (>10-15 g per day), fiber does nothing, but harm. The body can cope with minimal amounts of soluble fiber, it “ignores” insoluble, but if you consume either one in excess, you’ll eventually pay for it with chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatiry bowel disease, and, if you aren’t lucky, with colon cancer/

      Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 4th, 2013
      • Why not address those of us eating large amounts of cooked dark leafy greens and vegetables? I eat large amounts of cooked spinach, chard, cauliflower, etc… and these contain almost no carbs whatsoever, but are both extremely high in nutrition and fiber. I completely understand and agree with your thoughts about companies trying to push fiber on us through supplements, etc, but why do you not make a more concerted effort to distinguish between no/low-carb veggies (with high fiber) and high-carb/high fiber fluff? There is a 180 degree difference between the two, one being extremely beneficial and the other being, as you have pointed out, very harmful. Apart from a single sentence saying young fit people should eat veggies, nowhere else in your writing do you make it very clear that while, yes, fake fluff fiber sold in garbage cereal is bad, things such as dark leafy greens, and lowcarb veggies are extremely beneficial (which we don’t eat for the high amounts of fiber.. we eat them for the mass nutrition they provide, even if they are naturally loaded with fiber). I really sincerely think that if you addressed this issue better, you would reach people more effectively with your theory and have less people dubious and skeptical of your entire article. If you made that distinction more clear, I do think you would appear much less “controversial”, and therefore your point would be communicated much more successfully. Just my suggestion. I do agree with you on the “fake fiber” propaganda, but I think again, a distinction would do much more good for both your and the readers sake.

        Isaac wrote on November 17th, 2013
  15. “Does dietary fiber contain anything of nutritional value? No, it doesn’t. Zero vitamins… Zero minerals… Zero protein… Zero fat…”

    Except of course when your (healthy) gut bacteria metabolizes it into short chain fatty acids.

    Paul wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • +100

      I don’t agree with this article. Fiber is extremely important to gut health due to gut bacteria, and those short chain fatty acids are vital to the health and integrity of the gut lining. They aren’t just additional calories.

      Alyssa wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • I agree. I think the basic idea of ADDED fiber being unnecessary is correct, but this article goes way offtrack with the rest of the information.

        Tasha wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • Agree 100%

      einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  16. Love, love, love this article! I have found many of these things to be true through personal experience. I was diagnosed with IBS with constipation over 10 years ago and docs prescribed an increase in dietary fiber as well as laxatives and fiber based supplements. This made me feel sick with no relief from IBS. Veganism was my next desperate attempt which made me even sicker. It wasn’t until I found a paleo-based diet and cut out the absurd amount of fruit and veggies I was eating, did I start feeling better. Great article. Thanks for posting!!!

    Jade wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  17. Urg…I’m following the Practical Paleo guide for IBS which says to focus on soluble rather than insoluble fiber (sweet potato/squash instead of kale/strawberries). So are both kinds not so good for digestive health and bacterial balance? Hopefully MDA follows up with some recommendations?

    katieCHI wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Soluble fibers or resistant starches CAN be very beneficial for IBS ask it works to feed your gut bacteria appropriately. It might not work for you, but it’s absolutely worth a shot. For me, squash is fine, but starchy tubers are not. I have IBS-C/D (predominantly C).

      Tasha wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • Well, actually soluble diet is one of the primary causes of IBS.

      Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 4th, 2013
  18. It’s naive to think fibers do nothing in the body, they’re important for healthy gut bacteria, in particular the water soluble fibers seem to be feeding bacteria in the gut that are important for our health. Look for instance at the Akkermansia string
    if you’re interested.

    Zap wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  19. This guy posts on The Healthy Home Economist’s blog occassionally, and I often wonder about his claims. I’m not saying that people need fiber from grains, but I don’t believe for a second that vegetable consumption for most needs to be moderated. I doubt that even people following a primal/paleo diet are eating vegetables in excess.

    Mary Mac wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • The author stated the daily recommendation for Fiber is 30 – 40 grams daily. The source of which could be fruits OR vegitables.

      IF you choose to only use fruits to get that fiber, then he stated you would need all those fruites listed to get to 30-40 grams a day. He did not mention vegitables…I wish he had, but his point was that since fiber was useless, in his opinion, that consuming all those fruits in a day also led to the increase of 143 grams of sugar.

      Doug wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • He listed the 30–40 gram recommendation as MYTH #1. He wasn’t agreeing with it.

        Mary Mac wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  20. Aside from the serious debates here, on the lighter side – “Dr.” Kellogg, ugh, who knew, you just can’t make this stuff up! Truth is stranger than fiction.

    Paula wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Honestly! I feel like the first part of this needs to go on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”.

      lynn wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • the first part was actually true. the guy was a real freak.

        einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • It seems like the craziest, most unlikely stories are always the true ones on that show!

          lynn wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • There is the funniest series on Comedy Central called Drunk History- they did The Kellogg’s a week or so ago. A total scream!

      Trixie wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Absolutely! One of their best ones! (along with the Lewis and lark expedition.)

        Ruth wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  21. Ok, I am pregnant (first trimester) and one of the awesome side effects of pregnancy (besides nausea and vomiting) is slowed digestion and constipation. If the answer ain’t fiber, then what is it? Because I can barely stand to eat anything that’s not beige (potatoes, nut butters, and sadly bread) much less be primal, so I am perplexed as to what to do. I have started adding some benefiber to my water in hopes it would help. If not that, then what?

    nene wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Magnesium Citrate

      Fixer wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • I second this. Magnesium citrate, at mealtimes or at bedtime. Start at 200 mg and add as needed.

        Tasha wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • fermented foods and dairy, fruits and veggies in moderation. meat and eggs. pls pls skip the nut butters and bread. go check out chris kresser’s healthy baby code.

      einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Einstein. I’m guessing you’re a dude who’s never been pregnant? I dare you to put a fermented anything in front of a 10 weeks pregnant lady and get away without being covered in vomit. Thanks. I’m aware of Chris Kresser. He’s never been pregnant either, far as I know.

        Nene wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • As a woman who’s been pregnant, try pickles. I know it sounds cliche, but the vinegar might help settle your stomach, and it’s probably easier to swallow than straight vinegar water (plus, you get some nutrients from the pickles).

          Also, not all fermented foods are things like sauerkraut. Wikipedia has a big list of fermented foods ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fermented_foods ), and if you look through it, you’ll find a number of foods that you could easily forget are fermented, such as creme fraiche (a type of sour cream) and sour cream, kefir and yogurt, and tempeh and miso. You might be able to eat one or more of them without getting nauseated at their sight or smell.

          And, of course, all pregnancies are different, so YMMV.

          Shauna wrote on September 8th, 2013
    • I am now in my last month of my second pregnancy. Before conception I was consuming 3-5cups of greens/day plus many other veggies and fruits and meat and a little dairy (mostly raw cheeses). As soon as I became preg I had a strong aversion to most of the foods I’d lived on and found it perplexing and difficult that all the good stuff made me sick. Finally I cut myself some slack and can really relate to only wanting starches and nut butters. I found when I started allowing myself to have a bit of starch I could tolerate some of the other things too. I used sweet potatoes as a middle ground and started making some paleo based muffin recipes with almond flour… I also found that adding more fruit is what ultimately got me back to being able to eat. I know it’s contrary to this article and many paleo followers restrict fruits (particularly high sugar fruits) but this is what worked for me. I also ate a lot of eggs and tolerared them quite well. Shifted my greens from more spinach, kale, arugula, chard base to mostly romaine and found that I could again tolerate salad in smaller amounts. I hope you are able to find a combo that works for you. For me by 14 weeks I could eat most everything but the darkest greens (unless they were cooked, cooked was fine) and my fav avocados. Now I’m working on incorporating more raw dark greens again and can eat my yummy avocados. It will get better… keep trying

      Kari wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • What kind of fruit did you eat, alongside the starches?

        Maybe your body was craving some glucose sans-excessive-fiber???

        Mark P wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • When I was pregnant (with twins) I couldn’t keep anything down for the first four months. Eventually I got over the nausea & became very hungry, but the only true craving I ever had was for oranges. Seriously, once I could eat I couldn’t get enough of them! I’m surprised the boys didn’t come out orange! I have no idea if this had anything to do with fiber.

          Paleo-curious wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Thank you!

        Nene wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Nothing wrong with cooking your greens and other veggies, especially if it gets you to eat more of them. I read somewhere that a *reasonable* amount of cooking (ie, not frying/over-heating or cooking for lengthy periods where you will be oxidizing the food) will only reduce some of the nutrients, by about 20%. At the same time what you are doing is a bit of pre-digesting with the cooking so the remaining 80% are more easily digested and bio-available. Fermenting of course is better if you can handle that but steaming or slow cooking, say in a stew, is not so bad.

        Brad wrote on September 5th, 2013
    • during my first pregnancy (i was gluten free but not primal) i took hemp protein – the one that had the most fiber. it can be found at a natural food store. it tasted like eating earth, but worked miracles on the constipation.

      after my first trimester of my second pregnancy (after the nausea passed ) i was mostly primal and didn’t have any problems with constipation.

      Laura wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Thanks for the suggestion.

        Nene wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Fat.

      Anna wrote on September 4th, 2013
  22. “Colonic Motility: Energy-rich meals with a high fat content increase motility [the rate of intestinal propulsion]; carbohydrates and proteins have no effect.”

    This must be why all-carnivorous diet eaters don’t have to worry about getting ANY fiber at all! It’s the FAT and not fiber that keeps them from getting constipated.

    I guess we really DON’T need vegetation after all, as long as our meat’s grass-fed…am I right here? Is the vegetation really only for variety?

    Wenchypoo wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • if you eat all grassfed then yes.

      einstein wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • The Intuit would have been up a creek if vegetation weren’t optional. The premier (non-allergic) infant food after breastmilk is meat based formula. We are closer to pure carnivores than our Mothers might be comfortable with, but there it is. I think we are lucky that we can eat vegetable matter and extract both calories and nutrients from it, but a sub-optimal food source, in my mind at least.

      Amy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • AND eat all of the animal.

      Erok wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • That too. :)

        Amy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Plants provide many nutrients that are not readily available from meat especially potassium and magnesium.

      Carnivores have a totally different gut physiology and a totally different gut microbiota to humans. That is why they don’t get constipated.

      The human gut microbiota closely resembles that of other primates.

      Traditional Inuits suffered from constipation. They also plants whenever possible.

      blogblog wrote on December 13th, 2013
  23. While I appreciate having guest bloggers here, I find this fellow’s tone tiresome. I come to MDA for Mark’s balanced voice and observations, and this reminded me of those sensationalized websites that are trying to scare you into buying their product.
    I was reading this, and I know that Chris Kresser (also a voice of reason in these wild internets) has a lot of good reasons to eat soluble fiber.
    Anyway… I feel like there is good info here but it gets lost in the delivery and amongst extreme claims that may not be true.

    Umi wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • I agree re: the tone. It’s not up to MDA standards.

      valerie wrote on September 4th, 2013
  24. I don’t agree with the angle of this article. Am I the only one who is reading this as anti-veggie??

    The primary source of fiber should come from green, leafy veggies and hardly any of us are eating enough of them!! It should NOT primarily come from fruits which are loaded with sugar which can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. And it should certainly not come from “supplements”.

    I’m a firm believer that you can hardly ever consume too much fiber from the consumption of green, leafy veggies (preferably locally and organically grown) and that it CAN do wonders for your body in cleaning out toxins and sludge and can also act as a powerful form of preventative health care. Fruit should only be consumed in moderation, and preferably only in the morning on an empty stomach (or paired with greens in a smoothie).

    Where people often run into problems with their systems “backing up” and bloating is from improper food pairings – to generalize the problem as stemming just from consumption of fiber is not accurate (how many of you knew that combining protein and starch in the same meal throws your digestive enzymes through a rollercoaster and inhibits the effectiveness of nutrient absorbtion?? Ever felt like you wanted to take a nap after eating steak and sweet potatos? that’s your body working really hard to digest. Or how many have ever eaten a piece of fruit an hour after a grilled chicken lunch and been more bloated than a whale?? It’s because the sugars from the fruit have already started to break down but can’t move through your system because your body is still working to digest the meat you ate an hour ago, in turn turning the fruit rancid and toxic) – a bottleneck effect.

    A general rule of thumb is keep your meals simple and always have the majority of your plate be green, and eat light to heavy.

    I consume at MINIMUM 6 cups of fresh leafy greens plus additional vegetables daily and don’t experience any of these mal effects. In fact, my health over the past year or so has been greatly enhanced since I’ve upped my intake of veggies and greens and paid more attention to food pairings. I no longer suffer from seasonal allergies, my body found its ideal bodyweight, I sleep better and have more energy, I’ve even quit coffee cold turkey.

    So before anyone uses this article as justification for skipping, or skimping, on the salads (I really hope nobody takes it this way), don’t be too quick to write veggies off. I am a big advocate for starting your day off with a green smoothie. A good recipe is one organic apple or 3/4 cup pineapple, juice of 1 lemon, 3-4 cups of spinach, 3-4 cups of kale, 1 cup filtered water. Blend on high and it should make around 4 8oz servings. Just give it a try for a couple weeks and notice what changes.

    Joanna R. C. wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • “A general rule of thumb is keep your meals simple and always have the majority of your plate be green, and eat light to heavy.”

      LOL – then I’m screwed. Eating like a rabbit never really made me feel better.

      “I consume at MINIMUM 6 cups of fresh leafy greens plus additional vegetables daily and don’t experience any of these mal effects. In fact, my health over the past year or so has been greatly enhanced since I’ve upped my intake of veggies and greens and paid more attention to food pairings. I no longer suffer from seasonal allergies, my body found its ideal bodyweight, I sleep better and have more energy, I’ve even quit coffee cold turkey.”

      Sounds….great, I guess. Not eating food, that is.

      “So before anyone uses this article as justification for skipping, or skimping, on the salads (I really hope nobody takes it this way), don’t be too quick to write veggies off. I am a big advocate for starting your day off with a green smoothie.”

      Yeah, that’s how our ancestors ate – taking mass quantities of inedible vegetables, pounding them to paste (don’t forget the filtered water!), and drinking them. I think I’d rather eat an egg, in any form.

      Amy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • Girl, I’m with you

        Jennifer wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • To each her own, Amy!

        Joanna R. C. wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • I don’t think Mr. Sisson will be cutting out his Big Ass Salads anytime soon. He is not worried about too much fiber…

          Nocona wrote on September 3rd, 2013
        • BAS is here to stay! I’ll write a follow-up to this article next week to share my thoughts and answer some of the questions posed here. Stay tuned…

          Mark Sisson wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Joanna, if you start young, it takes 20 to 30 years to develop fiber-related damages, depending on your genetics and degree of luck. That is what’s so scary about fiber, and this why its advocates are getting away with murder, literally…

      Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 4th, 2013
      • Hi Konstantin,

        I appreciate your reply!

        I’m having a hard time imagining the worst that would come from a diet abundant in a rotated variety of fresh, local organic greens – but I realize I still have a lot to learn. A diet filled with fiber supplements, starchy fiber and loads of fruit, sure, it’s a lot easier for me to understand why that would be advised against.

        I read The China Study, Green for Life, and Kimberly Snyder’s books about a year ago at this time (this was before I found Paleo) and these books made a pretty big impression on me as far as the benefits of a diet rich in fibrous green veggies. I made a point to hugely increase my intake around this time about a year ago and the results were remarkable – it was around this time that I also slowly gave up dairy and gluten as well, however, so no doubt those played pretty significant roles.

        I’m certainly open reading more about the adverse findings of a diet high in fiber and my curiosity is peaked. Where would you suggest would be a good starting point for me to learn more?

        I’m also curious to read Mr. Sisson’s follow-up to this article.

        Thanks!

        Joanna R. C. wrote on September 4th, 2013
        • Hi Joanna – somewhere earlier I shared a page on which I’m collating a bunch of articles and studies that show the dark side of the fiber coin, here it is again anyhoo: http://highsteaks.com/forum/whatever/fiber-not-good-you-198.0.html

          Ash Simmonds wrote on September 4th, 2013
        • Joanna, check out Denise Minger’s response to The China Study. It’s an eye opener.

          Susan wrote on September 9th, 2013
    • “green, leafy veggies … CAN do wonders for your body in cleaning out toxins and sludge”

      Sorry-what?! Toxins and sludge?! What on earth are you eating (or suggesting someone else is eating) that results in toxins and sludge?! Is there anything in the medical literature that identifies these toxins and sludge?! No offense intended, but this to me sounds like a vegetarian trying to make meat sound bad…

      Elenor wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • That is not his point at all! you can eat vegetables and fruits. just don’t over eat them. And don’t add fiber. Fiber adds nothing to our health. Just because it happens to be included in fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean it’s needed. The human body can deal with both kinds of fiber. But not if you over eat it on a consistent basis.

      Jay wrote on September 4th, 2013
    • Thanks for your comment Joanna. I agree 100% that we should be eating a plant-based diet… WITH eggs, grassfed meat, fish, etc thrown into those large plates of cooked greens. One or the other leaves you too acid or alkaline, or yin or yang as TCM would view it. I also agree about food combinations. Separating sugars from proteins is definitely something I advocate for making yourself ideally healthy. If you are more concerned with taste and pleasure then keep doing what you’re doing, but the fact is that optimal nutrient absorbtion will come only with optimal digestion chemistry, and sugars and proteins need different environments. Just eat them separately, it’s not a huge deal.

      Isaac wrote on November 17th, 2013
  25. This is a very important subject, and anyone who takes extra fiber for bowel movement purposes should at least read into to what he has to say. That being said, there are many effects fiber has on the body that one should keep in mind before going no fiber.
    Soluble fiber feeds gut microbes.
    soluble fiber tends to decrease the glycemic effect of a meal.
    Soluble fiber slows digestion (especially when taken with fat), which is good for protein absorption in the stomach.
    Insoluble fiber speeds digestion, which ensures less time for meat to sit in your intestines.
    insoluble also drags soluble fiber down to the lower parts of the colon before being fully converted by the microbes which allows the fiber to feed microbes in parts of our intestines.

    If you have trouble with insoluble fiber, cooking it will make it a lot easier to digest. One’s aim is to have a Goldilocks zone of both soluble & insoluble fibers, without taking in extra just to mask a possible issue one has with their digestive process.

    michael wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Konstantin left out a key fact, that whole foods don’t “just” contain pure fiber in a vaccum. I used Psyllium husks & ground psyllium seeds for years in the 80s-90s when I was doing cleanses. Some people react allergically to it & so much export quality psyllium has lots of fertilizers, pesticides on it, from unscrupulous growers in India. It’s label states it can be an irritant. I now use & recommend oil seeds like organic chia, hemp & perilla (oil). When my intake of dietary fat is steady (I eat a lot of fat, even pre-Primal) my bowels are happy.

      Chia has both oil & fibre & I don’t eat too much of it. I eat very moderate amounts of fruit, 1 piece a day or somedays no fruit at all in a day. I eat BAS but not as big or daily like I used to. I’m eating veggies, both cooked and raw. Moderation, respect for each others’ uniqueness & everyone finding their own unique way to optimize diet & lifestyle, helping each other along the way.

      Betorq wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Soluble fiber feeds gut microbes.

      – “Microbes” don’t need any extra feed. They get all the feed they need from mucus in healthy people. Soluble fiber may help for commercial probiotics to multiply outside of the mucosal membrane, but innate flora don’t require extra feed.

      soluble fiber tends to decrease the glycemic effect of a meal.

      – It actually doesn’t unless you consume it in very large quantities, and the ensuing inflammation blocks the digestion of nutrients, and not just carbs.

      Soluble fiber slows digestion (especially when taken with fat), which is good for protein absorption in the stomach.

      – Not true. Also, nutrients don’t absorb in the stomach, only in the small intestine.

      – Insoluble fiber speeds digestion, which ensures less time for meat to sit in your intestines.

      – No it doesn’t.

      – insoluble also drags soluble fiber down to the lower parts of the colon before being fully converted by the microbes which allows the fiber to feed microbes in parts of our intestines.

      – See above.

      If you have trouble with insoluble fiber, cooking it will make it a lot easier to digest.

      – Cooking doesn’t alter the properties of fiber unless you burn it.

      Konstantin Monastyrsky wrote on September 4th, 2013
      • Hello Konstantin, thanks for clearing up some of these beliefs. There’s mounds & mounds of info against your conclusions, so you have a big hill to climb, but someone’s got to do it. I’ve been reading about the dangers of insoluble fiber around the net, so it seems like it’s starting to come to the forefront. I plan on reading several articles from your site, so you may provide the info there …
        -does soluble fiber slow digestion? If so, would eating it with meat(protein) allow the protein to stay in the stomach longer allowing it to digest fully as in many unhealthy people it seems it’s common for protein to leave the stomach not fully digested?
        -Does cooking vegetables make them easier to digest? The premise being that cooking breaks down the fiber somehow so your body does not have to do it?
        -You already said this was not correct, but doesn’t insoluble fiber push food through the colon quicker than without? or is this just one of the many myths used to peddle more fiber
        thanks in advance,
        Michael

        michael wrote on September 4th, 2013
  26. I agree the tone and overall message are not what I come to MDA to see. It’s one thing to challenge CW, but rants are not useful in that regard.

    He lost me on the first myth – it’s a poor argument that must rely on hyperbole for effect. Is the point that the USDA recommendation is too high? In that case, what is the right amount? Zero? If you ate an apple, and maybe some lettuce, spinach, carrots, peppers, tomato, etc (ie, a salad) then you’d get a pretty moderate fiber load along with a moderate carb load. What would be wrong with that?

    Rockfish wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  27. I experienced loss of libido just reading about bran.

    Mike wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • :)

      Amy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  28. All I know is that I’ve continued to get great results from a tablespoon of oat bran and a tablespoon of wheat bran, both raw/unprocessed daily on top of my cup of oatmeal. That constitutes my only grains and it keeps me a “regular” guy and has for years. Something about that bran whistling through the colon scrubbing it clean. Horsehockey? Maybe so, but it works for me!

    Jeff Reynolds wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  29. Loved the classic warning label on the Metamucil…and people still take that stuff. CW-be gone with you!

    Nocona wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  30. I enjoyed the (well informed) comments more than the article.

    Jake wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  31. in regards to inulin, i thought it was one of those things people with IBS should avoid, because it can be hard to digest, causing gas/bloating, etc?

    joeyc wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  32. Unacceptable. This sensationalist, one-sided piece undermines the other content on MDA.

    michele wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  33. Interesting how closed minded some of the posters are, especially since the whole Primal movement is based on challenging the conventional wisdom of the SAD and Chronic Cardio. I guess once you know everything there is no room or tolerance for opposing viewpoints.

    Mike wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  34. Ha! Of course FIBER is not good for your sex life… It causes some bodily noises and functions that are just not sexy, lol!

    GiGi wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  35. This fellow seems more than a little monomaniacal… but I admit it was frustrating in my pre-Celiac diagnosis days to be told repeatedly by docs that I should eat more fiber to prevent my belly pain. I was a near-vegetarian, whole food/whole grain freak back then. Had I eaten any more fiber I swear I would have exploded!

    So I can see how someone might over-react against that relentless, one-sided & unsubtle refrain. But now he seems just as dogmatic & unsubtle.

    Paleo-curious wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Paleo-curious – I agree. The whole article comes off over the top, even if most of the information is true.

      Amy wrote on September 3rd, 2013
      • If the information is in fact true (and I have no clue if it actually is), then the over the top feeling would be from the fact that no one has ever fought these long standing beliefs before. Almost like before the cholesterol myth was debunked. The fact that the biggest cash crops (grain & corn) are both high fiber, it’s no wonder the industry wants us to believe they’re healthy to eat in large quantities. Nutritional science strikes again!

        michael wrote on September 4th, 2013
  36. His writing style is a bit hard to take but I do think he has some good information on his website and in his book (this article seems like he took his website and book chopped bits here and there and stuck it together without the full arguments or scientific reasoning) By following his fiber (he says to shoot for 15 g in the book), probiotics, and water recommendations my husband and I have significantly improved the lingering digestive issues we still had after going primal. I know the article seems like he condemns all fiber but he doesn’t I think he was just trying to make a big point with his article that fiber is not the superfood CW makes it out to be. Fruits and vegetables are ok but don’t overdo it. You shouldn’t need to rely on fiber to have good bowel movements and that’s what I personally found I was doing before I read his book. There is such a thing as too much salad.

    I’m surprised by some of the shocked and angry comments. Use the abundance of information and different perspectives on MDA to select what works best for your own situation and move on!

    Christine H. wrote on September 3rd, 2013
    • Completely agree!!

      Daniel wrote on September 4th, 2013
  37. I frequently refer to this website on the basics of human digestion. It explains a lot on why fiber creates more problems than it solves.

    http://www.gnolls.org/1444/does-meat-rot-in-your-colon-no-what-does-beans-grains-and-vegetables/

    Kim wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  38. Who focus entirely on fruit and not vegetables? I’ll put $ down that is how most primal folks are getting their fiber.

    Zach rusk wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  39. Interesting article but my main focus is to eat/live better. Less processed crap = better living.

    Matt wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  40. Also, where are the links to any actual scientific data on the statements?

    Zach rusk wrote on September 3rd, 2013

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