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

Bran CerealToday’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:

Daily Fiber in 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!

Ten Spoons of Sugar

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:

Metamucil Warning

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. I tend to agree with the general thrust of the article as I understand it. You don’t need to go out of your way to get fiber—just eat real food. Fortunately, TPB accomplishes that.

    That said, I think the author has not integrated a lot of research on the brain / gut connection and also resistant starch. RS in particular is quite interesting. Hundreds of studies going back 30 years.

    Some benefits:

    1. It’s starch, but it won’t raise your BG even with significant doses of say, 30g.
    2. It’s starch, but if consumed in conjunction with a rapidly digesting starch (like a baked potato) your BG spike will be greatly less.
    3. #2 carries over even to the next day, blunting BG spikes after meals (called the “second meal effect”).
    4. Even a dose of 30g won’t knock you out of ketosis.
    5. Not only does RS resist digestion so that it can get to your colon (and all the way down, where most cancers originate), but probiotic bacteria in a meal, supplement, stomach or small intestine can hitch a ride on the RS granules and be protected from getting killed off before getting to the colon where they belong.
    6. You don’t actually digest resistant starch (this is why it won’t raise your BG), your gut bacteria do and guess what the by-products are? Short chain fatty acids (saturated fat). This is what helps blunt the glucose spike of other foods and subsequent meals.

    I’ve had a number of both T1 and 2 diabetics report to me that since supplementing with some RS (very cheap), combined with eating foods known to contain RS cold (this greatly increases levels from when hot, which destroys RS), they have achieved much improved BG control and have been able to reduce insulin dosage.

    Anyway, I’ve been doing a series of posts on it and in fact, those post were mentioned and recommended by Chris Kresser in a recent podcast. For anyone interested, here’s a link to one of the last posts, which is a comprehensive list of foods that contain RS and quantities. There’s also links to all my previous posts, including a couple that list tons of research.

    http://freetheanimal.com/2013/08/resistant-starch-content-of-foods-other-anecdote-and-miscellania.html

    Richard Nikoley wrote on September 4th, 2013
  2. Outstanding post! — a “slam dunk,” in fact.

    Thank you, Mark, and thank you, Mr. Monastyrsky.

    Bruce Palmer wrote on September 5th, 2013
  3. @Konstantin, I am open minded. In fact enough to give your opinion’s some thought and questions. So gut flora don’t need to be “fed” and can live on mucus? OK, I’ll bite. What part of the mucus? Is it the oligosaccharide carb’s in the glycoproteins of the mucus? If not, how is the mucus feeding the flora? And if this is THE major source of food for the flora wouldn’t that hurt the mucus’ primary task of protecting the mucus membrane and epithelium, lubricating the intestinal tract so food can pass? I presume this glycoprotein serves some purpose (water retention?) other than feeding flora. I’m all ears if you’d like to explain.

    Brad wrote on September 5th, 2013
  4. i’m so confused!! all i know for certain is that if i skip my heaping teaspoon of psyllium powder with 16 oz of water one day, i probably won’t poop the next day, and even if i do it’ll be hard, big, and incomplete. i’ve dealt with constipation since i was a teenager (i’m 47 now). from my early 20s until about 2 years ago, i ate prunes everyday so that i’d poop everyday. i only switched from prunes to psyllium when i decided to lower my carb intake.

    GinaBonBon wrote on September 5th, 2013
    • oh, and i eat lots of veggies and zero junk food

      GinaBonBon wrote on September 5th, 2013
      • Drink and eat good fat. That will lube the pipes. Half a cup of ghee or butter melted will do the trick along with magnesium supplementation

        Nocona wrote on September 5th, 2013
  5. I discovered Konstantin’s site and read every page on it, and his book as well. Yes, his tenets fly in the face of Common Wisdom, and ruffles many peoples’ feathers. But if you are interested, please read his site – even without buying his book, the site has every point covered in the book in detail.

    I went Paleo over two years ago, and discovered Gutsense.org soon afterwards. Much of what he writes about made so much sense to me that I decided to change and refine my diet even further.

    As a middle-aged woman, pre-Primal, I experienced many of the issues Gutsense describes as originating in excess fiber. Going Primal helped some of those issues – a lot, but getting rid of the excess fiber and fiber-minded dietary habits and occasional supplements took me to complete digestive health.

    As we can see here, Konstantin’s balls-out, take-no-prisoners style of obliterating the Common Myths about fiber in our health industry can rub people the wrong way. He is not as refined and measured as Mark Sisson (who is?). But don’t throw out his ideas because his delivery hits you over the head. There is plenty of life-changing info on his site and in his book. I know many folks with chronic digestive issues that would be mostly healed by a combo of going Primal and lessening dietary fiber. It is a greatly needed revolution!

    Pure Hapa wrote on September 5th, 2013
  6. chacotaco,

    700g total glycogen store can be ACCUMULATED quite easily. One could max out/fill up their muscle glycogen stores by eating 700gms of carbohydrate for 3 days OR they could eat 200gms a day for about 10 days and then their muscle glycogen would be full, at which point denovolipogenesis. your muscle doesnt “run out” of all of its glycogen stores until you use them and its easy to lose the ability to efficiently access stored muscle glycogen.

    clearly youre a vegan fruitarian and clearly you have never had experience with fat people losing a lot of weight on a high calorie/high fat diet im guessing. right?

    youre giving about half the message. when youre mainlining pixie sticks, candy and high sugar fruit then your body WILL preferentially use carbohydrate. when youre NOT eating those foods and instead are eating a high fat/ adequate carb diet you WONT preferentially burn carbohydrate, as a matter of fact you will beging to more efficiently use fat as an energy source. It also doesnt matter if you “store” dietary fat during a meal as long as you can later access the stored fat.

    you said “switching out your dietary fat for sugar, while holding total calories and protein equivalent, is a phenominal strategey for losing weight”. in my experience with about 50 dedicated clients this is not at all true. ive tried it. ive had other people try it. i have no emotional attatchment to a certain diet or exercise schema, i just use what works. your strategy above proved to be a great way for fatties to always stay hungry.

    exercise mitigates a LOT of things that might otherwise be “bad” in a nutrition plan. if you have fatties blasting fruit and not exercising it will probably never work unless they are really hungry or just get sick of eating a reduntant meal (potato diet).

    if some of “this” is incredibly difficult to read then perhaps you should study more through the lens of an open mind. it seems you are looking for models that fit your beliefs and using example of high energy kids (stark raving mad athletes lol) who happen to be gobbling up everything in sight, like pixie sticks, to validate what youre saying. I would be you dollars to dimes that those pixie stick, soda drinking, sugar main-lining running-machine monkeys you are referring to are also eating half a pizza and double cheeseburgers whenever the opportunity presents itself. Lean, athletic kids typically have ZERO injury state, ultra high readiness and preparation, growth hormones kicking like crazy, terriffic sleep/activity patterns and very bright outlooks. If they choose to eat some candy its probably not causal in making them lean..either is eating a bananna or an apple or a chunk of fatty meat.

    you probably came to the wrong place to preach fruitarianism but keep reading.

    side note: myself and and a small group of other athletes and wrestlers HAVE used a ketogenic and or very low carb/ HIGH fat diet during a 3-5month training block. the fatties got incredibly lean, retatined muscle mass and went back to being able to eat carbs wtihout piling the fat back on after the training block. The already lean athletes became leaner, retained or gained muscle mass and everyone had very high energy levels. Does that mean that wrestlers should not eat carbs? Of course it doesnt. It means the body is a pretty amazing thing. Ive tried fruiting it up and I felt like I had to brush my teeth 30 times a day and by the time I ate a decent amount of carbohydrate I had to always supplement my protein. I couldnt do it. Too much time spent eating.

    ryry wrote on September 5th, 2013
  7. Human breast milk contains fiber, per definition, in the form of GOS. 100% for certain. GOS can also be manufactured from cow’s milk and is used in making infant formula and coma patient food.

    See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607002/

    “Constipation is a common problem and its prevalence increases with age. Severe constipation requires treatment with laxatives, but nutritional therapy, especially increased dietary fibre intake, is recommended primarily for the prevention and treatment of mild constipation. One alternative may be the use of oligosaccharides, which act as soluble fibre and have a bifidogenic effect. Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) resembling oligosaccharides occurring naturally in human milk can be produced from lactose. Several clinical studies reviewed in this paper have shown that the use of GOS (5–15g per day) may relieve the symptoms of constipation in adults and elderly people. In infants, the supplementation of formula with a mixture of GOS and fructo-oligosaccharides can modulate bowel function and stool characters in the same direction as does breast-feeding. Gastrointestinal symptoms may occur as side-effects of oligosaccharides, but 12g GOS per day or less is usually well tolerated.”

    Tim wrote on September 5th, 2013
  8. @ Chaco taco

    Who uses 700gms of carbohydrate daily? Answer: athletes doing an incredible amount of glycolitic work. Its difficult to even BE ABLE to have the preparedness to do that kind of work. This IS basic stuff that you are either overlooking or choosing to ignore.
    You need to read some more on simple exercise physiology. Normies, occasional exercisers and fat sedentary people do NOT utilize 700gms of carbohydrate daily–that is preposterous. Muscles are glycogen depots but they don’t “share” with blood sugar. Once your muscle “gas tanks” are full then spill over does occur. Hard working athletes rarely have full muscle glycogen so there is almost always room for more dietary carbohydrate and they don’t get fat from eating a lot of carbs. This isn’t the case with non athletes or people with wrecked metabolisms.

    Let me guess: you are not a former fatty and you probably do lots of weightlifting or other decent volumes of glycolitic work and or you’re young and have never been fat? Also consider that high intensity exercise utilizes lots of intramuscular fats regardless of macronutrient composition of your diet. High intensity exercise always burns fat. Don’t make the mistake of thinking its simply the diet influencing fat loss.

    Adequate (which means low in some cases and “high” in others) carbohydrate in coordination with your exercise/activity glycogen demand can let you lose/use a lot of body fat even in high calorie states, even with VERY little exercise. You can’t have fat desk jockies plowing fruit and pixie sticks and expect anything good to happen UNLESS they are under eating and hungry.

    Fatty meats and nuts cause type2 diabetes? Have you read anything other than fruitarian hype in the past ten years? Have you ever tried a high fat diet utilizing low poly intake?

    I’ve personally watched the evolution of a lot of really fat people over the course of 3mos to 3years and without fail the adequate carb (dictated by exercise glycogen demand), moderate protein (enough to maintain or gain lean muscle) and high fat intake are the only fatties who have kept the weight off. This same template works for athletes and normies alike: don’t consume more carbs then you need, moderate protein, high fat. No one is hungry. The fats become leaner and the already lean athletes begin to fuel off of fat more efficiently. I’m sorry but I’ve seen it too many times in high level athletes to discount it. If mainlining fruit gave these guys an edge then they would do it. If a fat person could sit on their butt all day and eat bananas and pixie sticks to lose weight then they would do it. The only time I see ultra high carb working is in already lean athletes with huge glycogen demands. Again I’m curious if you’ve exhausted other dietary strategies or if your just digging in to defend what you are currently doing. I have personally tried high fruit, high carb, lean protein and low fat. It doesn’t work in the long term because you can’t realistically endure the exercise demands of utilizing that much glycogen. I’ve also personally useda ketogenic diet for 5 mos. I’ve also used a more “paleo” approach akin to what mark is suggesting. They can all work. Knowing how and why they work really helps a lot. Also, I’ve never been fat. Always very lean. If I go low carb during a phase where my exercise demands a lot of glycogen then I’m going to feel terrible. You could point your finger at my low carb diet but what you need to see is the ultra high glycogen demand does not pair well with low carb intake. You have to view diet and activity simultaneously. Marks “insidious weight gain” carb intake could easily be too few carbs for a hard training athlete utilizing a lot of glycogen. It’s only insidious if its TOO MUCH/MORE THAN YOU’RE USING. I know mark talks about this but it seems to get lost.

    Sorry for the multiple posting. I was afraid my cussing in the reply to chacotaco was keeping my comments from posting.

    Ryry wrote on September 5th, 2013
    • Keep ’em coming. Great stuff. Chocolate Taco does not know that we can live long healthy lives without carbs. But you would die so quick it’s not funny, without protein and fat. They are neccessary. Carbs are not.

      Nocona wrote on September 5th, 2013
    • chacotaco,
      I re read what i posted and I should probably add (since it seems some people dont have the basic information..sorry i dont know of a more delicate way to put it) that once your muscle glycogen reserves are full then they dont get used by anything except glycogen demanding movements. Walking around and being relatively sedentary uses up hardly any muslce glycogen. If your blood sugar gets low then you can draw on your liver glycogen reserves but if that runs out then you simply get lethargic or light headed–you dont draw muscle glycogen from muscle to use as blood sugar/brain fuel; it only gets used for muscular activity and even then, only when the demand is present. Your body wants to use fat for most everything it does involving movement. Where you come up with people using 700gms of glycogen daily under even moderate amounts of exercise is just not correct. Yes, it is possible to STORE that kind of carbohydrate if you eat a high carb diet but to deplete 400gms of muscle glycogen DAILY takes an EXTREME amount of high powered, high-intensity work that most people can not generate or tolerate. There are all kinds of pitfalls that arise when your insulin levels are elevated but you cant access muscle glycogen for work demand (because youre not getting any exercise mitigated insulin sensitivity but rather blunting it by over eating carbs). Eating that much carbohydrate without the exercise demand is setting you up for disaster. Also consider that fructose can NOT be used for muscle glycogen replenishment but it can still fill up your liver glycogen..and when liver glycogen is full (from eating tons of fruit, sugar and pixie sticks) then nasty things can start to happen; your body can end up storing the extra carbs in triglyceride forms and give you another heap of fun on top of your insulin resistance. Read up on some of this stuff as its pretty interesting and might help you in your training when the day comes that you are unable to exercise at huge glycogen demand rates or get sick of eating pixie sticks like all the lean kids you see running around.

      ryry wrote on September 5th, 2013
      • correcting myself and elaborating:

        im not saying that eating high carb prevents athletes or those already lean and exercising from utilizing muscle glycogen but rather that eating high carb when their is no increased insulin sensitivity present (from a background of glycolitic exercise) is what can lead to the inablility of a fat person to be able to efficiently store and/or access muscle glycogen. i dont have the links on hand. i will try to look it up in one of my exercise phys books if youre really interested.

        ryry wrote on September 5th, 2013
  9. Brad,

    1. “Sorry, it’s tough not to be rude to people”? Nothing excuses being rude or condescending! You can have your debate and get your questions answered without sounding like an entitled brat.

    2. I certainly thought it was obvious that Mark sold supplements too, that you’re not forced to buy anything, that it wasn’t a paid ad, and that it’s ridiculous to fault someone for providing supplements while happily reaping the rewards of another person’s supplement services…but that fact seemed to elude you which is why a few posters including myself felt compelled to alert you of this fact.

    Christine H wrote on September 5th, 2013
  10. TKM – I definitely agree. It makes the MDA experience unpleasant when it should be one of the happiest places on the internet for people like us!

    Christine H wrote on September 5th, 2013
  11. john, im enjoying this conversation but weare for sure hi-jacking! oh well.

    i cant reply to your post so i will reply here. i replied after the double dash —

    you said :
    ryry, Going to keep this shorter than intended, but simply saying… Carbohydrate vs Fat largely doesn’t matter. If you (meaning generically, not you in specific) have an issue handling carbohydrate, then there is a medical issue that needs attention paid to it. Another thing to remember is that living by the scale is a terrible way to measure health.

    –I dont agree with this at all. If you have an issue handling carbohydrate then you probably got it from eating too much carbohydrate vs your glycogen demand imo. Ive watched relatively lean people overeat on fat while eating adequate carbohydrate and they didnt get fat like people who simply ate tons of carbs. i guess i cant prove it but you probably cant prove what youre saying either. its observation and anecdotal; just like what im saying. here: excess carbs mess ya’ up and excess fat adds calories faster than anything. agree?–

    Carbohydrate consumption adds water weight to the body as it is stored into glycogen stores. You could gain as much as 5-15 lbs of water weight on a refeed day from water alone.
    –you wont gain 15lbs of “water weight” from 400gms of muscle glycogen and 200gms of liver glycogen unless youre very heavily muscled. youd have to dehydrate too. we cut weight all the time for grappling. the only people who will lose 15lbs from depleted glycogen stores are 250lbs+ and lean. yes you can lose a lot more than that by dehydrating combined with depleted glycogen stores. on low carbohydrate (which could be 300gms a day if youre workouts are demanding 500..) youll end up excreting a lot more sodium as you sweat and work those muscle glycogen stores down..ending up at lower weights.–

    Part of the problem comes from, “What is high fat?” “What is low-carb?” The SAD is pretty high in both of those, so what you’re essentially doing when going from SAD to Primal, is losing the fear of saturated fat, and thus going highER saturated fat, and since you’re ditching the grains, legumes, etc…, you end up lowER carbohydrate.
    –to me low carb is loweER than your glycogen demand. also, ever notice how people who have always exercised usually arent really fat unless they are absolutely destroying carbs/fat. i think we agree on that.
    personally i didnt have a fear of saturated fat. ive always eaten high fat and high carb and ive always been lean. im calling high fat over 200gms/day and relatively higher carbs (300+). primal doesnt mean LOW CARB. you can eat a very primal diet and still eat high carbs.–

    The point is, there is nothing wrong with carbohydrate. Your source is more important than the energy. Your body is always burning both fat and glucose simultaneously (just in different ratios, according to activity), so it’s not like your body just “forgets” how to do it unless, as said, there is a medical condition involved. Going too high in either of the two can cause a problem, just like going too low. Too low carbohydrate forces your body to find other means of creating glucose, either from the protein you eat, or from your muscle and organ tissues. This is a backup mode for starvation, this isn’t meant to be a long-term energy state. To low of a proper fat intake prevents the body from absorbing certain vitamins.
    –this is only a “problem” if your exercise demands more glycogen than you are eating. its not a problem for most people because most people dont exercise that much or if they do they dont do it for long because they end up getting hurt (tangent..) you can basically flip everything you just said about going too low on carbs and eating “too much fat and protein” to eating too many carbs and not enough fat. i think its very dependent on your actual energy demands. neither one of us know what “the most natural state” for humans is. Are you familiar with Peter Atia and thefatacademy? How about the work of Phiney and Volek and the art and science of low carb performance or the art and sciend of low carb living? they all have really great information you might be able to utilize.–

    Playing around in the 20-40% area for them is usually better than sticking to some set of numbers that were possibly pulled from thin air for Mark’s Carbohydrate Curve, as each body has a different set-point for that, and not paying attention to weight while in either testing ground.

    –percentages dont mean that much in the context of total amounts of calories. 20-40% on a 2,000calorie diet isnt much but its a whole lot more in the context of a 5,000k diet. mark didnt pull the numbers out of thin air. His area under the curve is where most people’s glycogen demand will fall given the style of training he is advocating.–

    The water-weight thing was likely the problem the really obese people had. When I was nearly 400 lbs, I was eating 4500+ calories on workout days (mostly from rice, potatoes, sugar, tons of vegetables, fruits and meat). My water weight ended up putting me over the edge into about 430 some days during the beginning, despite strength gains, and lower inches around the waist, going down to 350 lbs in a few months as my body adjusted. (Well, mostly me adjusting to the taste of vegetables. God they tasted terrible.) Provided appropriate sources, this should work for most people.
    –I have worked with a few people as big as you were (good job losing the fat and making great choices btw). Again, if you go back to my previous comments where i talked about exercise being responsible for a lot of the effects of your body transformation, youll see what i mean. I doubt you were exercising with the same high intensities as you worked your way from a normal weight to 400lbs..right? So just because you ditched fat and loaded up on carbs and eventually lost fat doesnt mean it was driven only or even mostly by the macros you selected. Ive had 2 close friends drop crazy levels of body fat (from over 400 to 250) both did it on low carb/high fat without maintaining drastically low calories. i think your body can adapt to just about anything given a chance. you can probably lose weight on the popcorn diet or the banana diet or whatever. im searching for optimal and i see optimal as diet and activity being addressed as one unit; not two distinct things. also optimal is something that doesnt require undue mental fortitude. ive seen a lot of people with very high body fat levels go through extreme exercise and diet routines only to have their metabolisms go to crap (thyroid issues usually) or inevitably revert to the old eating and activity habits that gained them the excess fat in the first place. high fat, adequate carb is EASY because youre not hungry. you can eat and eat and eat..til your full. it always works..like magic lol (im being fecetious 😉

    i have personal experience both doing and observing others doing low fat/high carb or low carb/high fat and without hesitation i will say the higher fat is better for overweight people. i think you guys are creating a calorie deficit and the deficit is doing most of the work–i bet you were hungry and still probably are if your fat intake is low, or you still have to “watch your weight”. i know as soon as my former fatty friends start flirting with carbs then disaster strikes swift and hard. these guys REALLY dont like being hungry either and i think thats the biggest advantage of ADEQUATE carb/ high fat– you stay full. you might try experimenting with a high fat/low carb type diet and be astute in your planning by limiting glycogen demand in your exercise (this is what mark is doing with primal blue print). if youre doing a lot of lifting and exercise in glycolitic ranges then no, the low carb thing probably wont work well but you can do some pretty amazing things on very low carb/keto just like you can with other dietary strategies as long as you plan your activities and workouts accordingly.

    weare probably preaching to the converted with a lot of the things we are saying to each other.
    thanks for the conversation.

    ps. im still standing by my comments to choco about people utilizing 700gms of glycogen/day. yes, you can store that much–no, you dont typically use it everyday. im guessing choco or yourself probably end up burning off the excess, slowly accumulated fat (from overeating carbs), by building up to some crazy high intensity workouts which end up using lots of fat as well as carb and then your averages simply work out. Also, I was recently reading in ACSM’s Advanced Exercise Physiology those extra carbs that may “overflow” and get stored as intramuscular triglyceride may simply be replacing some of the up to 180gms of intramuscular triglyceride that can be used up in a single high intensity exercise bout. ..thats a lot of fat to replace to maintain performance and your body can do it in a myriad of ways.

    best exercise phys books in order (easy reading first) imo:

    Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance
    Plowman PhD, Sharon A.

    Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance (Point (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins))
    McArdle BS M.Ed PhD, William D.

    ACSM’s Advanced Exercise Physiology
    American College of Sports Medicine
    (awesome book but dont buy it unless you have a decent grasp of the information presented in the previous listings)

    –i wish all of these book had also used high fat and ketogenic models in their studies but i guess we will have to leave that up to phiney, volek and atia and our own experimenting.

    ryry wrote on September 5th, 2013
    • i said “–you wont gain 15lbs of “water weight” from 400gms of muscle glycogen and 200gms of liver glycogen unless youre very heavily muscled”..uh that doesnt make sense. what i meant was that unless you are very heavily muscled you probably wont store over 400gms of muscle glycogen. also the amount of liver glycogen you can store is increased on high carb intakes (makes sense).

      you can figure out how much weight youre able to lose by depleteing glycogen stores but remaining hydrated. for a well trained somebody you should be able to deplete muscle glycogen with a good full-body 2hr long workout. dont eat carbs for about 16 hours and your liver glycogen is gone. now, make sure you are fully hydrated. note your weight. then, go ahead and dehydrate and see where you end up.

      you can establish a glycogen maximum and “full water weight” by eating, say 500-700carbs a day for a few days while keeping glycolitic activity to a minimum. then, fully hydrate and note your weight. this will give you a “max” or full glycogen state that you can then start determining (by doing the above “cut”) where your glycogen stores are full and where they are empty.
      for a normal carb eater you dont need full glycogen for optimal, short term, performance but too low of muscle glycogen will decrease performance. Im talking short term. you may very well need a lot of stored glycogen to actually perform your workout(s).

      if you deplete the heck out of glycogen stores and then “carb load” you can increase storage but this is really only helpful for an event that demands the glycogen.

      ryry wrote on September 5th, 2013
      • The reason DNL is rare is because even after your glycogen stores are “full,” they’ll swell up to 200% capacity. When you consume vast numbers of carbohydrate, your metabolism rises to burn the excess off, glucose gets a very clear priority over fat. During exercise, your body doesn’t burn through all of it’s glycogen stores either, as it attempts to save some of it. This prevents more fat from being utilized by the body for energy (as per ratio, as it would then be kept low as it burns through it’s highly prized, primary fuel source). As it is, your liver depletes in about 8-12 hours alone, and it gets priority in the stuff, but that’s only if you haven’t eaten any carbohydrate, such as when you go to sleep, wake up, “skip breakfast” and then go on about your day. Even when you’re sitting, you’re not likely going to remain completely still, and moving your muscles, even with an empty liver, will burn off your glycogen stores as well. The only way to really be empty on glycogen is to either fast for a few days, or to be chronically low-carbohydrate and moderate amounts of protein.

        In any case, the point is, if we’re trying to mimic the diets of our ancestors, the low-carbohydrate aspect of this is not right, as our ancestors did eat various amounts of the stuff as well, depending on location. We’re meant to thrive on whatever natural foods we have available. It’s where the -gatherer part comes from. Many of our equatorial friends likely enjoyed these foods along with leaner animals than we might be used too. The further north (or south) from the equator you get, you have fatter animals and less plentiful vegetation. (This vegetation would have likely been less leafy-greens and more like cucumbers, potatoes, fruits, etc…)

        We’re adaptable, and clearly able to go anywhere in between. We’re all splitting hairs when it comes to macronutrient breakdown.

        John wrote on September 6th, 2013
        • Agreed, John.

          I get what you’re saying and its all strategy. I just don’t like the angle of ” it’s fat causing you to get fat”. Well, it IS the calories from fat but only because you’re preferentially utilizing the carbs and storing the fat. Don’t over eat carbs and the fat ceases to be a problem. If we preferentially become efficient at fueling off fat then we can store the carbs. When people eat freely of carbs they rarely get full. High carb works great when paired with high glycogen demand. Personally, I feel that mimicking our ancestors diet is really putting the cart before the horse. The non-stop, low intensity, high mobilty activity of our ancestors, paired with part time glycolitic (high intensity) demands is what we should be mimicking. Banging out a high intensity crossfit or glycogen demanding weightlifting session, and then sitting immobile on a chair is probably not what our ancestors did on a daily basis, year round. The perfect diet fulfills the demands of your energy requirements. Body comp goals are somewhat irrelevant as you never would have got fat in the first place if one lived like our ancestors. High carb, low fat generally only works (long term) in the context of a high glycogen DEMAND. People don’t like to ” work out” that much. Adequate carb means enough to fuel the demand. I can fuel my glycogen demand in ketosis via gluconeogenesis and other means but if my glycogen demand is high enough then its sure a lot simpler, more efficient and perhaps “healthier” to just eat some carbs. The inverse will prove true too: if your glycogen demand is such that it can be met through adequate (maybe 100 for one person and 300 for the next) carb intake and you’ll function better and have less oxidative stress via a higher fat diet then why force your body to use carbs? Again, in a very dynamic movement environment lots of strategies can work. I’m looking for the best strategy for said environment. Higher fat, lower carb is a very good answer for most people given our typical movement environments. It’s a lot easier to stick to a diet or implement a dietary change if there aren’t as many ” rules” to follow, the food tastes good and you actually get full. It’s a lot harder to say “move all day like our ancestors did”.

          I’m not arguing with you and I know you’re not arguing with me. There’s merrit in all of this for sure. Thanks again for sharing.

          Ryry wrote on September 6th, 2013
        • @John,
          You comment “glucose gets a very clear priority over fat” is not true in all cases. Only sometimes. It applies when the rate of energy expenditure is high enough. Under a certain threshold, fat is preferentially burned. The reason is the body wants to conserve glycogen for emergencies (fight/flight) and high intensity bursts. Both fat and glygogen get burned usually – it’s never either/or – but one is often higher than the other. So doing things like walking burns more fat and sprinting burns more glycogen. Heavy weight lifting burns more glycogen. This is because the rate of needed energy exceeds the rate that fat can be oxidized and so the anaerobic process of using glycogen, which doesn’t require oxygen, takes place.

          If you think about it from the evolutionary perspective it makes sense. Use fat during hunting/tracking and still have glycogen reserved for the sprinting attack, or to run away from a predator that surprised you. If the glycogen all got used up first, and an emergency happened, you’d be dead meat.

          Brad wrote on September 6th, 2013
        • @Ryry, I mostly agree with you and you put it well. Except for the part about preferentially burning the carbs and storing the fat. I’m not sure it’s that simple. Also keep in mind that everything ingested is not necessarily metabolized. We don’t burn and store 100% of what we eat, either carbs or fat. That law of thermodynamics thing is a load of B.S. Our bodies are not a simple internal combustion engine.

          Brad wrote on September 6th, 2013
        • ryry, we burn both all of the time, however. We are already efficient at burning fat, save for a very minute few with a metabolic disorder. The ratios are always different depending on activity. but the only time obesity becomes a problem is during the process of overconsumption. There is no just storing fat for starvation, it’s always being utilized. Similarly to glucose, even without a supply of carbohydrate, as the body will create it’s own. We already burn fat at it’s own levels appropriately.

          As for fat making us fat, it’s true. But under proper calorie consumption, physical activity, stress levels, etc…, it’s not keeping us fat either. The only thing that will keep us fat, and continually larger, is a calorie surplus with more fat than our body is burning off.

          Brad, my comment was in regards to carbohydrate consumption enough to break through 100% of your normal glycogen reserves (which it will go up to about 200%). Let’s see you’ve eaten enough to store 150% of your glycogen reserves. Under this scenario, your body begins to prioritize glucose utilization over fat, even under situations where it would normally do otherwise. This process continues until enough of it has been burned off and then the body will switch back and forth as normal.

          John wrote on September 7th, 2013
    • @Ryry, your sept 5 long post… great! Do you have a MDA login account/username?

      Brad wrote on September 6th, 2013
  12. Yeah something felt off about this article. It felt almost like sensationalism I guess.

    It started with the first attempted debunking. I’m quite certain you could reach that serving with leafy greens and still keep the sugars low.

    Joe wrote on September 5th, 2013
  13. There were a lot of good points in this article, I have a tendency to agree that fiber alone is not as valuable as what comes along with the fiber. I don’t agree with the author’s position that fiber is totally devoid of nutrition because in nature fiber comes as part of the total package and may act as a “sustained release” mechanism for water and nutrition within the gut. In addition, fiber acts as a prebiotic, helping to promote the growth of important probiotic bacteria. That alone is of great value to the health of the body. Some of the compounds produced during the fermentation of fiber also provide benefit to the body. So, in a nutshell, I agree that taking spoonfuls of Metamucil is not likely to be beneficial, I also agree that eating 10 servings of fruit for the fiber it provides is also not recommended, equally so, we shouldn’t look to grains for fiber; however, based on the published research, fiber may deliver it’s benefits further down the line, post fermentation, in the growth of good bacteria, or in the delivery of nutrients and water that usually come with the fiber!

    Ray wrote on September 8th, 2013
  14. I think there’s just a language barrier with Mr. Monastyrsky that is difficult to overcome, it shows with how this article is written.

    J. wrote on September 9th, 2013
  15. Hmmmm….there’s a lot I agree with here, but the statement “The ratio of digestible carbohydrates (sugars) to fiber in vegetables, cereals, breads, beans, and legumes is, on average, similar to fruits.”……Is totally false with respect to vegetables. And the idea that you can’t get 30 grams of fiber without consuming tons of carbs is also false.

    I have had IBS all my life and am obsessed with feeling optimal as a result. I’m a quantified-selfer. I weigh my food daily. Here are the results from an average day: 1 12 oz yellow onion, 10 oz green cabbage, 3 oz shredded romaine, 1 oz radish, 1 oz zucchini, 6 oz avocado, 1 oz green onion, 10 oz broccoli, 3 oz spinach, 1.7 oz almond butter….the rest is meat and oil so no fiber and no carbs..

    Totals: 96.4 grams of carbs, 38.4 grams of fiber…

    Math is science….so there’s the science disproving the statement above.

    Kyle wrote on September 10th, 2013
  16. i had 305 grams of sugar yesterday
    OMOMOM

    steffo wrote on September 13th, 2013
  17. alllll the +1 for Brad and other skeptics commenting here

    steffo wrote on September 13th, 2013
  18. This is an interesting article to find on a site called “marksdailyapple”. Am I to believe that apples are as terrible for me as… well, everything except for fatty meats if this guy is to be believed? The inference, then is that the information (or misinformation) on this site is bad for me. Sometimes conventional wisdom is wisdom. If people made tons of money agreeing with it, then I assure you that Mark would be on board. You guys know he endorsed a shake for P90X that had it’s share of artificial ingredients, right? Follow the money. This guy is a hack.

    Dennis wrote on September 21st, 2013
  19. Fiber is the one sticking point for me when it comes to eating Paleo. I feel great eating the fish, meats and fats. I feel like hell when I eat the vegetables, fruits and nuts. When I eat fiber, I get stopped up. Period. When I stop eating fiber, I’m fine. Oddly enough, I keep going back to fiber mainly because of peer pressure from my family and the odd looks I get when I say fiber isn’t good for me. I don’t want to hurt my family’s feelings when they bring sweet potato casserole or fresh veggies to family functions.

    Melissa wrote on November 15th, 2013
  20. 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
  21. Um, this information looks really really ridiculous. I don’t trust what you’re saying.

    Sarah wrote on March 22nd, 2015
  22. Maybe a simplistic argument, but I was always led to believe that the human stomach, and if I remember correctly it’s in Konstantin’s book, is primarily for digesting protein and fat. If we were meant to digest fruit, veggies our stomachs would resemble those of a cow, which has 4 compartments to its stomach.

    Milan wrote on June 11th, 2015

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