View Full Version : Is fiber really necessary?

Yvana van den Hork
07-04-2007, 03:42 AM
This article really made me rethink all I thought to know about how necessary fiber is supposed to be:

Please discuss!

Daniel Myers
07-04-2007, 08:11 AM
Honestly, I didn't find that very persuasive. His comparison of respiratory mucus with the digestive system is a very stretched metaphor, to say the least.

Looking at it from my common-sense perspective, I think most people need more fiber in their diets, because most people don't eat enough vegetables. If you're eating enough veggies, you're getting all the fiber you need, and you don't need additional supplements. If you're not eating the green stuff, then taking fiber supplements may help a little, but nothing like adding plenty of fresh, whole vegetables back into your diet.

From a paleo perspective, it's reasonable to believe that ancestral diets were significantly higher in fiber than modern meals, because of greater consumption of unrefined plants.

Robb Wolf
07-04-2007, 08:35 AM
I think we are wired for a good bit of fiber...but the Inuit and others get by fine with little to no fiber.

Robb Wolf
07-04-2007, 08:46 AM
Just read the Eades post...I remember reading a study on psyllium and GI inflammation, totally makes sense.

Bottom line (anyone get the pun?) if you introduce an irritant to a system you will get problems. This is likely why intermittent fasting further improves digestion, simply decreasing the number of physical irritants to the GI tract.

Yvana van den Hork
07-04-2007, 09:38 AM
Was discussing it elsewhere and while one person commented on her having only one BM in 4 days after embarking on a low-carb low-fat low-fiber diet, someone else with IBS said she was a happy trooper as she went from 7 BMs a day to just 2.

So I guess when someone has IBS and suffers from too fast moving bowels, (s)he might not need as much fiber as a healthy person, or someone with too slow bowel movements.

Mike ODonnell
07-04-2007, 09:59 AM
Most average people have 30lbs of old crap (pardon the pun) stuck in the intestines....we need fiber to help scrape all that caked on toxin releasing material and get it out....and nothing feels better then getting all that crap out....add some bentonite clay and really see what has been sticking around for years.....

Just read the Eades post...I remember reading a study on psyllium and GI inflammation
Isn't psyllium like 75% soluble fiber? Wouldnt something like ground flaxseeds be more of an irritant with 75% insoluble? I wonder...what is the average balance of soluble to insoluble in nature...

Intersting discussion btw....good stuff

Scott Kustes
07-04-2007, 05:21 PM
MOD, I keep hearing that line about having all that crap caked on. Is there any source to actually prove that?

Mike ODonnell
07-04-2007, 07:39 PM
MOD, I keep hearing that line about having all that crap caked on. Is there any source to actually prove that?

I took some fiber and bentonite a while back....and the stuff that came out.....well I didn't save it but that was my source.....other than that most of the people who go that whole detox way will tell you about it too....most of it is from processed foods and other unnatural sources and a diet low in fiber....all about the healthy gut after all.....you can see it especially with people with those distended stomachs....their guts are a mess!

Funny enough I know some older guys who are in the PL circle and swear by using it.....one guy said he even got out what looked like gallstones....no idea....but when you crap out some putrid stuff and your stomach flattens and you lose weight....well something must be going on....unless you crap out a kidney or something....but pretty sure that is not possible...I don't think you need all those fancy detox kits...I just stick with ACV, fiber, and bentonite.....cheap stuff that seems to work....but how do we even know unless you cut yourself open....and by then it's too late......I heard Elvis had a ton of crap....I'd believe that one!

I even believe you can bathe in it and it is supposed to pull metals out through the skin....no idea on the validity of that one...

Tony Ferous
07-04-2007, 08:29 PM
Ive read about the bentonite clay thing before, but surely, if you eat clay, your 'output' IS going to look totally weird, you are crapping clay!
Ok possiblly it does pull some toxins with it, but who knows?

Garrett Smith
07-05-2007, 08:28 AM
I personally have a tough time with the "crap caked on" idea.

There would be no way to absorb ANY nutrients through 1/4" of crap.

I do think it is just massive gut inflammation and swelling.

Larry L. has said it before, that he's been in on many autopsies and never seen the loads of old crap--only what was relatively recently eaten.

Then again, I know a woman who hasn't had a solid BM in years, she's always constipated, and she's always eating. I don't know where else all that food could be, other than stuck inside of her belly.

Who knows...

Yvana van den Hork
07-05-2007, 08:47 AM
Aaron, a smart guy from NZ, made this remark:

In a presentation I saw last year by one of the CSIRO scientists was correct, fibre is not that good for promoting colonic health. Resistant starch is better.

His arguement was based around that the origonal work on fibre ASSUMED that the africans who had low colon cancer risk were eating lots of fibre, therefore to help with the high rates of colon cancer in USA, they should eat lots of fibre. Except later on when the fibre intakes were MEASURED, they ate fuck all fibre, but a metric ass load of resistant starch.

Resistant starch reduces cellular DNA damage in the colon, that fibre per se doesnt.

However, fibre rich foods are in general, good foods for you. They provide lots of nutrients and stuff, and they help ya poop. Eat a diet rich in fruits nad vegetables, and you will get a diet highish in fibre.

I agree with some of the comments in the post, that its funny that people are taking fibre supplements to meet their fibre levels, rather than what they should be doing, ie eating more fruits and vegetables.

Looking into resistant starch, I see:

Aaron gave this link too: http://physrev.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/81/3/1031

Lots of useful info.

Mike ODonnell
07-05-2007, 09:40 AM
found this of some interesting info while lost on the internet.....

n general, fiber undergoes one of two fates in our digestive system. Insoluble (non-fermentable) fiber attracts water but otherwise passes through our digestive system unchanged, aiding clearance of the intestinal tract and promoting laxation and regularity. Fiber sources resistant to complete digestion are sometimes referred to as “resistant starch” or “resistant carbohydrates”.

Soluble (fermentable) fiber has more complex actions during digestion. “Fermentation” is simply the breakdown of carbohydrate (starch, sugar) molecules in the large intestine, yielding gases and further useful chemicals such as short chain fatty acids. More scientifically, fermentation is a metabolic activity involving use of one organic source to create others, such as enzymes which digest food and then release new elements. Among products of fermentation are gases (methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen) and short-chain fatty acids - new molecules clipped from the more complex digested fiber and food compounds.

Fatty acids like butyric acid, acetic acid, propionic acid and valeric acid have several beneficial physiological effects in the large intestine. These fatty acids make up about 90% of the total fatty acid yield from fermentation in the human body.

When produced by fermentation, short-chain fatty acids - primarily butyric acid, acetic acid and propionic acid - can:

* increase absorption of minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium),
* inhibit growth of pathogens (cancerous tumors, for example) on the intestinal wall by increasing the acidic content (in science, this is called a decreased pH) of the lower large intestine - the colon,
* provide energy substances as food for the mucosal layers of the intestine,
* promote solubility of fatty acids and minerals and so enhance their availability for absorption.

Should the fatty acids from fermentation be transported into intestinal venous blood or absorbed via lymph channels, they reach the systemic circulation and can be deposited in the liver and kidneys where they have useful roles in the functions of those organs. From studies done on isolated liver cells or liver enzymes, for example, some scientists have speculated that fatty acids from fermented fibers have a specific benefit for liver health.

Fatty acids also inhibit cholesterol synthesis and lipid deposition, stabilize circulating glucose levels helpful in management of diabetes and weight control and reduce uric acid levels (and so may relieve gout). All these factors promote health of the cardiovascular and skeletal systems.

A further general benefit is that the health of the digestive tract is maintained by the fermentable fibers providing a food source for intestinal bacteria – the “good” bacteria that maintain normal digestive and waste functions of our intestines. As the largest immune-defense system of our bodies, this implies that dietary fiber contributes significantly to immune health.

Sounds like a balance of soluble fibers is of greater health benefit than resistant starches (aka insoluble)...of course it doesnt say what the ratio should be...which also goes back to my question before of "What is the ratio of soluble/insoluble in natural foods"...looks like more soluble...

Since the fiber serves as food for the bacteria already in the intestine, this is called a “prebiotic” nutrient value, meaning that before the bacteria can serve their main purpose in digestion, producing enzymes that digest food, they must be fed with a substrate they prefer – fermentable fiber.

Berry pectins, inulin, psyllium and xanthan gum are sources of soluble fibers purposefully used in our fiber products to provide this prebiotic function in the normal fermentation process.

Summarizing from the above section, short-chain fatty acids may 1) enhance calcium, magnesium and iron absorption, 2) contribute to lowering blood cholesterol, 3) promote colon health by raising acidity levels, thereby reducing colon cancer risk, 4) afford immune protection through a comprehensive array of intermediate effects within the intestinal systems.

Dr G will be happy I worked in some gut health, probiotics and got off the topic of crapping clay....

Garrett Smith
07-05-2007, 11:38 AM
The moral, yet again:

Eat your veggies (and some fruit).

Is fiber totally necessary for digestive health? I'd say it depends on what one is eating on the whole.

Mike ODonnell
07-05-2007, 03:25 PM
The moral, yet again:

Eat your veggies (and some fruit)

If everyone actually listened to that....we'd all be out of work....and only have the Karma thread....thank god no one listens to the simple and most important stuff....as said over on Dr Eades blog today so nicely...

Problem is that although everyone understands the wisdom of Ben Franklin’s quote, no one wants to buy the ounce of prevention. However, they will pay through the nose for the pound of cure.

Mike ODonnell
01-19-2008, 09:19 AM
A good post on Fiber over at MDA....fit into this discussion nicely from a while back


and along the lines of the African/colon cancer study
Commercial interests were quick to see the potential in the recommendation and jump on the bran wagon. Burkitt's recommendation was based on vegetable fibre, but bran (cereal fibre) has a far higher fibre content and bran was a practically worthless by-product of the milling process that, until then, had been thrown away. Almost overnight, it became a highly priced profit maker. Although totally inedible, backed by Burkitt's fibre hypothesis, bran could now be promoted as a valuable food. But Dr. Hugh Trowell, Burkitt's partner and another strong advocate of dietary fibre, stated in 1974 that:
"A serious confusion of thought is produced by referring to the dietary fibre hypothesis as the bran hypothesis, for many Africans do not consume cereal or bran"

Same take home message....
- Eat fruits and Veg
- Avoid Bran fiber