Fiber and Health

Taking a short break from book writing as the proofers proof. Saw this article and thought it was fitting.

Blow to low carb diet as landmark study finds high fibre cuts heart disease risk

Here’s a review of a study that says fiber is important to our overall health. Nowhere in this multi-page essay do they mention gut bacteria or even the gut flora, probiotics, or prebiotics. This shows that the mainstream public thinks fiber is “just some roughage.” But they are trying to get the message out. Most people must not care about gut flora like we do around here. So it gets presented in the most basic form possible.  Eat “special” “fiber,” get “better” “health”!

Sugar is a “bad” carbohydrate, but fibre is found in “good” carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread and oat-based muesli. However, the overwhelming backlash against sugar has led to popular diets that reject carbohydrates, including the fibrous sort that can, say the scientists, save lives.

I have been saying this nearly a decade now! In the rush to avoid gluten or go paleo, we are missing out on the wholesome fiber-rich staples our ancestors evolved on.

But nobody cares. The diet world is just clickbait. Millions being spent to make us click on an ad, or even just look at an ad.

But he said it would not end the “diet wars”, because there were so many vested interests involved. “It’s twofold. There is the commercial vested interest, which there is an enormous amount of from chefs and celebrity chefs and so on. And there is also the professional vested interest.” This included some doctors and scientists, he said.

This hits the nail on the head. People with a vested interest keep fad diets alive even when the evidence suggests that it is harmful in the long run. Every diet needs to shift their recommendations towards more fiber, even if that means more carbs. Besides just carbs and fiber, whole grains and tubers are filled with an unbelievable array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more. To ban these two mega-foods is outlandish.

The entire argument here boils down to one simple agenda:

The review found that we should be eating at least 25g to 29g of fibre a day, with indications that over 30g is even better. Most people in the world manage less than 20g.

That’s it. That’s what the fight is all about. Someone wants everyone to eat 5-10 grams more fiber every day. That’s all. Adding that small amount could save lives. This is what my whole “resistance starch” craze was all about. Adding just a bit of fermentable fiber is the difference between good and bad health.

That’s it.

Why so difficult? Because if the dieting public realizes that they need things missing from their current diet plan, they’ll run away and never come back. In this case, it’s the low carb/KETO world that is keeping people scared of bread, potatoes, and grains.  The Keto-crew do not want to see people lined up at Great Harvest Bread Co.  Or reading The Potato Hack. If there’s a carb that can be recognized, it’s a potato. Low carber’s enemy #1. Next to it is a loaf of whole-grain bread. Both labeled, “Sugar.”

Rant over.




33 thoughts on “Fiber and Health

  1. “it’s the low carb/KETO world that is keeping people scared of bread, potatoes, and grains.”

    Bread always seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one had, we are told that refined carbohydrates are bad for us. On the other hand, many traditional cultures, like the Swiss population studied by Weston Price, thrived on a staple of slow-fermented rye bread & raw milk / yogurt / cheese. It seems to me the real issue is not grains but how they’re prepared.


    1. Price was studying tooth health, let’s not forget this.
      The Swiss population definitely was NOT thriving on their diet, in fact they did – until the government started iodizing table salt in 1922 – have many goiters and also high numbers of people with cretinism etc. from iodine deficiency.


      1. This is the link that provides info on the Swiss population Weston Price studied

        “The people of the Loetschental Valley make up a community of two thousand who have been a world unto themselves. They have neither physician nor dentist because they have so little need for them; they have neither policeman nor jail, because they have no need for them. The clothing has been the substantial homespuns made from the wool of their sheep. The valley has produced not only everything that is needed for clothing, but practically everything that is needed for food. It has been the achievement of the valley to build some of the finest physiques in all Europe. This is attested to by the fact that many of the famous Swiss guards of the Vatican at Rome, who are the admiration of the world and are the pride of Switzerland, have been selected from this and other Alpine valleys.”

        ” The nutrition of the people of the Loetschental Valley, particularly that of the growing boys and girls, consists largely of a slice of whole rye bread and a piece of the summer-made cheese (about as large as the slice of bread), which are eaten with fresh milk of goats or cows. Meat is eaten about once a week. In the light of our newer knowledge of activating substances, including vitamins, and the relative values of food for supplying minerals for body building, it is clear why they have healthy bodies and sound teeth.”

        Doesn’t sound like a population that wasn’t thriving


        1. I would really like to know how the people of Loetschentasl Valley are faring today. I’ll bet they are not as healthy as they once were, if they have gone down the road we have all gone down: of eating ever more highly processed items from the supermarket.


  2. I occasionally post on Twitter or FB that I’ve not found a healthy traditional culture that didn’t have either a source of probiotics (via fermented foods and/or soil-based bacteria from imperfectly-washed food) or prebiotics from some kind of food. The prebiotic sources are often disregarded or missed because they aren’t a source of calories so their importance in the diet isn’t credited.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m on MyFitnessPals’ forums and there was some buzz about this today, so the news is getting out there about fiber and how beneficial it is. Several posters were commenting how they were going to start tracking fiber now, so it’s a start at least 🙂


    1. I think the fiber recommendations need to be completely overhauled. The “30g” everyone talks about doesn’t distinguish between prebiotic, fermentable type fiber and basic cellulose, non-fermentable fiber. 15-20g of fermentable fiber is best, and comes from potatoes, rice, and beans especially when cooked and cooled. Also green bananas, raw potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, oats, whole grains, etc.

      I think the hope is that if someone eats 30g total, there will be a good percentage of fermentable type. But if people are eating fiber-fortified crackers and bread, they might be fooling themselves. If taking a cellulose supplement like Metamucil or FiberCon, you are definitely not getting the right type of fiber.

      But it’s a start!


        1. I think keto diets affect people’s brains. Nobody has ever said that cooling potatoes or pasta eliminates ALL the starch, only a small percentage. For people trying to just get an extra 5-10g of fiber, this works perfectly. For people trying to avoid all carbs, it makes little difference. To satisfy his curiosity about the “magic” of RS creation from cold temps, all the good “doctor” has to do is Google it. No magic, just staling.

          His warnings to diabetics falls on deaf ears. Any diabetic knows to check BG after meals and adjust accordingly. Diabetics on keto diets must be a special kind of person.


  4. Hey Tim,

    Does the Gut Garden Resistant Starch blend get your nod of approval? I’ve wanted to try a blend of fibers like that. I know real food is the best place to get fiber. But there’s a lot of chewing involved, and honestly I’m a bit lazy sometimes…..LoL


    1. Gut Garden is good, a bit expensive, you can make your own blend just as easy, but it’s convenient. I like to add a scoop of potato starch or Hi-maize to smoothies that I make not-too-often. Otherwise, I eat lots of beans, cooked and cooled potatoes, raw potato slices now and then, green bananas, and oatmeal. I think adding Gut Garden or the other powders to a diet that’s not so good will help it be better, but still need to avoid the big junk food items and eat a lot of high-fiber foods.


      1. Thanks for the reply Tim! Let me ask you about a stupid paranoia I have. I think it’s Left over from my Paleo is the only way days. Should I be worried about sugar in things like a serving of Bobs steel cut oats or a serving of plain me Kefir? I’m on a real food diet. I avoid wheat and processed sugar, and that’s about it-ish. Let me know what you think. Smack me if you need too…..


        1. *Smack*

          Natural sugar is never bad unless you are on a low-carb diet and tracking carbs. Wheat is only bad if it’s refined or you have celiac disease. Whole wheat is a very healthy food, ie. whole wheat bread, pasta, etc… The “wholer” the better, some whole-wheat bread is just marketed that way and contains only a fraction of whole wheat.


          1. Thanks Tim!

            Wow! It’s been a minute. Thanks! I needed the smack.

            So back to the Gut Garden thing. What doing think aboot just mixing green banana flour, inulin powder, and potato starch? You know just mixing the powder myself.


  5. The low carb community is remarkably silent on the whole microbiome thing, despite it being the hottest thing in science. And it’s not difficult to understand why. Their diet is inherently inferior in this regard.

    After years of blogs, podcasts, nutrition twitter and pubmed, I’ve made the following conclusions on what diet choices matters for health: don’t eat too much, get adequate protein if you work out, and care for the microbiome.

    Caring for the microbiome is what will have the most impact on health.


      1. Yes, theoretically it could be high in fiber. In reality though, for most it’s very low in fiber.

        It will however never be optimal for gut health, even with great effort, due to cutting out so much beneficial foods.

        Chasing ketones is a common pitfall, it leads many to cut out even the few remains of berries and vegetables that are left, to get carbs even lower.

        And of course there’s the pseudoscientific crap about antinutrients and healing effects of animal fats.

        I think for someone to get sucked into LCHF, unless their previous diet was a complete disaster, they might end up worse than before.


        1. RobertAnd – Yes, I think just about anything is better than the standard American diet. LCHF might even be OK if used for a very short term “shake-up” sort of diet, but definitely not as a long-term diet.


      2. I have noticed that the Carnivore diet is taking hold for many with autoimmune diseases. I understand the principle (well not really) but can’t wrap my head around it!


        1. The carnivore (AKA zero carb) diet is the ultimate elimination diet especially for those with serious autoimmune & digestive issues. It essentially eliminates, for a period of time, all the potential allergens and one essentially consumes just red meat (beef & lamb), chicken, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), and pork. Once the issues start to improve, the key is to add back foods slowly to see which ones do (or don’t) cause issues.

          Having said that, many who have tried this way of eating who have achieved remarkable health improvements. have decided to continue eating strict carnivore for many years without any issue. Only way to find out is if you try it for yourself. I wouldn’t write it off entirely.


          1. How long does it take for deficiencies to rear its ugly head? Will they be honest and tell us when it happens? You only read about the success stories, not the failures. I intuitively know that I can’t eat a meat only diet. My constipation would get get extremely worse. I need vegetables to keep me somewhat “normal.


            1. JotB I took one for the team and went carnivore for 10 days. As to constipation? The opposite happened. 4th day I had the first BM. It was smooth and no problem. 6th day I had another. 7th I went first think in the a.m. as usual. Went grocery shopping and while in the store, experienced an ‘oh oh’ sensation. Didn’t want to foul up their washroom so made it home. JUST. Day 8 I ate some vegetables along with the animal proteins. Day 10: explosive liquid…… very stinky stuff.
              So that was the end of my experiment. I can’t be running to the
              toilet all the time and it was also burning a bit.

              I read that it can be because the diet is higher in fat than normal but I doubt it’s that. Supposedly maybe the gall bladder can’t keep up. But this wasn’t undigested fat coming out. I’ve done a 14 day all oily fish diet a few years back and nothing adverse happened. I think it’s the meat itself. Possibly the meat digesting enzymes are not able to cope with the load. Does not happen with eggs because I can eat 6 eggs per day several days in a row and no explosions.

              So that’s my n = 1.

              I now bow out. 😉 Performance over. No encores.


                1. I felt fine. On day three I lost a lot of water as urine. All of a sudden my clothes got looser.
                  Hypothetically it’s an easy diet from a meal planning perspective.
                  In my case though the diarrhoea got the better of me. Some claim
                  it goes away after a month………well, that’s a long time when a person
                  goes to work.


  6. I saw this same article, and had pretty much the same thoughts. Fiber and gut health don’t sell diet books and consulting — pinhead oats, lentils, and potatoes are cheap!

    Still, I agree the message is valuable. Folks eating the SAD, very much so, but folks on the typical Paleo train (me included, years back) can be misdirected by initial success.

    I recall in my best Paleo days, looking askance when a coworker mentioned avoiding potatoes, since they were “carby.” Even in those days, I ate potatoes, since they were economical, and I rationalized, vitamin rich, and in retrospect, this makes me chuckle (or cringe) even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, fiber is making its rounds again. They always miss the obvious: resistant starch. For instance in the article,
      “Well, a banana on its own weighs about 120g but that’s not pure fibre. Strip out everything else including all the natural sugars and water, and you’re left with only about 3g of fibre.”
      But that same banana, while still partly green, contains 15g or more of RS, an even better fiber than most.


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