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Why is fiber such a menace to your health?

Fiber Menace: The Truth About the Leading Role of Fiber in Diet Failure, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, and Colon Cancer.

You might be surprised to find out that the original intent behind fiber consumption wasn‘t the betterment of your health, but the suppression of sexuality! As this book explains, fiber has indeed succeeded at rendering a great many men and women sexually dysfunctional.

That's why just a generation ago, avoiding fiber was the quintessence of prudent nutrition. Caring parents everywhere, American and European alike, were earnestly peeling fruits (apples, peaches, pears, prunes) and skinning vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) before giving them to children or eating them themselves.

The French and Italians still do it. And the Japanese diet is practically fiber-free. Americans, on the other hand, are urged to consume 30 to 40 grams of dietary fiber daily, regardless of their age and health.

Many heed this advice (some with a vengeance), assuming there can‘t be too much of a good thing. The outcome is predictable: a pandemic of digestive disorders, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and obesity. These problems are worse in the United States than in any other Western country.

All this seems hard to believe until you actually begin examining the role of fiber in human nutrition, Thus, the point of Fiber Menace isn't telling you what to eat, but what not to eat and why. Here is a chapter-by-chapter summary of what's under the cover along with a sprinkle of readers' reviews (full names are omitted for medical privacy reasons):

Fiber Menace Cover

Introduction: Thou Shalt Not Eat Any Abominable Thing

Second Opinion...

Weston A. Price Foundation “My training as a physician included many hours of nutrition, but fiber was only mentioned in regards to the effects of a deficiency. Never once did any of my professors consider the possibility that too much of what has always been considered a good thing' could have such harmful or far-reaching consequences. The author's detailed description of the trauma imposed to the gastrointestinal mucosa by the expanding fiber is a vivid reminder that returning to the basics of GI function and logically thinking through what our bodies actually are designed to do with the food we eat, should be the first step on anyone's journey to recovery from digestive disorders. Thanks to the insights in this book I have slowly begun to change my approach to common patient symptoms, which I traditionally would have treated by suggesting increased fiber and more water to correct! So far the results are promising.” Dr. John Turner, DC, CCSP, DIBCN
March 2, 2007
[link]

Reality check: The Stats Behind Fiber's Disaster

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't dream up the number of digestive disorders affecting Americans in my worst nightmares. Unfortunately, it's all too true. No wonder we have the costliest healthcare system in the world. Here are some facts from the back cover:

Footnotes About Fiber

The epidemiological statistics cited on the back cover was obtained from the following sources:

1. Every tenth adult American (over 21 million*) has been diagnosed with an ulcer at least once in his or her life­time.

Number of noninstitutionalized adults with diagnosed ulcers: 14.5 million” “Percent of noninstitutionalized adults with diagnosed ulcers: 6.8%

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults, 2003, tables 7, 8;

2. Every fifth American (up to 60 million*) suffers from irritable bowel syndrome.

In fact, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects approximately 10-20% [30 to 60 million – ed.] of the general population.

About Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS);
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders;

3. Every second adult over age fifty (about 38 million*) is affected by hemorrhoidal disease.

Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women. About half of the population have hemorrhoids by age 50.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse,
a service of the National Institutes of Health;
Hemorrhoids; NIH Publication No. 02–3021; Feb. 2002;

4. Every second adult over age sixty (about 23 million*) suffers from diverticular disease.

About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse,
a service of the National Institutes of Health
Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis; NIH Publication
No. 04–1163; 4/04

5. Depending on who‘s counting, over 80 million* Americans endure chronic constipation.

The exact prevalence of constipation depends on the definition used; prevalence estimates range from 2% to 28%.

Talley NJ; Definitions, epidemiology,
and impact of chronic constipation;
Rev Gastroenterol Disord. 2004;4
Suppl 2:S3-S10. PMID: 15184814;

6. Besides impaired digestion, over 137 million* adult Americans are overweight or obese…

Results from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults [over age 20 – ed] are either overweight or obese.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity Among  Adults:
United States, 1999-2002;

*To calculate population breakdown:
U.S. Census 2000; Age Groups and Sex:  2000

Author's note

As you can see, fiber's toll on our health is huge. On a purely statistical level, fiber causes more harm and death than tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs combined.

Not surprisingly, just as in the case of the tobacco industry, those who benefit most from peddling fiber will keep squeezing every penny of profit out of it for as long as they can weasel their way around the truth.

And why not? Baking cereals from cattle chow (bran), or making laxatives from chicken feed (psyllium) is as profitable as minting money. No, probably more profitable!

Another aspect of this tragedy is even scarier. Just as tobacco keeps a substantial slice of the medical industry gainfully employed, patching up fiber's shenanigans makes it rich. So why stop the windfall?

It's really true “YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. Read with an open mind & consider, just consider, the possibility of trying something totally new with your diet to change around your symptoms & bring gut healing. My desperation was so bad I was willing to try anything, and it was that open attitude that lead me to healing through the methods in this book. Good luck.” M.K, Chicago

Fortunately, there is hope. This is an institutional problem, not a professional one. The absolute majority of honest, hard-working, and honorable doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, and dietitians are as victimized by fiber-related deception as their patients.

So while I am critical of many aspects of medicine, it doesn't imply that I am critical of medical professionals wholesale. Just like you can't blame a soldier for carrying out his generals' orders, you can't blame individual doctors for abiding by established guidelines.

Once, when I was presenting a lecture on a related subject, one lady in the audience got up and said:

Mr. Monastyrsky, what you are saying irks me, but, as a physician, I can't find a single flaw with it.

If ever I need a doctor, I'd like to be treated by an introspective and honest doctor just like her. This excerpt from Fiber Menace represents some even more nuanced discussions of this complicated subject.

So, if you want change, please, point out this site to medical professionals in your life, or give Fiber Menace to read to your physician or pediatrician. That's how the change will come—one good doctor at a time!

Konstantin Monastyrsky