TOP TWELVE MYTHS ABOUT FIBER
by Konstantin Monastyrsky
The recent popularity of fiber in medicine and nutrition is based on old wives' tales and intentional lies that have little to do with either science or medicine. These lies and tales are retold ad nauseam in medical offices, web sites, diet books, college courses, government pamphlets, and on and on. Tell a lie one time too many, and it soon turns into a pervasive and believable myth. I don't have to tell you, just how dangerous medical doctrines are, when they are built on mythology.
— Fiber is bad? Konstantin, have you gone postal?..
Well, judge for yourself! Find a flaw, or prove
otherwise. If you don't find any, you'll go postal too. If you
continue to have doubts after reviewing the presented facts,
just follow the links to the primary sources, and keep
researching these facts until you are fully convinced that there
is no quoting out of context going on here.
Myth #1: For maximum
health, obtain 30 to 40 g of fiber daily from fresh fruits and
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
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).
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!
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? The answer is obvious—no way!
Well, maybe under the influence of a controlled substance or
torture. But certainly not while of sound mind!
But that's exactly what's being recommended for “health purposes” to American children and adults. It‘s not
surprising that so many are suffering from the ravages of
diabetes and obesity—the total daily carbohydrate requirement
for an average adult is under 200 grams, even less for
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 screwed all the same. Incidentally,
that's the meaning of those brass screws in the cereal
bowl on the front cover of Fiber Menace.
This myth—that fruits and vegetables are the best source of
fiber—is probably the most pervasive and damaging of all. If
fiber is what you‘re really after, you‘re better off getting it
from fiber supplements. These, after all, have almost no
digestible carbs. But, then, of course, you run into those other
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 will first clog
the stomach for a while. Second, it will partially block
intestinal absorption, which, in turn, will extend the rate of
sugar assimilation into the blood, from, let‘s say, one hour to
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 medicine (for type 2
diabetes) to deal with slow-digesting sugars, and your blood
glucose test will not spike as high after the meal.
fooling no one but a glucose meter. In all other respects, the
damage will be all the same, or even worse. That's because the
carbohydrate load on the cells, liver, pancreas, and kidneys
from extended sugar digestion, elevated insulin, and high
triglycerides (assimilated fatty acids) is much
higher. And that‘s even before taking into account the negative
impact of fiber on the digestive organs, or hyperinsulinemia and
the heart, blood vessels, and blood pressure.
the large intestine, most of that fiber will get fermented into
volatile gases (cause bloating, cramping, and flatulence);
short-chain fatty acids (at 2.5 to 4 calories per g, in excess
cause anal itching, diarrhea, and hemorrhoidal inflammation);
and alcohols (at 7 calories per g). Most of those substances get assimilated into your blood as fast as bacteria can make
Now, on top of nauseating gases and extra calories from
fatty acids, you are also getting
hit with alcohols, including methanol, which is quite toxic
even in trace amounts. So if you still can't pin down the causes
of that nagging migraine, or lousy sleep pattern, or anxiety, or
depression, or fatigue, then just shut down that little distillery
inside your gut. 'Sober up,' and enjoy some peace and quiet.
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
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:
Energy-rich meals with a high fat
content increase motility [the rate of intestinal propulsion]; carbohydrates and proteins have no
R.F. Schmidt, G. Thews;
Human Physiology, 2nd edition. 29.7:730
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
Reality: Not true. Here's what doctors-in-the-know
have to say on the subject of the colon cancer/fiber connection:
“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;
April 20, 2000; 342:1149-1155. PMID: 10770979
The excerpt below comes, of all places, from
the Harvard School of Public Health:
“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
Fiber: Start Roughing It
Harvard School of Public Health
Not convinced yet?
Well, here is even more damning evidence from the U.S. Food and
“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
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Office of
Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements; October
Alas, the story
doesn't end there. Adding insult to injury, Chapter 10, 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
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:
“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;
Biomarkers & Prevention;
2004 13: 1283–1289. PMID: 15298947
A similar relationship had been established
between the risk of colorectal cancers and the consumption of
consuming the highest amounts of digestible carbohydrates had a
higher risk for developing colorectal cancer compared with those
eating the lowest amounts.”
Joene Hendry; Reuters Health; June 27, 2002.
Although these studies single 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
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 of fiber's cholesterol-lowering
effect — particularly psyllium — used The American Heart
Association's (AHA) Step I diet.
The Step I 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 I 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 I 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, Konstantin, if my cholesterol goes down?
— Well, there is a legitimate worry, at least,
according to this respected source:
“Although the AHA Step I 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
Amazingly, back in
2001, the AHA replaced the Step I 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.
For more details on this controversy, please watch (video) my investigative report Dietary Fiber: A Heart Savior From Heaven, Or A Death Wish From Hell?
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
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, one of the most prominent proponents of a
Second, once inside the colon, fiber itself gets
fermented by intestinal bacteria. Among the 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
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 fiber fillers you are ingesting unknowingly
along with processed food, it all adds up to epidemics of obesity,
diabetes, and heart disease.
That‘s why I called Fiber Menace's section
that discusses these myths Fiber‘s affect on heart disease: a
bargain with the devil. Indeed!
Myth #8: Fiber
satisfies hunger and reduces appetite.
Reality: That‘s yet another dubious benefit of fiber. 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
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.
When a person becomes overweight beyond the point of no
return, surgeons suture the stretched-out stomach or squeeze it
with a bridle (LAP-BAND©) in order to reduce its capacity and
“speed up” satiety. This particular aspect of fiber‘s impact on
appetite, satiety, and obesity is explained in Chapter 3, Atkins
Goes To South Beach.
As with other “true myths,” it‘s not so much
that “it ain‘t so,” but that filling up the stomach with fiber
is actually not good for health and weight loss.
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:
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 -ed.].
Fiber Menace, p. 25
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
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 that mention
the words “fiber” and “kidney stones” in the same breath. 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
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 carbs. Using this kind of
methodology, one can also conclude that the wearing of black
underpants along with a carb-free diet may prevent kidney
stones, too. Some “science!..."
Myth #10: Fiber
prevents diverticular disease.
The therapeutic and preventative role of
fiber in diverticular disease is steeped in its own mythology.
Let‘s review those myths, as detailed in the article entitled Diverticular Disease by the National Institutes of Health.
For starters, even the opening statement
reveals that the beneficial role of fiber in the prevention and
treatment of diverticular disease is just conjecture (a
theory) without any proof:
“Although not proven, the dominant theory is that a
low-fiber diet is the main cause of diverticular disease.” [link]
Here are the other “dominant” falsehoods from
the same source:
[diverticular] disease was first noticed in the United States in
the early 1900s. At about the same time, processed foods were
introduced into the American diet. Many processed foods contain
refined, low-fiber flour. Unlike whole-wheat flour, refined
flour has no wheat bran.”
Not true. The
“disease was first noticed” in the early 1900s not because of
dietary changes in the American diet, but because in 1895
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen accidentally discovered X-rays. Before
X-rays became commonplace, people were dying from undiagnosed
and unknown internal diseases because there were no non-invasive
diagnostic tools, no exploratory surgeries, and autopsies were
extremely rare. Secondly, since diverticular disease affects
primarily people over 50, dietary changes in the early 1900s
wouldn‘t even show up in people until the late 1930s or early
disease is common in developed or industrialized
countries—particularly the United States, England, and
Australia—where low-fiber diets are common.”
Also common in these countries is watching television, drinking
beer, and driving a car. But just like any other conjecture, it
doesn‘t mean these activities cause diverticular disease.
Diverticular disease is more common in developed Western
countries not because the traditional Western diet is low in
fiber, but because of excessive consumption of fiber and fiber
laxatives. If Westerners consumed even more fiber, the incidence
of diverticular disease would be even higher, as described
in the next myth.
[diverticular] disease is rare in countries such as Asia and
Africa, where people eat high-fiber vegetable diets.”
Not true. (a)
High-fiber diets are prevalent only among the poor and very
poor, usually in rural areas; (b) poor people in these regions
die well before the age commonly associated with diverticular
disease in the West; (c) no reliable healthcare system exists in
rural Africa and Asia to provide reliable and relevant health
statistics regarding diverticular disease; (d) when Africans do
have access to hospitals, doctors have concluded: “The study
shows that the African colon has a number of pathological
lesions contrary to previous reported literature.” (Ogutu EO,
at al; Colonoscopic findings in Kenyan African patients; East
Afr Med J. 1998 Sep;75(9):540-3); and (e) affluent Africans and
Asians consume very little fiber—as is apparent to anyone who‘s
ever visited an authentic Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Thai,
Korean, Indian) or African (Moroccan, Ethiopian, Kenyan, South
African) restaurant, where the dominant dishes are meat, fish,
and sea food, and the side dishes are primarily white rice,
whose fiber content is just 0.4%.
kinds of fiber help make stools soft and easy to pass,”
which is good for diverticular disease.
Insoluble fiber is a bulking laxative. It makes stools large and
hard to pass. That‘s why fiber is called “roughage.” Soluble
fiber is a hyperosmolar laxative and diarrhea-causing agent. It
does make stools watery, but it also causes bowel inflammation,
bloating, and flatulence, and isn‘t suitable for extended use.
also prevents constipation,” which is essential for diverticular
Not true. Fiber DOES NOT prevent
constipation. Just like aspirin can relieve pain, natural and
medicinal fiber can 'relieve' constipation in people because it is
a potent laxative. But fiber can‘t prevent constipation, just
like aspirin can‘t prevent migraines or arthritis. In fact, if
any aspirin manufacturer made such an outlandish claim, the FDA
would shut it down.
that fiber DOES NOT relieve chronic constipation, only sporadic
constipation in healthy people. When a few legitimate attempts
were made to prove fiber‘s effectiveness for “chronic
constipation,” according to the American College of
Gastroenterology Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Task
Force (2005), they really didn‘t pan out as explained in Fiber Menace's Introduction:
there are 3 RCTs [randomized controlled trials] of wheat bran in
patients with chronic constipation, but only 1 is
placebo-controlled. This trial did not demonstrate a
significant improvement in stool frequency or consistency
when compared with placebo—neither did 2 trials that
compared wheat bran with corn biscuit or corn bran.
Philip S. Schoenfeld, MD, MSEd, MSc;
Medscape Today from WebMD
people who are affected by chronic constipation are also likely
to be affected by hemorrhoidal disease and anorectal nerve
damage. In this case, large, rough stools are not only
undesirable, but are outright damaging. if you already have
diverticular disease, your goal is not “large stools more
often,” but small stools without straining, and fiber
is never going to help you accomplish this reasonable and easily
Myth #11: Fiber is
safe and effective for the treatment and prevention of diarrhea.
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
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, inulin,
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 up 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:
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
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy
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
…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
That's 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
laxatives made from psyllium seed husks—contains 2 g of soluble
fiber in 6 capsules. 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 juices,
cereals, yogurts, ice creams, candies, cakes, and all other
processed food consumed on the same day, all loaded with fiber.
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.
God bless our kids. With nutrition like this,
they need a lot of blessings.
Myth #12: Fiber has been
consumed for generations.
Though it may seem as if fibermania has been
around since the Earth was born, its mainstream acceptance as a
health food is actually quite recent. According to Dr. James
Whorton‘s book, Inner Hygiene: Constipation and the Pursuit of Health in Modern Society:
…the ‘dietary fiber
hypothesis,‘ as it was initially known, was put forward in the
1970s, and much of it was accepted as a major addition to
medicine and nutrition by the 1980s.
As the Introduction
to Fiber Menace explains, the original intent for adding
fiber wasn‘t for anyone‘s good health, good stools, or
longevity, but rather to curb sexuality and build 'character.'
Then, in the early 20th century, fiber‘s supposed 'health
benefits' were hijacked by the purveyors of grain cereals, such
All other 'cure-all' benefits of fiber—cholesterol reducer,
heart disease curative, diabetes antidote, cancer preventive—are
recent 'innovations' ruthlessly promoted by the likes of Kellogg
Company (All-Bran®, Raisin Bran®), General Mills
(FiberOne®), and Procter & Gamble, the makers of Metamucil®.
Kellogg Company alone spends over $3.5 billion
annually to promote its immensely profitable products, including
high-fiber ones. Yet not long ago, fiber in cereals — a.k.a. miller‘s or wheat bran — was sold to feedlots as
cattle feed for pennies in a pound. Now, in the best tradition
of P.T. Barnum, this byproduct of industrial milling has become
a curative 'health food.' Paraphrasing Scott Adams — never
underestimate the power of greed.
With so much profit riding on cereals,
laxatives, and fiber-enriched foods, they could declare fiber the
President of the United States if they so desired. Procter &
Gamble, for example, markets Metamucil®
Fiber Capsules Plus Calcium to, among other things,
“build strong bones.” Here is an example of these properties promoted on
Proctor & Gamble's Metamucil® web site (screen capture modified to
fit this page, highlights are mine; click the picture to open actual web
— What is the grossest
irony here (besides other blatant deceptions already deciphered above)?
The soluble fiber in
Metamucil blocks the absorption of fats and fat-soluble
minerals, required for assimilation of fat-soluble vitamin D
minerals, including calcium. So if you take this 'snake oil' to protect
your bones, not only will you not get much calcium from it, you'll
also be suffering a
precipitous loss of calcium from your bones by interfering with
vitamin D absorption.
As you can see, it isn't me who has gone postal
over fiber. I am just a messenger—and a darn lucky one, because
my diet is mercifully fiber-free, and fiber no longer
wrecks my health.
Change will not come any time soon unless
you e-mail a link to this site to your relatives, friends,
colleagues, bosses, elected representatives; your favorite
radio station, television channel, newspaper, and internet columnists; your
children's teachers and school administrators, and, of course,
to your doctors. If you want to effect change, help them to learn the
For a greater impact, consider gifting Fiber Menace to people you love and to people of considerable
influence. Amazon will gladly send your
gift to any person you choose. When people see those brass screws
inside the cereal bowl, they act, because nothing motivates
people as much as fear does for their own health and future. And
that's how you bring about effective change!