Fiber to Feed NOT Flush

Plant foods contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble portion is dissolvable in water and turns into a gel while passing through, while the insoluble part does not dissolve in water and swells while passing through (adding bulk to your stool). Generally speaking:

Soluble fiber slows digestion speed and insoluble fiber increases it.

Although both (soluble and insoluble) have proven to be important for a healthy digestive tract, it’s easy to see how either one could be detrimental at above-average quantities. Too much insoluble could mean food passing through to quickly and disrupting absorption, while too much soluble could mean constipation for days, and harmful contents of our food penetrating our gut lining, and attacking our immune system.

That is, depending on the current health of your digestive system?


Other than a higher proportion of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut, the health of your digestive system is determined by the integrity of your intestinal lining. And when it comes to fiber type, we know that one source (grains) causes inflammation and digestive distress, while the other (fruits and vegetables) facilitates the absorption of essential nutrients and growth of healthy bacteria.

Sadly, the government’s recommendation to ‘Eat More Fiber’ has us filling up on the source that produces the damage. Meaning those following the advice, and consuming grains frequently, are compromising their gastrointestinal (and overall) health considerably.

When indigestible roughage, like Bran, is consumed REGULARly it results in chronic inflammation and gut permeability.

Inflammation specific to the gut has been implicated for promoting obesity and diabetes, and increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) associated with autoimmune and inflammatory bowel diseases. It also impacts our absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, since the nutrients in our food are absorbed through the walls of our gut.


Whole-grain foods (or seeds of grasses) are a double-whammy because they damage the intestinal lining where nutrients are absorbed, and most of them come equipped with anti-nutrients that prevent nutrient availability.  For example, Bran contains phytates that harm iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc absorption; and have been implicated for compromising reproductive health and causing bone loss in women.

This is likely why one of the world’s leading authority on effects of fiber, David Southgate, suggests that:

Infants, children and pregnant women that have greater mineral needs, should disregard the recommendation to eat more fiber.

The best thing we can do is avoid inflammatory and intestinal damaging foods (whole grains) and consume vegetables (and some fruits) and key fats to feed and support our gastrointestinal system. They not only provide beneficial nutrients without intestinal damage, but in most cases they supply MORE fiber.  With some non-starchy-carbohydrates (i.e. fibrous vegetables) supplying 8 times the fiber of an equivalent amount of whole grains.

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike


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