When Fiber is Unhealthy

We are often reminded how healthy fiber is.  It sweeps our intestines clean, keeps us “regular” and fills us up before we can get to dessert.  Or at least it is supposed to. We don’t question this just like we don’t question the notion that cholesterol causes heart attacks (or does it?).

Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are loaded with a variety of fiber types, which are not always a good thing, at least for some.  Are you often plagued by bloating, gas, cramping, constipation or diarrhea and perhaps acid reflux? Have you been diagnosed with IBS? IBD?  Certain types of fiber and starch can abnormally ferment in the intestine of some people, leading to such digestive turmoil.  This is not healthy.

Problem fibers and sugars are found in beans and peas; whole grains; apples, cherries and some other fruits; dairy and some veggies including onions,  garlic, artichokes, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

The theory is this:  bacteria from your colon have invaded your small intestine (the stop after your stomach).  These organisms ferment the fiber and starch left undigested from your stomach. This produces gas, fluids and thus pressure, which can cause cramping, plus push acids up into your esophagus and slow down, or speed up, elimination.

Low fiber foods such as meats and seafood, fats along with certain fruits (ripe bananas, citrus, berries) and most non-starchy veggies do not feed these gas-producing bacteria and thus do not cause trouble.

If you eat a diet rich in beans, fruits and whole grains and you do not suffer digestive problems, fiber is working for you.  Keep it up!  If you suffer bloating, gas, reflux and other digestive consequences after a bowl of chili and beans, an apple or whole grain bread. email me for a plan to correct the problem.


When Fiber is Unhealthy — 10 Comments

  1. HI Linda, Lately I have been following AIP-auto immune protocol and noticed the inflammation in the form of swollen feeling hands and feet drastically decreased. On that diet you avoid gluten, dairy, legumes, seeds, nuts, nightshades, eggs. I do feel like the nightshades are inflammatory for me. I have been eating a lot of fruit and dried fruit. Needing to gradually add in foods to see what affects me and what doesn’t. Out of the foods listed, are there any you’d say are more inflammatory than others? I miss eggs a lot and occasionally miss the nuts!
    Thank you

    • The most inflammatory foods are of course sugars, but also omega-6 oils such as peanut, soy, corn, safflower….. Meat and dairy from animals raised on grains can be inflammatory, and grass-fed, although healthy and rich in omega 3 fats, oddly in some people can be more inflammatory than others. Peanuts can be inflammatory. Most vegetables (excluding nightshades) are good inflammation fighters. Curcumin/turneric and cod liver oil are highly anti-inflmmatory, almost in the category of a medicine. Hope that helps.

  2. Hi Linda, we have taken in Steve’s oldest grandson (19yoa, he wants to become a resident in Fl and go to college here) and he was recently diagnosed with crohn’s disease. Have you worked with any other clients diagnosed with crohn’s? Would you be willing to take him on as a client? I/we feel I would be a better as part of his support team than his coach due to closeness in our relationship. Any advise would be appreciated, pls call, I would love to connect either way, hugs Tricia 310-498-6249

    He is very willing to learn all he can about his disease. I almost hate he has been diagnosed because he identifies so with his diagnoses. He really wanted to go into the Marines but he is not eligible now because he has crohn’s.

    • Nice to hear from you. Sorry about Steve’s grandson. Yes I do with with crohn’s patients, and he can see relief. I work with diet but also homeopathic remedies for this. A remedy can turn things around. I will give you a call. It will need to be end of next week. Lot’s going on at the moment. You can also email me linda@lindaprout.com. Hope you are well.

  3. I have recently tried a low-carb diet, in which I no longer eat bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and other high-carb foods. Instead, I eat a lot of vegetables; roots, avocado, tomatoes, nuts and also a lot of dairy products such as yougurt and milk. I also eat a lot more fish. I stay off most types of grains and oats.

    Since I started this diet my digestion has improved greatly. I have regular and smooth bowel movements, with no bloating or stomach/rectal pain.

    My questions are: do you believe that my improved digestion is due to the low amount of grains and fiber? And would you say I am missing out on certain nutrients by not eating bread or grains?


    Hans Kr.

  4. Hi Linda, thank you first on your e-mails i get from you. FIBER!!! i have IBS, and i do really well on digestive enzymes before every meal!! this is crucial. i use enzymedica digest gold and for digestion of beans grains and raw veg’s i use enzymedica gastro. i have been using these products for 3 or more years and they are really helping me. I also take HCL to help with stomach acid and Pancreatin. my diet is mostly veg’s/fats/meats-no red meat, occasionaly i will eat fruit, i also eat nuts/seeds (which i soak first) more digestable that way, because if you eat them raw they are enzyme inhibitors.So i do not eat beans or grains (phytic acid) binds with minerals that your body needs. drink lots of water and morning green tea/ little or no alcolol. hope this helps some of your fans, i know you have helped me alot, thank you so much lori

  5. Hi Linda , I love reading your blogs. You are still right on!
    I have been fighting this disease for years. I am pretty GF. I do eat veggies, fish &chicken. Sometimes white pork. ( not often ). I get bloating along with gas which is not controllable when I walk. I have taken pro-biotics, gas pills, never eat dairy..at all. Can not tolerate butter. I would love to e rid of this problem. Any suggestions? I will be back in the states on the weekend.
    Sandi kramer

    • I would need to know more to help you, but not tolerating butter suggests your gallbladder is not doing it’s job. Eating low fat for too long can make the bile sluggish, then it doesn’t get to where it needs to be for digestion. You may need digestive enzymes or a good bitters formula. Email me.

  6. Hi LInda…you have spoken to me! I’m doing Weight Watchers mainly because it’s easy to do online and makes portion control a snap. Not eating their packaged foods…but as always, I’m plagued with gas, etc. Is lactose free yogurt and lactose free kefir good? Any and all suggestions are welcome in what to eat and what to avoid in regards to gas, bloating, reflux and diarrhea. Hope that you are well…Lisa

    • I think you are sensitive to a number of foods. The best way to know is to avoid culprits for a week, then add ONE back in at a time and see how you do. Go dairy-free and gluten-free and fruit-free for 1 week, then add back in one food, such as goat kefir, and see how you feel. Aren’t you getting a lot of gluten with WW? That is one of the problems with their program – I believe they still recommend regular breads. Good that you are avoiding their packaged foods!

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