Many people, myself included feel that while dietary fiber may provide some benefits, it may also cause harm. for example in this study people on a high fiber diet were more likely to develop diverticulosis.
A recent study on mice showed that mice who were born with no bacteria in their guts and then had human gut bacteria introduced into their guts had significant gut problems if they were not given a high fiber diet.
Soon afterwards here come blogs like this one, suggesting that everyone needs to eat tons of fiber to protect their guts.
First, as a retired family medicine physician who does not eat any fiber and feels the data he has reviewed suggests that fiber is more harmful than beneficial, let me address my concerns about this experiment.
The first mistake in my opinion is that rather than taking a sample of a healthy diverse functioning human gut biome, including the thousands of different bacteria, protozoa and yeast found in a normal human gut, they choose 14 specific bacteria. The bacteria mentioned prefer to get their energy from fermenting carbohydrates found in fiber. However, in the gut of pure carnivores there are bacteria that prefer protein and fat sources for their fuel source and appear to do an equal job of nourishing the carnivore who eats no fiber as the fermenters in plant eating animals do for them. So had they included this type of bacteria, the outcome might have been very different.
Mice of course naturally prefer to eat plant material. And so it is not surprising that a high fiber diet would suit them the best as this is what they have consumed in nature for millions of years and evolved to thrive on. However in this video, Dr. Michael Eades gives a very clear and concise summary of the scientific evidence showing the humanoid line has evolved to primarily eat meat over the last 1.5 million years. I would love to see these scientists perform this same experiment on a similar carnivorous animal like a snake.
The cautionary tale here and the reason I’m passionately writing this blog post is that generalizing dietary recommendations to humans from vegetarian animal studies has gotten us into deep trouble from which we have not yet recovered. Specifically, it was the seeds of the “Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease Theory” or “Low Fat Hypothesis”, which in my opinion is clearly no longer supported by the evidence (See Nina Teicholz book “The Big Fat Surprise) From my study of the data, this hypothesis was almost certainly responsible for the increase in the use of sugar, high carbohydrate foods and pro-inflammatory polyunsaturated seed oils like soy and canola oil in the Western diet which I feel have been responsible for the worsening epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and cancer we have seen since dietary guidelines vilified foods containing saturated fat and Cholesterol based on the Low Fat Hypothesis.
This article shows the chronology of the rabbit studies showing a diet high in Cholesterol led to fatty deposits on the inside of rabbit arteries similar to those seen in the arteries of humans with heart disease. It did not seem to phase the researchers that rabbits normally consume no Cholesterol in their diets and thus might not have evolved mechanisms for getting rid of excess Cholesterol or the fact that these rabbits did not develop heart disease and lived as long as normal rabbits. This was the seed of the “Low Fat Hypothesis” that did the health of the Western World so much damage.
There are many examples of human populations who ate little to no fiber in their diets and thrived for thousands of years before coming into contact with the Western diet and then developed the chronic disease of the Western world like diabetes, heart disease and cancer after adopting their high carbohydrate diets. The Inuit in Alaska and the Maasai in Africa are probably the best documented. That is why I personally have not consumed anything that contained significant amounts of fiber on my Zero Carb diet of meat, eggs, cheese and butter for 601 days as of this writing and have been at goal weight of 6’1″ and 157 lbs for the last four months and stable. I have great bowel health and regularity, I sleep better than I ever have, have had no illnesses since starting Zero Carb, and I am much more energetic than I was 20 years ago.
If you do choose to include fiber in your diet, I hope you will try to include a lot of fatty meat and avoid sugar and starchy foods as these will in time lead to significant health problems. This is discussed in detail on my Homepage.