Can You Get Too Much Fiber?

Some health care experts believe that eating more than 35 grams of fiber per day may adversely affect vitamin and mineral absorption. While this is technically true, rarely does anyone eat near that amount of fiber. Most of us dont eat even the small amount we need. While it is true that some fibers may absorb calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium, and while the presence of fiber in the intestines may inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients, these effects are present only under extreme conditions. In other words, dont let the fear of becoming nutrient deficient stop you from boosting you fiber intake. This particular phenomenon does not pose a significant threat. The marvelous benefits of fiber far outweigh the remote possibility that you will eat quantities large enough to pose any problem. Remember to add fiber gradually, drink plenty of water and chew your food thoroughly so that the necessary digestive enzymes will be activated in the saliva. Some people believe that taking supplemental digestive enzymes right before eating fiber can cut down on the formation of gas.
Faulty Fiber SourcesSeveral misconceptions exist about certain foods that are thought to be high in fiber. One of the most common is that if you eat a lot of lettuce salads, youre getting plenty of fiber. Lettuce, tomatoes and even celery are not good fiber sources. They are, in fact, much lower in fiber than legumes and whole grains. So while these veggies provide some fiber, by themselves they are an insufficient source. Another misconception is that a food is high in fiber just because the label says wheat, wheatberry, multigrain, natural, fortified, etc. None of these terms means the whole grain has been used. In fact, many products labeled with such terms are mostly comprised of white flour. Even the term whole wheat doesnt necessarily mean that all of the flour used has been milled from the whole grain. Caramel coloring is frequently added to food products to make them appear more natural. Watch out for high-fat baked goods that are disguised as fiber rich foods. Oat-bran doughnuts, cookies or even tortilla chips are commonly high in fat and sugar and notoriously low in oat bran. A New York Times survey showed that some so-called oat bran muffins contain so little oat bran they are virtually useless as a source of fiber. Also, a single bran muffin can contain as much fat as three lunch-size bags of potato chips. Just because it has bran in it doesnt necessarily make it good for you.
Fiber Elimination and DiseaseWeve already discussed the types of diseases which seem to specifically target western cultures. High-fat, high-protein, low-fiber diets exact a devastating toll on our health and will cause thousands of premature deaths and an enormous amount of physical infirmity. Dr. Arbuthnot Lane served as surgeon to the King of England in the early 1900s and spent several years specializing in bowel problems. He noticed that after he removed diseased sections of the bowel, his patients were remarkably and unexpectedly cured of completely unrelated diseases such as arthritis and goiter. From such observations he concluded that there is a causal relationship between a toxic colon and other organs of the body. His advice was to care for the bowel through good nutrition. Dr. Lanes work is receiving validation as scientists today are beginning to understand and accept that the condition of the colon is intrinsically related to all body systems and can potentially affect numerous chronic diseases, including cancer. Zolton P. Rona, M.D., MSc., has stated: . . . many degenerative diseases are brought about by toxins generated in the large bowel. Bacterial flora imbalance, putrefaction of undigested foods, parasitic and yeast infections may be at the bottom of many diseases. Burkitt and Trowell, two doctors famous for their work on the health implications of fiber, express the simple importance of fiber in the following hypothesis: A diet rich in foods which contain fiber or plant cell walls (legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables) can protect the human body against a wide variety of serious diseases which have specifically attacked western cultures. A diet low in fiber or plant cell walls can cause the incidence of these western diseases.

Information provided is intended to provide an electronic reference library about nutrition and health. The views expressed in this or other sections of this site, have not been independently researched or confirmed.
Updated on : 2/19/2012 6:18:52 PM
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