Episode #203: Why Fiber Is Bad

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Nutrition, Podcast

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Aug 8, 2012 free podcast: Why Fiber Is Bad. Also: electrolyte intake and your sweat, how to heal an ankle injury quickly, changing the consistency of your stool, ways to exercise in an airport, how often should you eat, are Lion Heart Supplements good, healthy ways to flavour drinking water, why certain oils are dangerous, and learning to feel hungry during a race.

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Listener Q&A:A donate button that reads - keep the podcasts coming

As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Audio Question from Paul:
He just raced Vineman. He knows that you, Ben,  have been racing without electrolytes. Do you think that when you are not taking in electrolytes during the race that you will not be secreting salt like everyone else?

Audio Question from Alberto:
8 weeks ago he sprained his ankle badly. Has a tear, bone concussion and some strained ligaments. Started swimming and riding last week but still can't run and… he is doing Kona! He needs to recover fast!

~ In my response to Alberto, I recommend: Phenocane, Capraflex, and Aqua Jogging. Also take a look at the injury recovery section of Everything I Have Ever Recommended.

Audio Question from Ben:
Digestion and elimination. He is a martial artist and a weight lifter. Was a high carb paleo isn't anymore. Has incorporated grains, sprouts, etc… His morning bowel movements are explosive (it isn't diarrhea but the urge to go comes on quickly and there is a feeling of he'd be in trouble if he weren't at home) and make a pile vs. a log. He usually poops one more time in the afternoon around 3-4pm. Has heard logs are better than piles. Wants to know how to firm up his stool. He has no problems like stomach aches, gas, loud stomach, etc. He feels fine all the time! He thinks he does all the so-called “right things” and yet still is having poorly formed poo! PS: He has never eaten breakfast. He eats lunch and dinner so he gets all his calories in two meals (about 3000 calories daily).

~ In my response, I mention this Bristol stool scale, eliminating FODMAPS as much as possible, and also the book: “Fiber Menace“. Brock mentions Scientific American's Fiber Boosts Bowel Beneficial Bacteria.

Horacio writes:
Hi Ben, odd question coming: I happen to travel on planes very frequently so I spend a lot of hours in airports and there are no gyms there (perhaps a biz opportunity?). What good workouts can be done when I have a good 2-3 hours of waiting for my next flight? (while avoiding being deported for public disorder).

~ In my response to Horatio, I recommend www.airportgyms.com and the MostFit Suspension Strap. I also mention any of my 10 minute workouts and PEAR.

Anderson asks:
I was listening to some old episodes and I remember that you said in one of them that we have to eat every 1.5 – 3 hours to have the “thermogenic effect” of food. But on the Fat Loss Secrets Seminar you said we don't need to have a lot of snacks, elevate the blood sugar all the time, there's no evidence of benefits of this practice. So, how many meals should I eat? I don't know if that changes something but I have skinny genetics and want to gain muscle. Of course I know I need to lift some weights.

~ In  my response, I mention the article Snacking Will NOT “Boost Your Metabolism”.

Giles says:
I have found an online health supplement company here in the UK, Lion Heart Supplements, and wanted to get your take on the “super smoothie mix” the guy is touting. The reviews for it are great and plenty of, pardon the terminology, tree hugger types seem to rave about it. Could I ask your opinion of whether this could be a good product to include in my diet.

Bert asks:
Your comments on diet soda have me motivated to drop my litre to two litre a day habit… don't think I can go straight to water. I have seen a few of these new “water additives” like Mio. Let me add this variable: I need the solution to be easy. If it isn't easy, I most likely won't make the lifestyle transition; which sounds odd as I used to weight 310 lbs and could not walk to the end of the street but am now a 3:20 marathon runner. The key for me was that I made one “easy” change at a time.

Cameron asks:
You answered a question a while ago about other fats that would be good to include in her diet by discussing the smoke point, saturation level and propensity for oxidation during cooking and/or for colder uses. One thing struck me though. You said to avoid fats that are “completely unsaturated” and “don't have any of the hydrogens” like canola, corn and sunflower oil. My understanding is that these fatty acids have omega 3's, 6's, 9's but no more than three double bonds per fatty acid. That means that all of the rest of the hydrogens (26 out of 30) are still there. Considering that, when I look at the composition of fatty acids in canola, safflower and sunflower the composition of specific monounsaturated fatty acids are different but not substantially. Is it possible that for cold applications each of these oils are perfectly fine?

~ In my response I mention these videos:

How canola oil is made:

How butter is made:

Emily asks:
I was wondering if you were familiar with “healing touch”. I have heard there has been some research but I'm not sure how legitimate the studies are. Also, I struggle with eating enough during long runs, marathons or longer. I typically don't eat gels during training and try to supplement during races. They don't upset my stomach I just don't like eating while running. Have any recommendations on liquids or mental techniques to push myself to eat enough. I've noticed that I do sometimes get irritable towards the end of long runs, which I've heard you mention can be a sign of low blood sugar.

Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!

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14 thoughts on “Episode #203: Why Fiber Is Bad

  1. Since this show has gone to poop anyway, I will share that I have been using psyllium husk powder (unflavored) as an additive to quinoa in the morning, or yogurt, or occasionally as the traditional gloppy drink (flavored with lemon juice and stevia). Of course, I've been doing this because of the ever-present recommendations to "get more fiber in your diet." Since I track my daily food intake, I had noticed my fiber value was "low," so I decided to increase it in this way.

    I had read about fiber removing nutrients from the food we eat, and the GI side-effects of too much fiber. So I decided that I would stay at or below 100% of the "recommended" amount" (38 grams based on the site I use, caloriecount.about.com). I'm not sure if it's the psyllium husk powder in particular, or this amount of fiber from any source, but I have noticed a lot more frequent and smelly gas, which made me stop and think when I heard Ben talk about the fermentation caused inside the gut by fiber consumption. If the use of fiber for GI health is not valid, then I would be perfectly happy supplementing with probiotics and prebiotics instead. So would everyone around me, if you know what I mean.

  2. Ben, can you tell us the name of the products that you use for flavoring water again?

    1. Weird. I typed more than that and it' disappeared!

      Love the podcasts. Keep up the good work!

      Roland .

  3. louis says:

    I notice that peas dont break down to well when on the bowl ,so think it may be a good calorie reducing ingredient ,Any1 know of anything similiar that dosnt break down easily that could be used as a bulking agent to give a full feeling ??

    1. Any bulking agent is going to create issues Louis. You should look for ways to reduce appetite that go beyond fiber, such as amino acids, electrolytes, staying hydrated, or gum!

  4. drsamg says:

    Excellent show. Regarding the discussion of fiber, I think it is important to point out that not all fiber is the same.

    Fiber can differ in their chemical structure making them ionic or nonionic or more commonly studied- soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber is likely the dietary source that remains undigested in the intestines. I assume this is what has been shown to have a negligible impact on the gut health, cancer prevention and cardiovascular wellness as was pointed out in the show.

    Soluble fiber (ex: β-glucan, pectin, guar gum and psyllium) have clearly shown a benefit in lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), lowering the glycemic index and aids in digestion improved biliary excretion.

  5. Lance says:

    Any podcast that goes into depth on poo is golden. Keep up the great work.

  6. Anderson says:

    Thanks for answering my question.
    Like you said on the Get Fit Guy's book, snacking can be good for ectomorphs because we need a significant amount of calories.
    Great job on the podcast and the book, I'm enjoying and learning a lot!

  7. Kem Johnson says:

    Thanks for the videos… I will continue to NOT put canola oil in my body. We keep a bottle for bloat treatment for the cattle in spring, though. It's cheap, effective and a oncer.

    Butter is just too good to not eat lots of.

    btw, healing touch is a widely used and scientifically discredited general healing modality. Like reiki, you can do it over the phone…. how good is that?

    1. Some scientifically discredited seems to work!

    2. Great video on canola oil. It's crazy what we put in our bodies. Butter = better!

  8. Kem Johnson says:

    Those dumps sound like mine. Should I blame all the vegies SHE makes me eat, that nightly half bottle of shiraz, or all that kefir and saurkraut. I dunno, it's quick and easy (and didn't stink until I had a wheat lapse last week). My bad. I won't do that again!

    1. I wish I got a nightly half bottle of Shiraz.

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