The People's Perspective on Medicine

Could High-Fiber Diet Have Hazards?

High fiber diets are usually recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle. Not only are they supposed to prevent constipation, there is a belief that they are beneficial for both heart health and colon cancer prevention.

New research at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, suggests, however, that there may be a downside to this way of eating. Research in mice has shown that a high-fiber diet makes them more susceptible to toxins produced by disease-causing E. coli bacteria.

The researchers do not recommend that people avoid high-fiber diets, but they do caution that bacterial contamination of fruits and vegetables may be especially dangerous for people who consume lots of extra fiber.

 [PNAS, online May 20, 2013]

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
0- 0 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 6 comments
Comments
Add your comment

I agree totally. I used to eat a lot of fiber and when I complained about bowel function I was told to “eat more vegetables.” My children could hardly believe anyone said that to ME. Fiber can become matted and cause a blockage. Too much of “a good thing” is NOT always wonderful. Moderation in all things. Drinking water can help, but sometimes it just makes more urine.
Digestive enzymes, betaine HCI help to break down food, as does eating slowly and chewing well. Probioitics help to crowd out the bad bacteria. Eat to enjoy your food, and don’t exclude fats, and then you won’t eat so much as to overwhelm the digestive system. God made us to eat food, not to swallow pills. It’s hard to understand why doctors think that chronic diseases are caused by the lack of laboratory-invented drugs.

I totally agree with you jn. I’ve been saying for years and years we are not supposed to be eating as much fiber as ‘they’ claim we need. A lot of fiber is for horses and cows. Do we want bellies like that? Another fact: cats and dogs don’t need all that fiber either, but look at which bags of food are higher in fiber…the cheap ones and the ones that are sold to people led to believe their animals need their veggies. Before someone lays into me, I am not saying we don’t need any fiber, we just don’t need as much as they have been telling us. We would be healthy with far less.

This is just another example of 1) no one really seems to know beans about anything because every day you hear about how wrong what we have been told in the past is.
2) Everything in life is toxic, so you just have to make your own risk/benefit analysis
3) There is not enough research in the natural and alternative medicine areas; all the grant funding is provided by big pharma so they can peddle outrageously priced products that mostly shorten our lives while providing huge profits.
But, I will continue to eat my whole oat grain cereal with blueberries and walnuts because I enjoy it and can nurture the supposed “truth” that I am actually doing something to improve my health. This kind of “research” should be directed at finding
out what is really worthwhile, not debunking anything that condemns alternative diets
and gobbling $500 a day of the pills that really WILL kill you!

Joe and Terry thanks for this article. I knew this so called healthy high fiber fruits and veggies were bad for you. I am going on pork rind diet as it is the only safe thing we have in this country, I pray the government does not take away pork rinds.

But how great is the e coli risk versus a low fiber diet with lots of refined carbs?

The really nasty e coli comes from feedlot beef, fed acid suppression drugs to allow them to eat the corn that their bodies don’t know how to process. e coli flourishes in a lower acid system.
So without knowing the relative acid-suppression status of the people in this study, the data is only marginally useful.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^