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Can Too Much Fiber Cause Constipation?

Today I want to talk about a very important topic when it comes to a common constipation treatment I’m sure you’ve used, probably many time, which has a glittery appearance but is down-right dangerous.

The suspect in question is ‘fiber’.

What are the side-effect of fiber intake? Is fiber doing you more bad than good? Can too much fiber cause constipation?

Now, there is no doubt that the gut is the front line of health.

Housing 100 trillion bacteria from thousands of different species weighing several pounds that contribute 70%-80% of the body’s immune system, the gut is where the rubber meets the road.

A gut that is operating properly has a musosal layer that promotes and supports friendly bacteria, whilst providing a critical barrier to pathogenic bacteria.

When this protective layer is damaged, all of a sudden the intestine becomes incredibly vulnerable to infectious disease and gut dysbiosis from pathogenic bacteria.

Not only this, but the gut is also swarmed by a heavy load of toxins from other sources too. Research indicates that the average person eats around 5,000 to 10,000 different plant toxins, which end up totalling 1500mg a day, plus around 2000 mg of burnt toxins generated from cooking.

This is not an easy feat for the gut lining to endure, especially when it has already been compromised by exposure to processed foods, pollution, poor sleep, stress, and other detrimental forces. This polluted digestive environment now supports the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria and the ability to overthrow this ‘bad’ bacteria with ‘good’ bacteria

A unhealthy digestive system is at the heart of all cases of constipation.

But what the hell happens when the remedy becomes the ENEMY?

Fiber is pushed as a constipation cure by mainstream doctors, popular health publications, health blogs, and even your friends and family I’m sure. That’s how embedded it is in our culture.

I hear people tell me stories of when they’ve returned to the doctor office for a second or third time after previous consultation recommendations of increasing fiber intake didn’t work only to hear, ‘You only need to increase it more! More fiber! OK, good luck. Bye.’ Pushed out of the doctors room feeling unheard and misunderstood.

Or you hear a family member or friend say; “You’re a bit constipation!? Oh, all you need is prune juice. That’ll fix you up!”

…and you know what?

It works.

Yep. It does for the majority of people. The excessive increase of fiber forces your bowels to do something that should come naturally.

In some cases, the fiber intake from the prune juice is fine. Their fiber intake has probably been too low and the prune juice got their fiber intake back into the normal range.

But I feel many people are already consuming normal levels of fiber but then going overboard with fiber-rich products on top of it.

When you have to ‘force’ any bodily process to do its thing, then there is actaully something underlying it which is the real culprit. But instead of addressing the underlying problem, you keep forcing… and more forcing… until the bodypart stretches to breaking point, wears out and stops completely. You look around for another tool to force your bodypart to start working again, not realising that your body was trying to tell you something. [HINT: it wasn't telling you to use more fiber or laxatives.]

For every gram of wheatbran intake, which is a grain packed with fiber and used by many, stool weight increases to around 5.7 grams.

Stools that are being unnaturally bulked with this kind of fiber-laden foods are disastrously forcing an abnormal stretch of colonic walls to take place. The bulked stool usually allows an already damaged gut to move it along, but for how long!? As the colonic walls adapt to the abnormal stretch they require more and more fiber, therefore more and more bulk, to keep moving stools along.

can too much fiber cause constipation

In the worse case scenario’s, delicate nerves in the colonic walls can be irreversibly damaged by the increased force of fiber-bulked stools and the whole colonic peristalsis (the movement of stools through the colon) stops completely.

But this is not the only reason a colon can shut-down it’s own peristalsis.

There is also another contributing factor.

Most people think that fiber is indigestible, and that it comes straight out of the body in their stool. It’s true, fiber is indigestible to humans, but not to bacteria.

Fiber is the delicious food that enables gut bacteria to multiply, strengthen their habitat, and ‘run the show’.

Bacteria, not undigested food, make up most of the dry weight of your stool.

Are you starting to figure out what’s happening?

If someone suffering from constipation already has a backwards gut flora, the increased fiber intake they have used to force their bowels to pass stools is the SAME fiber that is feeding the bad bacteria, allowing them to multiply and wreak even more havoc on an already inflamed and sick gut.

Not only that but cereals grains delivers further toxins into the digestive tract (gluten, opioid peptides, wheat germ agglutinin) and whole grain fibers and other ‘roughage’ scrape and injure the intestinal wall.

For gut health to be restored fiber needs to be minimized.

This minimization needs to happen over a period of time, especially if fiber in the main ingredient you are currently using to be able move your bowels. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Calculate how many grams of fiber you are currently getting. Every few days reduce by 1 or 2 grams.

If you’re eating a lot of fiber currently, work on getting your fiber gram intake into the ‘teens’ (13-19g) a day.

If you want to overcome your constipation for good (I have a gut-feeling you do!), I’ve laid out the whole process in my new book ‘Cure Your Constipation – The 3 Step Formula to End Your Constipation Nightmare Forever’ . It contains over 300 pages of step-by-step guides and the most important information you NEED TO KNOW to be free of your constipation! It’s also backed up with over 300 references (scientific, journals, articles, etc.) as well! This is the REAL DEAL! To find out how you can get your hands on a copy CLICK HERE NOW.

 

Best in health to you,

Kris Cleary

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10 Responses to Can Too Much Fiber Cause Constipation?

  1. I’m sorry, this is my 3rd comment today! LOL. But this post is exactly correct. I tried increasing my fiber, with more fiberous food, and then with BeneFiber and fiber tablets. What happened to me is my stool bulked up so much that I could not go for a long time, and when I did, it was incredibly painful. I also had so much gas in my gut, that I felt sick all the time! I told my husband, “The fiber is making me sick! It has the opposite effect on me!” I thought I was weird at the time, just a freak of nature, but now I understand!! Thank you for such informative posts.

    • Kris Cleary #

      Megan,

      Oh yeah, I remember the strange looks I would get when I would tell people that fiber and grains made things worse!! Grains are supposed to be the healthiest thing around according to the Food Pyramid. It’s alarming how something like ‘increase your fiber’ can become such a mainstream, full-proof, ‘dont argue against it’message in our culture when it actually causes more damage.

      Your gas is a strong sign that you have some sort of bacterial infection. Fiber is feeding the bad bacteria/pathogens and causing all sorts of reactions in you. Slowly reduce the amount of fiber to an optimal level while you’re increasing good fats, slowly adding probiotics, working on reducing stress, and getting to a healthy dietary fundation. My future blog posts will talk about this.

      Best in health,

      Kristopher

  2. Melissa #

    I can only hope that everyone who is ingesting massive amounts of fiber to alleviate their constipation will read this post. The scenario you have described here is exactly what happened to me. I had never had a problem with constipation and, then suddenly, out of nowhere, I was chronically constipated. I was told I needed more fiber. Because I’m very health conscious, especially when it comes to diet, I began to increase my daily fiber by eating beans, cruciferous vegetables, nuts and grains. My constipation got worse and worse. I realized then that it was because my gut flora was probably thrown out of whack because of antibiotics I’d taken. So, I started eating Stonyfield organic plain yogurt. If only I’d realized before I’d started eating that, that it contains inulin which is soluble fiber. Basically, I was increasing my fiber intake even more, as well as increasing the bacteria population in my gut. What a disaster! It wasn’t until I stopped eating all forms of cow’s milk (even yogurt), and reduced my fiber intake to between 10 and 15 grams a day, that I again became regular. It took about 2 months for my digestive system to return to normal. I eat about 2 servings of veggies a day, and half a serving of fruit. I eat a serving of oatmeal a few times a week, and a few servings of white rice. Other than that, no grains. Everything else is animal and fish protein (and occasionally dark chocolate!) My BMs are consistently soft and complete. When people tell me they are chronically constipated no matter how much fiber they eat, I tell them to gradually cut back on fiber, cut out milk, and drink lots of water. They always look at me like I have two heads. Oh well.

    • Thanks for your great comment Melissa.

      It’s great to know others have figured out a simple truth too!

      Best,

      Kris

  3. Neesha #

    Hello :)
    I’m so glad I found your post!!
    I have been constantly eating yogurt, thinking I needed to increase the amount of good bacteria in my gut to hopefully over power the bad bacteria..

    I do realize thar this is supposed to be a normal body function and I shouldn’t have to ingest millions of pounds of fiber a day just to move my bowels which is supposed to be natural..

    I have been constipated severely for about a year now..
    I take castor oil, enemas, Epsom salts etc..

    Please help.
    I’m hoping you can tell me what I SHOULD eat to get the good and bad bacteria back on track and to become healthy and regular again before I go grocery shopping again tonight.
    What should I do to get my gut back in balance after all this time?

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Kristopher Cleary #

      Hi Neesha,

      Eating yogurt is generally good advice for introducing good bacteria back into the gut. However, how good it is for you depends on what kind of yogurt you’re eating and whether or not you have a dairy intolerance too. Supermarket bought yogurt is ok but not that great – it is usually made form poor quality milk and not a lot of the cultures (good bacteria) are alive by time you eat it.

      I recommend healing your gut first with healing foods before introducing dairy. Eating real foods (avoiding processed foods for now) is a big key to this.

      It’s a little tough to write it all out in a comment here but I’ve already written a few posts to get you started: http://realconstipationremedies.com/10-ways-to-get-on-the-cyc-protocol/ http://realconstipationremedies.com/good-fats-vs-bad-fats/ http://realconstipationremedies.com/what-to-eat-to-cure-constipation/

      I’m also in the process of writing a book on everything I know about constipation and a step-by-step process of curing it. I’m very excited about it and it will be available shortly!

      Best,

      Kris

  4. Jim #

    I have been following pretty close to a Paleo diet for about a year. I have lost 65 pounds and have felt healthier than I have for years. I found grains were causing me most of my health problems. I eat a lot of food including fiber and everything was going well until a month ago. I was given antibiotics and it was at that point I started getting constipated. I was regular but it became more difficult to pass my bowels as they became hard and very large. I’ve now become irregular. Eight years ago I also developed long term digestive track problems after taking antibiotics. Today I did a rough calculation of my fiber intake and it is probably 40 to 50 grams which it has been for at least 6 months.

    I wonder if my fiber intake is now too large because of the antibiotics.

    • Kristopher Cleary #

      Hi Jim,

      It’s no coincidence that you’ve suffered digestive problems both times after taking antibiotics. This goes to show the harmful effect they produce on the digestive tract huh!

      40-50 grams of fiber is a very big amount! I personally recommend trying to stay in the ‘teens’: 13-19 grams a day. Edging up into the early 20′s when it comes to grams of fiber isn’t too bad when your digestive tract is strong and working efficiently.

      So yes, I would say your fiber intake is too large and you should start working on reducing it. As I’ve spoke about, fiber can become a major dependency for eliminating stools and can magnify the underlying problems by making them worse.

      Best,

      Kristopher

  5. Rachael #

    I never had an issue in my life with constipation until I went on a cruise… Suddenly something was wrong…. It has now been 3 years of terrible pain and discomfort when trying to go. I tried activia …. Which seemed to work for a short time… But no longer seems effective. I’m not a person who goes to the doctor often and certainly not about this. I’m not even sure where to begin but I am over this. Suggestions?? Thanks!

    • Kristopher Cleary #

      Hi Rachael,

      I’m guessing the cruise you went on was in another region of the world than you are normally in. If this is correct, you probably came into contact with some different bacteria and microbes present in the food, water, or environment than you’re used to. Something as simple as this could have triggered the constipation.

      On top of this, (from my experience of being on a cruise ship) there’s a good chance you were drinking alcohol regularly, eating more than usually would, eating more of some not-so-healthy foods as well which all could have lessened your body’s ability to cope with the bacterial changes that were happening.

      I would try restoring gut health with some simple steps such as: elimating grains (except white rice if tolerated), optimize vit A levels by eating liver once a week, getting enough Vit D (20mins in the sun per day or supplementing), drinking some homemade bone and joint broth every day, eating fermented foods (eg sauerkraut, homemade yogurt, kefir, etc) for probiotics, 3 egg yolks a day for choline, vege’s, at least 100 grams of carbs a day (try white rice and potatoes if you tolerate them), and try to stick to under 100g of protein a day.

      Let me know how you get on,

      Best in health

      Kristopher Cleary

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