T Nation

Is Fiber Overrated?

I must admit that I’ve never even questioned the need for fiber. It’s something most people say you need and I’ve frequently supplemented it off and on without question. You need more fiber and varied types of fiber or things are going to suck. The very definition it seemed of conventional and accepted wisdom.

So I have been thinking about this more and more lately on whether or not a lot of this is myth. I must admit it’s not something I’ve looked at deeply myself. Even googling things like is fiber overrated doesn’t bring up a ton of results. I’m sharing an article and some links below. I don’t know much about the guy in it nor the research behind some of his arguments. Like I said even when specifically trying to see arguments against fiber (or perhaps it’s importance you don’t get much).

So let me know what everyone thinks. Is fiber still something magic, maybe even worth supplementing with? If so what types? Konjac root, over the counter easies like a benefiber or Metamucil? Other brands? Get it all from diet? What amounts is everyone shooting for?

Or when looked at more closely is fiber simply something that doesn’t seem to have as much beneficial research as may have been suggested?

It’s really all just a crap shoot, ain’t it?


I would say fibre supps are over-rated, a diet high in fibre however can be a game-changer.

I think I see what you did there.

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Reading your 3 links was quite surprising to me.

In fact, l would love to see @tcluoma tackle this in one of his articles.
Not becase l am too lazy or anything, but because he is brilliant and articulate in his biochem breakdowns for us rubes.

Did l mention brilliant?

Don’t get me wrong I love TC he has an article on fiber which isn’t lost on me. However I do know research and thoughts on change often in this industry. It wasn’t forever ago that we were all supposed to eat frequently for fat loss because of the thermic effect of food. That overtraining was a common phenomenon to be feared by almost all trainers. Etc.

Yeah. It’s amazing how these things change. Fish oil was the elixir of life for the longest time, then just recently I see that it has been found to have some serious consequences for heart patients among other things.

What it comes down to for me with all of these things is whether the desired effects/claims are valid, and if they outweigh any sides or detriments at an individual level.

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Sure l realize things change - aerobics / no aerobics, zero fat all carb / zero carb no fat, coke / pepsi, and so on.

But it would be of interest to me to see some comparison of the articles for and against.

Like most of life - moderation/well roundedness is the best long term path.

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Beyond overwhelming the number of positive fiber to overrated fiber content info out there. But (as alleged in the article I linked) many of the positive article benefits are called into question.

Indeed and I’m a devout preacher of this. Honestly this was more food for thought/spur a discussion based. Before a few days ago I don’t believe I had even seen anything that called into question the myriad of “accepted” benefits of fiber and the “need” for a bunch of it.

I love those two. A couple of guys I grew up with had that bit down and would pull it off at the best moments.

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I think that fiber at best is conditionally beneficial. Certainly the idea that everyone should eat lots of it and that more fiber is the solution for all digestive issues is non-sense. There is a lot of evidence that there are plenty of populations that should be minimizing it. There are IBS and diverticulosis studies showing positive to perfect results with going on a 0 fiber diet (please note that diverticulosis is something like 60 to 80% of people eventually get, so you should care about it).

The other thing that’s mentioned is that it supports microbiome diversity. However, anecdotally the big carnivore guys seem to have really high alfa diversity scores. Part of this may be that collagen largely does the same thing as fiber in supporting gut diversity, but who knows.

Anecdotally for me on the topic, my digestion and poops are way better the less fiber I eat.

It always bothers the snot out of me how individual things like this become this ubiquitous health advice for everyone. Who the heck is up there deciding which things go in the “you must do this to be healthy” category? Cold exposure can increase anti-oxidant status similar to how anti-oxidant fruits and vegetables do, but no one goes around asking people where are they getting their cold exposure from. Or in the above case, do you worry about where you are getting your collagen? It’s just silly.

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highsteaks .com has some thoughts from people who question fiber.

That article was a lot of fun to read.

I couldn’t agree more. People should be cautious of new trends. Neither fiber nor apple cider vinnegar nor fish oil is a holy grail. Also the needs of individuals will differ. You should always consider your own condition.


While I have no reason to disbelieve the findings of the research or the claims made in this thread, I also have to consider that billions of other people worldwide also poop.

My incredulity is unperturbed.

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Then there’s this- instead of arguing against Dr. Kellogg (I mean, yeah, of course he was a kook) and the use of fiber supplements why not look for a correlation between the rise in sedentary lifestyles and the increase in constipation?

Exercise for Constipation Relief: Which Exercises to Do.

FTR he was worse than a kook. I mean yeah, he set out to chemically castrate all of humanity (and to some estimations made and still makes some serious inroads), but some of the stuff he lobbied for went above and beyond “kooky”. This is a guy that advocated stapling boy’s foreskins shut and pouring acid on girls clitorises. He was in fact a demented psychopath that also did some kooky things like brag about never having sex with his wife. I feel like the demented psychopath part gets overlooked sometimes.

It probably does, but for these purposes is either null or just makes arguing against him even more ludicrous.

Something to think about though- Right and Crazy are not mutually exclusive. It’s easy to say “Of course he’s wrong, he’s fucking crazy” but that is not always correct. Especially when you look at the state of medicine at the time, and consider other practices like using tobacco smoke blown up ones ass as a treatment for quite literally everything including but not limited to Drowning.

A little before Kelloggs time, but you probably get my drift.

As it happens, I’ve started using Metamucil since this thread began, partly as an experiment, and partly because I’ve been having problems since a heart attack in June 2019. After like decades of “you could set your watch by it” regularity, stuff has just been a real PITA. I speculate that several days of heavy sedation in the ICU and various follow ups using fentanyl have caused some problems, along with reduced blood flow related to the injury and reduced activity level. Regular fiber sources (fruits, veggies) in any amount haven’t helped at all, and at certain times seemed to make it worse.

So, it turns out, the Metamucil has been working very well. I also had blood work (lipids) done on 1/14/21, so we’ll see how or if those may change too. They’ve been really quite unchanged even with use of statins, so we’ll see.

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I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my digestion since giving up fruit. As someone who LOVES fruit, it was very painful.

With that said, prunes work… every time…