Fiber.  Gotta get that fiber.  Even the cartoon South Park is inundated with fiber propaganda, as one of the characters, Mr. Hanky, a talking turd overflowing with Christmas cheer, touts the benefits of “getting a lot of fiber” in your diet.

Fiber is lauded as the holy substance that can help cause weight loss, relieve constipation, prevent colorectal disorders, stave off colon cancer, lower cholesterol levels, and just about everything else shy of reupholstering your furniture for you.  But fiber won’t help you fight disease any more than it will help the appearance of your old furniture.

Most of the benefits attributed to fiber are the result of research done by a man named Denis Burkitt (of Burkitt’s lymphoma fame).  Burkitt, like many doctors, researchers, travelers, scholars, and anthropologists in the 20th century that spent time amongst indigenous populations, noticed that people not eating low-fiber refined foods like white flour, white rice, white sugar, canned foods, vegetable oils, and other modern staples, had little disease, particularly digestive disease, like that so common in modern societies.

This difference, concluded Burkitt, could be attributed to fiber, a substance still present in natural foods but not present in modern, processed foodstuffs.  Well Denis, everyone who studied healthy indigenous people (and were smart enough to figure out what their private parts are for) noticed these phenomena – that refined foods screwed up your health.  But not everyone concluded that a diet high in fiber was to receive all the credit for that.

In fact, out of all the theories as to why refined foods cause disease, lack of fiber is probably the worst of all.  Robert McCarrison or Weston A. Price’s conclusion that essential vitamins and minerals were lacking was far better.  T.L. “Peter” Cleave’s saccharine (sugar) theory, put forth in 1966 and brushed aside shortly thereafter, remains amongst the most advanced of theories of how modern, processed, refined carbohydrates can induce human degeneration.

Not only was the fiber theory the weakest, the aftermath of the fiber-infatuation era had the greatest negative impact.  The reason why is that if you have impaired digestion, malabsorption as a result of bacterial overgrowth, too much body fat, or what have you, the consumption of fiber is counterproductive.  Fiber, under conditions of gastrointestinal distress, is scarcely more than an irritant, not a magic nutrient. 

Even after the massive Nurses Study conducted by Walter Willett showed fiber to be ineffective at doing absolutely everything it’s touted to do, mainstream doctors and dieticians still can’t get over it.

Unfortunately, because much of the mainstream medical profession has little understanding of how fiber affects the internal environment, the standard dietary treatment for almost every known digestive impairment is to eat more fiber, drink extra water, and take a fiber supplement.  Yikes, that’s like telling someone with broken legs to do heavy squats because lower-body exercise has a striking statistical correlation with good health and strong legs.

If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease, Diverticulitis, chronic indigestion, chronic constipation or diarrhea, hemorrhoids, a potbelly, or even just bad gas – turning a 180 on fiber will be the greatest thing you’ve ever tried.  Gradually adopting a low-fiber, low-density diet – assuming you’re eating a very minimal amount of refined foods, works wonders to reduce pain, inflammation, irritation, and other issues that are exacerbated and worsened by consuming a diet high in salad greens, vegetables, fresh fruits, grains, nuts, beans, and other staples of the supposedly “healthy” diet.  Follow the advice here at www.180degreehealth.com, and your digestive problems will most likely start to improve by the end of the week.  Without fiber, digestion is great, just like the fiber-free diet of an infant drinking mother’s milk or an Eskimo eating a fish and meat diet.

For the full story on fiber and digestion, download a copy of 180 Degree Digestion: A Discussion of the Many Paths to Digestive Ruin and Recovery.