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Addressing "The Fiber Menace"
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James Offline

Posts: 2,827
Joined: Feb 2012
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Post: #1
Addressing "The Fiber Menace"
Basically, he says the recommendations to eat more fiber are not only misguided but dangerous and actually a cause of disease rather than preventing it. Here's his website:

I wonder why then that his supplements contain fiber? Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are fibers. So are the acacia gum, cellulose, slippery elm (Ulmus fulva), echinacea, alfalfa cereal grass and rosehips in his products. Therefore, for someone who is so against fibers in the diet he sure provides a lot of fiber in his supplements contradicting himself.

This is not the only time he contradicts himself though. For example he states:

"FOS and ulmus fulva are prebiotics, or substances that provide starter feed for these bacteria—just like fertilizer for plants. Other supplements may include inulin, pectin, or psyllium."

So here he is admitting that we need fibers to feed the flora and he is even endorsing these fibers including inulin. But in the next paragraph he states:

"Lesser brands may be allergenic, and not necessarily from bacteria, but additives, such as colostrum, inulin, preservatives, and others."

Many of his other claims are quite ridiculous as well. For example he starts out talking about how other countries will peel fruits and vegetables before eating them. Does he really believe that this eliminates the fiber? Apples for example are loaded with fiber even when peeled. In fact it is impossible to not get fiber if you are ingesting plants.

And fibers are our primary source for silica, which provide numerous benefits to the body. For example, the production of structural proteins:

What is really interesting is that he talks so much about the flora, which need fiber to feed on. The flora don't feed on meat and oil. And he is apparently aware of this fact since he adds the fibers FOS and acacia gum to his "GI Recovery" to feed the flora! In his Enterophilus product he has the fibers FOS and slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) again to feed the flora. slippery elm also forms a mucilage to help hold moisture in the intestines. He even claims the capsules are coated with cellulose, another fiber

But he claims that the flora hold the moisture in the intestines and that fiber causes IBS. First of all why do many fibers swell when mixed with water? They swell up with the water and hold it because it is so water retentive. It is these same fibers that hold moisture in the intestines, not the flora as he claims. And studies have shown that IBS is caused from a lack of flora, but again the flora need the fiber for food and to help hold moisture in the intestines to keep the flora and intestines healthy.

And his claim about drinking too much water causing mineral loss is not quite true either. A lot of it depends on the water. Purified waters will rob the body of nutrients due to the high solvency of the water. Mineralized waters though, such as spring water, would have to give up the minerals it is saturated with in order to take any minerals from the body.

And there are many different forms of fiber. Some are not as good as others, but this does not make all fibers bad. After all he seems to like the fiber FOS and various other fibers he adds to his supplements.

Ironically, it is the flora that do the most to regulate intestinal peristalsis to keep us regular. And again, we need fiber to feed the flora, which is why fibers can help keep us regular. But he wants us to give up beneficial fibers and supplement with his "Hydro-C" instead as a laxative to keep us regular. What a scam!!! Create the problem to sell a supplement to address the symptoms rather than fix the problem.

His book gets a thumbs up from the Weston A Price Foundation. Don't know if that's a plus or minus in your books. Here's the review:

Anyone can buy an endorsement. And seem to lack knowledge of how the human body works as well. Here is a quote from their take on the book:

"Monastyrsky explains that human teeth are fashioned to chop flesh and that our digestive system is built to handle mainly protein digestion, with only small amounts of fiber. When we eat too much fiber, digestion lasts longer and fermentation occurs, endangering the bacterial flora and causing problems such as bloating, flatulence and enlarged stools, leading to constipation or diarrhea, IBS and diverticular disease."

First problem is that the teeth are designed to eat flesh as well as plants. If we were only designed to eat flesh then we would have more sharp teeth and little or no grinding teeth. In fact one of our closest relatives, the chimpanzee is also an omnivore. Look at the structure of their teeth and see how similar they are to ours. And our intestines are long, just like many omnivores and herbivores. So I don't know why people keep trying to claim that we were not designed to eat plants.

As for the fiber slowing digestion, this is also misleading. Fiber does slow glucose absorption, which is a good thing. We also need fiber for the production of bile, which is needed for proper absorption. And again fiber feeds the flora. A lack of flora leads to problems such a IBS, constipation, and increased risk of intestinal cancers.

And he mentions increased flatulence from fiber ingestion. Again this is misleading. Some fibers, such as psyllium, can cause gas. Which is one of the reasons I do not like psyllium. On the other had the fiber FOS has been shown in research to reduce flatulence.

Addressing some of the other claims on his website:

"Remember, neither antibiotics nor chemotherapy agents nor radiation can distinguish between bad bacteria or cancer cells and good bacteria, all single-cell organisms. So the good bacteria get wiped out along with the intended target. And they won't be coming back any time soon unless you ingest some of these bacterial supplements!"

First of all chemotherapy or radiation treatments will not necessarily wipe out our flora. When it comes to antibiotics many natural antibiotics can differentiate between good and bad bacteria or avoid killing the flora through other means:

Even when the flora are affected, such as with antibiotic use only a portion of the flora get destroyed, not all the flora. Probiotics only replace a limited number of the thousands or different beneficial microbes. For example, his product only supplies 7 strains of the thousands of beneficial strains. If antibiotics killed all the flora we would be in serious trouble considering all the benefits of our flora:

Luckily prebiotic fibers help stimulate the growth of all the flora making the fibers more important than probiotic supplements. And again the author is clearly aware of these facts as he again recommends the fibers FOS and pectin to stimulate the growth of the flora:

"If you are on a very low-carb diet for medical or weight loss reasons, take several recommended doses of FOS or apple pectin daily."

So why does he use certain fibers? Well according to the author he claims:

"For this reason GI Recovery contains small quantities of FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and acacia fiber, natural soluble fibers which are preferred by normal flora, but do not “appeal” to pathogenic bacteria."

This is not true. FOS will feed various pathogenic bacteria including Klebsiella, Clostridium and E. coli. Luckily the fibers we consume are acted upon by our beneficial flora yielding acids and bactercides that help kill or control the pathogenic bacteria.

Monastyrsky also contradicts himself when he claims that his "Hydro-C" is not a laxative but later in the page admits that it is a laxative:

"Another major advantage of Hydro-C over other laxatives"

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is actually in part a osmotic laxative, which is why it can lead to diarrhea. It should be noted that this occurs because not all of the ascorbic acid is absorbed in the upper small intestine as Monastyrsky claims. In fact, Monastyrsky claims:

"When taken on empty stomach, Hydro-C breaks down, moisturizes, and softens hard, dry, impacted stools."

How can it do any of this if it is completely absorbed in the upper small intestine as Monastyrsky claims? Either Monastyrsky is making stuff up to fit his needs or he has no clue how the digestive system actually works.

Ascorbic acid can also be considered a stimulant laxative since it increases intestinal motility.

Monastyrsky claims that the calcium, magnesium and potassium in his product are synergistic, which is not true. These minerals are often added to pure ascorbic acid to buffer the acidity, not because of some synergistic reaction.

Ironically, the rapid breakdown of the synthetic ascorbic acid forms oxalic acid that will bind the calcium and magnesium preventing their absorption.

Monastyrsky makes way too many erroneous assumptions in his book to address them all. But I will address a few:

Q. Why does fiber cause bloating?

A. Because (a) fiber fermentation inside the intestines produces gases, and (b) because the acidity from fermentation causes intestinal inflammation. Since the absorption of gases is the primary function of the intestine, the combined impact of (a) and (b) blocks their absorption, and causes the intestines to expand just like an air balloon.

Fact: Any sugar including those found naturally in non fiber products like beef and dairy can be fermented creating gas. Although plants are generally less likely to cause gas like beef or dairy since saponins found in so many plants are surfactants and therefore allow the gas to diffuse in to the water present in the intestinal tract and stool.

The acids formed are beneficial acids and actually help reduce gas formation from the fermentation of sugars by Candida. The acids also aid with the absorption of minerals. They do not inflame the intestines.

If you don‘t experience gas after ingesting fiber, it means that your intestines lack normal bacteria, and you are affected by disbacteriosis, a serious pathology which is explained in Chapter 4, Disbacteriosis.

Again this is not true. Consuming fibrous rich foods with a high levels of saponins also found in many plants prevent a build up of gas from the fermentation of fibers or of the sugars found in meats and dairy.

In addition, a lack of beneficial flora increases the growth of the fungal form of Candida that not only increases gas formation from the fermentation of dietary sugars but also leads to damage and inflammation of the intestinal wall from the hyphae Candida produce in its fungal form. The acids produced by the fermentation of fibers by the beneficial bacteria keep the Candida in its benign yeast form.

Q. Why does fiber cause nausea and vomiting?

A. Once inside the stomach, fiber lumps together and may cause mechanical stimulation of the receptors that activate the vomiting center in the brain. The lumped fiber may also temporarily obstruct the path between the stomach and duodenum, and cause vomiting related to the stomach‘s overload or delayed emptying. If you have gastritis (inflammatory stomach disease) or ulcers, the likelihood of fiber-related nausea and vomiting is even higher because of the fiber‘s contact with extra-sensitive impaired tissues.

Fact: Not all fibers clump together. Interestingly though several of the fibers Monastyrsky adds to his supplements (FOS, acacia gum and slippery elm) all clump in water. Luckily he is wrong that fibers cause nausea and vomiting.

Q. Why does fiber cause “rectal bleeding?

A. Doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians refer to fiber as “bulk” or “roughage,” because it makes stools rough and bulky. When large stools pass through the narrow anal canal, they may lacerate its delicate lining, and cause bleeding. Large stools and the straining needed to expel them are also behind hemorrhoidal disease and anal fissures—lacerations inside the anal canal that won‘t heal. Far more dangerous bleeding may result from ulcerative colitis, caused by the prolonged contact of undigested fiber and large stools with the colorectal mucosal membrane.

Fact: Not all fibers are hard on the intestinal lining. Soft and soluble fibers do not harm the intestinal lining. Hard fibers can be an issue if there is pre-existing intestinal inflammation. Otherwise the intestinal lining's natural mucus protects the intestinal lining.

And again, fibers provide silica that help strengthen the tissues through the formation of structural proteins. This actually helps reduce the risk of lacerations, fissures and hemorrhoids.

Monastyrsky clearly knows nothing about ulcerative colitis (UC) either. UC is closely related to the other bacterial induced autoimmune disorder Crohn's disease. Both conditions are caused by infection with mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) and involve adrenal dysfunction leading to the overproduction of low affinity antibodies. The only difference between UC and Crohn's is that there is only superficial inflammation in UC while there is full thickness inflammation in Crohn's disease. Therefore, these conditions are not from the ingestion of fiber, but can be promoted by a lack of fiber that increases the risk of pathogenic bacterial overgrowth in the intestines.

Q. Why does fiber cause “unrelieved constipation”?

A. For the same reason it causes anorectal bleeding. When stools become large from excess fiber, many people, particularly children, seniors, and those affected by hemorrhoidal disease or anal fissures, simply can‘t pass them. If this condition isn‘t quickly resolved, it may lead to fecal impaction. The continuous accumulation of impacted stools may cause diverticular disease (the bulging of the colorectal wall), megacolon (permanent stretching of the colorectal walls), and colorectal perforation (the spilling of intestinal content into the abdominal cavity), which is usually lethal.

Fact: The only way fibers are going to cause constipation is if the person does not drink enough water.

Monastyrsky also makes claims that fiber causes acid reflux and Barrett's esophagus, which is also untrue. These result from a weakening or relaxing of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Various factors affect this including hiatal hernia, coffee, mints, some medications, etc. Fiber does not weaken or relax the LES though.

Monastyrsky also erroneously claims that because of the clumping of the fibers that this delays gastric emptying:

Gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying). The stomach‘s peristalsis and digestion are completed when specialized receptors no longer detect undigested components over 2 mm.

Fact: First of all not all fibers clump as I pointed out earlier. Secondly, the stomach does not have a little tape measure to measure particle size to determine when the particle sizes are all below 2mm. Gastric emptying is dependent primarily on pH, not particle size. Assume for a second that Monastyrsky is correct. What would happen if someone swallowed an indigestible object larger than 2mm. For example, let's say someone accidently swallows a quarter, which is approximately 25mm. According to Monastyrsky's hypothesis the person would die since the quarter would never break down below 2mm to allow the stomach to empty. Thus the quarter would remain in the stomach according to Monastyrsky's hypothesis preventing any food or water from leaving the stomach so the person would die from dehydration since this would occur before dying from malnutrition. Luckily Monastyrsky's claim is just another of his many mythical claims.

Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Besides fiber there isn‘t any other substance in human nutrition that enters the duodenum not only as is, but also expanded many times its original size. Lo and behold, the recent (17th edition) of The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy confirms this fact: “recent data indicate that obstruction of the pancreatic duct in the absence of billiary reflux can produce pancreatitis.”

Fact: Yes, obstruction of the bile ducts can cause pancreatitis. This is well known. But apparently Monastyrsky is unaware of the fact that it is gallstones that cause these blockages, not fibers. And what is one of the big factors increasing the risk of gallstones? Lack of fiber.

Cholecystitis (Inflammation of the gallbladder). Gallstones are the primary (90%) cause of acute (sudden, severe) and chronic cholecystitis. Gallstones are formed from concentrated bile salts when the outflow of bile from the gallbladder is blocked. The gallstones cause inflammation either by irritating the gallbladder mucosa or by obstructing the duct that connects it to the duodenum. The gallstones are the secondary factor, because before they can form, something else must first obstruct the biliary ducts. Just like with pancreatitis, that “something” is either inflammatory disease or obstruction caused by fiber.

Fact: Most gallstones are formed from the precipitation of cholesterol in the bile due to supersaturation. The gallstones can lead to blockages, but are not formed from blockages as Monastyrsky falsely claims. In fact, gallstones are extremely slow growing. It literally takes years for them to grow to any appreciable size. If you had a blocked bile duct for anywhere near that long you would likely have died from the resulting pancreatitis long before the gallstones could grow.

Here on Earth humans develop gallstones when the bile becomes stagnant or there is a lack of bile to keep the cholesterol dissolved. Estrogen, progesterone and some medications such as calcium channel blockers are major factors for the formation of gallstones. A lack of dietary factor also contributes to gallstone formation both by reducing the production of bile and by increasing the amount of estrogen metabolites being reabsorbed in to the bloodstream.

Women are affected by gallstones far more than men, because they are more likely to maintain a “healthy” diet, which nowadays means a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber. Since the gallbladder concentrates bile pending a fatty meal, no fat in the meal means no release of bile. The longer concentrated bile remains in the gallbladder, the higher the chance for gallstones to form.

Fact: The real reason women are more prone to gallstone formation is their higher levels of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen stimulates the release of cholesterol in to the bile. Progesterone is a smooth muscle relaxant and therefore prevents proper contraction of the gallbladder leading to bile stagnation. This combination leads to a supersaturation of the bile with cholesterol leading to precipitation of the cholesterol leading to stone formation.

Diverticular disease (diverticulosis). When fiber increases stool size beyond the normal confinements of the large intestine, it causes the outward protrusion of the intestinal wall. The pouches that are formed are called diverticula (plural). When the diverticulum (singular) gets inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. The diverticulitis is localized to specific diverticula because they may retain a fibrous fecal mass indefinitely. The eventual inflammations inside the diverticula are caused by the same mechanical, chemical, and bacteriological factors that are behind IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn‘s disease. (See Chapter 9, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn‘s Disease.)

Fact: Diverticular disease is not due to fiber, but a lack of fiber can contribute. The diverticula stretch out due to a lack of the structural protein elastin, which is produced in part from the silica derived from fibers. This is very similar to emphysema in which the alveloi of the lungs stretch out and stay stretched due to the loss of elastin. Fiber ingestion does not cause the loss of elastin in the lungs or the diverticula. Again, we need fibers for the silica to maintain these tissues.

In addition, soft fibers are recommended in diverticular diseases to help "cleanse" the diverticular pockets to help prevent the pockets from becoming infected. The fibers also help feed our beneficial flora that produce acids and bactercides that control pathogenic organisms.

And as pointed out earlier both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's are bacterial induced autoimmune diseases. They have absolutely nothing to do with the ingestion of fibers.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Along with undigested fiber‘s mechanical properties, increased acidity causes irritation of the mucosal lining inside the colon, hence the term irritable bowel. In most cases, before the onset of ulcerative colitis, the removal of fiber from the diet reverses IBS within a few days. A reintroduction of fiber into the diet brings this condition back as soon as it reaches the large intestine.

Ulcerative colitis. Disbacteriosis and fermentation-related acidity strips the intestinal mucosa of its protective properties and leads to ulcerations of the intestinal walls. The healing of these ulcers is further complicated by a pronounced deficiency of vitamin K (blood-clotting factor), which is caused by disbacteriosis. The removal of fiber and reinoculation of the large intestine with bacteria is often all that is needed to reverse both conditions.

Fact: See my last comment. In autoimmune conditions there is an overabundance of low affinity (nonspeciifc) antibodies tagging healthy tissue for destruction. The low affinity antibody production results from adrenal dysfunction while the autoimmune conditions UC and Crohn's disease are triggered by mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). Fiber ingestion has nothing to do with the formation of these disorders.

Fiber does feed our beneficial flora though, which in turn leads to the production of vitamin K and B vitamins. Keep in mind that the flora are living organisms. And like all living organisms they have to feed to survive. And what do these beneficial bacteria feed on? Fibers!!!

I could write an entire book just on the myths and misrepresentations presented by Monastyrsky in his book. But a better idea would be for people to their own research on how the body really works so they prove to themselves how much of Monastyrsky's book is the real menace to their health.
(This post was last modified: 09-06-2012 06:07 AM by James.)
07-01-2012 12:14 AM
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