Too much fiber stopping you up?

Too much fiber stopping you up?


Chances are you may have tried Metamucil, psyllium or some type of "natural laxative" and things still didn't get going. The reason may actually be too much fiber believe or not, let's take a look how.

There are two main types of dietary fiber in plant foods, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber is what we often refer to when we say, "eat more fiber to stay regular." It is the indigestive fibers in the skins of vegetables, fruits, and the bran portion of grains which is why many people think they should eat bran muffins for breakfast.

I think bran muffins are a poor attempt to call a frosting-less cupcake healthy, but I digress.

Although these insoluble fibers are completely indigestible, the roughage acts to increase peristalsis or movement in the intestines. Since the fibers make it intact to the intestines, they act as food for the good bacteria. This term is often seen on expensive probiotics that say they contain "pre-biotics." You can eat your own pre-biotics by making a delicious salad every day.


Making 40-60% of each plate full of vegetables will help you stay regular and have a healthy BM in the Number 4 section of the Bristol Stool chart every day. If you have more than one BM a day that's ok too; less than one a day though and you are considered constipated.

Soluble fiber mixes with water in the body to become sticky and gummy like oat bran and lentils. It has the ability to slow down digestion. This is beneficial in a healthy body and why the adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" may have been born. Apples have pectin, a soluble fiber, that slows down digestion and offers more time for the body to absorb the many nutrients offered.

The problem occurs when we have a previously sluggish digestive system. Instead of eating more servings of vegetables and drinking more water, a surefire remedy, we may turn to Metamucil or psyllium, a soluble fiber. This fiber works to bulk up the stool and can actually make you more constipated.

I think the only saving grace when using these products is that you have to add so much water to get it down. When dehydration is a large part of the problem, this can help you tremendously.

I used to take Metamucil for years, and I can guarantee the problem was never solved. I did create an addiction to the sweet orange drink, believing that any BM's that occurred were only because I took my daily dose. However, I kept that company in business, spending my hard earned money on a powder that kept me constipated and in need of more of their product.

The bottom line is said most precisely by Florence Nightingale, "only nature heals."

We make grave errors when we try to outdo mother nature and buy a packaged product to make us poop. Everybody poops, I know I read that book when I was 5 and in my life's work I've never seen an exception. Find the plants that grow in their most natural state. Eat them raw, steam them, bake them, fry them, I don't care how you do it, get those 5-7 servings everyday and wash them down with tons of pure water.

Soon enough, nature will call...

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