A common standpoint among conventional health practitioners is that fiber is good for you. Not only good but necessary. This is of course complete nonsense.
There is no evidence in any literature that humans need fiber or that it is necessary for good health. In fact, fiber has been linked to constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and colon cancer. Also, if fiber clogs you up and delay digestion, you can experience indigestion (dyspepsia), heartburn (GERD), gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach‘s mucosal membrane), peptic ulcers, and enteritis (the inflammation of the intestinal mucosal membrane). And on the other side of the spectrum, fiber hold on to water, prevents absorption of minerals, and can have a laxative effect – speeding up the elimination of food and thereby reduce absorption of nutrients even further. Not to mention that fiber attracts the wrong type of gut bacteria and too much fiber can therefore poison you.
And no, fiber is NOT needed for your bowel movements. Studies has shown the exact opposite. Consuming animal foods totally devoid of fiber will actually give your digestive system a chance to absorb almost all nutrition, leaving very little behind.
But, but, but… what about the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, from bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber?
Well, the obvious simple answer is that that it doesn’t matter as people who follow a carnivore diet and haven’t consumed any fiber in years and years are thriving and have health markers that are excellent. So, what is going on?
What is not understood, or at least not acknowledged, is that SCFAs can come from other sources besides fiber. Butyrate, for example, is found in dairy fat. The cow eats the fiber and makes the butyrate for us. Simple. That is nature at work.
As for acetate, we can get it from ketosis, which is our preferred state for optimal health and performance. Some amino acids such as leucine and lysine can be converted into acetoacetate through fatty acid synthesis. Acetoacetate is then reduced to beta-hydroxybutyrate and the latter gets turned into acetone and acetate.
Finally, we have propionate, which actually is a food additive that most people are getting way too much of, and it appears to be a causal factor behind conditions such as autism. Studies show that those on the autistic level tend to have high levels of the bacteria that produce propionate and tend to crave foods that are high in it. And those on the autistic spectrum show decreased behavioral problems when propionate is removed from their diet. So, while SCFAs can be good for you, they can potentially do harm as well.
There are a lot of studies that has examined our body’s utilization of SCFA and ketones during ‘ketogenic scenarios’ such as fasting, ketogenic diets and diabetes. It appears humans have multiple pathways of producing or obtaining SCFAs. The fact is that there are many strains of bacteria which can metabolize fat, protein and animal-based collagen and produce SCFAs and probiotics in return. The thing most people are missing is that our gut microbiome will shift and adapt depending on what our diet look like. I will explain this in another post. This also brings us back to butyrate, which many believe is the only fuel for our cells within the colon. That is not true. Other SCFAs such as propionate, acetate and many others that our microbiome can make from fats and protein, can fuel those cells.
So, to conclude. If you consume ‘food’ that contain fiber or don’t want to give it up all together, be aware that it might harm you in the long run, so try to keep your consumption as low as possible.
If you follow our natural animal-based diet, or a strict carnivore diet void of fiber, you do not need to worry – especially not if you consume some dairy.