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Why a High Fiber Diet is Killing Your Colon ( And Why a LOW Fiber Diet Will Help Constipation & IBS)


How a Low Fiber Diet Helps Constipation (My Story)

Despite what the USDA food pyramid may be telling you – eating a particular kind of LOW fiber diet saved my life, and it might save yours.

In 2009, out of the blue I started experiencing weird bowel and GI issues.  I noticed that I was bloated everyday, began having abdominal pain, and suddenly was finding myself chronically constipated (as you can tell, this is going to be a fun story).

As a person who ate healthy my entire life – who ate lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats – I was pretty perplexed – I mean, my diet was perfect, so what was going on?

After consulting with nutritionists, doctors, GI specialists, and many alternative practitioners (that didn’t work), I learned an interesting truth: particularly for those with bowel issues, much of what we’re taught about fiber is apparently un-true. What’s more, many of the claims about lowering disease or colon cancer risk are exaggerated.

Exclusive bonus: Download this fiber checklist that will show you exactly what to eat and what not to eat to improve IBS and constipation.

Why The Advice We’re Getting is All Wrong

I was perplexed.

I ate a “perfect” diet by objective standards, since everyone knew me as a healthy guy. Nonetheless, I didn’t feel right. Something was up.

First stop? The general practitioner.

“Well, can you tell me about your poo?” he said bluntly. “Are you clogging the toilet? Does it smell weird?”

(This was fun, I assure you).

“Errrrr….” I slightly replied.

“Could be a lot of things! I’m going to refer you to a nutritionist friend I have, she’s a doll.”

Second stop? The nutritionist.

The nutritionist was a pretty nice woman who knew her stuff.

“We’re going to get some blood work done, and then a complete dietary check.”

* Two weeks later *

Nutritionist: “Wow, your blood is purer than the Virgin Mary.”

Me: “Really? So what’s going on?”

And from there, the story is the same – she gave me the universal mainstream prescription for constipation: “Add fiber and drink more water.”

So we tried this for a month or two. I bought bran meal, added it to my morning oatmeal, added some more fiber throughout the day, and then was eating 30-50 grams of fiber a day.

… And I was promptly in the worst pain of my life, and so painfully bloated that I couldn’t even sleep. Oh, and I still was corked up tighter than the gates of Troy.

“I’m going to pass you to a GI doctor.”

Third stop? The GI doctor.

After spending a grand total of 90 seconds with me, he said “Sounds like IBS, let’s give you a colonoscopy.”

After the GI doc’s “thorough” analysis, I decided that it was time to go old-fashioned: DIY Time.

Fourth Stop? Poo-testing 101

After the GI doctor, someone mentioned that, being an avid traveler, I might’ve caught something on a recent trip to a third world country.

Having recently been in India, I mailed away for a home test stool sample kit, spent three incredibly fun days hand scooping fecal matter into test tubes, and then mailed it back to the lab.



How Do Eskimos on a No Fiber Diet Not Get Constipated?

Fiber constipates me and fiber doesn't make me poop

After I began questioning conventional advice, I found some interesting questions:

A. Why do Eskimos in northern latitudes, who typically eat a no fiber diet, have no constipation issues?

B. Why do people who fast, and don’t eat solid foods for weeks, still have bowel movements?

C. Breast milk has no fiber, so how come babies who are only consuming breast-milk still have multiple bowel movements per day?

In my quest to answer some of these perplexing questions, I ended up finding out three truths about fiber that dramatically improved my health problem (when everything else failed).

A: Ever Feel Like, “Fiber Doesn’t Make Me Poop?” Certain Kinds of Fiber Are a Bad Idea for Some People

For some people (the lucky few), consuming more fiber will do exactly what you think – increase more bulk and help pass things through the intestines quicker.

But for people who already have constipation issues or IBS, fiber not only doesn’t help, it makes things worse. I learned this first hand after dealing with the nutritionist.  If things are already not moving, adding more bulk just makes that worse… because nothing is moving!

Reducing your fiber will dramatically reduce your symptoms and get the… ahem… good stuff going. Again, this is specifically for people who already tend to have constipation or IBS-like issues.

A 2012 study showed that stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation and it’s associated symptoms. (for people who are regularly constipated for “no reason”, aka idiopathic constipation)

People who reduced their fiber completely went from having 1 bowel movement every 3.75 days, to one bowel movement every day.

People who reduced their fiber intake a bit went from having 1 bowel movement ever 4.19 days, to one bowel movement every 1.9 days.

For no fiber, reduced fiber and high fiber groups, respectively, symptoms of bloating were present in 0%, 31.3% and 100% and straining to pass stools occurred in 0%, 43.8% and 100%.

Higher fiber = high bloating and pain for many of us.

Another study done in Brazil found no association between low fiber and constipation in kids.

Fortunately I can confirm from years of personal experience – by far the best thing I did was reduce certain kinds of fiber as low as possible, which meant eliminating all grains, white breads, wheats, etc.

The irony was that the G.I. specialist and nutritionist that I saw recommended – as their very first piece of advice – to add bran fiber to my meals.

B. Does Added Fiber Really Lower the Risk of Colon Cancer?

Straight from Harvard:

For years, Americans have been told to consume a high-fiber diet to lower the risk of colon cancer—mainly on the basis of results from relatively small studies. Larger and better-designed studies have largely failed to show a link between fiber and colon cancer. One of these—a Harvard study that followed over 80,000 female nurses for 16 years—found that dietary fiber was not strongly associated with a reduced risk for either colon cancer or polyps (a precursor to colon cancer). More recently, researchers combined the results of the Harvard study with those of several other large studies that followed more than 700,000 men and women, some for up to 20 years.  After accounting for differences in participants’ red meat and alcohol intake, as well as other factors that could increase colon cancer risk, high intake of fiber was not found to protect against colorectal cancer.

Harvard School of Public Health

And from the FDA:

“Based on its review of the scientific evidence, FDA finds that (1) the most directly relevant, scientifically probative, and therefore most persuasive evidence (i.e., randomized, controlled clinical trials with fiber as a test substance) consistently finds that dietary fiber has no effect on incidence of adenomatous polyps, a precursor of and surrogate marker for colorectal cancer; and (2) other available human evidence does not adequately differentiate dietary fiber from other components of diets rich in foods of plant origin, and thus is inconclusive as to whether diet-disease associations can be directly attributed to dietary fiber. FDA has concluded from this review that the totality of the publicly available scientific evidence not only demonstrates lack of significant scientific agreement as to the validity of a relationship between dietary fiber and colorectal cancer, but also provides strong evidence that such a relationship does not exist.”

Food and Drug Administration

It’s notoriously hard to say “colon cancer risk was reduced because of dietary fiber intake” because there’s often many variables involved and factors that need to be accounted for.

I just wish my morning Wheaties would remove the big heart that says “Fiber helps reduce the risk of colon cancer!”

C. Does Fiber Actually Reduce Heart Disease Risk?

Does more fiber actually lower heart disease? Technically, yes… but that’s not really the whole story.

This is a typical story: A 2004 study compared people  that were measured for 5-10 years in a long-term study. After adjusting for demographics, BMI, and lifestyle factors, each 10g increment of dietary fiber was associated with a 14% decrease in risk of all coronary events and a 27% reduced risk of coronary death.

The researchers’ conclusion? Increased dietary fiber from cereals and fruits is inversely related to coronary heart disease.

But wait.

You could end right there and think ‘Oh! Time to eat more fiber! Let’s start shoveling in some extra bran into my oatmeal in the morning!”

But it doesn’t say whether that decreased risk was due to the high fruit and vegetable intake (which we know reduces disease risk), or if it was actually due to the fiber.

Also – what kind of fiber? Soluble or insoluble? In other words, getting all your fiber from vegetables and fruits is way different than getting it all from increasing your grain consumption.

This 2008 study found similar things – increased fiber decreased the chances of heart disease. But was it the fiber, or the fact that if you’re eating 30g of fiber, you’re eating a hell of a lot more plants and fruits than other people?

We know that fruits and vegetables have hundreds of protective and preventative effects on the body, so is it actually more fiber protecting us, or more of the right foods?

… So Why Don’t Eskimos Get Constipated?

fiber doesn't make you poop? Try this

… Because you don’t need fiber to poop.

Remember: babies drinking breast milk, eskimos eating no fiber, and fasters drinking only liquids still have bowel movements.


People often think that feces, is well, food – and that you require fiber in order to make them.

So the logic often goes like this: “If fiber makes good stools… and people are having bowel issues, let’s add more fiber and push it all through!”

In reality, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and even fiber are usually digested completely – if they aren’t (and they come out intact) it’s because the body couldn’t digest them.

Feces are actually made up of bacteria (anywhere from 30%-70%), water, mineral salts and some traces of fat (source).

It’s a myth that you somehow need fiber and bulk to poop.

So If I Can’t Poop, and Fiber Doesn’t Help me Poop (or it Makes it Worse)…What Should I Do?

SO what does work?

I can confirm this both from the research and from entirely too much personal experience talking about, stressing over, and observing, my own poop.

A. Gradually lower your fiber intake from grains, wheat, bran, etc., but not veggies & fruits. How: Remove whole grains, pasta, wheat, bread, bran, etc.  Leave the fiber you find naturally in fruits and vegetables.  Lower your fiber intake slowly – because of the now decreased stool size, it’s possible to become constipated because your body has a harder time registering the smaller stool (common side effect of the Atkins diet – when people go low carb, they also dramatically reduce fiber intake).

B. Dietary fat, not protein, not carbs, and not meal volume help stimulate bowel movements. When you want to try and establish a daily ritual of going to the bathroom, consume a high fat meal the same time every day – for example, add half an avocado or a tablespoon or two of peanut butter after a meal, and relax for a few minutes.  If you haven’t, you can create a morning routine by drinking a warm beverage first thing in the morning, sitting, and relaxing for 10 minutes.

C. Drink water naturally. Some research suggests that Drinking more water does not help moisten stools more. You shouldn’t be forcing yourself to drink extra water.

D. Do the 3rd world squat. Virtually everywhere in the underdeveloped world, squatting is common to go to the bathroom. Without a toilet it’s just the most convenient way to go to the bathroom, but as it turns out, there’s lots of evidence showing that it’s a better way to go to the bathroom, and is much easier to have bowel movements. Studies have tested and compared squatting versus seated positions and found that squatters had quicker bowel movements, less strain, and reported less subjective pressure and discomfort.

try this if fiber constipates you


Fiber – Pain, Bloating, And Gas – Anyone?

My point is not to make fiber out as the enemy for everyone – my point is that, in a smaller subgroup of people who already have bowel issues, fiber is absolutely the enemy, and it is being pushed on us left and right despite the fact that it doesn’t work.

50% of Americans apparently have hemorrhoids.

3-20% of the population has irritable bowel syndrome.

30% of people have chronic constipation, and virtually 100% have short term constipation at some point.

This makes me begin to wonder if we are maybe in a GI and digestive health epidemic. 

It seems like every day I hear about a new person with IBS or some kind of chronic bowel/digestive issue, and I’m terrified at the prospect of them downing 30g of fiber.

The Right Kinds of Fiber for Weight Loss, and How I Recommend Losing Your Next 20 Pounds

If you want to focus on fast weight loss (that’s healthy) without counting calories, I would recommend changing little habits (not dieting).

In my beginner weight loss course, I have literally hundreds of emails from students that lose an average of 5-20 pounds, usually in less than a month. But by far, what people tend to like the most is the emphasis on how to change habits, to figure out a sustainable long-term strategy.

In addition, there are over 500 people in my private group, the Real Food Weight Loss Tribe, sharing their results, experiences, and yes frustrations to help each other.

If you feel like you finally need to do something drastic for your weight and health, come check out my beginner weight loss course here.

Not only do I bust common myths (e.g. it doesn’t matter how many meals you eat, or when you eat), it goes deeper than just your diet.

Come check out this free informational page to see the strategies some other people (normal people just like you), used to get their results.

Two Books You Should Check Out Right Away

Fiber menaceDefinitely make sure to check out the incredible book Fiber Menace: The Truth About the Leading Role of Fiber in Diet Failure, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and Colon Cancer.

Some select quotes and references have been adapted from here, but this book was (flat out) the most useful book in my own personal vendetta against IBS and all symptoms related to it.

When you want to reduce your fiber to fix a slow GI, the first things you should remove are grains, wheat, breads, etc.   Constipation will clear up, GI problems will ease, and you’ll probably also end up losing some weight.Master The Day Cover

The second book is my own book Master The Day an instant #1 Amazon bestseller. I interviewed dozens of people that lost 100+ pounds in a healthy way, and rather than coming up with some new “fad diet” I talk about their habits.

You’ll learn exactly what to do every day, as well as the missing link between “knowing what to do” – and actually doing it to see results (that stick around).

You can learn all about Master The Day: Eat, Move and Live Better With the Power of Tiny Habits right here.

Sayonara, Fiber.

— Alex

Images: Squatter, Others via Freedigitalphotos.net

Have You Read My New Book Yet?

  Read more about this in my book Master The Day. You’ll learn the nine daily success habits I learned interviewing people that lost 100+ pounds and kept it off in a healthy way – by changing their habits. Plus, you’ll get a free $100 bonus video course if you show me your receipt. You can get the audiobook here too.

147 comments… add one

  1. I’ve had problems with constipation for years and I got the same kind of advice: eat more fiber, drink more water. It’s then that I started eating oats and rye like crazy, all slashed generously with water throughout the day. But it had no (positive) effect, just got me bloated. So I eventually stopped the fiber craze a.k.a. didn’t eat as much oats and rye although I continued to consume oats every now and then because it’s delicious with some honey and banana slices, yum.

    My constipation issue just…went away. Over time, of course, but I didn’t do something about it, I just stopped minding it. At first I took some natural-ingredients-laxative, then stopped taking them all together. I got into drinking coffee though and for a while I thought that it had helped with the constipation. Now, after reading your article, I guess it was most likely because of the homemade yogurt my father started making (he’s a fan of dairy products).

    1. splashed*

    2. Hey Lina —

      Yeah this has been a problem for me too. I’m glad the “more fiber, more water” thing didn’t help you too – so I’m not totally crazy haha.

      Haha wow I started drinking coffee too because of it! That’s too funny, we have the same story, except you’re lucky that it just naturally went away. You’re right, it absolutely could be because of the natural priobiotics in the home made dairy your dad makes. Maybe he can share his secret recipe and make millions? 🙂

      – Alex

      1. Coffee does actually work because it has a strong laxative effect.
        Decaf or Regular

    3. hi! coffee works great for me, but then, so does hot tea. coffee really should work for everyone ~~ it’s BEAN juice {coffee beans}!

  2. We all need to get ourselves a “Squatty Potty”. Recently, I received a newletter that mentioned an easier way to have bowel movements and it made sense to me. I’m still contemplating getting one – if anything as a conversational piece in your bathroom!!! Just google “squatty potty” and you will be sure to find one that goes with your bathroom decor.

    Alex – I was sad to read you post cool health experiments and articles on Facebook but not on this site. Yes, I am one of those one in a million that is not on Facebook and have no desire to go there. I guess it’s my loss ): I will still be your loyal follower.

    1. Hey Lisa !

      Yep, after living in China for a while that was my experience too. It was my only option while there, but once I came back the habit just stuck because it was easier and made more sense.

      Ahhhh Lisa don’t worry! I’ll make sure to still post them if you’re on my email list 🙂 That’s the most important place to be anyway – the Facebook page is not my priority compared to the site and letting people on the email list know what’s up. As long as you’re there you’ll get the good stuff!

      Thank you thank you thank you for following 😀

      — Alex

    2. hi! same here: no facebook, no linked-in, no anything {except this trusty old computer}!

  3. Thanks for another great article Alex.

    After suffering from IBS for over 15 years I have managed, through my own experimentation, to get it under control. But that was after many years of doctors prescribing me an insane mix of drinking Fibre-gel twice a day plus taking strong laxatives at night! Goodness knows what that did to my body! It seems most GP’s see fibre as the fix all solution to IBS! Hypnotherapy and eliminating bread made from wheat helped me a lot. Although it’s an on-going experiment to work out what food triggers my IBS, on what days and why!

    Thank you for putting an alternative opinion out there and for showing that there isn’t a one size fits all answer to this problem.

    1. Hey Janey,

      My experience totally echoes your own. I got the whole “metamucil & water” prescription for years. And it did WAY more harm than good. I don’t blame physicians though, I just don’t think they’re well equipped to deal with IBS because it’s not really a concrete diagnosis you know?

      +1 to eliminating bread. I can’t eat any bread or pasta anymore. I’ll probably live longer for it, so I’m not too upset.

      What else have you found that works personally? Are there any other foods or food groups?

      Has probiotics worked for you?

      Thanks for stopping by!

      – Alex

  4. Hey Alex,
    Just want to say thank you so much for posting this article, I basically suffer from the exact same thing you did -I have the “healthiest”, most fiber-filled diet everrrrr in an attempt to rid myself of chronic constipation but I’ve recently found myself at the end of my tether now that things are going from bad to worse.
    Anyway, I’m going to try out your advice now, I was just wondering though if you could specify what foods you do eat, rather than what you dont?
    Thanks a million!

    1. Hi Geraldine,

      Ahh I totally hear you, I’ve been there too.

      So in regard to what I eat: I’ve avoid 100% of all “white” stuff – the obvious things we’re not supposed to eat, white pasta, white bread, and in fact, all grains.

      I don’t eat any bread.

      Rice I put somewhere in the middle (neutral) category.

      For me, what’s ideal is about 4 oz of animal protein each meal, and then plenty of veggies. If I add carbs, I only do sweet potatoes or rice. Those are how almost all of my meals look.

      At the end of the day it looks somewhat like Paleo, but that was more by chance rather than deliberate.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hey Alex,
        Since you mentioned sweet potatoes, I thought I would give you this simple, easy, delicious recipe for sweet potato casserole. The first time I had this, I couldn’t put my fingers on what was in the recipe but it sure tasted so good. This recipe makes a 2 quart (8×8 deept casserole dish) so if you’re making it for yourself, you might want to half the recipe. It freezes well and taste just as good reheated so you might want to make the whole recipe. Hope you enjoy!

        Sweet Potato Casserole –
        4 large Japanese sweet potatoes
        Grated rind of two lemons
        Juice of two lemons
        ½ cup butter, softened
        2 egg yolks
        ½ teaspoon sea salt

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

        Boil potatoes in water until tender. Hold potatoes with a pot holder and peel potatoes while they are still hot. Place them in the bowl, mash and mix with butter, lemon rind, lemon juice, egg yolks and sea salt. Transfer mixture to a buttered ovenproof casserole dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for about ½ hour.

        P.S. – The Japanese sweet potatoes are not as watery as regular organge sweet potatoes and they are great for this recipe.

        1. Lisa,

          This looks insanely good!! I’m definitely going to try this out next week 🙂 thanks for passing the recipe along.


          1. i’m so grateful to finally find a sweet potato recipe with no additional sweeteners: marshmallows, brown sugar, maple syrup, etc! thanx:)

  5. Had issues when I was younger and initially used natural herbs that had a gentle laxative effect to help. Can’t say I don’t eat fiber but do believe in balance in a diet. And also take daily probiotics that I believe keep my digestive system healthy:)

    1. Hey Vicki,

      Sweet! What herbs did you end up using?

      Also have you had good results with pro-biotics? I’ve tried them many, many times to no effect 🙁 .

      When I say “eat less fiber” I mean to remove the foods highest in fiber – which usually tend to be grains, white flour, etc. I would never advise people to stop eating plants :).

      1. Reviving an old post.

        What kind of probiotics have you tried / have you tried new probiotics in the last 2 years?

        I tried two so far and both had 50 billions CFU. One was enterically-coated and the other was not. It seems that the enterically-coated one worked better, although I tried it second and the other one might have paved the way for colonization of my intestinal tract or whatever.

        Fibers have always impaired the quality of my digestion, and my problem is not constipation, but being too sensitive to their laxative effect. In my late teens I tried seriously increasing my fiber intake because I had suddenly become health-conscious (I had been an extremely picky eater before then, eating very little fruits or vegetables and basically no whole-grain cereal product), I would eat a lot of brown rice/whole wheat/oatmeal and it seems I’ve had digestion issues ever since that period of my life despite cutting almost all sources of fibers. I was too shy to see a doctor until a few years later, when I had already learned how to “control” my issues, by essentially cutting fibers (reduced grain intake (mostly white rice/white bread), eating none of the vegetables that are too high in fibers, limited fruits). I remember the doctor looking at me like I was an idiot; moreover when I explained I also tried cutting gluten entirely, he looked at me and said “even pasta?”. Had blood work done and my stools checked and absolutely nothing was wrong.

        So coming back to probiotics, on which I have been using for a few months, they seem to have improved how much fibers I can eat without experiencing any negative symptoms.

        1. Hey Max,

          I don’t remember off the top of of my head anymore. I personally had tried dozens and none seemed to do much.

  6. You should look into FODMAPs. They are poorly absorbed sugars found in many plant foods. As they are fermented by the gut bacteria they produce gasses that can irritate the gut and affect gut motility. Thought science on FODMAPs is still fairly young, they are very likely to play a factor in IBS and IBD. FODMAPs were the key to my acne. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what caused my acne, until I learned about FODMAPs and noticed that onions give me gut problems. After eliminating onions, both my skin and gut have been doing much better.

    Gluten is another faily common gut irritant.

    Fiber has its pros and cons. Studies on IBS show some types of fibers can be somewhat helpful. This of course varies from person to person. Fiber (especially the stuff you find in fruits and vegetables) also feeds probiotic bacteria and in that way can encourage gut health. This can be especially important since studies on probiotics show that benefits are strain-specific, and the correct strain can vary from person to person. Since determining the correct strain to use is next to impossible for your average person, that’s why it’s probably better to encourage the growth of existing beneficial microflora.

    Some forms of fiber are digested into short-chain fatty acids that have an anti-inflammatory effect both in the gut and systemically in the body.

    1. Hey Seppo,

      Interesting, I haven’t heard of FODMAP’s. I’ve heard of the inflammatory link between IBS and Asthma (I also have had asthma, since birth, although IBS is a more recent ‘blessing’). For me the most important think so far has been to eliminate wheat – bread, pasta, oatmeal. That took me a few years to realize, and although I don’t feel any different, my bowels love me a lot more. What’s interesting though is that my celiacs blood profile came back negative.

      Regarding fiber, I would definitely check out the book “Fiber Menace” if you can. No single source of research made such a dramatic improvement for me as that book did. Basically all my “fiber” sources now comes from the plants I eat (not added wheat, bran, fiber fortified cereals, etc.). Most of my meals are just plants and meat, and then a neutral carb like rice or sweet potato.

      Priobiotics didn’t do anything for me. That probably supports your claim that they are strain-specific and only work when properly linked – I also wonder if different companies have different “Grades” of probiotics, in other words, is one companies strain more alive, higher in #, or more effective? It’s a whirlwind to try and decipher.


      1. I’ve perused the website of the author of Fiber Menace. To be honest, I was put off by the hyperbole. If I want to know something, mostly I just go to PubMed or Google Scholar nowadays, gets rid of the spin people put on research.

        That said, I do agree that some people probably benefit from reduction in grains and legumes. These people tend to gravitate towards paleo, low carb and low fiber corners of the internet and create their own echo chambers. But I find it hard to believe that all, or even most, people should avoid grains.

        I avoid grains mostly because I want to avoid overloading my body with carbs and most grains are quite high in the GI anyway. I haven’t noticed any gut issues or other negative effects from eating grains though. So we eat more or less similar meals. Animal foods, fruits and vegetables and starchy vegetables.

        I used to eat a lot of homemade yogurt and fermented vegetables. Also didn’t notice really any benefits. They might have actually made things worse as now that I’ve stopped them I get much less symptoms from eating onions (when I eat them accidentally). It’s possible that all the extra bugs I got from fermented foods migrated up into the small intestine (which is relatively sterile) and started causing trouble there. Unfortunately there’s still a lot we don’t know about probiotics and how they affect human health. Just have to wait for the science to grind out all the details.

        I can’t really say anything about probiotic grades. I’d assume there are differences but whether those differences have any practical effect, I can’t say.

        1. Yep I do the same. I just read from Pubmed directly, the news (and people’s individual agendas) are often coloring everything.

          Yeah his site is a little bit dorky, but like I said, his research was the ONLY thing that helped me. That’s saying a lot, seeing as I saw a doctor, nutritionist, GI doctor, chinese medical doctor, and almost none of them produced any relief. Take it for what it is, I guess.

          I like yogurt and fermented stuff, even though yogurt makes my insides explode :D. I keep them to a minimum just for the sake of everyone around me.

          But yeah, I’d love to re-try probiotics with some sense behind them this time. A specific train, or a higher grade would be interesting to try. Until then… It’s back to experimentation, since there are millions of people like myself that have illnesses that the doctors aren’t sure how to fix.

          1. It’s frustrating how doctors can sometimes be so clueless about things. I see this all the time with acne patients that are put on long term antibiotic regimens for no good reason. Dermatologists prescribe antibiotics like candy yet there has never been a single study looking at long-term success or relapse rates, which I know is horrific. Not to mention the possible damage to gut bacteria caused by antibiotics.

            At the same time they are clueless about new science on antioxidants and the role of diet and lifestyle changes in acne. If a private person like me can dig through PubMed to figure all of this out then it boggles the mind that doctors can’t or won’t do it. Oh well, such is life at times..

          2. Hahah yeah doctors are a whole different story. I think the problem is also that they’re provided with a curriculum – I have no idea how many doctors go off and do their own research. I’d be the majority simply don’t have the time. In any case, modern medicine has a long way to go, especially in regard to the lifestyle issues / chronic illness. A looooong way to go.

      2. Alexander, don’t know if this will help you but it helped me tremendously. I had food sensitivities to things like fresh tomatoes (and cooked), vinegar, citrus fruits, acid, and combinations of foods involving the above, etc. For years if I ate something wrong I’d be up for hours in the middle of the night taking 4 advil to try to get to sleep. The next day I’d have to eat sugar and starch – like French toast for dinner or something. I mean for years I had this – one doc friend said to drink 4 ounces of white wine on an empty stomach before a meal- that helped sometimes but by no means cleared up the problem. Now I can eat anything. Why? I investigated the probiotic/prebiotic issues you are talking about – found a multi-strain probiotic that really works for me. The same company makes a digestive enzyme that I take one a day and after a few weeks I could tell definite improvement. Now I’m good to go in that area. Messed my bowels up with the added fiber – like you did too and am now in the process of correcting that issue but I’m giving the name of the company and products I take here in case it can help anyone. I’m not affiliated in any way (except as a satisfied customer) with the company and I also hear good things about the product sold over the counter called Allign. But, peronally I wouldn’t switch because this multi-strain probiotic is really working for me. Understand the probiotics have to be the right strain – these have several strains – and the strains have to be able to stay intact through the stomach acid bath – which the company says these do, of course. Hope it helps someone else who has to suffer -thanks for starting this site. It really helped me. Good luck and good health!
        Nutri-Health Supplements (flora Source multi-probiotic capsules with Bif Relief 24-7 and Flora Zyme digestive aid.

        1. Brenda,

          Thank you so much for sharing! I will definitely give these a try. For many years I dismissed probiotics (Because they never worked for me) but then I quickly learned that there is tremendous variability in the quality/type/concentration in many of these probiotics. Lots of them are garbage. I will definitely give it a try!

  7. In my constant nutrition research, this is one of the more recent topics I have found. I disagree, but everyone has variable nutrition requirements.
    That study you mentioned early in this post only had 63 participants- hardly a large enough sample to come to a conclusion.
    Another critique is that you don’t mention what makes “high” and “low” fiber diets. What’s high? 30 grams? 50 grams? More than 50 grams?
    What’s low? Less than the daily recommended value of 25 grams? 15 grams? Less than that?
    Fiber needs are different based on size and gender of the individual. If by a high fiber diet you mean more than 50 grams, than yeah, that may cause problems- at the very least, enough gas and bathroom trips to make a person uncomfortable.

    The key is ADEQUATE fiber. Enough to keep things moving. But not so much that you’re uncomfortable. I’ve had experience with too much fiber, and the short story is, there were some painful consequences. But now I typically get at least 30 grams of fiber a day, from a mix of fruits, veggies, legumes, oatmeal, quinoa and other grains and seeds. I drink close to 100 ounces of water a day, and everything feels great.

    I found what works for me, and that could be much different than others’ needs.

    1. Hi Valentine,

      Thanks for sharing your findings.

      Have you personally suffered from a similar digestive issue as well?

      You’re right – one study doesn’t prove much. No doubt about it. But I think the fiber recommendations have been over done in our modern world.

      At my worst, I was basically vegetarian. little protein, little fat. And then the nutritionist had me supplement with bran fiber, and a gallon of water a day. I was in terrible pain (and that definitely wasn’t 50g+ grams, since I don’t eat grain, wheat, bread, etc.). The key for me was to reduce fiber in the form of bread, grains, etc. and to increase my protein and fat especially. Later I learned that this is all supported by research. But again, this is a tough field – most doctors are still just saying “IBS” And sending people on their way without answers.

      I agree adequate fiber is important – some people though might want to experiment with just sticking with plants, and removing any excess fiber they may be consuming.

      What’s interesting thought is that fiber supplements don’t work for me (And probably many others).

      In other words, they don’t speed up the time to bowel movement for me, they just increase the volume. Not exactly fun.

      Re; the 63 participants, yes, 63 is a small number by the results were pretty significant. The median bowel movement was improved by more than a day which, any person with GI issues will confirm, is a godsend. Also 1 BM a day versus 1BM every 4 days is pretty significant.

      All in all it’s just my humble attempt to help the many millions of others suffering from IBS-like stuff that aren’t getting answers like me. Test test test and see what works.

      — Alex

      1. Thanks for the reply, Alex. The problem I had from too much fiber was that it caused cramps and many BMs. The excessive BMs lead to an anal fissure- because I passed too many rough stools. I increased my fiber intake too quickly and was not drinking enough water. I also wasn’t getting enough fat. While the fiber did not cause constipation, it lead to some very painful weeks.

        To answer your question- no digestive issues. Just the abdominal cramps.

  8. High fiber diets don’t advertise that fatty acids and oils are essential to establishing a healthy routine. A tablespoon of olive oil once, maybe twice a day might help. I’d recommend trying it before abandoning your diet plan.


    Someone with something worse than IBS

    1. Hi there,

      Absolutely agree – fat is essential (especially for people with IBS). I also supplemented my diet with LOTS of extra olive oil and avocado because fat is the main stimulator of the gastrocolic reflex (the urge). And with people on these ridiculous low-fat diets I wouldn’t be surprised if constipation numbers are sky high.

      – Alex

  9. Hey Alex,

    I was wondering if you cook your veggies or eat ’em raw.


    1. Hey Eric,

      I cook my veggies, but I also eat lots of salad (and I eat lots of raw bell peppers.. they taste weird cooked).

      So, both 😀 But I don’t make an effort to eat more raw foods. I Just make sure to eat veggies as much as possible with meals.

  10. Babies don’t get constipated because milk contains a LOT of SOLUBLE fibre. Milk contains galacto-oligosaccharides which is a form of soluble fibre.

    Fat and oils act as stool softeners (some laxatives contain mineral oil). That is why Inuits tend not to get constipation.

    1. Hi Food Scientist,

      Thanks for sharing. Re: the fat and oil consumption – Making sure I have a relatively high fat and oil intake has helped immensely with my IBS related stuff. Adding fiber just added pain for me. This was a big revelation for me, and takeaway from Konstantin’s research.

  11. Alex, I have never had problems with my bowel movement all my life – everyday morning like clockwork. Last three months I went on a high vegetable diet and started eating about 100gms of chicken or fish everyday (was a vegetarian prior to the diet). My vegetable consumption was about 2-3 cups / day. I was also maintaining a gluten free diet for these 3 months and had whey protien everyday.
    I am a 36 yrs old male and this diet helped me loose about 13 pounds in 3 months with regular exercise. During this diet my bowel movement was fantastic – at 5 AM everyday I would be ready to burst out.

    I went off the diet since I reached my weight goal and went back to my regular diet and now have not been able have a decent BM in the last 4 days – been a rough start to the new year !!

    I cannot sustain the amount of vegetables I have been taking last 3 months for the rest of my life!! Has my body become dependant on the Dailey dosage of vegetables to have a regular BM ?
    I have tried drinking lots water, papaya at night, milk etc but no luck so far. I usually don’t take medicines and want to go for stool softeners / laxatives only as a LAST resort – dont want my body to get used to these !!
    What are your thoughts ? Thanks
    – Rajiv (172 cms tall and 165 lbs)

    1. Hi Rajiv,

      So you’re saying that you were vegetarian before and your BMs were fine, and then you changed your diet a bit (and they were still fine), but now that you’re back to your old diet, you are having issues?

      Can you tell me what else you added to your new diet? Did you start eating wheat, or flour, or other forms of fiber?

      It could’ve also been simply due to the increased volume of food you’ve been eating, and now that you’ve decreased it a bit your body isn’t sensing the stool as well (Common side effect of Atkins diet also).

      What exactly were you eating in addition to the veggies?

      1. Thanks for writing back. My daily intake during the 3 months diet had 2-3 cups vegetables, no gluten (no wheat / oats), 1 -2 cups of rice, 1-2 cups of fruits, 1 cup of lentils (garbanzo or kidney beans or black eyed peas etc), 2 cups of whole milk with whey, 1/2 cup yogurt, 100 gms of chicken or fish, 1 – 2 whole eggs, 1-2 cups of coffee and about 2 ltrs of water. No sweets and very little sugar intake.

        Now from Jan 1st 2014, I reduced my vegetable intake by over 50%, increased my rice intake and started wheat as well. Started to snack a little bit and had a couple of chocolates.

        Could it be the gluten ??


        – Rajiv

        1. Hi Rajiv,

          Mostly likely the wheat or the rice. I would avoid wheat first for 1-2 weeks to see what happens. If that doesn’t work, try reducing the rice. For some people it’s an irritant – I lived in China for a while and eating rice 3-4 times a day constipated me, despite the fact that I was avoiding many other known foods that tend to constipate people. Try those and let me know how you do!

  12. I just got discharged from the hospital with the diagnosis of IBS. Not excited of course, but will try this low fiber diet if it will help:) Thank you all for the advice above:) very helpful.

    My concern is getting in enough protein, but I guess as long as it’s tender cuts of chicken, etc. it should be ok. Most things on the web said no salad, roughage, etc. that makes me sad. however, it sounds like you can work it in if you avoid the other things.

    1. Hi Tcaz,

      Don’t worry, IBS can be managed well if you eat the right foods.

      Here’s the thing: just eat PLANT and natural fiber. Don’t supplement. That’s what I mean by lower fiber. I also avoided all wheat and grains, that helped a ton. Good luck 🙂

  13. I just started following you on Twitter after this post. It’s nuts to think of fiber this way. If you were to tell the general public this they would have none of it. I guess people are just programmed to think a certain way. Thank you for showing me this and giving me insight. Grateful to have found it. Great post!

    1. Hey Logan,

      Yeah what’s kinda scary is that a nutritionist at a hospital is the one who told me to increase my fiber. Our med institutions are seriously behind on the nutrition research. Note: this is in relation to supplemental fiber, metamucil, bran, all that stuff. Not normal plant fiber generally speaking.

  14. I was brought up on a “health food” diet which included a lot of fibre, but have had stomach problems and food allergies all my life. I haven’t been to doctors (the only nutritionist whom I consulted over the phone told me to “eat more brown rice” which I scoffed at!!), but I have tried various experiments and it does seem from trial and error that I have a problem with excessive fibre.
    I do also get other problems from food and there are phases I go through where I seem to have problems with everything, cold weather and inherent nervousness will exacerbate IBS but I also can’t digest dairy or eat fruits as they give me acne, also lots of animal protein will aggravate fibroid problems.
    Often I find the only solution to my gut issues is to fast, eat a little “junk” food like salted pretzels or a chocolate covered marzipan bar, and drink a spot of whisky now and again – which DOES calm me and my stomach down (in fact since I refuse all medication I was told by 2 GPs and a therapist that it was “probably something (my ) body needs”.

  15. Hi Alex. I am back to trying to figure this gut of mine out. I’ve gotten constipated for years but have always been able to manage it with laxatives during the occasional episodes. Things have progressively gotten worse with age. 3yrs ago I went through a series of test they found nothing, the GI suggested fiber and miralax. That worked ok or some what back to normal with the occasional episodes again. Then this past thanksgiving I had my first ever uti, doc gave me the antibiotic “Cipro” and boy oh boy I hadn’t went that normal since I can remember. Well after that 7 day regimen everything went to hell in a hand basket so to speak. Massive lower left abdominal pain (lower intestines) Back to yet another GI who did the celiac test and colonoscopy, again nothing. Sent home with Linzess and told to go on high fiber diet. I do not want to be medication, not to mention that is so effective I am unable to leave the house when on it. Nor was he concerned about my pain with the exception of pain pills, something else I dont do (I dont like drugs) Though I eat healthy, I do enjoy my sugar, usually some type of small desert after dinner and I only eat when I’m hungry, usually around 3pm or so. I can not eat as much as what they are suggesting, I’m the biggest I’ve been in my life and do not want to be the side of a barn either. So I do the fiber supplements but then I spoke to some one that said “You are having a reaction to pysllium” I thought, thats crazy, I’ve been taking it for 3 yrs but I have nothing to lose so wth, I cut out the pysllium fiber and wala my lower left abdominal pain is gone. Now onto the constant knot down there, the bloating, and the acne. Yes being 45yrs old with acne is quite embarrassing. The increase of fiber just goes to my lower intestines forms a softball sized knot and just sits there, no help in going what so ever. So I am on the linzess every 3 days because I cant take it anymore. I haven’t had a normal stool since thanksgiving. I have got to figure this out. I dont know if I have the discipline to diet like you have but at the moment I’m about willing to try anything. I’m trying to figure out how long and how much fiber to add before going your route, I’m in week 2 of high fiber misery. The GI also said I could go back to eating nuts which I love but he is so wrong, the minute I eat them I feel them almost instantaneously fighting my system. At the moment I feel damned if I do and damned if I dont. Yesterday along with a lot of various high fiber stuff, I did 3 stool softeners and nothing. Then last night, I ate 4 prunes and took a double dose of miralax, at least I produced a little this a.m. hopefully enough to keep me away from the linzess to keep trying to get my system back on it own again. And oh I also take probiotics, they used to help but at the moment nothing seems to be

    1. I know this reply is way late on this post, but stop miralax and stool softeners, bad bad stuff and made me more plugged up and bloated. Magnesium citrate is what you need, first get the liquid it will clear you out, then take a supplement pill daily.

  16. Hi Alex,
    I’ve been loving your site! I’ve been dealing with moderate constipation with increasingly common instances of slightly more severe bouts for pretty much as long as I can remember. Nothing as severe as your IBS, but I’ve still ended up with some fun complications from years of less than pleasant BMs. Like you, I’ve been told to pack in as much fiber from whole grains as possible with absurd amounts of water for years to no avail. My last recommendation from a doctor was to take a stool softener for a few months, which I looked into and found was considered a neurotoxin. No thanks. So now, after being up all night with a crampy gut thanks to a giant glass of psyllium, I’ve had enough of this fiber business!

    So what I’m wondering is, as someone who’s basically a lifelong vegetarian (except occasionally eating fish), and who’s not too excited about starting to eat tons of animal protein (especially given how terrifying most livestock production is these days), how do beans fit into your diet, and what plant-based proteins have you had success with?


  17. Alex, what you’re saying makes perfect sense, and is exactly what others have been saying, too.
    As for IBS – that is not a real diagnosis anyway. I have Celiac disease. Nearly everybody with Celiac gets ‘diagnosed’ with IBS first, I sure did.
    Eliminating ALL grains from my diet, not just the official gluten grains, worked to stop the chronic diarrhea that almost killed me one summer ten years ago.
    Before that, I had alternating diarrhea and constipation, and after I listened to my doctor and took fiber for several months, which made the constipation worse, I stopped taking it.
    I shared this post on my facebook wall, with it set to ‘public’. Most people still believe in the fiber myth, including all of my family. It is so aggravating that these myths are so persistent, once ‘everybody knows’ these things!
    I always say that even if you’re the only one speaking the truth, it is still the truth, even if nobody agrees with you. And I am sticking to it, no matter what.

    1. Ursula,

      So glad to hear that you finally found some relief. I have “IBS-C” which, like you said, really means nothing. In western medicine it just means “we don’t have a clue what’s going on, you just don’t have normal bowel movements” hahah. For me, reducing fiber (like bran, flour, etc.) improved things dramatically.

  18. Hey, could it be that taking out grains and whatnot be linked to Gluten Intolerance? If you’re unsure what this is it’s basically where you take all the grains out of your daily consumption because the Gluten damages your colon slowly and a side effect is constipation. I have been having issues and I upped my fiber quite a bit and water too, I had to take laxatives to get flushed out and start over and then slowly the constipation came back. I actually getting ready to see a doc about it on Monday. I’m sure being a graveyard worker doesn’t help either. However I have been looking into starting a Gluten free diet to see if that is the cause; the only thing keeping me from doing it is that I love my carbs like spaghetti (spaghetti squash is not the same!) and quesadillas.

    1. Absolutely Jackie – I would highly recommend anyone with GI issues to experiment with removing gluten.

  19. Has anyone ever developed a fissure from being constipated all the time?

  20. You were eating too much fiber though. Your intake should be 20-30g. 30 the max. That’s part of the reason why you were constipated

  21. I am regular for the first time in memory ( I am 62). I definitely feel less bloating,less cramping, and thankfully, less constipation. My personal regimen is to take 1 Lady Soma Fiber Cleanse Capsule first thing in the morning before breakfast. I am good for the day.

  22. I wouldn’t cut back on water or fiber. 🙁 For people with IBS it may be a different story, but for those who don’t have that… eh… I would tread lightly on cutting back things which are helpful. Not everyone is the same and each person has a different set to which he or she needs to find for him/herself to get the one that is right. If I were other people, I would take this advice with a grain of salt and see if it works or not. As for me, I already found what works for me and that is a high fiber, high consumption of water and tea. The total opposite to what this article has stated. I also wouldn’t recommend cutting back on water and fruits for women, unless they want wrinkled man hands, hairy bodies and bad overall skin. There is a reason why people look really old with uneven skin tone and blotches in third world countries… lack of fruits and water. Thank you … but no thank you on the bad advice. I prefer to keep myself looking 13 years younger with my girly features.

    1. Hi Juci – Yes this is for people with IBS or motility issues.

    2. I am so glad I found this article. Through trial and error, I have discovered on my own that fiber (especially the fiber found in wheat & oats) is not my friend. I have a Dr appointment tomorrow and I am ready to argue with them about the fiber issue. Feeling sick, bloated, cramping, and terrible gas is coming to an end. I don’t suffer from constipation often but I do have it from time to time. Most of my years with IBS has been associated with dirreah. However, even without the constipation, the dr keeps upping my fiber to deal with the other symptoms. This article helps me feel as though I’M NOT CRAZY! The fiber is making me miserable and I am going to make some changes.

      1. Hi Angie,

        Yup, the doc and nutritionist did this to me too. I just got worse, ESPECIALLY with bran and wheat fiber. So glad I stopped doing that… I wouldn’t argue with your doc tho, good luck getting anything meaningful out of that haha.

  23. I knew I wasn’t crazy!!!! thank you so much for validating EVERYTHING I’ve been saying about my “issues”. I took matters into my own hands and busted the fiber myth. I call it the “opposite” approach. If it is a food that creates bowel activity for the normal person, I stay away from it. No nuts, bread, pasta, beans, roughage, etc. works very well, but the holidays are tough….I love pecans!! PS…I didn’t waste my money on a doctor.

  24. I’ve the same way and come to the same conclusion. Finally someplace where my notions are validated. Thank You for creating this page. I know my body & listen to it’s inner voice not the clutter from outside. Whenever a Dr says it’s in your head, walk away & don’t look back, you know your body too.

  25. Very helpful article.
    I do have a question, if we should be lowering our fiber intake, then what should we be eating?

    1. Hi Kahlen,

      Sorry for not being more specific – I mean simply removing the forms of fiber found in bran, wheat, etc. The forms of fiber found in plants are fine, and necessary for good health.

  26. Hi, just wondering what the study was on Eskimo s?

  27. As to the coffee comments, and yeah I love coffee too, lets just hope the bowl movement from such is not really the intestinal flora saying run for your life, exit that way. Anyway an opinion about the colon cancer, it may be that also relates to intestinal flora. Given some help remove toxins,,and some produce toxins.

  28. Your article contradicts itself. You say for some lucky people it makes you go to the restroom. Then later say it doesn’t. Which is not true because it always makes me go. So you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    1. Hi Juan –

      For people with no previous bowel issues, fiber speeds up transit time. For people with issues, it can slow it down or exacerbate constipation.

    2. You mentioned in a comment that you eat a high fat shake daily. Do you mind sharing that shake recipe? I am definitely going to try your suggestions. I have been severely constipated for years! Going 2 weeks without a bm and finally having to resort to a laxative. I lovveeee all carbs! So it will be a trial to eliminate, but I hope this is what will help me. I have been eating High fiber foods including prune juice and I am more miserable then ever.. I will try to eliminate all cereals, breads etc… I love veggies so I am glad that I am still able to eat those 🙂 anyways.. I would appreciate a reply regarding the high fiber shake. Thank you for your help.

      1. Hi Mollie!

        Yeah here’s what I use. I take a protein shake daily after I workout (You could honestly put anything in there), but I add: 1 tablespoon peanut butter. 1 tablespoon coconut oil. I’ve found that when I take those two in my shake daily, it exerts a kind of stool softening effect. Would love to hear your results after trying it.

        ALSO: When you’re severely constipated, the WORST thing you can do is add more fiber. You should go extremely low fiber (which means low bulk) if it’s been a few days +. That’ll minimize pain. Go very low fiber during those time periods and try increasing the fat intake.

  29. Let me just thank you for posting your experience. I’m old now; but I’ve had the constipation problem all my life. My mom still repeats the story of the digital ‘fix’ when I was a baby.
    I have been perplexed by the whole ‘eat more fiber’ thing as well; since it seems to turn to concrete for me.
    My best ‘remedy’ for years now is taking lots of magnesium – 2500mg every night. (I’m in trouble if I miss it). I have had 2 doctors surprised by that. They tested my magnesium levels. They were normal. (Anyway, there are volumes online lauding the endless benefits of magnesium). The magnesium has been working for several years for me. Sometimes things get stopped up still. Then is when I might try the conventional fiber recommendations – which, as you say, indeed makes it worse! It’s freeing and informative to read your’s and other’s experience.

    1. Hi Shirley –

      Have you tried high fat? I’ve tried taking a shake once a day, including 1-2 table spoons coconut oil, + 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Works like a charm.

  30. Four months ago I had the greatest idea ever. I would try a very low fat diet that included whey protein isolate (as a susbtitute for eggs at dinner) and lots of instant oats (no sugar added). I would eat 4, 5 or even 8 of those instant packets for dinner. Well, by the fifth day I was severely constipated (which had happened to me years before with oats, but I don’t learn and because it is supposed to be so “healthy” to eat oats), so I decided to drop the oats. Nevertheless my stools never returned to normal. When I started going to the bathroom again two or three days later, I noticed my stools were very pale and sticky. I felt terrible and was starting to loose my six pack, I was definitely gaining a lot of fat, loosing a lot of muscle at the same time and felt tired. I resorted to lactobacillus coagulans and it was helping to the point that I had one big bowel movement a day, with normal colored stools. I was so inmensely happy but three days later I came back home late from work, took the dogs out far for a walk and wasn’t in the mood to prepare dinner. Decided to dine out and got a gi infection. Had something for the infection and since then I’ve been constipated again. I may go one or two times a day to the bathroom but I only expell one or two pieces (2 inches in length each) if I’m lucky. Sorry to be so graphic, but fiber can really be a menace and I don’t want anyone to go through this. I only want to add that my body composition has deteriorated drastically, which is terrible since I used to earn good money modeling jeans, sports wear and underwear and I can’t work looking like this. I’m a male by the way…

    1. Hey Manfred,

      Sorry to hear about that – i’m in the same boat as you. Here’s what I’d suggest: go HIGH fat. This dramatically helped me. Seriously, try it for a week, I guarantee you will feel dramatically different.

  31. Thank you for this article. I recently discovered the cure for the IBS-D that had plagued me for decades with chronic diarrhea/intestinal gas/intestinal cramps. I now eat low-residue– VERY low-fiber– and high-acid (lots of lemonade, tomato sauce, etc.) Symptoms that tortured me for over 30 years (and were getting progressively worse) are GONE. I am normal! No IBS! It only took a few days to get rid of the symptoms. I feel great. High acid/low fiber cured me and I am deeply grateful to be finally free of the agony.

    1. Renee, wow that’s awesome, thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad you found relief this way 🙂

  32. Please don’t get on the internet and write an entire article about fiber killing you when you don’t understand nutrition. Fortified grains are bad for you – bread and cereal. These are bad forms of fiber. Good fiber is fruit and vegetables – so of course your high fiber, I mean high cereal, is killing you! Fruit and vegetables won’t kill anyone! An all bread diet will! Of course you can’t poo just eating grains!!!! But now you have convinced these readers that fruits and vegetables are bad and done a huge disservice to everyone.

    1. Hi JW –

      Yes, I am referring to eating fruits and vegetables rather than add fiber from wheat, oats, etc.

      Please note I’m not referring to removing fruits and veggies – as it clearly says in the last few paragraphs of the article.

      – Alex

      1. Alex,

        Thank you so much for writing this article. As someone who was suffering from the same symptoms (some of which are way too TMI to even post anonymously on the internet), I am glad that there is someone who is refuting the “one size fits all” approach that dietitians, doctors, “health” bloggers (I use the term loosely), and unempathetic friends/ family will constantly spew. I would also add that there are certain fruits and vegetables that do aggravate the symptoms of diverticulitis/ IBS – I would rather sleep on a bed of nails than eat cauliflower and broccoli.

        – D.

        1. Hah – I hear you there Dana. And yeah, it’s all a process of testing things out to see what works – for me, removing most of the sources of fiber I mentioned has helped dramatically.

  33. Who in their right mind eats/consumes 30-50 grams of fiber per day? Additionally, where did you get your statistics because they seem inflated/false/exaggerated. The only sited sources are on two quotes. I’m sure when a doctor says increase your aspirin intake he doesn’t mean take the whole bottle. The problem with this entire article is the extreme exaggeration and lack of real data and facts. Fiber is essential and you will have a shorter life span, like your Eskimo friends. Fiber is in fruits, vegetables and pretty much everything you consume. Maybe you’d like to rewrite this with a lot less broad generalization and lack of real support for your opinions.

  34. very interesting article
    I think you need to add new evidence that fiber being non digestive by humans , may be digested by pathogenic bacteria so people should limit amount of fiber in vegetables in particular
    because fiber in fruits is very low
    I found this in the Web of the International Scientific Association of pre and probiotic ISAPP (is fiber prebiotic)
    Most important to tell is that movement is done by bulking probiotic friendly bacteria which was referred to by one of your commenting ladies , as probably helped her IBS , this brings natural prebiotic which is the food for the growth of probiotic bacteria , thanks to Mother milk which is loaded with this prebiotic food (oligosaccharides)
    And thus helping infants movements with zero fiber diet
    So eating food packed with natural prebiotic is the real lasting IBS and many lifestyle disease
    the answer is to avoid processed sources of prebiotic and look only for natural food rich in prebiotic and avoid fiber to a limit of max 7th /dday mostly from fruit sources and very low vegy for healthy person & no legumes or cereals for IBS patients in particular

  35. Hi Alex,
    What are your feelings about dairy? I’m getting conflicting information. I was just put on a low-residue diet which allows most dairy products; most conventional wisdom says to avoid them to keep from getting constipated.

    1. Hey Alex – if it doesn’t bother your G.I. tract, I wouldn’t worry about it. If you want to be safe and avoid any/all allergens because you’re in recovery, then you might want to avoid it. Personally the only reason I avoid dairy is because I’m lactose intolerant and it wrecks my insides haha.

      1. Hi Alex,
        No, dairy doesn’t appear to have any effect on my motility; there were times when I cut it out of my diet and experienced no change. So I will continue my cheese-o-holism undaunted.

        1. Hey Alex – sounds good to me. The best rule is usually the simplest: do a test on yourself 🙂

  36. I was raised raw food vegan, and let me tell you, my IBS was terrible. Chronic diarrhea, then basically needing to fast to get it to stop, and then chronic constipation. And my family didn’t get it.

    Now, I find that I need a VERY specific range of fiber. Usually 10-15 grams a day. Under ten I get constipation. More than 15, diarrhea. It’s not fun.

    1. Hi Revenwyn,

      I totally feel you there. And yeah, sometimes people don’t get it for sure – especially when raw vegan is almost universally considered “a very pure” diet – clearly it’s not a smart choice for most people in digestive distress haha.

      What do you typically eat these days that helps with your IBS? Are you still eating raw or have you reintroduced meat?

  37. Hi, I was recently in hospital with intestinal obstruction. Needless to say tht my diet has totally changed. I have also stopped all breads, pastas. I honostly don’t know wht to eat since they have taken most veggies and fruits tht I love away because of the seeds. They say low low fiber no wheat products they say white bread white rice which I don’t eat because I am diabetic. So my diet is one atkins protein shake for breakfast, fat free yogurt for mid morning snack, four crackers for lunch with deli style turkey breast and 2 tbl spoons avocado, sugar free pudding for afternoon snack…dinner is usually two cups of home made chicken broth soup made with chicken thigh, pureed baby carrots, spinach,cilantro and garlic. I have lost about 15 lbs in two weeks, which is fine cuz it’s weight tht needed to come off. However I don’t poo like I should, I understand it won’t be as much as I use too because of the reduction in amount tht I consume but some days it’s very unpleasant. Had to take sum cytrate laxative to help. I was using boneless skinless chicken for broth but have started using bone in skin on thigh cuz I noticed Lil fat in soup helped…could it be the atkins shake thts complicating thing? I was doing a shake for breakfast and lunch but when I became constipated I dropped lunch….I’m scared to eat cuz of the pain obstruction caused. Eat 500 to 700 calories a day…any advice

    1. Hi Lina,

      It’s most likely because of the reduce of calories and fiber, which is making your stool size much smaller. One thing you might try doing is adding more of the veggies they say you’re allowed to eat, or increasing your fat intake and supplementing with coconut oil.

  38. Hi. My fiance and I have been suffering with digestive problems for a long while now. I was diagnosed with IBS about 2 years ago…I can’t eat anything unless immediately afterwards, I start javing abdominal pain and bloating…and I stay constipated for 2 or 3 days!!! I can’t sleep, I have no energy….I just feel awful! My fiance started having digestive issues after given antibiotic for a pulled tooth…and now it has gotten really bad for him also. He has diahrea all the time, abdominal cramps, etc. We can’t even have a normal life anymore!!! We are both athletic, but we can’t even exercise anymore because we stay in pain or in the bathroom all the time! With my problem, I have gained about 15 lbs. With his, he has lost about 15 lbs. Of course both of our doctors have told us fiber, fiber, fiber!!! I am beginning to believe the fiber is hurting us BAD!!! Believe me, we have tried everything, except for taking out the fiber. We both ate chili 2 nights ago…and we are having some serious issues still!! I hope taking out the breads, oats, etc. helps us…because we are desperate to try anything!!!!!

    1. Hi Misty – try follow this, or the SCD diet here: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info

  39. Hi Alex,
    Just wondering how you’re doing, as it looks like this article is 2 years old. I’m having the same issues with constipation and docs telling me to increase my fiber, through psyllium husks. I’ve had the colonoscopy and all was normal. I’ve been researching low fiber/no fiber, and am thinking this is the way I need to move (pun intended!)

    Thanks for this article.

    1. Hi Jody –

      I’m doing much better now – here’s what works VERy well for me – the advice in this book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” – it’s basically meat + plants + higher fat. http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Vicious-Cycle-Intestinal-Through/dp/0969276818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435680142&sr=8-1&keywords=breaking+the+vicious+cycle

      Best of luck!

  40. I know some suffering from Diverticulitis/osis. Increasing fiber causes WORSE cramps/constipation. Yogurt and Kefir milk helps them.

    1. Yep – I’m the same way! It’s great hearing more and more confirmation of this.

  41. Hi. I know even fruit and veggie fiber hurts me…I have been grain free for years. I ate mostly good fats and meat and some green veg but now have gallbladder issues?! What is left to eat…? 🙁

    1. Hi Jen –

      Have you seen a good integrative doc about this? What did he/she say?

  42. Where’s the reference that says that Eskimos don’t get constipation?

  43. Personally I cured my constipation-type IBS by becoming a chili head. There are quite a few studies about the benefits of capsaicin on IBS and on constipation, by the way.

    Then again, I might be one of those you call the “lucky few”. When I reduce my fiber intake, my cholesterol skyrockets, even with a diet rich in fish and olive oil. I mean : my triglycerides jump to twice the amount which is considered “very high” (and I’m a 27 year old male, lean and fit, so go figure). That might be the reason why I’m also addicted to oats. My body needs it to regulate those lipoproteins.

    Oh, and about the “Eskimos” : I sure hope you’re talking about the Yupiks from Alaska, because if you’re talking about aboriginal tribes from Groenland or Canada, that word is considered racist and pejorative. Could be compared to the N-word. Please show some respect to those nations, who are still fighting against cultural genocide and ghettoisation by the hands of the government.

    1. Hi Elie,

      What were you like before the chili head-ness? And what about now? Interested to hear more.

      “Then again, I might be one of those you call the “lucky few”. When I reduce my fiber intake, my cholesterol skyrockets, even with a diet rich in fish and olive oil. I mean : my triglycerides jump to twice the amount which is considered “very high” (and I’m a 27 year old male, lean and fit, so go figure). That might be the reason why I’m also addicted to oats. My body needs it to regulate those lipoproteins.”

      When you say you reduced fiber – what kind of fiber?

      Some people misinterpret this to mean eating less plants – I mean eating more plants, and less starches.

      Eskimos: No clue. They’re indigenously called the inuit. I don’t think they mind being called Eskimo here.

  44. Thanks for this article. I feel like I can relate to you, bigtime. I have been an athlete my whole life, not had digestive issues until the last few years of my life and much more in the recent year. I use to drink alcohol a lot, stopped, no more. I did some cycles of steroids in the past and took some non-FDA approved estrogen stripping drugs (very dumb) awhile back and HGH cycles prior to 30 yrs old (which I shouldn’t have) and it makes me wonder if my digestive issues have attributed to that, or if its more so my nutrition and diet. I eat a lot of dried fruit, sugar additive free. I am on a very low oxalate and low lectin diet, self prescribed. I had a doctor tell me a few months back (first time I saw a doctor in 5 years) that I had IBS. I just refuse to let doctors tell me what I have and supplement my issues with drugs. I want to find solutions that are all-natural, so this is what I am doing. I eat very strict diet now. Its better, no more daggering stomach pains, but any little thing that I eat that is out of my regiment, and it will cause problems. If anyone has any questions for me, feel free to shoot. I have been through a lot of shit :).

  45. Thanks for this article! I started this diet plan 6 days ago and feel way better already! Some tips for people in the IBS boat – I found that Jasmine rice which has zero fiber feels better than Basmati which has 1 gram of fiber. That 1 gram adds up when eating mulitple servings a day. Combining low fiber with low fodmap works even better for me. Finally, I’ve been on a Hair Mineral Analysis program for the past year. This is the first year in 20 I’ve made digestive improvements instead of deteriorating. From what I understand, IBS has it’s root in mineral imbalances. For example magnesium deficiency leads to leaky gut. Low copper=adrenal fatigue=low stomach acid=bad digestion. Iron which is too high (or too low) leads to candida. I know someone who couldn’t tolerate fiber but spent a couple years getting their mineral balanced eventually being able to eat whatever they want. Get tested though – don’t just take mineral supplements without knowing what you need because you could do more harm then good. This low fiber diet has been great for me while waiting for my gut to heal fully. Thanks again!

    1. Michael, I posted a message on here but its not been posted yet(???!!), but what you had to say about magnesium deficiency is completely 100% true, in my case. I have had IBS for YEARS and in the past year have completely cured myself of IBS with magnesium…..I have tried EVERYTHING. I have had so many health related issues with my digestion and literally overnight, the magnesium made the issues and symptoms of IBS/leaky gut go away. I would love to chat with anyone about this. Its a little more in depth than what I have mentioned here, but pretty straight forward.

  46. Hey Josh, congrats on fixing your gut! Very inspirational. I’m about halfway recovered. When I took my first HTMA test my magnesium was very low but 14 months later it’s almost up to the perfect range. The closer it gets the better I feel. My leaky gut used to be so bad if I ate a half serving of vegetables I’d retain 2 pounds of water the next day and have horrible gut pain. Nowadays I can eat 5 veggies p/day as long as they are lowfodmap. So it’s an improvement. I use about 40 sprays a day of Magnesium oil and 5 caps of Magnesium Orotate. I find it interesting that 90%+ of people are deficient in magnesium thanks to the depleted soil and we’re having an epidemic of IBS. There are certainly more factors contributing to the rise of IBS but magnesium deficiency is a biggee. Yeah, any other details you want to share about your recovery would be great to hear about.

    1. Hi Michael, glad to hear you are almost fully recovered. My leaky gut/ IBS was the same as yours: I could need even eat literally 5 raisins…..sharp pain my stomach. I would start feeling it in my head too. Magnesium oil is great, but are you using transdermal or orally? Transdermal can cause irritation. Orotate and glycinate are the best forms of chelated magnesium. I only do powder, pure. No capsules because almost all capsules are cellulose, which humans don’t create cellulose in our intestines to break down. Why they make supplements surrounded with capsules made of cellulose is the 9th wonder of the world to me….it makes zero sense. And you are right on what you say in regards to stats and info – you obviously have done your research. The deficiency in magnesium needs to be well known to everyone, worldwide. In regards to my recovery, I tried everything: digestive enzymes, gluten free diet, low oxalate/pectin/lectin diet, grain free diet, paleo diet, dairy free diet, etc etc. The list goes on . I went through so many diets and they didn’t work, nor are they sustainable. I even did intermittent fasting for 6 months (16/8 and 20/4 hours a day) and this was not hard, but I like to eat. And when I ate, I still had issues. Magnesium is a major mineral the body needs. Putting all sorts of stuff in the body other than major minerals will not cure health related issues. Anything else is just a bandaid. Its temporary. Magnesium is to the human body like gas is to a gas engine. You can’t put anything else in it to make it run. I have had to find out this stuff the hard way. I have been to numerous doctors, done the trial and tribulations myself and magnesium is the only cure. I have thought about taking some zinc, but that has a daily limit and can cause issues. I see stuff about “400mg per day of magnesium” and I would say if you have serious IBS and/or leaky gut, etc that 400mg is probably not going to do jack-squat. I am up to talking literally 5-10 grams of magnesium glycinate today and the more I take the better I feel. Most of my IBS issues I believe is attributed to stress and definitely drug and alcohol use from being a teenager. I am completely sober today, but the damage has been done. I mention this because if you are something that is still drinking, using other drugs, you probably won’t see improvements. Also, caffeine (which I consider a drug), will not help either. This means no chocolate. So caffeine free, alcohol and drug free while taking a lot of magnesium glycinate powder is my formula to curing myself.

      1. Hey Josh, I’m using the magnesium oil topically twice a day. In the early days it itches a lot but eventually stops over time. It sounds like we’ve both done our research. Once upon a time I used to read books to learn more about my job, now I study my doctors job so he doesn’t have to! 🙂 I tried the same diets you did. IF seemed to help with gut healing but I can’t really do it because of my adrenal fatigue. I totally agree with you about the bandaid suppplements. Minerals are essential building blocks for things like digestive enzymes and the hormones involved in digestion. I would encourage you to get tested for your mineral levels. I’ve done both HTMA and blood tests. When I started my zinc was low but now that it’s in the normal range I’d go out of balance in the other direction if I were to keep taking high doses of it. The minerals are antagonists so it can be a tricky balancing act. Good going on your sobriety and health efforts. I’ve always been a health nut but still got my health into trouble! Haha!

  47. What about people who have had food intolerances all their life and lived with chronic constipation? Intolerances are wheat, gluten, grains, corn, dairy, white potatoes, sugar, MSG. I have adjusted our diet many times in many ways. I was Paleo and now have switched to Whole30. The adjustment meant reducing protein just a bit, greatly increasing veggies and trying to increase healthy fats (evoo, properly rendered lard, avocados, olives, bacon fat). I have raw eggs in my organic coffee to replace cream, usually twice a day with some raw honey. (I know raw honey is not Whole30, but I don’t think they understand able the benefits.) I only buy properly raised local meat and eggs. Eat no grain at all, no dairy, no sugar or chemical or natural subsitutes except raw local honey. Lots of organic greens and organic baby spinach, homemade vinaigrette (no bottled dressing ever), homemade mayo, homemade ranch dressing, etc. Everything from scratch from whole food. Real brand salt. I stay away from pork unless it is traditionally prepared (is nitrate-free bacon or pork cuts soaked in healthy vinegars over night) (Don’t eat white vinegar as it is made from corn) . I eat grassfed beef, stay away from grainfed beef. Eat local chicken and eggs. Some light canned tuna. I have been trying to drink homemade stock twice a day to help seal my gut. Eat lots of sweet potatoes, butternut squash, some tomatoes, onions, lots of fresh garlic, carrots, celery. No white potatoes because of being insulin resistant. Bloating can easily be an issue. I get full very fast and eat about 4 small meals a day. Even increasing water intake to half a gallon a day does not seem to help. And I can’t lose weight or go poo daily, often end up not going for 4 to 5 days. I know doctors understand nothing about this issue.

    1. Hi there –

      So despite this, you are still having issues?

      Have you tried going SCD (which would involve removing most carb sources, besides vegetables) ? It helped me quite a lot.


      1. Yes, I am absolutely having issues with some bloating, no weight loss and not pooing daily (often not for 3-5 days). I don’t see what carbs I should go off. I do not eat ANY grains or pseudo-grains,no sugar (except raw honey), no dairy, no beans or legumes, no nuts or seeds. Fruit is super limited because of the natural sugar and its impact on my bloodsugar and because I am insulin resistant. I drink mostly water and a small amount of organic coffee (with raw local farm eggs and raw honey). I eat a small amount of properly raised beef or chicken or traditionally prepared pork or eggs, with lots of fresh (power greens) or cooked veggies (carrots, celery, brocolli, onion, sweet potato, butternut squash, tomatoes) with healthy fat (evoo, properly rendered lard, olives, avocados, coconut oil, clarified butter) and some Real Salt, (homemade vinaigrette on fresh greens) 3 to 4 times a day per the Whole30.com. My Whole30 will probably end up being Whole90, unless I just have to remain on it forever.

        1. Hi Briar,

          You should try to see an integrative doc if you can, someone who is familiar with this. Have you had a chance to do that yet?

  48. Hi Alex. Is this site still live? I haf blood tests etc and the Doctor says it must be IBS. Anyway for the last 6 months I had cramps and pains, lost a fee stone in weight very quickly. In the last few months it went to constipation and piles (sorry for the crudeness). They still remain and slowly decreasing, I saw a dietician as my diet for the last 15 years included 8 mars bars a day, crisps, energy drinks and yes some healthy food inbetween. I now eat less boring and my dietician asked me what I eat like cheap fish fingers (fish finger sarnie), chicken in beadcrumbs, veggie pies and chicken. She then agreed to keep eating these foods but to add vegetables to my diet along with about 3 pieces of friit a day, and lindseeds (I’m British if that is known as something else). Anyway I started this diet about 2 weeks ago, it improved things but not vastly. Last few days of eating 6 prunes, a third of a tin of apricots, 1 banana, a small tin of pineapple *classed as one a day, linseed and a handful of veggies started making me pass undigested food. Luckily my Doctors are quite good (yes Doctors, it is a medical center where you can see anyone who is available) and the latest one said “It could be too much fibre esp if you have what she believes to be IBS”. So as of today *Dec 1st 2015 I will decrease my intake of fruit bit by bit until it pans or works out. So in a way some people (not all I stress that) can be allergic to too much fibre. Now I never researched etc, all I did was live and eat and then 2 years ago out of the blue my body just had a panic atrack and that was it. It just changed how it worked and it is strange but is believed stress as I do suffer a Mental Illness as such. But my IBS seems to dislike high fibre, some dairy products and it does flare up on some days with sugar and things I greatly once enjoyed. So it to me is all trial and error. Anyway that is my story and I hope it helps someone who reads it.

    So after reading this blog I sort of agree you are right. But not everyone is the same dietry wise. So it is trial and error really.


  49. Hi again. Just noticed my spelling mistakes. My thumbs are too big for my mobile phones keyboard sorry.


  50. I have IBS – the non-constipated kind. I have to follow a low fibre diet, also cant have grapes, wine, dried fruit,hard fruit (eg apples), raw vegitables, tomatoes. My main concern is how i stay healthy on a low fibre diet.

  51. This is bullshit

    1. Haha

  52. This is so full of shit 🙂 Your diet is far from perfect, and consuming animal products is what caused your problems. Have a nice life!

    1. I take it you’re a vegan?

  53. lookie here

  54. Oh, how I wish this were true for me! I found this article in a Google search for why animal protein makes me constipated. I eat plenty of fiber, both from grains and vegetables alike, and if my day consists of that, I’m great! My bathroom trips are majestic. But if I eat animal protein, even the smallest bit (6 small shrimp!), my body gets all stubborn and won’t do a thing. I’ve tried your diet in the past, many times, ever hopeful that it would work for me (because it’s VERY good for shedding weight), but every time, it fails. I once went almost a month without pooping! It always comes back to animal protein, so now I’m forced into a life of veganism (which I don’t actually mind, but it’d be nice to have meat or eggs every now and again for variety). Regardless, I’m not shitting on your article (no pun intended) – I think it’s awesome that it worked for you. But it definitely doesn’t apply to everyone.

    1. Haha, I appreciate the feedback – and yes, each person is very different. What have you found right now that works for you? Do you have a backup diet you can revert to when things get bad, as I do?

      1. Sticking to a plant based diet seems to be what works best for me. I’ve been doing a bit more research as well, and found that my salt intake is nowhere near the daily minimum, so I’m experimenting with that to see if it helps any. If and when I eat meat and get constipated, I tend to drink a few shots of noni juice before bed which does the trick. The caveat is that it’s not the cheapest supplement in the world nor is it particularly palatable. I’ll report back after a few days of upping my salt intake – if it’s this easy, I’m going to laugh.

        Also, for whatever reason, it says I posted my comment 2 years ago, as well as your reply. So, hi from the future!

  55. Hi Alex,
    Thank you for the article. I’m so glad I’m not going crazy! However with my constipation I get severe pain when I eat fatty foods or consume dairy. My diet consists of protein shakes (non dairy) juicing that takes the fiber out, fish and rice. I’m increasing my exercising and have a physical demanding job. Any thoughts?

    1. Hey Shannon – I would avoid these for now then. Can your body handle strictly meat and plants?

      1. Hi Alex,
        I don’t tolerate plants whole even juicing them make me sick as far as meats go I stay with chicken or salmon. My symptoms have gotten worse when I eat or drink something I’m not supposed to with bad pain and horrible nausea. Sometimes I can eat anything for days and feel dehydrated. It’s hard to drink water due to the full feeling

        1. Hey Shannon,

          Have you been tested by a doc for any other underlying problems going on?


          1. Alex,
            Yes it’s not my gallbladder. I had an egd in December that revealed a duodenal ulcer and am on medication for can’t say it’s helping. I’m pretty much nauseated all the time and my diet is limited. I’ve also had a colonoscopy that was negative

  56. This article is 100% true. After 20 years of IBS-D, I had a 180 degree turn to IBS-C seemingly out of nowhere. I began overeating fiber (per typical advice) and i was stopped up on and off for 6 painful months. After eliminating fiber, 100% fixed. Now I eat just enough fiber to slow down the IBS-D, which is now very manageable now that I understand fibers role in IBS.

    1. Awesome to hear this Brad – what are you eating now these days? Glad to hear you’re doing better. I got the same old advice too (which was horribly painful when the nutritionist gave it).

  57. I cannot even begin to express how helpful this article is. I am so tired of hearing the advice to consume more fiber. I’ve never been more miserable when I consume fiber and today is the first day I’ve realized that that’s what is going on. I thought, “well maybe I’m gluten intolerant??”, so I cut out gluten and this morning I had Cheerios which clearly say “gluten free” and within 10 minutes I was writhing in pain. My husband said to me “have you ever wondered if your body just has a hard time processing fiber?” Instant light bulb moment, which led me here, which has led me almost to tears bc I think I’ve finally found what has kept me in excruciating pain since I was a young child. I can’t tell you how hopeful that makes me!

    1. 🙂 It’s not a fun journey, having been there myself (although not that bad) so I totally feel you there.

  58. I thought of a question I forgot to ask in my last comment. So, starting out I should eliminate all grains and such, and you said to keep eating fruits and veggies. What if that upsets my stomach too though? I’ve found that even smoothies wreck my stomach. Also, the worst, most painful episode I’ve ever had to date was about three weeks ago after eating an assortment of baby red, orange and yellow peppers. I thought I was going to die. Literally fell on the floor screaming in pain. Do you have any suggestions for me specifically? Maybe keep eating fruits and veggies but avoid certain ones? After reading what you have to say on this subject I really respect your opinions and advice on this topic. Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Andrea,

      That’s tough – if bell peppers cause that serious of a reaction, definitely check with a doc to see what’s going on there. One thing I found is that my body does NOT Tolerate raw vegetables well. It’s like hell. So I only use cooked vegetables now.

  59. I am on I assume a high fiber diet, oranges,prunes, almonds, oatmeal,
    chicken, broccoli, and a potato, once and a while with plenty of water
    and sometimes a 100 gram colase pill.
    But, if I want to clear the constipation quickly, I eat a meatloaf, with gravy,mashed potatoes more gravy and a large coke. Also a cheese burger with fries and a coke also works. Whats really going on here?

  60. Alex, I just wanted to thank you.
    I have been struggling for years with severe bloating and constipation, only to keep getting told by numerous professionals to eat more fibre. This not only made my condition worse, but I spent thousands on these consultations. Coming across your blog a few months ago has literally changed my life. My bloating has dramatically reduced just from reducing the amount of grains, bread, nuts and seeds I eat. Thank you for putting the time into writing this blog and backing it up with the evidence.

    1. You ROCK tali!! So glad to hear this, as I’ve suffered through this immensely on my own and didn’t get any conventional diet advice that helped.

  61. Yea – more meat less fiber = SHIT-a-LOT. Fiber slows it down – trust me…

  62. Thank you Alex! This article is life changing and I’m definitely gonna buy your book

    1. Thanks Dina, hope it helped.

  63. I just bought a high fiber All Bran(13g fibre/36g serving) yesterday when it was on sale, i forgot how bad they tasted. I also suspect they cause the extreme IBS i had whole day today. I will try them again tomorrow morning and see the results.

    Funny thing is, I had this PC high fibre cereal for the past three weeks (10g fibre/36g serving) and they solved my temporary constipation/IBS pretty much the day i after i bought and ate them.

    My conclusion, maybe the problem is not with fibre, it lie within the All Bran High Fibre Cereal!

  64. Not sure if this site us still operating as all the comments here are three years old but I will add my thoughts.
    I thought I had the perfect diet. No processed food everything cooked from scratch, bone broth most days vegetables everyday, no potatoes very little or no meat. If my diet was good why do I have acid reflux which feels like it has devolped into gerd as I am coughing and feel like there is something in my throat especially when swallowing,

    The past week I have started investigating and now found out fiber is not great for gut health and my perfect diet is ruining my gut fiber. I am now cutting down on the vegetables to only one with my evening meal or liquidising them to make it easier to digest and taking a probiotic to see if it helps. My throat feels a bit better and I am not coughing so much.

    my husband is 74, he does not eat fruit, salad or vegetables has no health issues nor is he on tablets. Maybe he is right and we are all wrong. I will never listen to ‘experts’ again whatever they say do the opposite.

  65. As a published health researcher and head of IBS Ireland I find this offensively unscientific and incorrect. Fibre is pretty much the one thing on which science is black and white – it’s a good thing.

    The fact that you didn’t mention FODMAPs here is unforgivable for someone posing as an authority on nutrition. Step away from advising people on nutrition

    1. There’s another article on FODMAPs.

  66. What about dairy: yogurt, cheese, milk. these are low in fiber. Do you recomend these as a protein source along with chicken, fish, etc

  67. Hi. My son has tortuous colon. He alternates between constipation and diarrhea. I found your article online and think a low fiber diet will benefit him. He actually seems to do better the more processed the food is he’s eating. I looked online and found the Mayo Clinic’s Low Fiber Diet. It literally reads as a list of foods my son loves (Foods to Eat), and foods my son hates (Foods to Avoid). This low fiber diet includes white bread and crackers. I’d like your thoughts, please. We’re working very hard to come up with an eating plan for him. It’s been very difficult. Especially for him. He’s a self-described “Breadatarian.”

  68. I’m trying to get an understanding of your diet a bit more. If you still get notifications for comments, could you tell me basically about the the rice you eat (white and brown for instance?) And how much of it you eat? Also with veggies… Do you stick with low fiber veggies or perhaps veggies with high soluble fiber content? Only cooked veggies?

    Any fruits or stewed fruits?

    Thank you


  69. When constipated, I tested out taking a lot of fiber to try to get things moving. I got so much worse that I ended up incredibly, deathly ill and wound up in the hospital from massive abdominal stomach pains, cramps, nausea and dizziness. I had the urge to pass, but couldn’t pass the BM. It had completely clogged me like a hairball, and I actually became dizzy and faint from a combination of pain and intense panic and anxiety. I actually went momentarily blind from the attack, it all was so horrible to endure. The pain was indescribable. It sort of felt like I had been poisoned. That’s the best comparison I can think of.

    Basically, it was easily one of the most uncomfortable, most frightening moments of my life, and a very good lesson: fiber not only worsens my constipation, it could straight up kill me.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Nate – as you can see, there are MANY people like us, who are still being told to hammer down more fiber. How are you doing now?


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