You may be utterly confused by the question of “can fiber cause constipation”, but the answer may be more confusing yet. Boxes of cereal and other foodstuffs line grocery store shelves touting their superior fiber content as if a bowl of sugary sweet cocoa cereal or a tortilla are going to magically cure gastrointestinal ails. But before you go loading up on fiber to cure your blockages, consider whether or not your diet, including your fiber intake, might not be the reasons for constipation that you’re experiencing.
Before answering the question of can fiber cause constipation, you must first understand what fiber does when it’s in the system. The answer is: not much. It’s the part of the vegetable that passes right on through your food factory, undigested. In fact, fiber kind of cruises through it at lightning speeds in comparison to other food, and there can be some side effects that can actually include poop problems and fiber constipation, flatulence and tummy troubles. In addition, it can take other yummies with it, sometimes also transporting the nutrients they contain right along with them. It’s worthwhile to think of fiber as a broom of sorts for the colon that sometimes does its sweeping prior to your body being done with its meal.
It’s interesting to note that one of the most popular forms of fiber, bran, actually used to be a waste product in food manufacturing. Now there are entire product lines dedicated to the re-purposing of this long thrown away byproduct. Why was everyone on board without considering the question of “can fiber cause constipation” and other unpleasant side effects if over consumed? Well, based on extensive industry research, it was highly likely a combination of making money and unconfirmed science. In fact, not many of you are aware of the numerous studies and trials conducted in the last 20 years that challenged the fibre propaganda brought to us by the cereal industry.
We have long been scared into believing that insufficient fibre may cause cancer; particularly the colon kind. However, The British Nutrition Foundation has admitted in 1990 that claims of colo-rectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diverticulosis being possibly caused by a lack of dietary fibre, were not fully supported. The Seventh King’s Fund Forum on Cancer of The Colon and Rectum stated in agreement that the widely advertised cereal fibre (made popular by All Bran and companies alike), actually does not provide protection from cancer. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School collaborated research showed in 1999 via a trial of over 88 thousand women, no evidence of dietary fiber having protective properties against non-malignant tumour (a.k.a adenoma) and the colo-rectal monster. Shockingly for many, the study actually concluded that an excessive intake of vegetable-based fiber led to an overwhelming 35% increase in colo-rectal cancer risk.
Diet plays a huge role in digestive health and while there are many foods that cause constipation occasionally such as cheese (for people who are lactose- intolerant). it’s important to understand that everyone does need a bit of fiber, but from healthy green vegetables rather than cereal and grains that most people cannot digest properly. The best defense to counter plugged up poopers isn’t seven bowls of bran or a cup of Benefibre, but rather a consistent and balanced diet consisting of proteins, good healthy fats, and vegetables. If you experience digestive problems, especially constipation, consider eating cooked vegetables instead of raw for awhile, as to break down the non-digestible fiber walls of your veggies and thus make it easy on your sensitive tummy to process. Can fiber cause constipation and gas from raw vegetables? The answer may be apparent if you ever wondered why you get gasy after eating salad with lettuce!
You can still consider fiber as an emergency remedy for mild constipation if you’re still wondering “can fiber cause constipation?”. There is no question that in most cases it’s an effective and speedy traveler through the digestive tract, but it’s also worthwhile to consider alternatives such as flaxseed for constipation and other herbal remedies and, most importantly, a healthy diet, that may yield less unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects.