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Q: Is a high-fiber diet really a healthy choice?

Posted July 31, 2013 in Adel, Advice Column

A: Well-intentioned health care practitioners recommend increased fiber to overcome intestinal complaints and constipation. While increased fiber intake seems to help overcome constipation by causing a bulky stool that stimulates defecation. in reality this increase in weight and size causes damage to the colon and rectal tissues. In the book “Fiber Menace,” the author explains this damaged tissue causes constipation, and when even more fiber is added to combat constipation, more damage occurs.

There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps retain water inside the large intestine which may cause diarrhea. Insoluble fiber absorbs digestive juices and expands four to five times its original size causing obstructions, inflammation and interference with digestion, gas and bloating and straining at the stool, as well as nutrient deficiencies. Over time, the damaged caused by excessive insoluble fiber intake increases the risk of developing gastric reflux, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and painful anal abscesses or tears.

There is just one solution to straining-related complications, and that is elimination of fiber from the diet. This, in turn, creates semi-soft or even watery stools that will allow healing, and maintain soft, small stools — the ultimate goal, which is associated with intestinal health.

Information provided by Toni Sumpter, Sumpter Pharmacy and Wellness, 628 Nile Kinnick Drive South, Suite A, 993-1119.

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