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Is fiber good for me? It depends…

Apple-garden-free-license-CC0There is more to know about fiber than you think!

If you have an inflammatory bowel condition it can be complicated and you could do yourself more harm than good.

We all think about fiber being good for constipation which it is but there is more to the story. What compounds this problem is that your doctor usually does not understand this and recommends fiber to anyone with any kind of bowel problem.

A doctor should never prescribe fiber if there is evidence of IBS, colitis, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s as it will make it worse. This is one of the misunderstandings about fiber.

If you give fiber to someone who has chronic constipation – that’s a good thing. Give it to someone with IBD – that’s a bad thing.


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  1. Anne

    Doctor Snow, I have 2 questions:
    1. Are smoothies/fresh juices good for IBS?
    2. A low fiber diet isn’t associated with a higher risk for colorectal cancer?

    1. Albert Snow

      Great questions.
      1. If you use a blender to make a smoothie the fiber has been broken down to small enough particles so that it is not a risk that it will irritate the bowel.
      2. The low fiber ‘diet’ that I propose is only for short term. Typically this would be for 6 months maximum.
      Please let me know it you have any other questions.

      1. Anne

        If someone is lactose intolerant, can they eat yogurt? One of my professors told us that yogurt has almost no lactose.

        1. Albert Snow

          Yogurt has enzymes in it that pre-digest all of the components of the milk which makes it easier for you to digest. The lactose has been partially digested for you but it is still in the yogurt.

  2. Daniel Crane

    My doctor told me to take a fiber supplement for my IBS & it almost killed me. Now I know why.

  3. Albert Snow

    Yes—we have to be careful about how we use fiber including in our diet. If you have any inflammatory bowel condition you must not eat fiber foods until you get the proper care.

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