Fiber Wars

The Scene:

It is a quite, pleasant evening, and the sun is just beginning to dip behind the clouds, retiring for the night.  A family is gathered around the TV, quietly relaxing from their long day.  Suddenly the front door bursts open and in walks a young college girl.  She greets them hello then begins scrounging around the fridge to make dinner. Voracious from her grueling workout, the girl quickly throws together a satisfying and filling meal and then retreats upstairs to enjoy her grub in peace.  The tantalizing smell of her food overwhelms her and she happily lifts a spoonful to her mouth to eat.  But after just a few bites suddenly her tummy starts to twist and writhe in pain.  She is agony and distress and desperately wishes that once, just once she could enjoy a meal without her tummy troubles.

End Scene.

Hello everyone.  Yes, unfortunately this is the typical scenario that I experience on a daily basis.  For quite some time now I have been having a lot of stomach problems resulting in extreme bloating, constant pain, endless trips to the, ahem, bathroom, and a lot of embarrassment.

Not fun.

I have tried a lot of different remedies but nothing ever seems to work.  My GI doc just dismissed it as IBS which is pretty much untreatable.  Booooooo!!!

My nutritionist actually thinks that it is caused by all of the fiber in my diet.  We spent a good hour discussing what and how much fiber I eat.  I discovered that on average I consume about 60 grams of fiber a day.  That is twice the recommended intake.

No wonder my tummy hurts.

So now I am on a quest to reduce my fiber.

I’m actually a little scared.  I always pride myself on picking the healthy choice and am afraid that I will get fat if I don’t.  Give me a choice between white or wheat bread, and I will always pick the wheat.  Always.

But I am really sick of this pain so I have to do this if I want to get better.

After my appointment I came home and did a quick inventory of my kitchen.  I was shocked at what I found.

The suspects:

My favorite cereal.

My addiction

The greatest protein powder in the world

Alvarado St. No Salt! Bread

Here are the totals:

Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Biscuits:  5 grams of fiber per 2 biscuits.

Cocoa Powder:  1 gram of fiber per tablespoon.

Life’s Basics Plant Protein:  3 grams of fiber per serving.

Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal:  4 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons.

Alvarado St. Bakery No Salt! Multigrain Bread:  2 grams of fiber per slice.

Arrowhead Mills Oat Flour:  3 grams of fiber per 1/3 cup.

Wheat Germ:  2 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons.


Unpictured Eats:

Oatmeal:  4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup.

Oat Bran:  6 grams of fiber per 1/3 cup.

Chia Seeds:  5 grams of fiber per 1 tablespoon.

A truckload of fruits and veggies:  too much to count 😉


I honestly didn’t realize that there was so much fiber in the things I eat.  I don’t even try to eat a high fiber diet; these are just the foods I naturally choose because I love them so much!

This is going to be harder than I thought….

Did you know that too much fiber can actually be harmful to the body??  I did some research to find out more.

Here are some articles on the effects of excessive fiber intake:

Side Effects of Too Much Fiber

What are the side effects of too much fiber in diet? Unfortunately, too much fiber has a host of uncomfortable and highly embarrassing side effects. Lets see what potential harmful effects of too much fiberinclude.

  • Flatulence: Embarrassing and highly uncomfortable. I can only imagine a day at work, spiced up with flatulence. Flatulence is a condition wherein mixed gases are expelled through the rectum. High intake of fiber can aid the process and cause you much shame as you “pass the gas”.
  • Diarrhea: It is a condition wherein the sufferer undergoes loose or liquid-like bowel movements. This constitutes loss in body fluids, salts and other nutrients. It causes death in extreme conditions.
  • Abdominal Discomfort: This one is not so embarrassing, but uncomfortable nonetheless. The “twaing” feeling in your stomach can be enough to put you off work, play and pleasure. If you know what I mean!
  • Constipation: Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs excess water and this results in hard or no feces. If you wish to know, “Can too much fiber cause constipation?”, the answer is – Oh yes it can! Constipation is annoying, painful, uncomfortable and generally awful.
  • Blockages: Too much fiber can lead to a possibility of a sever blockage. It has been seen that patients need to get operated to get rid of the blockage caused due to too much fiber.
  • Weight Gain: Too much fiber can also cause you to gain weight. However, you can lose this weight without much trouble. I also asked a few dietitians, “Can too much fiber make you bloated?”. Yes, it can! Read more on fiber and weight loss.


What happens if I get too much
Excessive fiber intake can cause
diarrhea, intestinal gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, and, in unusual cases,
intestinal obstruction. Excessive bran and other insoluble fibers can prevent
proper absorption of iron, zinc, and other important minerals.

In extreme cases,
over­loading the body with fiber can lead to an intestinal blockage that may
require surgery. This most often happens to older people whose bowel function is
already sluggish. In these people, suddenly eating large amounts of bran, for
example, can lead to an impacted colon.


Fiber Supplements Can
Deplete Minerals

Insoluble fiber can
bind to minerals and deplete them from the body. Therefore, too much fiber from supplements can
cause negative results. Calcium, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium are
susceptible to being depleted from the body with fiber, according to Colorado
State University.

Fiber Supplements Can
Interfere With Medications

Fiber supplements and
medications do not mix. Fiber supplements can bind
to certain medications and pull them through the digestive tract, inhibiting
their absorption into the bloodstream. Do not ingest a fiber supplement within a
couple of hours of taking any medications.


With all this latest information I am wondering if maybe a lot of us in the blogging world are being too extreme with our diets.   I know that a lot of us eat foods like wheat germ, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and oat flour on a daily basis.  And of course, everybody LOVES oatmeal!!  But I have noticed that all of these foods are pretty high in fiber and when added up over the day along with all of the fruits and veggies we eat (C’mon guys, I know I’m not the only one who eats her body weight in carrots and cauliflower), that number can get pretty high.

Don’t get me wrong though.  I love eating healthy foods and knowing how much good it is doing my body as much as the next person.  Plus the taste is amazing!!  But maybe there is such a thing as being too healthy.  I’m not saying that we should totally stop eating high fiber foods and scarf down white flour, white rice, and unprocessed ingredients like crazy.  I’m just saying that maybe instead of always eating whole grains at every meal its okay to make half of our grains high fiber, and half of them low fiber.  Maybe it’s not a such a bad idea to choose that a slice of white every now and then.

If anything this is just going to be a further challenge to me to change my strict eating habits and further help me in my recovery.  Plus I can’t wait to start feeling better!  I am so tired of being bloated 24/7!

What is your opinion on fiber?

How much fiber do you consume daily?

Is there such a thing as being too healthy?