Is Fiber an Effective Anti-Inflammatory?

Is Fiber an Effective Anti-Inflammatory?
4.69 (93.83%) 120 votes

Most Americans get less than half the recommended minimum fiber intake a day and the benefits of fiber go way beyond bowel regularity.

Discuss
Republish

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, believed that all disease begins in the gut.” Of course, he also thought women were hysterical because of their “wandering uterus.” So much for ancient medical wisdom.

But something like constipation can have a “major [negative] impact on physical, mental and social well-being.” Yet it’s “often overlooked in health care.” This may be because poop-talk is taboo, but it can have “a severe influence on…everyday living,” both psychologically and physically. Constipation can hurt, causing “abdominal discomfort and pain, straining, hard stool, infrequent bowel movements, bloating and nausea.”

No wonder “[l]axatives are among the most commonly used drugs. Most are safe when used judiciously [and] intermittently,” but because of the frequency of their use, they end up being one of the most common causes of adverse drug reactions. Perhaps “treatment should [instead] address the underlying problem,” such as lack of dietary fiber. You probably don’t need a meta-analysis to demonstrate that “dietary fiber can obviously increase stool frequency.”

“Populations in most Western countries must be considered by world standards to be almost universally constipated.” Here, it’s an epidemic among the elderly, but it’s simply not a problem among those centering their diets around fiber-rich foods. Where is fiber found? This patient summary in the AMA’s journal sums it up with an illustration: whole unrefined plant foods. Now for those of us smug in our intake of fruits and vegetables, we need to realize that “fruits and leafy vegetables are the poorest whole food sources of fiber.” Why? Because they’re 90 percent water. Root vegetables have more, but the fiber superstars are legumes, which means beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils, as well as whole grains. And gram for gram, fruit fiber doesn’t seem to have the same effect. It may take 25 grams of fruit fiber to double stool output, something just 10 grams of whole grain fiber or vegetable fiber can do.

And that’s not all fiber can do. If you eat some whole grain barley for supper, by the next morning your good gut bacteria are having it for breakfast, releasing butyrate into our bloodstream—a compound that seems to exert broad anti-inflammatory activities, which could help explain why significant decreases in the prevalence of inflammation are associated with increasing dietary fiber intakes. Check it out. And the highest group here was just getting the minimum recommended daily intake of fiber. So, what, if you have knee pain or something, you should eat more fiber-rich foods? We didn’t know…until now. “Dietary Fiber Intake in Relation to Knee Pain Trajectory.” Thousands of patients were followed and…”a high intake of dietary fiber,” which is to say just the minimum recommended intake, was “associated with a lower risk of developing moderate or severe knee pain over time.” And two Framingham studies found that higher fiber intake was related to a lower risk of having symptomatic osteoarthritis in the first place.

But wait; don’t a variety of diseases have an inflammatory component? How about fiber consumption and all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality? They found that, compared with those who consumed least fiber, those who consumed the most had 23 percent less cardiovascular disease mortality, 17 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, and 23 percent lower mortality from all causes put together. “Unfortunately, most persons in the United States consume less than half the recommended intake of dietary fiber daily.”

These researchers suggest all sorts of potential mechanisms for which fiber could be life-saving, from improving cholesterol, immune function, and blood sugar control, but there also may be more of a direct cause. If you ask people to bear down as if they’re straining on stool, you can get a rapid increase in intracranial pressure, pressure inside your skull, and indeed, if you look at trigger factors for the rupture of intracranial aneurysms, if you ask hundreds of people who had strokes—bleeds within their brains—one of the biggest trigger factors noted was straining for defecation, multiplying risk seven-fold.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: freegreatpicture via Maxpixel. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, believed that all disease begins in the gut.” Of course, he also thought women were hysterical because of their “wandering uterus.” So much for ancient medical wisdom.

But something like constipation can have a “major [negative] impact on physical, mental and social well-being.” Yet it’s “often overlooked in health care.” This may be because poop-talk is taboo, but it can have “a severe influence on…everyday living,” both psychologically and physically. Constipation can hurt, causing “abdominal discomfort and pain, straining, hard stool, infrequent bowel movements, bloating and nausea.”

No wonder “[l]axatives are among the most commonly used drugs. Most are safe when used judiciously [and] intermittently,” but because of the frequency of their use, they end up being one of the most common causes of adverse drug reactions. Perhaps “treatment should [instead] address the underlying problem,” such as lack of dietary fiber. You probably don’t need a meta-analysis to demonstrate that “dietary fiber can obviously increase stool frequency.”

“Populations in most Western countries must be considered by world standards to be almost universally constipated.” Here, it’s an epidemic among the elderly, but it’s simply not a problem among those centering their diets around fiber-rich foods. Where is fiber found? This patient summary in the AMA’s journal sums it up with an illustration: whole unrefined plant foods. Now for those of us smug in our intake of fruits and vegetables, we need to realize that “fruits and leafy vegetables are the poorest whole food sources of fiber.” Why? Because they’re 90 percent water. Root vegetables have more, but the fiber superstars are legumes, which means beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils, as well as whole grains. And gram for gram, fruit fiber doesn’t seem to have the same effect. It may take 25 grams of fruit fiber to double stool output, something just 10 grams of whole grain fiber or vegetable fiber can do.

And that’s not all fiber can do. If you eat some whole grain barley for supper, by the next morning your good gut bacteria are having it for breakfast, releasing butyrate into our bloodstream—a compound that seems to exert broad anti-inflammatory activities, which could help explain why significant decreases in the prevalence of inflammation are associated with increasing dietary fiber intakes. Check it out. And the highest group here was just getting the minimum recommended daily intake of fiber. So, what, if you have knee pain or something, you should eat more fiber-rich foods? We didn’t know…until now. “Dietary Fiber Intake in Relation to Knee Pain Trajectory.” Thousands of patients were followed and…”a high intake of dietary fiber,” which is to say just the minimum recommended intake, was “associated with a lower risk of developing moderate or severe knee pain over time.” And two Framingham studies found that higher fiber intake was related to a lower risk of having symptomatic osteoarthritis in the first place.

But wait; don’t a variety of diseases have an inflammatory component? How about fiber consumption and all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality? They found that, compared with those who consumed least fiber, those who consumed the most had 23 percent less cardiovascular disease mortality, 17 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, and 23 percent lower mortality from all causes put together. “Unfortunately, most persons in the United States consume less than half the recommended intake of dietary fiber daily.”

These researchers suggest all sorts of potential mechanisms for which fiber could be life-saving, from improving cholesterol, immune function, and blood sugar control, but there also may be more of a direct cause. If you ask people to bear down as if they’re straining on stool, you can get a rapid increase in intracranial pressure, pressure inside your skull, and indeed, if you look at trigger factors for the rupture of intracranial aneurysms, if you ask hundreds of people who had strokes—bleeds within their brains—one of the biggest trigger factors noted was straining for defecation, multiplying risk seven-fold.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: freegreatpicture via Maxpixel. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

This is one of the reasons legumes and whole grains are emphasized in my daily dozen checklist of all the healthiest of healthy foods to ideally fit into your daily routine. Available (for free of course!) as an app (Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen) on iPhone and Android, and in my video Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist.

Fiber does not work alone. Fiber acts as a prebiotic to feed our friendly gut flora. Check out, for example:

If you’re a sucker for poop videos, you may also enjoy:

If you buy processed grain products how do you know if it has enough fiber? Check out The Five to One Fiber Rule.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

149 responses to “Is Fiber an Effective Anti-Inflammatory?

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. ‘Americans who don’t get enough fiber naturally in their diet may wonder if fiber supplements have the same effect on inflammation. To find out, Dr. King led a small 2007 study in which people were randomly assigned to either eat a high-fiber diet (about 30 grams per day) or to supplement their diet with psyllium fiber. Higher fiber—whether it came naturally from the diet or from a supplement—lowered CRP levels. However, it didn’t have the same effect in people who were overweight. “It went down about 40 percent in thinner people, but only 10 percent in people who were overweight,” says Dr. King.

    Another larger study Dr. King published the following year also found psyllium supplements didn’t lower CRP levels or other markers of inflammation in overweight or obese people. Why the results were weight-specific isn’t clear. Supplements also don’t provide all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in foods that may contribute to reduced inflammation.’
    https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/fiber-inflammation.php

    1. Wow, that is interesting Tom.

      Thanks.

      What a big difference in the effectiveness for thin people versus overweight people.

      Makes me wonder why.

      1. Deb

        I understand that being overweight/obese affects DNA methylation (ie gene expression) among other things That may explain why obese people are at greater risk of cancer also.

        Adiposity appears to cause a wide range of metabolic changes, none of which seem beneficial:
        ‘MR studies using BMI-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have established causal relationships of BMI on blood pressure, insulin resistance, DNA methylation (that is, alterations in gene expression), diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Similar studies, but for WHRadjBMI-associated SNPs, show similar causal relationships (excluding that for DNA methylation), and a causal role in stroke. The results indicate that not only general adiposity (indexed by BMI) but the distribution of adipose tissue in particular depots (indexed by WHRadjBMI) is crucial to the relationship between adiposity and cardiometabolic disease outcome’
        https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-017-0474-5

        Perhaps it’s not therefore surprising that there are also changes in this area also.

        1. I also think it has to do with the differences in microbiome in obese people. Research shows the microbiome is different (less diverse) in overweight individuals. This may lead to less production of butyrate, the anti inflammatory SCFA.

  2. If it’s fiber you want, get yourself some Ezekiel Flax bread. Wow, does that have fiber…plenty of flax seeds added! Not all Ezekiel breads have the flax added, nor do I find this at all the local supermarkets, just the regular kind. I always buy it when I see it, though.

    I feel sorry for people with diverticulitis. Seems to me they get conflicting advice about what to eat and what to avoid. ( I haven’t searched for Dr. G.’s take/videos on the subject.)

    https://www.healthline.com/health/diverticulitis-diet-list-of-foods-to-avoid

      1. Agree (meow).

        The cats –mother and daughter — my hub and I had in NYC lived to be old-timers. One died at 23 and the other at 24. We must have done right by them (never took them to the vet, for one thing). They both died under my baby grand piano, where the good vibes lingered. :-)

        1. YR, that’s a fantastic life span for your cats! Did you feed them dry food, wet food, or a mix? The reason I’m asking is that my cat continually, licks and swallows her fur, which has me a little concerned. But she has never vomited or coughed up fur balls and seems very healthy. I have been feeding her exclusively dry food. The article that Fumblefingers linked to says cats get a lot of good fiber from fur!

          1. Dry food can cause kidney disease so I strongly urge you not to do that exclusively anymore. If she has lots of loose fur then brush her regularly because it stays in there and can cause a clog. I’ve had cats all my life and my Siamese lived to be 23, on wet food, filtered water, indoor only, few vaccinations early on and holistic vets. Best wishes.

          2. Hal, if they aren’t horking up hair balls, then they’re digesting it, which, I’ve been told, is ok. It’s part of their roughage.

          3. Mikadp, Nancy, Liisa, Jimbo, Thanks for your responses. I guess I’ve got some research to do. She’s a young cat (2 yrs) and very healthy so far.

            1. Hal,

              Awww, she’s still a kitten! I’ll bet she’s adorable.

              We fed our cats both dried and wet (Meow Mix, Tender Vittles, Friskies come to mind; can’t remember the other brands). Once in a while we also gave them people food. One liked fish and the other, chicken. Two entirely different personalities.

              1. YR, Thanks for your reply …. feeding cats a mix of wet and dry food sounds like an excellent strategy. I guess I’ll experiment with the canned wet food of different flavors and see which ones she likes better.

                1. Dry food does keep a cat’s teeth cleaner. I feed about 1/2 and 1/2 wet and dry.

                  One thing we forget about cats is that they swallow their normal food, small birds and rodents, whole, getting the benefit of the grain from the GI tract of their prey.

                  1. MM:

                    Only if they’re outdoor cats. Our calico (the mom) had been a homeless cat that (who?) begged at all the houses in the Catskill Mts., where we had been living when she first bombed in on us. She wanted to stay with us, apparently, as she “gifted” us with still-alive rabbits or mice. One of the reasons (unknown to us at the time), was because she had a litter of kitties in her belly and was looking for a safe place to have them.

                    So she and the kitten we decided to keep were both indoor and outdoor cats for a while –.until we took them back to an apartment in Manhattan. Big change for them, poor things, but they were able to adjust as long as they knew they were loved. (Indoor cats are said to live longer than outdoor cats.)

      2. Hmmm…. Our canned cat food-fed cats like to eat plants. My spider plants are what they eat, given the chance (e.g., when a “baby” is hanging down low enough for them to reach.)

        1. Some people actually plant ‘cat grass’ in indoor plant trays for their pets so they have something to eat. Outdoor cats commonly eat grasses as a preferred green. From PetMD: Not to be confused with catnip, which is a member of the mint family, cat grass is typically grown from rye, barley, oat or wheat seeds. You will find a variety of kitty grass kits at your local pet store, which contain everything you need, including seeds, soil and a potting container.

          1. Or, you can dig a small section of lawn, especially where it is invading nearby shrubs and throw it in a pot, on top of some soil. Water it for a couple of weeks and serve to your cat. Of course, you need a yard to do this.

        2. Liisa, my vet always uses to say that dry cat food is better for their teeth than canned (wet). Chewing crunchy cat food helps remove plaque.

          I never knew the actual ages of any of my cats. They were all feral & just showed up one day. Same with all the dogs I’ve ever had.

          1. My friends dogs were all stray, except for one where she saw a dog locked in a car with closed windows. She contacted the authorities and it turned out to be a person with an outstanding warrant so she ended up with that dog, too. He is still alive about 17 years old. He loves blueberries might account for his outliving the national average.

            1. My dog loved to eat the ornamental strawberries I planted for groundcover. She also went into the woods and gathered native berries. One day I was surprised to see that she had dug up a fibrous big broccoli stem and chewed it up and ate it. She also got the leftover carrot and apple pulp after I juiced a glass. She lived to 18, which is pretty old for a large dog.

          2. Now that’s kind of interesting because my vet says the dry stuff is less good than the wet–that “pâtés” are better–closer to their natural food.
            Also, I read that the dry food is full of acrylamides, but I am just a lay person and don’t know!

        1. Our Tinker almost never made it another year, we had a sudden hot May and she blew her winter coat in a matter of days. She swallowed so much fur she plugged her digestive tract and would have died without surgery. It cost a whole lot more than they told us up front, so I told Tinker she owed us. She was a good kitty and lived to 14 which seemed reasonable. I think cats do best when they get some fresh mouse, but weighing the great outdoors and all its dangers I guess canned catfood is the tradeoff.

        2. If you don’t want your cat hacking hairballs all over, you should give them a hairball medicine. That’s basically a flavored petroleum jelly. It lubricates the hair through the GI track. Otherwise, the cat will often regurgitate the fur.

      3. Hello everyone,

        I’ve been watching the videos here for years (thanks for the awesome work, Team NutritionFacts!) but I hadn’t felt the need to comment until now. Our family recently had two cats die of cancer, and a third was throwing up his food almost every day (not hairball related). Afterwards, I spent a lot of time learning how we could better care for our cats, and was surprised to learn that dry food is absolutely terrible for cats. Dry food is like the cat version of the Standard American Diet (SAD) in that it’s the source of many preventable feline maladies.

        For cat owners that are not aware, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they must eat meat (as much as the vegan in me would prefer they be herbivores, meat is a biological necessity for cats). As such, there is no need (in fact, it is harmful) to add plants to a cat’s diet. If you check the ingredients of dry cat food (and even most wet cat food, sadly), you will see that plant products are almost always added. Why? It either looks good to a human (fooling us into buying their product) or because plant ingredients cost less than meat and make cheap filler (lowering the cost of the product). Fun fact: The only reason cats find dry food appealing is because the kibble is sprayed with a fermented meat product. It’s like how breakfast cereal companies coat their grains in sugar to get kids to eat them.

        I strongly encourage anybody who cares about the health of cats or who wants to learn more about feline nutrition to visit the website of veterinarian Dr. Lisa Pierson: https://catinfo.org/ All claims/statements I made in this post are backed by information provided free on her website. Other great resources are catnutrition.org and the book “Your Cat” by Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM. I’m not affiliated with any of these resources, I just love cats.

        Following the advice on Dr Pierson’s website, I transitioned our two cats first to canned wet food and then to homemade cat food. I am happy to report that our little serial vomiter has ceased his assault on our carpet and is as happy and handsome as ever.

        Anyhow, hopefully this helps someone. Thanks for reading my post.

        Take care,
        Erik

  3. Very interesting post Mr Fumblefingers about the difference in CRP reduction in thin vs overweight people. Perhaps that is part of the success in calorie restricted diets in promoting longevity… reducing inflammation through reduced body weight. I just wonder if they have compared inflammation in people with greater amounts of brown fat vs less at the same weight?

    On another note, I always had an aversion to slimey foods like barley, okra, eggplant, avocado, sometimes pasta etc, but once in a while I feel like making this (I usually leave out the potatoe and add another carrot) https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mushroom_barley_soup/

      1. hi Deb, I usually use the brown crimini mushrooms if they are available, or just white ones. I slice them thickly (like into thirds if they are not too large) instead of chopping them. I have used part veggie broth plus water instead of soy sauce and vinegar sometimes. It’s good!

          1. I don’t need anything for tomorrow, because there is enough of my Spanish rice-lentils-black bean and vegetable mixture left. Hooray for leftovers.

    1. Barb, so happy you posted this link. I think it always helps to know the value of a recipe that has actually been tried and then recommended. Thanks! I wish there were more recipes singled out by forum members.

      1. You’re welcome Lida! I’ll be sure to post my favorites from the internet then when I go to use them. That one is an age old classic and I enjoy it with the spinach or ribbons of kale swirled through it.

    2. Barb, thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Sounds delicious! I love porcini mushrooms. Will try it this weekend when I have more time to cook. New recipes always take me at least twice as long as the instructions say. Family members often ask, “Do you think we’ll be eating tonight?”

      1. WFPB Nancy, I love the porcini mushrooms too – it doesn’t take much to make a nice broth. If I don’t have any, I will use a tsp of this https://www.betterthanbouillon.com/products/seasoned-vegetable-base/ dissolved in hot water to cook onions and garlic in, then add barley etc Sometimes I don’t have the dill or parsely… np problem there either! Salt and pepper, bay leaf and some canned chpped tomatoes or spoonful of tomato paste works for seasoning too. It’s very forgiving.

      2. LOL!

        You, too?

        That makes me feel better that I am not the only one!

        I have started cooking things the day before since my brother got sick.

        Allows for a Take 2, if I have to.

        It also ensures that all of the starches are resisting properly.

    3. “I always had an aversion to slimey foods”
      – – – –

      Interesting, Barb. When I was a kid I’d gag at the sight of a soft boiled egg if the white was runny and mucous looking. Never much liked eggs, anyway.

      As for the soup recipe (which sounds delicious), I don’t suppose you use 3 tablespoons of olive oil though, right?

      1. hey YR, right, I don’t use olive oil. Recipes I post may have olive oil or coconut oil etc, but I don’t use it – I miss sauteing the onions etc, but I just use water or broth to soften them and go from there. I like finding recipes on the net, but rarely will they be 100% perfect as written (for me). I usually only loosely follow the idea of a recipe and use my own herbs etc.

          1. cp, That is a cool concept.

            Yes, I ignore many of the suggestions.

            I find that I take 3 or 4 recipes and mash them together until I find what I want. It makes the first time preparing it a nightmare.

            I wish more of the chefs who layer flavors properly would write the books with suggestions.

            Dr Greger does the ways to add nutrition and I find myself walking around the store reading labels. Finally bringing my reading glasses to the store. I accidentally added a lower sodium product, rather than no sodium. It tasted very good, but I am trying to save my brothers life so I better figure things out.

            Lower sodium soy sauce has 575 mg. The vegan burritos which I like ended up having 700 mg.

            Rotelle has no salt diced tomatoes with chilis and ghst made me happy, but miso and soy are so high and people use it in so many recipes

    4. Hey Barb, have you tried hull-less barley as opposed to pearled barley? They have a much firmer (and in my opinion better) texture/consistency. Just a thought!

      1. Yes Ryan! That actually got me cooking barley-lentil-veggie soup quite often now. In the bulk organic section they label it as “hulled barley” but it means the same thing. More of the natural grain left in tact. Terrific texture.. even a small handful can transform a soup/stew into a satisfying meal.

  4. When I was young I ate the typical American diet. I only evacuated my bowels 3 to 4 times per week. Then in the eighty’s I read a book advocating a large fruit smoothie with greens as the only thing eating before Noon. I was very delighted to go everyday without fuss. That started my journey into a whole plant based way of living. Then I discovered Nutritionfacts.org. I have learned so much in the last 10 years.
    Thank you for telling the true facts. My pantry has changed. My husband found out he likes broccoli and cauliflower and lentils.
    I actually look forward to your daily emails.

  5. “Rupture of intracranial aneurysms” – wow not that! I guess I was lucky only to develop inguinal hernias. No more straining now for a nearly three year vegan…

    1. Yes, a scary event. I had such a rupture 9 yrs ago. Spent 4 weeks in the ICU and a total of 6 weeks in the hospital followed by 3 months of therapy regaining my balance and learning to walk again. I hadn’t linked it to ‘straining’, but that makes sense as that was about 3 yrs before I started learning about the WFPB way of living. No more straining now and also no more high blood pressure meds for me or severe bloating, constipation or abdominal cramps for my wife either!

      1. B’Healthy,

        Thanks for sharing!

        That relearning is such a long process!

        Glad that you have turned things around!

        Congratulations!

  6. Dr. Greger,

    Your personal goal is a pound of green leafy vegetables a day (not spinach, Swiss chard, or beet leaves due to high the oxolate content). I find that this takes a while to chew. Is there a more time efficient way of meeting this good?

      1. Cooking greens lowers the oxalate content of all greens considerably, and wilts a pound of greens down into quite a smaller amount that is easier to eat. Personally I cook collard greens often and there are countless vegan recipes.

        1. The thicker greens like chard, kale, and collard greens, make a nice addition to soups and stews. Make sure that you chop kale about 15 minutes before putting it in the soup, as per Dr. Gregor’s video. That allows the native enzyme myrosinase to transform the plant’s glucoraphanin, into sulforaphane, which is one of the major beneficial compounds we get from cruciferous veggies. Ten minutes or cooking so will soften the greens. If you put the greens in when you start to simmer the soup, the greens will become mushy.

          1. You won’t get any sulforaphane from broccoli or kale or cabbage if you cook them as you advise. 2-4 minutes max, steamed, will release the enzyme. Also, overcooking will destroy the Vitamin C in leafy greens.

    1. I haven’t been following Dr. G.’s Daily Dozenl regarding exact amounts of this or that. I steam plenty of veggies, and always have a daily raw veggie salad; it’s been working for me.

      But I think most people who do follow the DD make smoothies out of these huge amounts of veggies. If you own a blender (I don’t), that would be one way to follow his plan. I don’t mind the chewing.

      1. I said, “I steam plenty of veggies,”
        – – – –

        Although, I think sweet potatoes are best after they’re baked.

  7. I totally agree with the message of this video. Human beings should be consuming MUCH higher ranges of fibre — really whole plant foods — and the data is very consistent on this. That being said Dr Greger keeps on making the same mistake of confusing the RDA and the ‘minimum daily amount’. The RDA is NOT the minimum but the recommended, or ideal, daily amount which has a large safety margin. I heard Dr Greger say this about the RDA in regard to other nutrients as well but it’s just wrong scientifically. That the RDA for fibre is clearly far too low is true, but a totally different matter from what the RDA actually means. Colin T Campbell discusses this entire issue, and the unjust bias in favour of animal foods in RDAs, in his book ‘Whole’.

    1. M85, “Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 to 98 percent) healthy individuals in a group.” The process for setting the RDA is also provided — very briefly. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45182/

      Curiously: “The RDA for a nutrient is a value to be used as a goal for dietary intake by healthy individuals. The RDA is not intended to be used to assess the diets of either individuals or groups or to plan diets for groups.” (ditto)

      1. Also as a confirmation that the RDA is not the minimum amount your article states clearly: ‘There is no established benefit for healthy individuals if they consume nutrient intakes above the RDA or AI’. Whereas Dr Greger acts as if it is a minimum amount and we should strive to get more. He’s simply wrong in this while being right in promoting much higher fibre consumption in the form of whole plant foods.

      1. Tom, thanks for bringing the article by Campbell to our attention.
        Campbell’s writing is so remarkable! He bases his comments on science, but looks at the “whole” picture to include history, politics, and nutrition.

      2. Did you even read the article you posted? This what YOUR article actually says: ‘To begin with, the RDA is just what it says it is. It’s a recommended allowance; it’s not a minimum requirement’. These are the actual words of Campbell, and Campbell agrees with me. Why am I being overly critical? It’s a mistake, period. The RDA is not the minimum requirement. I agree with Greger that the RDA for fibre is far too low but that’s different from what the RDA is scientifically.

    2. Hi, thanks for your comment. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%-98%) healthy people.
      Adequate Intake (AI): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
      Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.
      In this video Dr Greger says “Unfortunately, most persons in the United States consume less than half the recommended intake of dietary fiber daily.” In which he means adequate intake. I hope that is useful to you.

  8. Since going WFPB I feel like a bird when it comes to, uh, what fiber has done for my mornings. No time to even read a postage stamp.

        1. Minimalists may be aware of the expression ‘cack-handed’ to refer to left handers

          That is the hand traditionally used to wipe the bum before the days of toilet paper. I think it is also why offering to shake hands with your left is considered offensive in some Arab countries (and why eating food with your left hand is also a no-no)

          1. Tom,

            That is good to know.

            I have poor friends and some of them are on food stamps which is an American welfare program where you get money to shop for food. Food only. People who lose their jobs and are too sick or too mentally ill to find one or who don’t find one until after their unemployment runs out face a reality.

            No toilet paper. No soap. No shampoo. No garbage bags. No laundry detergent.

            I remember years of helping people with those things and they cost so much money.

            I had a friend who had 6 kids and a handcuff in his history from when he was an addict, which means seriously under-employed and constantly having little emergencies.

            i bought them a grocery load once and pondered how a poor family with 6 kids ever affords toilet paper. I only bought enough groceries for about a week and it was 1/4 of my paycheck.

            1. The answer.when you don’t have soap or a bidet is a squeeze water bottle or a sits bath or rags or newspapers or junk mail or dirty underwear.

              1. I think, if I were ever in that position, I would be eating one meal a day at breakfast. Possibly soup after that.

                It would be the one situation where one might actually prefer constipation.

                Either way, soup kitchens rarely serve vegetarian meals. Not that I have seen.

              2. The fact that my friends periodically get their water or power shut off, I am sure that toilet paper is a permanent luxury for some of them. The weeks the water is also out has to make it interesting.

                  1. The man who has 6 kids had his parents put him in an orphanage, but he hung onto his kids and they are such sweethearts. He ended up getting Cancer and lost his house and I don’t know whether he is alive anymore, but he was an honorable man. If he is alive his kids are probably the age where they can work now. 14.

                    Poor people end up having their children get married and have kids and stay home and that is what works, but wealthy people see that as unhealthy, but poverty is more unhealthy.

                    1. My next door neighbor had 2 adult children with spouces and a grAnd child in a very small house. They are the nicest people and so polite and kind so it works.

  9. Does anyone have any hard evidence of how much fiber a 12-24 month baby could handle? And how many daily poops is too much for the child? Not sure if we should cut back on the fiber since he’s getting a lot from his vegan diet, and a lot from legumes, chia seeds and oats.

    Thanks!

    1. Casper, as a dad to an 18 month old myself, I’ve had similar concerns. From what I’ve read, legumes should be a smaller portion of the diet compared to nuts, grains, and starchy vegetables. The concern being that the little ones might fill up on legumes before reaching their calorie needs. How accurate that is, is up for debate.

      I’d love to have some other commenters jump in on this. It seems like developmental nutrition research is very lacking on the whole.

      1. Hi, Ryan Hallett! You can find everything on this site related to children here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/children/
        You also might find this resource to be of interest: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/blog/raising-vegan-baby-and-toddler
        The Daily Dozen https://nutritionfacts.org/app/themes/sage/dist/images/book/daily-dozen_6c40d3eb.jpg applies to toddlers, as well as adults, but with smaller portions and more fat. The key is feeding often, because their stomachs are small, but they need plenty of calories and nutrients to support growth. Some friends of mine, who have two very healthy vegan children, give their kids “bean shakes” with white beans, greens, fruit, etc. I hope that helps!

  10. Rupture of intracranial aneurysms…I wonder if other forms of straining could cause this such as lifting weights during exercise?

      1. Hi, frankrocap and Cape Coddess! The short answer to your question is, yes, that could happen. One could argue that, with a healthier lifestyle, one would be less likely to develop and aneurysm in the first place, and not need to worry about the risk of rupture. For more information on this topic, you might be interested in this article: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.606558

  11. Is it possible in the “Sources Cited” to put a time-stamp beside the cited source? There’s often intriguing information visible on the screen that I’d like to further pursue, but that is not mentioned by Dr. Greger. The time-stamp would let me know I’m sourcing the right research.

      1. Thanks Steven.

        “The article title or journal title/page/volume/issue number of each article should always be displayed in the videos, making it easy to connect which article you’re looking for in the Sources Cited section.” Yeah, I have noticed that, and it’s a very useful tool, but sometimes it flashes by a bit quickly. (The front page shot, not the digital on-screen graphic.)

        I often pause the video, when I see nuggets of info that are interesting, like the transit times of 3rd world countries versus North America (36 hrs. vs 72 hrs.).

        My idea could indeed be redundant / superfluous, but it would provide another way of accessing the associated references.

  12. Yes fiber plays a very imp role in bowel movement…as its a saying..if your gut is healthy…your body remains healthy..constipation and bowel diseases causes inflammation in the body

    1. Colleen,

      B-12 is something that you can’t reasonably get from whole vegan foods. You can find some plant milks that are fortified with it. Some brands of nutritional yeast do too. Mostly Dr.
      G suggests supplementing it , which is three in a five part series on B-12

    1. I’m going to try VeganSafe B12. Has anyone tried it or heard anything about it? Here’s the site which explains about it: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/vegansafe-b-12.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiApbzhBRDKARIsAIvZue8G-O7wby3iQB5AmpT_4zzCbfTyRsVl6tgiAIDpE58mfYen-vhtimYaAnH-EALw_wcB

      I know most of the research is done on cyano but since I’ve been taking methyl by Garden of Life, I’m excited to see if aI notice a difference from this stuff which has both methyl and the other type found in nature.

  13. One of the less pleasant effects of drinking smoothies and eating burritos, etc (all vegan and heavy in fiber), is that I can no longer awaken and hit the ground running, as I need to let my body muse upon at least two bowel movements each morning in close proximity to one another. If I leave before I’ve allowed that to happen naturally, I can end up in a desperate search for a quick trip to a restroom, so walking or biking is not a good idea. Anyone else experience this phenomena??? Not complaining, as the present situation sure beats the straining of the past…

    1. JW, that’s what happens when you eat Dr. G’s daily dozen. You can learn to control the urge. You can also learn to plan around it. I find that a hot cup of coffee or tea helps get things moving quickly.

    2. JW, I find that a glass of room temperature water help to get me going l, so to speak, first thing in the morning. I, too, prefer to ‘lighten the load’ before doing my daily, morning walkies.

    3. JW, I’m an early riser (up by 6 a.m. at the latest) because, for one reason, I’ve never liked to rush in the morning. I give myself around 3 hours to do my thing before heading out the door. “My thing” being yoga exercises, a little meditation, rebounding, etc.

      I like a leisurely breakfast, one of my favorite meals (but then, so is lunch — and dinner), and everything is taken care of very well by the time I sally forth into the outdoor world.

      How much time do you give YOURself in the morning, a lousy half hour or so?

  14. That is terrifying about the brain… Just another example of how entirely connected everything is in the body. Definitely information I need to warn people about.

  15. I just read a colon cancer and fiber study and whole grains and cereals were most survival protective. Then came vegetables. Fruit fiber didn’t change survival rates at all.

    1. A riddle for you:

      Lack of fruit intake was related to all-cause mortality

      But increasing fruit intake did not increase survival times at all in colon cancer.

      Is it not a good source of fiber?

      Is fiber not the main mechanism of fruit? Phytonutrients?

      How about diverticulosis?

        1. Do fruititarians get cancer more than vegans who don’t eat fruit?

          Is fruit eating more linked to a decrease in all-cause mortality or is fiber eating more linked to a decrease in all-cause mortality?

          1. Not eating fruit

            So we cross off fiber as a mechanism because unless fruit fiber works someplace other than the colon, it wouldn’t suddenly become fiber.

            Okay missing the gut bacteria becomes a theory based on Immunotherapy only working if you have the bacteria associated with pomegranate and cranberries. And blueberries doubling NK cells.

            Immunotherapy = immune system and that seems pretty important

            The other theory is the phytonutrients but neither the phytonutrients nor the gut bacteria helped colon cancer survival rates.

            Unless they were eating the wrong fruit or were juicing it but it was a fiber study and that shouldn’t be allowed.

            1. I am guessing that they were eating the wrong fruit.

              Now we just need the gut microbiome researchers and phytonutrients researchers to throw down.

              Nope, wait, we need the turning the blood into a cancer killer foods versus cancer and I need the immune system science music video guy to put it all in a song format.

              1. The colon cancer study with fiber is that the fiber of everything else being introduced after diagnoses increased survival rates.

                So maybe fruits have preventative properties more than fighting cancer after it is there?

                Or the sugar which doesn’t effect blood sugar maybe still effects cancer because of all of cancers receptors even though it is fructose instead of glucose? That one is my air head who doesn’t understand science question.

                1. Okay, if they were eating citrus, I hypothesize it was the cancer killing properties not being there.

                  If they were eating blueberries, then is colon cancer a type of cancer which is less responsive to immunotherapy?

                  Is it all fruit when not eating fruit tops the list?

                  Or was it they aren’t eating blueberries and cranberries and pomegranate seeds?

                    1. Or the phytonutrients maybe go into the blood and the colon doesn’t get as much blood?

                      Another airhead who doesn’t know science question.

    1. Ok so you’re saying one study showed that fruit didn’t increase survival rates of colon cancer, and apparently they used citrus fruits. I didn’t read the study but maybe they were eating the fruit instead of the grains or less of the grains, etc. and they just weren’t getting enough fiber, or was the amount of fiber distributed equally? Also, was the study replicated? Plus was it double blind and all that good stuff? In any case, surely fruit fiber counts and you get so many benefits from the vast variety of fruit. Fruit, from my understanding, is the easiest thing to digest so from that understanding and my experience, it can definitely help move things along. Then you have papain and bromelian from papaya and pineapple which are said to help break things down during digestion, that’s just what I’ve heard. And in Dr. Greger’s video on “How Much Fruit Is Too Much” (if I’m getting the title right) going solely on memory, subjects actually became healthier on 20 servings of fruit a day plus considering they were still eating other food, it was reported that they had some of the biggest bowel movements seen.
      In my experience, I’ve been eating WFPB for a few years and it wasn’t until late summer that I drastically increased my fruit consumption and I actually noticed a boost in health and a better appearance if I may say so… lol. Fruit just seems to make the skin glow, particularly berries. Another benefit for me is that when I eat fruit, sweetened desserts appeal FAR less to me and I prefer fruit only with rare exceptions but in much smaller amounts than I used to like.

      1. You have to know what is going on inside your body, not outside. The amount of fruit you are talking about can raise blood sugar to dangerously high levels, leading to insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes, inflammation in the arteries and deposition of plaque in the artery walls, leading to heart and stroke. Most people are pre-diabetic and don’t know it.

        1. All available unbiased, high quality, published peer reviewed clinical studies completely contradicts your assumptions about fruit consumption and your assumptions about insulin resistance. If you’re going to make statements like this, you’ll need to back it up with unbiased citations from published medical literature….not flashy websites, or news stories, but real scientific journal article citations that are not sponsored by Big Food or Big Pharma. This is what Dr. G does and why everyone takes him so seriously: statements backed up with solid EVIDENCE

  16. A study published in the Lancet within the last 24 hours might be of interest.

    ‘Just under 135 million person-years of data from 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials with 4635 adult participants were included in the analyses. Observational data suggest a 15–30% decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality, and incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke incidence and mortality, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer when comparing the highest dietary fibre consumers with the lowest consumers Clinical trials show significantly lower bodyweight, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol when comparing higher with lower intakes of dietary fibre. Risk reduction associated with a range of critical outcomes was greatest when daily intake of dietary fibre was between 25 g and 29 g. Dose-response curves suggested that higher intakes of dietary fibre could confer even greater benefit to protect against cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal and breast cancer. Similar findings for whole grain intake were observed”.
    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31809-9/fulltext

    1. But what if you are insulin resistant as most adults are and you have difficulty metabolizing carbs, so that after eating whole grains and legumes, you get blood sugar and insulin spikes? These lead to inflammation in the arteries and deposition of plaque. Most people have plaque in their arteries without knowing it. That is why heart attack is the silent killer. Should everyone eat whole grains and legumes, even pre-diabetics and diabetics? Most people are pre-diabetic and don’t know it. Many even have diabetes without knowing it. So, who should and who shouldn’t eat whole grains and legumes? A very perplexing question.

  17. About three months ago I switched to a whole food plant based diet following the Daily Dozen. I immediately felt more energy. However about six weeks ago I broke out in a terrible itchy rash all over my body. My doctor put me on a course of prednisone (anti inflammatory) and the rash cleared up. I’ve been off the prednisone for about two weeks and the rash is back. I’ve never had food allergies before and have been tested for soy and cashew sensitivities (both negative) because I am eating much more of those than before. Anybody experience anything similar when switching their diet? Any ideas what it can be? I’m considering just going back to my regular diet because this rash is pretty terrible. I’ve generally had no other changes in lifestyle and have never had a rash like this before.

  18. If you have atherosclerosis, plaque in your arteries, and most adults have some degree of this, and you have insulin resistance, which again is true of most adults, won’t whole grains and legumes raise blood sugar a lot and cause insulin spikes and inflammation? This states a view that is becoming widely accepted- insulin resistance leads to inflammation in the arteries, resulting in the deposition of plaques in the arteries, which over time, as that plaque grows in the artery wall leads to heart attack and stroke. If you eat whole grains and legumes and test your blood sugar with a glucometer as diabetics do, won’t you find that your blood sugar is being raised to dangerously high levels? A large part of the population is pre-diabetic, or diabetic and doesn’t know it, so this is a really important issue. Who should and who shouldn’t eat whole grains and legumes?

  19. The premise of your question is not supported by any evidence. “Most adults” do not have insulin resistance. In addition, its not just “whole grains” its “unprocessed whole grains” that support health. And no, these will not spike insulin and blood glucose levels anything like what processed carbs combined with fat will do. As numerous studies have shown, populations that eat unprocessed whole grains and legumes without any added fat or animal products have ZERO diabetes and ZERO cardiovascular disease. Populations that have insulin resistance and atherosclerosis got that way because they did NOT eat a diet that is exclusively unprocessed plant based, including unprocessed grains and legumes.

  20. My Mum was diagnosed with “temporal arteritis”
    She is 88. They put her on steroids for a prolonged period. Her inflammation markers were at 97 when normal should be below 5. They are now at normal levels because of the medicine. I asked about causes. The doctor said it was unknown. Would an inflammatory diet not contribute to the arteries in your head as it would to the arteries in your heart?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This