4

votes

Soluble Fiber (vs Insoluble) needed for good poops?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Prior to starting Paleo, the approach I had used for IBS (based on Heather VanVorous's protocol at HelpforIBS.com) was to make sure all meals contained both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble is the one that combines with water to makes a mucilage-like gel to create well-formed stools. Examples of sources would be grains (esp refined ones - as the whole grain contains insoluble as well) and starchy vegs. Then the insoluble fiber, aka roughage like greens, acts as a broom to keep things moving. I'm simplifying here, but that was basically my understanding - to keep your stools regular and well-formed, you need both types, although the ratio of soluble to insoluble will depend on your needs - for example someone with diarrhea-predominant IBS would want to emphasize the soluble.

It seems that the Paleo cuts down dramatically on soluble fiber sources, and so I'm not at all surprised that I've been a bit constipated since I started, and that my poops haven't been as full. However, I find stargy vegs like yams and parsnips to be gassy. I notice that Melissa McEwan eats some white rice to manage her system. Is that the solution?

Or is the idea that by going Paleo I will heal my gut so I won't have IBS and won't need to pay attention so much to soluble fibre as my gut will be able to cope without it?

Or, should I focus on somehow improving my gut flora so that I won't be as gassy from starchy veg? I am taking VSL#3, a very high strength probiotic ,as well as full-fat organic kefir. I haven't done the sauerkraut or kimchi because I'm wary of the gas from cabbage. And Kombucha teas are too fizzy and also give me uncomfortable gas.

I guess what I'm asking is how can I expect to have good stools on a diet that's so low in soluble fiber?

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:54 PM

Psyllium seed powder (not the husk powder) is a decent source of soluble fiber. Mark Sisson wrote about this briefly: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-it-primal-paleo-bread-braggs-liquid-aminos-psyllium-fiber-and-other-foods-scrutinized/. As of this writing, I get mine from morethanalive.com.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on August 02, 2012
at 08:41 PM

I think it takes time for our bodies to adjust to a new level of fiber (whether it's more or less than we're used to). I would guess that 1 week may not be enough time.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on August 02, 2012
at 08:38 PM

I think it takes time for our bodies to adjust to a new level of fiber (whether it's more or less that we're used to). I would guess that 1 week may not be enough time.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on October 27, 2011
at 02:15 AM

I think Konstantin is definitely on to something when he says insoluble fiber is unnecessary and even harmful to your GI tract. I'd say avoid insoluble fiber but allow some soluble fiber in the form of fruits/veggies.

E18e55fca0dc5c2782f5f74efc1d8f40

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 05:36 PM

the apple thing is something I have read several times in different books- I read them years ago- grandma's books- I will try to find out the titles- the one remedy book went over fruits, veggies, herbs, that can be used for their properties to help "heal" the body etc etc. it was very interesting- my grandma was big on eating natural from our garden and using food instead of meds ( unless otherwise absolutley necessary of course) I was so healthy back then!!! I left and well I am no rectifying bad habits!

E18e55fca0dc5c2782f5f74efc1d8f40

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 05:24 PM

( continued) I eat apples to my hearts content!

E18e55fca0dc5c2782f5f74efc1d8f40

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 05:23 PM

I like coconut flour for some good ol fiber! I noticed that once I made coconut flour crepes twice a week that my bowels were back to normal I experienced a bit of constipation though my definition of constipated is quite different than most peoples ( I poop once a day and think I am constipated lol but dr's agree for me that is constipation! I have at least 3 bowel movements per day if not more) I also make sure I eat fiber rich veggies and an apple- apples help with constipation I think they are sort of off limits to eating daily but I really dont like fruit as much as I like veggies so--

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on October 13, 2011
at 08:04 PM

i think veg like kale, chard, broccoli, tomotoes, celery, peppers, brussel sprouts, and the skins of cucumber, zucchini and eggplant are mostly insoluble. the soft starchy ones like carrots, the insides of zucchini, and all the root vegs i think are mostly soluble. however i find root vegs gassy, so i'm trying to figure out other ways to get sufficient soluble fiber.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on October 13, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Thanks - I am familiar with the Gut Sense/Fiber Menace arguments. But I must say, I've been only on Paleo a week, and while I'm less bloated, my poops are really lame so far in terms of shape, ease, completion, etc. I'm thinking of adding some white rice (a soluble fiber source) to the mix, like Melissa McEwen does (according to her blog).

9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

(581)

on October 12, 2011
at 02:57 PM

i'm not asking for anyone to change their dietary habit; but only to explore less traveled roads and, hence, their options :)

9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

(581)

on October 12, 2011
at 02:56 PM

i think i meant to say insoluble fibre lol the author's main points were mostly about the indigestible/insoluble fibre. and please don't be discourage to explore just because i'm not very articulate. this is true: "Because some conventional wisdom may be incorrect does not make every bit of crazy unconventional wisdom correct" however, it still might be that we should be more skeptical about conventional wisdom and explore the other side(s) of things. i would have to say most paleo people arrived here because were skeptical and did some exploring.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on October 12, 2011
at 09:10 AM

Because some conventional wisdom may be incorrect does not make every bit of crazy unconventional wisdom correct.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on October 12, 2011
at 09:08 AM

Breast milk has plenty of fibre in the form of fermentable oligosaccharides. Making assumptions about the Inuit seems to be a common activity.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 11, 2011
at 03:32 PM

I always thought paleo food had almost all soluble. That would be tubers like all forms of potatoes, above ground veg, etc. I had always thought insoluble was mainly found in grains (be they whole or refined). Am I wrong?

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3 Answers

3
9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

on October 12, 2011
at 02:35 AM

there's a site gutsense.org that u NEED to go on. you know how most doctors tell people the SAD diet is fine or even good; most doctors tell people fibre is good for IBS and general health but it's not necessary true. the site gutsense.org is ALOT to read and very shocking (and he's sometimes a little too colorful), but it makes more sense for me after i've read it all. his book is "fibre menace" and also very informative. (just ignore what he's trying to sell)

please at least go check out his site because there's alot of what he said that made so much more sense than conventional wisdom:

1) babies don't eat fibre (none in breast milk) and yet they poo regularly and grow like crazy 2) inuits, while would have some berries and roots, r 90-95% fibre free and no constipation 3) people who fast for long periods would still have stools

it would be nature's cruel joke if eating animals is so healthy for us and yet fibre is necessary and missing in meat.

it's a very controversial topic - "fibre is bad" - but for some people, "SAD is bad" sounds once upon a time really controversial too.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on October 12, 2011
at 09:08 AM

Breast milk has plenty of fibre in the form of fermentable oligosaccharides. Making assumptions about the Inuit seems to be a common activity.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on October 12, 2011
at 09:10 AM

Because some conventional wisdom may be incorrect does not make every bit of crazy unconventional wisdom correct.

9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

(581)

on October 12, 2011
at 02:57 PM

i'm not asking for anyone to change their dietary habit; but only to explore less traveled roads and, hence, their options :)

9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

(581)

on October 12, 2011
at 02:56 PM

i think i meant to say insoluble fibre lol the author's main points were mostly about the indigestible/insoluble fibre. and please don't be discourage to explore just because i'm not very articulate. this is true: "Because some conventional wisdom may be incorrect does not make every bit of crazy unconventional wisdom correct" however, it still might be that we should be more skeptical about conventional wisdom and explore the other side(s) of things. i would have to say most paleo people arrived here because were skeptical and did some exploring.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on October 13, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Thanks - I am familiar with the Gut Sense/Fiber Menace arguments. But I must say, I've been only on Paleo a week, and while I'm less bloated, my poops are really lame so far in terms of shape, ease, completion, etc. I'm thinking of adding some white rice (a soluble fiber source) to the mix, like Melissa McEwen does (according to her blog).

E18e55fca0dc5c2782f5f74efc1d8f40

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 05:36 PM

the apple thing is something I have read several times in different books- I read them years ago- grandma's books- I will try to find out the titles- the one remedy book went over fruits, veggies, herbs, that can be used for their properties to help "heal" the body etc etc. it was very interesting- my grandma was big on eating natural from our garden and using food instead of meds ( unless otherwise absolutley necessary of course) I was so healthy back then!!! I left and well I am no rectifying bad habits!

E18e55fca0dc5c2782f5f74efc1d8f40

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 05:24 PM

( continued) I eat apples to my hearts content!

E18e55fca0dc5c2782f5f74efc1d8f40

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 05:23 PM

I like coconut flour for some good ol fiber! I noticed that once I made coconut flour crepes twice a week that my bowels were back to normal I experienced a bit of constipation though my definition of constipated is quite different than most peoples ( I poop once a day and think I am constipated lol but dr's agree for me that is constipation! I have at least 3 bowel movements per day if not more) I also make sure I eat fiber rich veggies and an apple- apples help with constipation I think they are sort of off limits to eating daily but I really dont like fruit as much as I like veggies so--

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on October 27, 2011
at 02:15 AM

I think Konstantin is definitely on to something when he says insoluble fiber is unnecessary and even harmful to your GI tract. I'd say avoid insoluble fiber but allow some soluble fiber in the form of fruits/veggies.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:54 PM

Psyllium seed powder (not the husk powder) is a decent source of soluble fiber. Mark Sisson wrote about this briefly: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-it-primal-paleo-bread-braggs-liquid-aminos-psyllium-fiber-and-other-foods-scrutinized/. As of this writing, I get mine from morethanalive.com.

2
3460da158ca738fe463f1a403fed4155

(197)

on October 19, 2011
at 01:18 AM

I was diagnosed with IBS in college and put on some stupid medications, then extra medication to counteract side effects of medications. I know that there are different types of IBS as you've described, but I'll let you know what works for me, and perhaps you can give it a try. To be honest, with this whole Paleo/Primal thing, I am seeing that overanalytical pseudo-science sought answers don't work nearly as well as the N-1 trial and error approach.

My first meal of the day is a green smoothie with healthy fats (coconut milk, avocado, macadamia nuts), green spinach and kale, and protein sources from eggs and grass-fed whey. I'll add in some cinnamon and organic cacao for flavor from time-to time, but all in all, the importance is the 3 handfuls of baby spinach and the 4 stalks of kale. I use at least 1/2 of the stalk if it's thick or the whole deal if it's on the thinner side. Why? The leafy parts have the soluble fibers and the stalks themselves seem to have insoluble fibers (at least that's what I'm told).

Now, if the above doesn't seem to help you out, on particularly "rough" days, especially after a 'treat' day, I'll throw in 1/2 tsp Psyllium-husk fiber. It will definitely put a rush on things (not messy, though, don't worry.)

Try it out and see how you feel!

1
059ef1b3a906fb8396f42d381269153f

on August 02, 2012
at 07:35 PM

I am a Type I diabetic of 47+ years diagnosed with gastroparesis in 1993. I was put on many different meds for the condition which is damage to the nerves that facilitate peristaltic movement in the gut. In english: the gut doesn't move...you can't have a bowel movement...you become extremely toxic and obstructed. None of the meds worked (which they don't for most people) so I started looking at my diet. I was on a program specific to the condition that was mostly very refined fiber and starches. I changed to gluten free in spite of sero-negative celiac testing due to a high gluten intolerance test, and went paleo. I eat black beans and pinto beans only due to this same food eval (called the Nutri eval Food Sensitivity Test done by Genova Labs) and cut all grains from my diet. Within two weeks I was having one to three movements a day of all various combinations and this was probably part detox and part layers of a different onion revealing themselves. We are all very complicated beings but i will say that the grains were inflaming me so badly that I looked like a marshmallow roasted on a fire. Every time I screw up and eat them my body is racked with pain (particularly the knees and hands). When I rarely miss a sandwich with bread I simply think of how much better I feel and don't have a second thought. I have been Paleo now for 3 years and would never go back! :) Betsy Ray diabeteslifeline@gmail.com

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