What about fiber on a low-carb diet?

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What about fiber on a low-carb diet? How much do we need? What are the origins of the idea that it is good for us? What are the guidelines? What is the totality of the evidence? What are the claimed mechanisms by which fiber could be of benefit? And when did all of this start?

In this presentation from the Low Carb Denver 2019 conference, Dr. Zoë Harcombe walks us through the background to the guidelines for fiber.

This is our #14 published presentation from the Low Carb Denver conference. Find all the earlier ones here.

Transcript of the preview above

Dr. Zoë Harcombe: And we are asked to eat starchy foods which then replenishes our glycogen. That’s the many sugars of the digestible form. And we then have indigestible many sugars and they come in a soluble version which would be things like beans or oats and that means they dissolve or swell in water and then there is an insoluble version which would be more like bran.

Now actually I should have put the toilet next to both of those because both the soluble and the insoluble fiber, this is what fiber is, that’s the circle of fiber, both of them end up down the toilet. Doesn’t it immediately make you think, perhaps fiber isn’t quite so good for us after all?

Some of you will be familiar with this famous quote from the panel on macro nutrients 2005, “The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero.” We don’t need carbohydrate, it is not an essential nutrient provided that enough fat and protein are consumed. So, we’ve just immediately seen that fiber is a subset of carbohydrates.

So, we have no need for carbohydrate, we have therefore no need for fiber and very kindly the most recent American dietary guidelines 2015 to 2020 reinforced this for us. So, first of all they just defined what an essential nutrient is, something that we must consume, we cannot synthesize it in the body and then they very kindly added dietary fiber while not essential. So, we have the situation that dietary fiber is not essential.


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What about fiber? – Dr. Zoë Harcombe

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Low Carb Denver 2019