For many years, it has been widely accepted that dietary fiber intake is important for proper gut health and to promote regular bowel movements. However, are there any relevant studies to back up this claim?
A six-month study of 63 men and women published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2012 strongly suggested that the opposite was true. In the study, the less fiber people ate the more their constipation and associated symptoms, such abdominal pain and bloating improved. The patients who stopped or reduced their dietary fiber intake saw significant improvement in their symptoms while those who continued on a high fiber diet had no change at all. In fact, the authors of the study remarked, “In conclusion, contrary to popularly held beliefs, reducing or stopping dietary fiber intake improves constipation and its associated symptoms.”
These results probably shouldn’t be that surprising when you consider that many high-fiber foods such as beans have long been known to cause gas and bloating. So, while consuming fiber is good for you in some ways (such as maintaining a healthy weight) if you are suffering from constipation as well as abdominal pain and bloating, you may need to reduce your fiber intake to improve your symptoms. Always talk to your healthcare provider if you experience constipation on a regular basis. You can learn more about the details of the study on fiber and constipation here.