[Transcript] – Constipation, Fecal Transplants, Fiber Myths, Resistant Starch, Probiotics & More With Konstantin Monastyrsky.

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/03/constipation-fecal-transplants-fiber-myths-resistant-starch-probiotics-more-with-konstantin-onastyrsky/

[00:17] Harry’s Razors

[01:28] Onnit

[03:03] Nuts.com

[04:38] FitLife

[06:04] Introduction

[09:52] About Konstantin Monastyrsky

[11:17] Are we missing out the Hormetic Effect if we Peel Fruits and Vegetables?

[17:01] Insoluble Fibers are not Beneficial

[27:36] High Fiber Intake for Healthy GI Tract etc.

[30:05] Can Fiber Intake Lower the Chance of Heart Disease or Diabetes?

[37:48] Can Fiber Intake Lower the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease/ MI?

[44:21] Resistant Starch/Diets – Are these Good for You?

[53:25] Fixing Colon that Lacks Bacteria / Probiotics

[1:05:16] Squatty Potty

[1:11:38.9] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hello!  This is Ben Greenfield, and in today’s podcast episode we’re gonna talk all about poop and fiber, and some very controversial topics regarding the skin of your vegetables, but before we do that I wanna tell you about today’s sponsors.

First of all, I when I shave, it doesn’t feel like I shave.  I’m not kidding.  I was shaving yesterday and I had to keep checking to make sure that the razor was actually indeed removing the hair from my face ‘coz I couldn’t feel a thing.  Why is that?  ‘Coz my razor has freaking 5 blades and it was made in this German engineered factory.  I don’t just talk about this stuff ‘coz they sponsor the podcast.  I talk about it ‘coz I use it and this particular blade is made by a company called Harry’s.  You can check ém out at harrys.com that’s h-a-r-r-y-s dot com.  They make these blades that are ergonomic so you don’t get I don’t know, carpal tunnel syndrome when you shave.  I don’t know if that’s a thing but if it is, it’s not gonna happen to you.  But more importantly you really do get the hair removed from your face in a very efficient way, like you really can’t tell that it’s coming off.  It’s weird.  It’s freaky.  So you can use code Ben when you go to harrys.com.  That’s code Ben to save 5 bucks.  H-a-r-r-y-s dot com whether you’re a guy or a girl and use discount code Ben.

This podcast is also brought to you by the one place that I have used to outfit pretty much the entire gym in my house.  One of the things that I use 3 times a week is a battle rope.  I stand there with the battle rope, and the way that I like to use it is I’ve got it hooked around a little like a bracket that I put on my wall.  So I use this little magnetic stud finder and then I bolted this bracket into my wall, I pass this thing called the battle rope through it.  And it is this heavy rope that I can whip up and down.  I can whip it with one hand at a time or with both hands and it’s like a mix of catharsis and working out.  It’s good cross training for swimming.  Good cross training for fighting, you name it.  So I’ll do like 5 sixty second intervals with the rope.  I’ll walk away for about ten seconds in between each one.  Usually I’ll wear an elevation training mask when I do this.  But battle ropes are amazing for conditioning.

There’s some really interesting studies on battle ropes and found them to be as effective as sprinting.  So you can get a battle rope, kettlebells, mazes.  All sorts of the same stuff I use in my gym at Onnit.  So how do you do that, you go to O-n-n-i-t dot com that’s onnit.com.  If you got to onnit.com/bengreenfield, you’re gonna save 10% off of all their supplements like Alpha Brain and their delicious peanut butter oat mega bars, and then 5% off of any fitness equipment like the mighty, mighty battle rope.  So check that out onnit.com/bengreenfield.           

This podcast is also brought to you by dried organic mangoes.  Just because I got tired of saying nuts.  There’s this company, they’re over at nuts.com, and a lot of people think they just sell nuts but they also sell dried fruit.  Now dried fruit I don’t eat a ton of because it does have a lot of sugar in it.  But if you want this stuff that doesn’t have sulfates or additives or sweeteners, when you’re buying say your Brazil nuts, or your almonds, or your chia seeds, or any of the other type of nuts and seeds, I’ve recommended in previous episodes, throw in just a few of these dried fruits that you can include every now and again with the nuts because honestly the stuff that you get from the grocery store, I don’t know if you’ve checked recently, is covered in sugar and sulfites and they even add colors to it.  Like I think that if you look at a dried organic mango, and it’s all like kinda brown and like dark orange and yellow and the colors aren’t consistent, that’s the sign of a good dried mango.  And the stuff that’s consistent in color and consistent in size usually has been dyed and has a bunch of sugar and sulfates added to it.

So you can save a ton at nuts.com.  As a matter of fact you can get a boat load of free samples from nuts.com.  A fifteen dollar value, you get to choose from over 50 different free samples and you add them to your cart when you check out.  So you go to nuts.com, you click on the mic and you enter the code Ben.  You click on the mic at nuts.com, you enter the code Ben and, yes I do indeed recommend the dried organic mango.

And then finally, this podcast is brought to you by the best tasting green juice on the face of the planet.  So here’s the deal, if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi, what you’re going to find is a coconut and ashwagandha-infused green juice.  The coconut restores your electrolyte in the same manner as human plasma.  It’s the same electrolyte composition as human plasma.  So if you need to rehydrate, this stuff is amazing or if say you have a hangover and you add some to your morning shake, oh boy, it will get all the water back into your body the way that it should be.  Like nature, because science.  I think I should just say that more often.  ‘Like nature, because science’, that’s my new tagline.  Anyways though, check it out, it’s got chlorella, moringa, spirulina, mint, beets, green tea, wheat grass, ashwagandha, turmeric, lemon, coconut water, oh so much more goodness.  And you can just add it to smoothies, to juices, you can probably stir it into coffee, I haven’t done that yet.  Try that out.  Let me know how it goes for you.  But you can check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi and you get 20%, not 5, not 10 but 20% off when you use discount code Ben at bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi.

Alright, that’s it.  Let’s go ahead and learn the truth about fiber.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“Colonic bacteria, I mean, the true one, innate one, human ones, they reside in the mucosal membrane of the large intestine.  They do not reside inside the lumen meaning the cavity that holds the large intestine.  And so they draw all their nutrients that they need from mucus.  A fiber wouldn’t even reach as a mucus would be there.  When I look at it as a forensic nutritionist, I ask myself a question, in what way a substance that is completely indigestible that is technically a cellulous essentially the same substance as toilet paper.  In what way it can prevent a heart attack or in what way it can make a person more predisposed of heart attack?  No it can’t.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben:  Hey folks, its Ben Greenfield and several podcast episodes ago we tackled a really tricky and pretty confusing topic with a doctor who has somewhat a long name that I’m going to try not to butcher here, Dr. Konstantin Monastyrsky.  And in that episode with Konstantin which was called, how much fiber to eat, where to get your fiber and is fiber really killing your insides, Konstantin and I covered several topics including, why it is that doctors tell us to eat plenty of fiber and the things that doctors don’t really know or realize about fiber intake when it gets too high.  We talked about how much fiber is too much and how that varies from person to person.  We talked about the difference between using lots of fruits and vegetables versus just say, a high fiber cleansing supplement.  We talked about the truth behind dangerous laxatives and also what someone with constipation can do if high fiber intake and laxatives aren’t the solution, and a lot more.

Now if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth. I’ll link to that original podcast episode that I did with Konstantin.  But that particular episode generated so many, dozens and dozens of questions and comments that I decided in today’s episode to bring Konstantin back.  And in this episode, we’re gonna delve into all of the nitty-gritty questions that came up during that episode about why it is that we talk about reducing fiber intake and how much fruits and vegetables and insoluble fiber you really need.  And then we’re going to also talk about resistance starch, constipation, fecal transplants, more about fiber myth, probiotics and whole lot more.  So if you’re interested even remotely in the gut fiber, fruits, vegetables, probiotics, things along those lines, then you’re definitely going to want to keep listening.

Now who is Konstantin, well, he graduated in 1977 from Medical University with a pharmacy degree.  He’s a certified nutrition consultant, he’s an expert in forensic nutrition which is a field of science that looks at the connection between health foods and nutrition related disorders like diabetes and obesity, and gut issues like constipation.  Now he actually immigrated originally from Ukraine to the United States and has worked as a programmer, he’s worked at some different Wall Street firms, now he runs the website Fiber Myths which we’ll link to in the show notes.  He’s got a book also called The “Fiber Menace”, and he certainly done a lot of investigation and research into everything from nutritional interventions to extremely unorthodox thinking when it comes to how to tackle issues like constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, or anything that has to do with the gut.  So Konstantin, welcome back to the show.                           

Konstantin:  Ben, thank you so much for such a wonderful introduction (giggles).  It’s mesmerizing when you write a speech and everything that you do is just absolutely stunning.  I am a (inaudible) of yours.         

Ben: I’m all about the super long introductions.  We have to establish the credibility. (laughs)

Konstantin:  I really I appreciate it.  

Ben:  Anyways, let’s start here.  You have an article and I’m gonna link to it in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth.  The article is called, Is Fiber Bad For You?, and in that article and also in the podcast that you did with me earlier, you discussed how you don’t endorse eating the skins of vegetables and fruits.  You even talked about how you will remove the skin from vegetables and fruits prior to eating them.

Konstantin:  That’s correct.

Ben:  Now we received plenty of comments from folks who asked about the insoluble fiber that you could be missing out on, and also a lot of the other benefits that people will say are in the skin of fruits and vegetables.  For example, may people who I know do indeed peel fruits and vegetables before eating them.  But some folks will say that you miss out on the pigments in the skin which are a potentially beneficial source of phytochemicals and of course you miss out on the insoluble fiber.  You miss out you know, for example, if you peel an apple on the pectin which is non insoluble fiber but a soluble fiber that can help for example control blood sugar.  You miss out on some of the antioxidants with the potato, I know things like iron and potassium and B vitamins can be found in the skin.

And so, when you remove the skin, I do know that you miss out on quite a few things, and then there’s also the idea behind the fact that there’s even a hormetic effect with some of these foods like the skin of something like a potato that contain some alkaloids which are potential slight digestive irritants may via this hormetic effect somehow make the digestive tract even stronger.  So when it comes to all these things that folks might miss out on, if they don’t eat the skin what’s your take on that?

Konstantin:  Well, let’s start from the very beginning.  What is the skin of a vegetable or what is the skin of a fruit?  It is essentially a cellulous, and what is its function?  Let’s look at potatoes.  The function of the skin of a potato is to protect the potato while it is in ground from pests.  From pests, that’s why so many pesticides are used while growing a vegetable.  And one of the particular, very unpleasant property of potatoes is incredible toxicity.  I mean, you know well when potatoes begin to what’s it’s called, they start to in storage, there’s a little growth of, I mean it becomes very toxic.  And so and why well, the reason for this toxicity is to protect the potato while it’s in the ground.  And it is well known that among all the fruits and vegetables there are two of the most allergenic, hyper-allergenic vegetables and hyper-allergenic fruits.

The most hyper-allergenic vegetable are potatoes and the most hyper-allergenic fruit is actually a berry.  Well, in fruit is orange and there is also a berry, strawberries.  So if we know that potatoes are so allergenic, if we know that the surface of potatoes has a greenish cast, it’s toxic.  If we know that the bush of potato if you just broil it, boil it and eat it, it’s a poisonous toxic as anything else that you can get there and it can get you killed.  Why would, in a sound mind, we would consume something that is specifically intended by nature to protect the core of the potato from pest, I mean I think it’s insane.  And if you look at cultures, that of culinary cultures, you look at Italy, you look at France, in some way you look at UK, you look at Russia, you look at the Eastern Europe, potatoes were never consumed with skin.  Skins were always thrown away.  At best they were used as a feed for livestock.  Cows, but not for people.

Ben: Gotcha.  But when it comes to something like that, isn’t there kind of this idea that the dose makes the poison, I mean, when you look at the glycoalkaloids in potato skin, I mean, they’re undoubtedly toxic at high doses.  I would agree with you that they have been shown to cause many harmful effects in animals and humans and especially in people who are like sensitive to night shades, but if you look at studies in for example, you know animals that eat potatoes, you don’t see in moderated amounts a huge amount of damage in terms of gut inflammation when it comes to potato intake, and like the skin of potato intake are in normal sane amounts, I mean, isn’t there an idea here that it would be potato or potato skins in high amounts?  So it would be an issue and not say for example, let’s say if you are going to eat like a sweet potato eating the skin of a single sweet potato.

Konstantin:  Well, if you’re healthy, no there will be no damage.  But we are primarily, when we talk about nutrition, we talk for 2 reasons, one is to protect disease and the second one is for people who are having problems with digestion in general, and all colorectal disorders.  And the problem is especially here in the United States is that people always say that there is no such a thing as not too little of a good thing.  So when somebody hears that potato skins are good for health because they contain fiber or phytochemicals or antioxidants, so they start to double up, triple up, quadruple up but they already have problems.  So when they start on the task it does become toxic.  And that’s where the problem is.

Ben:  Okay, gotcha.  Yeah, and I do know that there’s one research study that they did that showed that glycoalkaloids that you’d find in potato skins aggravate inflammatory bowel disease granted this study was done in mice that were genetically predisposed to inflammatory bowel disease, but it sounds like what it comes down to is that if you are someone who is listening right now who has gut issues, and you’re eating something like a potato or a night shade, like let’s say an eggplant or a tomato, you will be prudent to not to eat the skin, to peel those.  Now, what about the insoluble fiber, for example even this morning with my breakfast I had a few blueberries.  When I eat an apple, I eat the skin for example, to get the pectin and to get the insoluble fiber, why is it that well, let me ask the question this way.  Aren’t people missing out on insoluble fiber that can be beneficial for the digestive tract if they’re not eating the skin of a fruit or a vegetable?

Konstantin:  Not really, because again if we look at the evolution of nutrition or the evolutionary nutrition, people in general were not consuming fruits and vegetables because they were available only in a very, very short season.  They were not tasty because they were not cultivated, they were not as sweet as they are today and they had a very limited storage capacity.  So even if at best let’s say gazelles would consume fruits and vegetables or primarily fruits because it’s very hard to dig or preserve them, it was a very, very short period of time of when they were available.

And so that’s the reason why mammals have alimentary canal meaning, from mouth to the anus very different from the alimentary canal of let’s say, herbivorous animals such as cows and goats, and so forth and so on.  Their digestion is built on fermentation, our digestion is built first and may mean the very first digestive organs that we have following the mouth and esophagus is the stomach.  And the stomach is an organ which only produces gastric acid and proteolytic enzymes.  And they cannot deal with fiber, soluble or insoluble.  They can only deal with proteins.  The stomach doesn’t even deal with its fat.  The stomach doesn’t have reserved water.  The stomach does nothing but performs several functions: sterilizes food, warms them up, stores them if they are in excess and digests proteins.  And everything else then takes place in the small intestine.  And so if you consume something like soluble fiber, I’m sorry insoluble fiber which is insoluble meaning it’s a cellulous meaning, it will go from your mouth to your anus to your toilet bowl intact.  Just like a piece of paper.

Ben:  But isn’t the idea behind that insoluble fiber passing through your digestive system intact is that it can for example, decrease the glycemic response to food or lower the blood sugar response to food?

Konstantin:  No.

Ben:  Or assist with digestion or even for example, allow for a certain amount of fermentation which would allow like good bacteria to be able to eat it and multiply it, or to increase stool bulk for example, I mean aren’t there some benefits, I mean, I even know for example that there’s some evidence that shows that insoluble fiber may promote for example, like the peristaltic action in the gut, so that it can help you to eliminate your stool.  Are you saying that there’s absolutely no benefit to insoluble fiber or that too much insoluble fiber may cause issues?

Konstantin:  Well there isn’t any benefit, period.  And that the only issues or assumptions that you mentioned that was correct is that insoluble fiber would stimulate colonic bacteria.  But this is not good also for many reasons because colonic bacteria, I mean, the true one, innate one, human ones, they reside in the mucosal membrane of the large intestine.  They do not reside inside the lumen meaning, the cavity of the large intestine, and so they draw all the nutrients that they need from mucus.  A fiber would even reach as if it would be there.  And so when we keep adding fiber to the large intestine all we accomplish is appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, a bulking of the stools because of the bulking of the stools will start to strain, because we start to strain we develop the narrowing of the anal canal, because we develop the narrowing of the anal canal we develop enlarged hemorrhoids, and then because we develop enlarged hemorrhoids we develop anal fissures.          

Ben:  Now is there evidence, I mean, so what you’ll generally see in nutrition is the recommendation for somewhere in the range of 20 to 40 grams of fiber from a variety of sources each day like vegetables or fruits or legumes of grains.  Are you saying that this type of deleterious effect would occur with that amount of fiber intake or with an amount of fiber intake that exceeds 40 grams?  And the reason I ask this is because I haven’t seen a lot of research that shows the development of things like appendicitis of diverticulitis with what I would consider to be like a normal sane amount of fruit and vegetable intake.

Konstantin:  It’s generally accepted that an average western diet involves about 15 to 20 grams of fiber, soluble and insoluble.  And when I wrote my book, the very first phrase, the very first paragraph says, there is absolutely no problem with consuming normal diet in moderation because our body is perfectly equipped to deal with that.  But now we have medical bodies that promote fiber as a laxative which is actually against the law.  Back in 2001 FDA prohibited to promote fiber as a laxative that’s why if you go in the drugstore you will see that it’s sold for to reduce cholesterol which is also why it doesn’t do, but anyways, that’s how they do it.  So fiber will have absolutely no effect, positive effect on peristalsis.  It will not have a positive effect on digestion.  It will not have a positive effect on assimilation.  It will not have a positive effect on blocking or reducing a glycemic index on what you consume.  It can’t.

The process is physiological process that is going in the gut in the small intestine particularly when it comes to diabetes.  They are governed by the use of enzymes, and that everything is taking place in the cell level.  So when medical authorities fraudulently imply that fiber can reduce a glycemic index of any particular food or any particular diet, this assumption is based on the fact that excessive fiber, not regular, not normal amount, excessive amount will cause enteritis, the inflammation of the small intestine.  And when your small intestine is inflamed, what’s the next thing that’s happening, nothing.  Foods don’t get digested.                 

Ben:  And what would you consider to be an amount of fiber that would cause a type of inflammation in the gut like an amount that exceeds 40 grams?

Konstantin:  It depends on the person.  It depends in the type of the fiber.

Ben:  And when you say it depends on the type of the fiber, are you saying it depends on whether the fiber is soluble versus insoluble.

Konstantin:  That is correct.  The soluble, paradoxically soluble fiber because it’s either solargenic, and because also it’s hydrophobic and because it has some other side effects.  And because also it is such a great feat for pathogenic that expels good bacteria.  It’s actually far more toxic and far more inflammatory for the small and large intestines and insoluble fiber which is more or less inert.  Not completely inert.

Ben:  Okay, and soluble fiber would be what we would get from like a very high amount of like pectins from apple skin, or I know that guar gam is something that you’ll find as an additive and that irritates people a lot of the time.  Psyllium seed that’s soluble, correct?

Konstantin:  Exactly, yes.

Ben:  And that’s something that I personally have tried laxatives that have psyllium seed in them and have found for myself and for many folks I’ve talked to that that in high amounts can be very irritable to the digestive tract.  So you’re saying that soluble fiber would be something to be careful with especially in high amounts whereas insoluble fiber, and can you give me an example of a few good sources of insoluble fiber?

Konstantin:  I really know good sources, I mean the insoluble fiber is just insoluble fiber.  So bran is like the most prominent meaning insoluble I mean, what makes the seed hull and so bran is a prototypical example of insoluble fiber which I would suggest to stay away from and skins.

Ben:  Okay.

Konstantin:  But really in small amounts does nothing.  It simply just passes through.   

Ben:  And then it would be what you’d find in grains and brans, and in wheats, and things like that the insoluble fiber? 

Konstantin:  Yeah.  Yeah.  Skins, grapes, whatever.

Ben:  Ok now gotcha.  So as far as the soluble vs. the insoluble fiber basically at this point what we’ve come to the conclusion of is that excessive intake of that basically the idea is you simply can’t do too much of like vegetables and brans and legumes and grains and fruits is a flawed idea.  We’ve established that for some people especially people who have irritable bowel issues or digestive issues, eating too many potatoes or tomatoes or night shades is going to be an issue, the skin of those.  Eating too much insoluble fiber and especially too much soluble fiber could certainly be an issue and this is a perfect lead to a recent study. There is a study and I’ll link to it in the show notes, entitled: Stopping or Reducing Dietary Fiber Intake Reduces Constipation and Constipation Associated Symptoms. This study went into the fact that lower fiber intake you know, to back up what you’re saying in many cases may actually be helpful.

Now my question for you is, I know that lower fiber intake is often recommended for acute irritable bowel disorder and for many cases of for example, there’s another issue called small intestine bacterial overgrowth or SIBO in which people are often given the recommendation to reduce their intake of things like resistant-starches and high amounts of fiber from fruits and vegetables, but if someone has a healthy GI tract and doesn’t actually have any issues with constipation or with SIBO or with IBD, wouldn’t they be able to tolerate a higher fiber intake?

Konstantin:  They may.  They may not.  But why to experiment?  I mean if you are healthy.  If everything works like clockwork, don’t experiment.  There’s really no point.  I mean can a healthy person tolerate 4 liters of water a day?  Absolutely, sure he can.  Does it make sense because everybody is saying you have to drink more water?  No it doesn’t because I mean drinking too much water will also lead to some side effects.  Same thing with fiber.  It’s the same thing with alcohol.  Same thing with sugar.  So the key take away from my work is moderation.  If everything is in moderation, you can have everything you want.  You can have night shades, you can drink alcohol for as long or you can have fiber for as long as moderation.  But really, I mean people who are healthy don’t come across my sites, they don’t search the internet; they don’t buy my book.  So my book is limited to people with very serious disorders and unfortunately, athletes are the ones who are the ones who are the most vulnerable to digestive disorders and particularly colorectal disorders.

Ben:  Yeah, and I actually had a fascinating podcast with a guy named Dr. Michael Ruscio, and we talked about how athletes do indeed experience things like a higher amount of leaky gut syndrome and a higher amount of like, open junctions in the cell lining of the gut due to a combination of high hi-calorie intake and then low blood flow to the gut because they’re exercising, and a lot of times exercising while their body is trying to digest food.  And so yeah, I’d certainly agree with you on that.  And by the way, I’ll put that study in the show notes for folks who wanna read that study about how if you have constipation, or if you have like irritable bowel syndrome or there’s actually some benefit in reducing fiber intake.

Now I wanna shift focus here and talk a little bit about heart disease and diabetes.  You’ve said and I believe this quote is on your website.  “Fiber intake has been linked with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of factors that increases the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.”  And you quote a study when you say that.         

Konstantin:  Uhm.

Ben:  I went and checked out that study and basically that study does say, fiber intake has been linked with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of factors that increases the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.  And these factors include high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess weight, high levels of triglycerides, the body’s main fat carrying particle and low levels of HDL or good cholesterol.

Konstantin:  Uhm.

Ben:  But that same study goes on to say that several studies suggest that higher intake of cereal fiber and higher intake of whole grains may actually ward off that metabolic syndrome.  So how would you respond to that idea that in that study it does suggest that fiber and whole grains may actually assist with lowering the chance of developing things like heart disease and diabetes?

Konstantin:  Well, let’s be realistic. First you know, is that there is a great deal of information that’s coming up in all sources in social media and medical media saying that practically 95% of all the studies conducted over the last couple of generations are false.  Meaning that there were studies that were developed specifically to fit the agenda of the entity that was essentially providing the grant to conduct the study.  So can we rely on all the studies of that on mice.  That mice do very well with increased amount of rats or even monkeys with increased amount or rabbits.  They do very well on fiber but you know, they are herbivorous animals. That’s all they consume.  Can we transfer that to people?  Absolutely not.  But the connection between fiber consumption and heart disease is very simple.  I mean it can be more simple if I’ll ask you this question would you confirm a statement that consuming three to four hundred grams of ten to twelve ounces of consumable carbohydrates; glucose, fructose, galactose a day will increase a person’s chances of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, elevated triglycerides profoundly.  Would you confirm that fact?               

Ben:  That confirms the fact that eating a high amount of grains could increase that risk?

Konstantin:  High amount of carbohydrates.  Regardless of their nature.   

Ben:  Yeah, I think that eating a high amount of carbohydrates could definitely increase risk for diabetes and heart disease, absolutely.

Konstantin:  On question… Now people are urged to consume thirty to forty grams of fiber a day and they’re not urged to consume this fiber from supplements or laxatives.  They use their urge to consume this fiber from natural foods.  Natural fruits, natural vegetables, natural grains, natural cereals.  However, the ratio of digestible carbohydrates to indigestible to get that much fiber is anywhere from 1 to 5 to 1 to 10.  So if you will set up your mind on consuming thirty to forty grams of natural fiber, you will end up consuming at least from two to four hundred grams of digestible carbohydrates.  That’s your connection.          

Ben:  Gotcha.

Konstantin:  It’s not a subject.  The study is just the common sense.    

Ben:   Gotcha.  So what you’re saying is that the potential benefit that cereal fiber and that whole grain intake could give you when it comes to warding off metabolic syndrome is overshadowed by the effect that these foods are so potent at increasing the blood sugar?

Konstantin:  That is correct. 

Ben:  Ok gotcha.  So do you think that I mean, obviously and I’m sure there are some folks wanting to jump through the podcast episode and scream at us right now about this fact.  Obviously, it’s gonna differ from person to person, right?  When we’ve talked about this before on podcast how certain people will produce higher levels of salivary amylase or certain people will have a genetic predisposition to not have as high of an insulin response to certain foods and some people do better with slightly higher amounts of carbohydrates and some people need to follow a low carbohydrate diet.

I’m a perfect example.  I actually have done 23andMe genetic testing.  I’ve exported those 23andMe genetic testing results to a website like Promethease and I’ve found that I personally have nearly a 30% higher than normal risk for Type 2 diabetes.  So I’m pretty careful with my carbohydrate intake.  But some people don’t have those same type of issues, so I would say that you know it’s gonna depend on the person and I’m not sure if you would agree with me on this Konstantin but I’m curious to hear your opinion on this.  Do you think that it would be helpful for people who are eating things like cereal fibers or who are eating things like whole grains to actually use something like a blood glucose monitor to see how that food is affecting other blood glucose after they eat it?

Konstantin:  No, not really because it is not indicative of anything.  Blood glucose monitors were designed for people with Type 1 diabetes originally who were on insulin and the whole intent of using the monitor wasn’t to monitor high blood sugar but low blood sugar to prevent hypoglycemic episode which was then was very dangerous.  And then when this whole medicalization of Type 2 diabetes came about as they started to use blood sugar monitors to monitor elevated blood sugar and then prescribe drugs based on the readings of the blood glucose monitor.  But it’s really meaningless.  For many reasons, for example if you consume let’s say a steak along with lots and lots of mashed potatoes a source of carbohydrates and then finish up with a nice piece of cake.  But you know, this blood sugar will not enter into your body until six to eight hours later because that’s how long a gastric digestion takes and it absolutely helps a person.

Ben:  So you have to be monitoring your blood glucose six to eight hours after eating a meal like that.

Konstantin:  That is correct.  Exactly.  And also it’s not going to be quite meaningful anyway because you will be monitoring what is called indigenous glucose.  And there’s a delay between the reading for indigenous glucose and exogenous input of carbohydrates is quite delay even more.  So the only way to actually get any value from this kind of information is that you have to monitor it in real time, meaning 24/7.  But the reading of indigenous glucose is really completely meaningless because it also depends on lots of other factors.  Your level of physical activity, your level of intellectual activity, time of day, your right of breathing, your right of metabolism (laughs), your stress level and so on and so forth, and so some people who are hypo insulinimic will be blunted to just by elevated level of insulin.  So actually may be in the late stage diabetes but your blood sugars maybe actually normal when you use this kind of spot monitor.             

Ben:  Ok.  Gotcha.  Now I’ve got one other question before I kinda switch focus here and talk a little bit about some other topics in the realm of nutrition like fecal transplants and resistant starch and stuff like that.

There was a study done called Vegetable Fruit and Cereal Fiber Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease among Men.  That study obviously looked into the relationship between dietary fiber and the risk of coronary heart disease and they took, I believe nearly forty five thousand men from forty to seventy five years old and they followed them for six years and looked at their incidence of coronary disease and they found that a ten gram increase in total dietary fiber corresponded to a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease.  And their conclusions they say for the study are results suggesting inverse association between fiber intake and MI.  MI standing for myocardial infarction or heart attack.  And they then go on to say these results support current national dietary guidelines to increased dietary fiber intake, and suggest that fiber is an important dietary component for the prevention of coronary disease.  When we look at that type of link and the claims made by those researches as well as by other researchers when it comes to total dietary fiber intake and the reduction in the risk for coronary disease.  What would you say about that?  Would you disagree that fiber decreases the risk of coronary disease or do you think that something else is going on in these studies or what would you have to say?

Konstantin:  Well, these studies are a total, an utter nonsense.  First of all it’s an observation study.  It’s essentially a review of questionnaires mailed to some class of people over let’s say, five to ten to twenty years.  There is absolutely no way by reviewing twenty questionnaires to twenty thousand to two hundred thousand questionnaires sent specifically to a certain class of people let’s say, like nurses, to determine if there is a connection between a person’s diet and myocardial infarction or strokes or anything else because these diseases are very delayed as they occur late in life when people are in their sixties and seventies.  As they do occur in younger people but not as often.  And you know, the class of people, you know, I mean you have twenty two year old kids who are dropping dead because of cardiac arrest so we cannot make those connections.  So but the study makes a very good reading and a very good PR.

And so if you don’t read the study point by point and determine in what way it was composed, who paid for it, how it was done, what was the intent of the researchers, you really cannot make those determination.  So technically speaking, my take on it, this is a fraud because when I look at it as a forensic nutritionist I ask myself a question, in what way a substance that is completely indigestible that is technically a cellulous essentially the same substance as toilet paper, in what way it can prevent heart attack or in what way it can make a person more predisposed of heart attack?  No it can’t.

I mean it’s a complete utter nonsense because the only issues if we look at heart attack.  There are 2 types of heart attack there are ischemic meaning there is an occlusion somewhere as there is no blood supply or hemorrhagic meaning there is a blood vessel rupture.  And the same thing with strokes.  Most heart attacks are ischemic.  In what way fiber can prevent a formation of the clot somewhere in the lower extremity and in what way a fiber can prevent a sclerosis that makes blood vessels so thin that blood can no longer flow.  It can’t.  It’s the indigestible substance.  It’s a cellulous.  It’s the same thing as paper.  Why are these studies paid for?  Why are these studies designed?  Why is that made?  Why is that publicized?  Well, because there is a huge lobby of agricultural producers who are making an amount of money by marketing fortified products of wheat fortified products and marketing also laxatives.  That’s where it’s coming from.  It’s not from a bonafide real research that it has any value or meaning to people.  It’s essentially like saying, you know, men, I always make this analogy by saying, if we look at men at a rate of prostate cancer we can make a conclusion that men who wear black underpants, they’re much less likely to develop a prostate cancer.  And it is true.                          

Ben:  Yeah, well my take on a study like this, when I look at it, this is when you look at the guys who came into the study, they were eating, even the guys eating the high amount of fiber, they were still less than thirty grams a day and the people eating a low amount of fiber they were down around I believe twelve grams a day in that study.  And so even if we look at that study we still aren’t seeing folks who are eating in extremely, extremely high amount of fiber intake like more than forty grams a day which would be an amount if I understand you in your book correctly that would be an amount that would cause things like irritable bowel syndrome or a lot of the deleterious effects that you say that fiber can cause.

So even if these folks were experiencing a reduction in coronary heart disease from their fiber intake, they still weren’t really at the level of fiber intake that you’re suggesting, you know, on your website and in your book to actually be harmful.  And so, I would say that when I look at this it kinda returns to what you had mentioned before and that is that moderation is key.  If someone who is trying to reduce coronary heart disease, if they’re eating like 2 bags of kale and 3 apples and copious amount of plant matter per day and then they’re experiencing constipation or irritable bowel or a lot of these other issues, they’re definitely doing too much of a good thing.

Now I know we could talk a long time about that particular study and some of these issues of coronary heart disease but I have so many other things that I wanted to ask you about.  So I’m curious would you be game to delve into a few kind of a popular issues here in the nutrition industry that I wanna ask you about?            

Konstantin:   Oh absolutely, and I just before we go on I would appreciate if you could make a link from your site to my site to the article which is entitled; Dietary Fiber a Heart Savior from Heaven or a Death Wish from Hell.  And it’s very nice. (giggles)   

Ben:  (chuckles) I love your titles.  Ok cool I’ll link to that so folks go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth.  I’m gonna link to some of these studies too that Konstantin and I are talking about.    

Ok, so Konstantin I wanna ask you about resistant starch.  There are a lot of companies now making resistant starch supplements.  There are entire diets built up around these resistant starch and the idea that when you eat this form of fiber that is resistant to digestion that it can do things like completely reinvent the bacteria in your gut in a good way, or that it can vastly lower blood sugar and I’m curious, what is your take on resistant starch and resistant starch diets?  And also if you could, in your explanation can you kinda make a little differentiation between resistant starch and these other forms of fiber we’ve been talking about?

Konstantin:  Ok well, resistant starch is a code word for essential fiber.  It’s just a fancy term made up to you know, to just sell something made it more scientific, made it more, let’s look at definition, I’m reading it’s not from memory.  “Resistant starch is a starch and starch degradation products that escape from digestion in the small intestine of a healthy individual.”  So what it really means is that essentially resistant starch are carbohydrates, or oligosaccharides that will not be subject to amylases meaning ‘coz these enzymes that work on starches and make them absorbable and they will reach the large intestine intact.  And there they will become a food for bacteria in the large intestine, inside the large intestine.  Now let me ask this question, you’re familiar with did you ever do a compost pile?

Ben:  Oh yeah, my wife has taken a composting class and there are giant composting piles up by our garden bed as we speak.

Konstantin:  And so what’s a compost pile, lots of carbohydrates mixed with aerobic bacteria right and non-aerobic?

Ben:  Right.

Konstantin:  What happens in your gut when you mix a lot of fiber with an aerobic bacteria?

Ben:  The issue that a lot of people complain about with resistant starch, which is copious amounts of very smelly gas.

Konstantin:  Exactly, so you turn your large intestine into a compost pile.  I mean, and so what else is happening when you ferment fiber?  Well, alcohols.  Not just ethanol, you know, that makes you drunk but also toxic alcohol and all such as methanol ends up high.

Ben:  Hmmmm.

Konstantin:  That’s why people who have this compost pile sitting right inside their gut feel miserable, they suffer from fatigue, they’re irritable, irritated and so forth and so on.  And what else is happening in the gut when we get so many gases?  It bloats up and it’s how the diverticular disease forms.  And it’s those bulges I mean, usually, I mean, you should take a party balloon and they start to blow it up and at one point it will break.  While the gut will not break but you know, the diverticulas will pop up and that’s when you run into some problem for the rest of your life.  And what else is happening in a compost pile?  Elevated acidity, very high amount of acids.  But you know, our gut was not designed to deal with that in such profound amounts and as it cause inflammation.

Ben:  Can you explain really quickly for people listening in, why it is that for example, a gorilla would be able to handle these high amounts of resistant starch while a human may not.

Konstantin:  Well, first we don’t know if a gorilla can or can’t I mean, if you look at African children and the very poor villages and you look at monkeys they have all these, I mean, they feature all the same thing a bloated abdomen.  So they eat what they can.

Ben:  But doesn’t a gorilla have a larger colon and thus they’re able to actually ferment and digest and convert in the short chain fatty acids, higher amounts of fiber than say, a human who has a smaller colon but a larger brain?

Konstantin:  Well, it may.  It may consume, I mean gorillas do consume plants, I mean leaves and so forth and so on.  So yes they can, their evolution there is a difference between you and I and a gorilla is far more than the difference between you and I.  It’s probably the difference between the two us is 0.1 percent genetic difference but the difference between us and gorillas is probably like in the range of above 2 to 3 percent.  And so they are evolutionary adapted, their entire digestive system, their entire enzymatic system of course, adapted to of course carbohydrates in a much better way and where.  And also there is a big difference between you and I, and a gorilla.  When a gorilla needs to move bowels it does it immediately on demand. It has no embarrassment factor, it doesn’t need to go and seek the rest room.  And we don’t have to sit warm. (laughs).

Ben:  Yeah, we have to suppress the gas and I know that that’s actually a serious issue in many cases is people will suppress the gas and experience a lot of digestive issues like cramping and bloating simply because you know, we don’t wanna fart when we’re sitting at the office and it’s an hour after we’ve had our giant lunch time salad so yeah, I know that certainly can be an issue.  Some people will say however, that the gas eventually goes away when they’re eating a high resistance starch diet.  Do you know why that might be?

Konstantin:  Absolutely, I mean the gas reflux is back from the large intestine where it forms into the small intestine and the function of the small intestine is to absorb gases because the small intestine produces copious amounts of gases and these absorb into the blood and leave your bodies through the stomach.

Ben:  Ok.  Interesting.  So you get the gases absorbed in the blood stream?

Konstantin:  That is correct but again I mean, the gases reflux and goes back into the small intestines through the, what is called the ileocecal valve.

Ben:  Is there any deleterious effect of gases being absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestine? 

Konstantin:  If from the small intestine none, but if those gases are coming from the large intestines and they usually get this bad breath.  It’s not halitosis but it’s essentially the smell of stool from somebody’s breathe.

Ben:  Okay.  So theoretically if you’re on a resistant starch diet and you produce a bunch of gas and it winds up back up in the small intestine, and it gets absorbed in the blood stream then you’ve gotten rid of the gas without any bad effect?

Konstantin:  There are no bad effects really other than just discomfort especially if a woman before and during menstruation when the uterus is enlarged, and so when you have this abdominal cavities fairly tightly packed, and so when you have an enlarged uterus and also enlarged gut, it is really pressurized which just then cause pain.  So it may lead to hernia and very common among men.

Ben:  Okay.  So if you have small intestine bacterial overgrowth or if you have irritable bowel syndrome, then this resistant starch issue or this resistant starch diet maybe something that you’d want to avoid in the same way that you’d want to avoid exceeding say, forty grams of fiber per day especially if that fiber is from insoluble fiber sources.

Konstantin:  Absolutely, and also if you will know, here’s the term the Low Fodmap Diet.

Ben:  Yeah, low fodmap, yeah.

Konstantin: This is a medicalized diet developed specifically to deal with those conditions we just mentioned specifically eliminate the fermentation that is going on inside the gut, so your gut is no longer a veritable compost pile.    

Ben:  Yeah, and I’ve certainly gone through periods of time in my life where I’ve experienced more gas and more bloating, and I’ve posted that low fodmap diet chart on the refrigerator to help my wife and I, to help her out with grocery shopping and to help me out with making sure I choose the right foods.  And within just a couple of days it will eliminate almost all that gas and bloating and constipation, and it does mean that I gotta be careful with things like, high amounts of onion intake and apple intake and especially things like wheat and bread intake but it makes a tremendous difference.  And I personally have tried these banana starch powders and resistant starches, I don’t feel well on them.  I haven’t given them like the full dietary protocol test of 30 days, but I would definitely say that folks who have gut issues should be careful with these.

I wanna ask you about how one would fix, Konstantin, a colon that has lack of bacteria like let’s say, you’ve been on an antibiotic protocol or maybe you’ve done some type of like a colonic cleanse or a colonic flush that may have affected the bacteria in your gut.  To fix a large intestine or a colon that needs more bacteria because I know this can be an issue because a lot of people have irritable bowel syndrome or colonic issues or who have taken antibiotics, can you just take a probiotic to fix a colon that has a lack of bacteria or do you need to use some other type of approach?

And the reason that I ask this is I know some people who will do things like and I’ve experimented with this just to see if there’s any effect, ‘coz I love to use myself as a guinea pig, so at the risk of people cringing as they listen.  I’ve tried doing things like breaking open probiotic capsules, mixing them with butyrate capsules, and doing like enemas to increase the bacteria content of the colon for example.  I’m curious how you would go about addressing bacterial issues especially when it comes to the colon and the large intestine?

Konstantin:  Well, I hate to disappoint you, Ben.  Mixing bacteria especially if it’s a high fiber diet is essentially again, especially high quality bacteria is essentially turning your gut, turning your large intestine into a compost pile.  It doesn’t work.  Innate bacteria, which we mentioned in the beginning of the podcast, resides in the mucosal membrane.  It does not reside inside the stool or inside the cavity of the large intestine.  It does really have some effect and some of it may be beneficial but not really all the effect attributed to it.  And when a lot of people are saying, I’m taking probiotics and they’re helping me.  And I’m taking high fiber diet and probiotics are helping me.

What’s really happening is that those probiotics are completely ineffective and they never survive the trip from the mouth to the large intestine, and so it does not even ferment the fibers that are present there.  And they simply get better because in most cases when we get some problems, we usually get better because as we are simply becoming more careful.  The only real way to restore your innate flora damaged by antibiotics is by means of fecal implant and now this procedure is approved by the FDA.  Only in a case of the difficile infection but in general I mean, if you have any serious issues or maybe a concern fecal implant is the only way to go.

Ben:  Okay, so you do a fecal transplant, that’s the only way to actually, truly, effectively change the bacteria in the large intestine.  You can’t do it by using like a probiotic enema or butyric acid enema or something along those lines?

Konstantin:  That is correct.  Also, I mean if you look at probiotics primarily few strains, 7, 8 maybe ten, twelve strains at best and the strains are originally cultivated for livestock, for essentially cows to improve their digestion of fiber.  (laughs)  They are not cultivated for humans.

Ben:  Ok got it.  So the main issue with probiotics is that they simply don’t even come close the amount of bacteria you’d get if you are to do say, a fecal transplant?

Konstantin:  And not just bacteria, there is much more to fecal transplant.  There are some immune factors there.  There are some unknown factors, so it’s really, I mean, it’s being studied intensively but people don’t really, even scientists who are involved in this they don’t really understand the whole scope why it is working.  So it’s not just bacteria.

Ben:  Ok so there’s one supplement, ‘coz I know that you design supplements, you have one that, and I’ll link to it.  If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth you can take a look at Konstantin’s book and some of the supplements that he’s designed.  You have one that I believe is targeted for colonic health.  You have this colorectal recovery program and one of them is designed, correct me if I’m wrong, two actually influence the bacteria of the large intestine, isn’t it?    

Konstantin:  Yes, it’s a very minor component of this program and essentially before we go in to the supplements let me explain.  This is the thing.  I am not a fiber fighter.  If you’re healthy and if you eat fiber and there’s nothing wrong with you, you don’t even need to listen to this, but I stumbled through my own ordeals and through working for eighteen years in this field with a lot of clients into a field of colorectal disorders meaning your hemorrhoids, your diverticular disease, chronic constipation and numbers are staggering.  Forty million Americans suffers chronic constipation, fifty million has irritable bowel syndrome, every second person after fifty with enlarged hemorrhoids, every second person after sixty with diverticular disease, by eighty I mean, you cannot even find anyone in America with a healthy gut.

And so this is a huge field, huge business and all these colorectal disorders are very unpleasant, I mean you know, if your eye vision goes down as you get older you just buy yourself eyeglasses or the lasik but if you suffer from constipation, no ideas, when inflammatory bowel disease or crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis it’s a bitch, I mean it’s really hard.  And so, I found for myself originally there’s a solution and then the solution kind of propagated into my work with clients and became this program.  It is not intended as a preventive, it is intended for people with serious colorectal disorders.

And so yes, I did develop a series of supplements, essential that’s called colorectal recovery program, and they work well only in combination with low fiber diet.  I mean if you are on a high fiber diet or even moderate fiber diet, they will not work because essentially you’re using a supplement to fix the problems that are created with paradoxical diet and then you’re adding more fibers.  So you kind of neutralize the effectiveness of the supplements.

Ben:  Interesting.  So if I could jump in real quick.  Whenever someone’s taking like some type of supplement to help out with their gut health, like a probiotic, or like let’s say, digestive enzymes or you see colostrum, or things like that, if they are taking those in conjunction with fiber intake that exceeds let’s say, forty grams of fiber per day, they are actually not going to notice very good results?      

Konstantin:  Assuming that probiotic works.

Ben:  Okay.

Konstantin:  Probiotics.

Ben:  Ok. Go ahead. 

Konstantin:  I want to know because they are getting killed in the stomach when you ingest a probiotic in.  Your stomach always has a natural acidity.  And so they simply don’t survive the trip.  Was the original worth on it?

Ben:  Go ahead with what you were explaining about supplementation intake and fixing the gut.

Konstantin:  So essentially when my program, you know in the United States of America if you come to a physician and you complain about constipation, the very first question the physician will ask you, how long didn’t you have stool?  And if you say, oh doctor I’m having stool everyday, but it’s really hard and it’s painful and I have to strain, and sometimes I see small amounts of blood, and I have enlarged hemorrhoids.  And the doctor will turn to you and say, oh you don’t have constipation.  You’re perfectly okay, I mean, yes I realize you have problems.  So take more fiber and just don’t even waste my time.  So constipation becomes constipation only if you haven’t had stools for 3 days.

Ben:  Ok gotcha.   

Konstantin:  That’s technically what it is.  And even if you look in the, let’s say, the miracle of medical diagnosis and therapy and read about those issues, it’s written there black and white, people who complain about not having stools for less than once in every three days is a psychotic.  They are obsessed with their stools.  They are in our office to complain, to bitch about stools but they’re not constipated.  Just tell them to take more fiber.  And so when people come to their doctors that’s what the doctors recommend, more fiber.

And so let’s look at constipation.  What exactly is constipation?  Why is this happening?  Constipation is essentially, or let’s use a more proper term costivity.  Costivity describes the symptoms of not having a comfortable bowel movement.  Technically speaking like, do you think gorilla when he or she (chuckles) wants to move bowels, she sits in the corner and like making these noises and straining her abdomen, and it takes the whole thing thirty to forty minutes.  No.  Gorilla sits down, for her defecation takes as much effort and pleasure as urination.  I mean, implausible.  So when you were a child urination and moving bowels were kind of non-events.  You just lean down.

Ben:  Right.

Konstantin:  But as we get older, moving bowels become a big event.  I mean, it becomes a problem because it’s painful, because it hurts, because you need to strain, because you can get a stroke from just straining yourself so hard, or you have heart attacks, which are very common in toilets.  And the reason why this is happening is because our large intestine, our colon, it’s the colon that means large intestine was designed for small stools but because we don’t move bowels often enough and because our diet is so fiber, heavy stools are large and that’s why fiber is called the bulky factory ‘cause it bulks the stools.  But unfortunately, when you do all those things, your anal canal doesn’t become any smaller and its very small.  An anal canal of full natural opening is pain free and is no larger than a quarter.  But some people who consume a lot of fiber, and they look at their stools in the toilet, it’s much larger than a quarter.  That’s where the pain comes from.  You have to ooze that out of your body to get it into the toilet.

And so, my first recommendation for people who come to my site, and I get a lot of people I mean, almost like three hundred thousand a month, nowadays probably helping more people in a year, in a month, and all of more than most of the gastroenterologist throughout their entire career.  And they only come and search the internet for those problems with constipation and with ideas and with large hemorrhoids and dirt is because they couldn’t find that kind of help from their doctors.

I mean, if I would be let’s say, a lay person not getting involved with what I’m doing right now, and I would find the site of Konstantin Monastyrsky talking about those issues, fiber is no good, live stools are no good, this is no good, no good and I would say, this guy is nuts.  I mean, everything that he says is the complete opposite of what everybody else is saying.  But unfortunately, they are already those people who find my site finally on the internet.  They heard everybody say what they’re saying, they tried everything what they’re saying and nothing works for them.  And so they say, well he’s not or not I don’t know, I need to try it because I’m desperate.

And so the very first advice on the site is cut all the fiber.  In most cases you don’t even need my supplements because just cutting out fiber will reduce the amount of stool quite enough to actually improve your condition.  Unfortunately there is also a class of people for whom this problem went too far.  And they can no longer attain regular bowel movement unassisted.  So they must depend on some kind of a laxative.  And all laxative as we know are either toxic, or addictive or have unpleasant side effects.  So I kind of developed this program for myself in the first place because I myself am a victim of many years of being vegetarian, and consuming extremely high fiber diet believing it was this.  There’s no such a thing as too much of a good thing. And it works.  We did the survey, and we hired actually like an independent firm to do a survey and 82% of our client said that they are happy with our program.  Only 18% that it didn’t help.  Which is normal.

Ben:  And that’s when people are taking, so you’ve got basically what’s called the colonic moisturize which is kind of like a Vitamin C blend, you’ve got a probiotic acidophilus that passes through the acidic nature of the stomach and doesn’t get degraded, and then there’s some other things in there like a few specific vitamins and minerals to restore colonic healthy that one would take in conjunction with limited fiber intake.  That would basically be the big picture for people who want to take care of gut issues and who have constipation, but don’t wanna take like or maybe have issues like I do, with like these laxatives or these cleansing supplements or for example just like you know, eating a bunch of kale smoothies.

Konstantin:  You know, that’s correct.  So essentially I developed an organic approach to managing chronic or sporadic colorectal disorders.

Ben:  Ok cool.  Well I’ll link to this in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth but I can’t let you go Konstantin without asking you one last million dollar question here.  And that is, do you use a squatty potty or are you familiar with one?

Konstantin:  (chuckles) I’m familiar with one.  You know, I can’t imagine how many emails I get and this question is often asked, and fortunately the squatty potty is a myth.

Ben:  Really?

Konstantin:  It is a myth.  Yes.  It really, it works for little children, but let’s take my average client.  Let’s say a 45 year old male who is overweight and who would consider the idea of moving bowels in the squatting position.  He doesn’t even have muscle strength to do that.  And so he needs to bring his legs up which is what really, it is an extension to a toilet and you just elevate your legs.  Now for people who are perfectly healthy, it may, maybe improve and enhance moving bowels, but most likely not and why people having problems to move bowels, has nothing to do with position.  I mean technically speaking, a healthy person can move bowels upside down you know, the stool will go up.  Why? because it’s happening due to peristalsis of the rectum and of the anal muscles and of the large intestines.  The stool does not move on its own, only gravitation doesn’t really work.  It’s peristalsis.

Now for those who are healthy, it may help, for children it may help, but if you do have problems, a squatty potty actually enhances people to strain and they may cause even more harm.  So when people use squatty potty, they can get hemorrhoids or anal fissures.  How do I know that they don’t work?  I mean, I just know, everything that I’m saying, take it very critically, say this guy is full of crap.  I maybe, but I am on the receiving end everyday of 40, 30 emails from clients and this is going on for the last ten years saying, oh you know, I am using squatty potty it doesn’t help.  Will your program help?  And so my take on this is not based on research or studies or knowledge but it’s based on feedback from thousands and thousands of customers who said we tried it, it didn’t help us.  But I can explain why.  I understand the physiology, I understand the anatomy of a bowel movement.  And so the reason why people who are in space, there is no gravitation in space yet they do move bowels regularly quite well.  I say they don’t use squatty potty (laughs).  So if you’re healthy, it’s very helpful but if you are having problems, no it’s pointless.  Not only pointless it may also be damaging because it may encourage you to stay on the stool longer and strain, and that’s what causes hemorrhoids.                               

Ben:  My personal experience with the squatty potty is that if I use it the right way, right like, if I squat on it and I’m like down on an actual squatting position and not using it as a comfortable way to rest on the toilet, it helps in the same way that like, taking a dump in the woods isn’t comfortable because you are often in kind of like a deep squatting position, but man, compared to playing scrabble on your kindle while sitting rested on the toilet, stuff comes out a lot more quickly.  So I think the issue personally with the squatty potty is it all depends on how you use it.  And if you use it correctly, for me it helps.  I’ve got one in three different bathrooms in my house, but I’ve found that you can use it kinda like a lazy boy for the toilet, and if you do it that way it doesn’t seem to work that well, but if you get into like a really good squat position on it, it seems to work ok.  But you are right, a lot of people, they don’t even have the muscles to do that ‘coz they don’t squat, they don’t do functional exercise.  Well, there.

Konstantin:  Exactly.  And the reason that squatting works is because we were designed that way.  We’re naturally people who are moving bowels in squatting position.

Ben:  Yeah.  For sure.  There’s a lot of things that I could to you about, man I know we’re running out of time but we’ve probably raised more questions than we’ve answered to just like the last podcast that we did.  But for anybody listening in, here’s what I’m gonna do, I’ve got the show notes up at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/fibermyth.  I’ll link to Konstantin’s website, I’ll link to a lot of the studies that we talked about, I’ll link to his program that’s called the Colorectal Recovery Program, if you scroll down to the end of the show notes there.  I’ll put a link to that there as well as to his book, The Fiber Menace.

Konstantin:  It’s available now free of charge in the site, it’s the full text.    

Ben:  Yeah, you can actually get the book for free on the site.  That’s right.  That’s actually how I originally discovered Konstantin was reading this book.  And then finally if you have questions or comments of course, pipe in, that’s a big part of these podcasts is there’s ongoing conversation that always occurs afterwards and Konstantin and I can both help you in the comments section there again over at bengreenfielfitness.com/fibermyth.

So that being said, Konstantin thanks for coming on the show today.

Konstantin:  Ben, thank you so much it was a great pleasure and thank you to everybody who will or listening to this podcast.  I really appreciate you giving me an opportunity to express this paradoxical views and points.  Thank you so much.

Ben: That’s right.  We’re all about paradoxical views.  Alright folks, this is Ben Greenfield and Dr. Konstantin Monastyrsky signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.

You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.


Several podcast episodes ago, I tackled a very tricky and often confusing topic with a doctor named Konstantin Monastyrsky.

In that episode, entitled “How Much Fiber To Eat, Where To Get Your Fiber, And Is Fiber *Really* Killing Your Insides?“, Konstantin covered several topics, including:

-Why it is that doctors tell us to eat plenty of fiber…and what doctors don’t know…

-How much fiber is “too much”, and how much it varies from person to person…

-The difference between just eating lots of fruits and vegetables vs. using a high fiber “cleanse”…

-The truth behind dangerous “laxatives”…

-What someone with constipation can do if high fiber and laxatives is not the solution…

-And much more…

That particular episode generated so many dozens and dozens of questions that I decided to bring Konstantin back, and in this episode, I ask him:

-In the article “Is Fiber Bad For You“, you discuss how you don’t endorse eating the skins of vegetables and fruits. But what about the insoluble fiber you’re missing out on, and also the other benefits listed here?

-Isn’t there a “hormetic” effect to eating the type of components in the skin of foods like potatoes and tomatoes and eggplants?

-The study “Stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation and its associated symptoms“…and I know that sometimes, especially when acute or inflamed or infected, lower fiber can be helpful.  This is why lower fiber is recommended for acute IBD and for many cases of SIBO. But, once the GI is healed, wouldn’t a higher fiber intake is generally well tolerated and health promoting?

-You say: “Fiber intake has also been linked with the metabolic syndrome, a constellation of factors that increases the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.”  But that study you quoted in full says:


“Fiber intake has also been linked with the metabolic syndrome, a constellation of factors that increases the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. These factors include high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess weight (especially around the abdomen), high levels of triglycerides, the body’s main fat-carrying particle, and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Several studies suggest that higher intake of cereal fiber and whole grains may somehow ward off this increasingly common syndrome.”


How would you reply?


-How do you address this association between fiber intake and lowering of coronary disease?

“Our results suggest an inverse association between fiber intake and MI. These results support current national dietary guidelines to increase dietary fiber intake and suggest that fiber, independent of fat intake, is an important dietary component for the prevention of coronary disease.”


and this:


“The greatest impact on lowering total and LDL cholesterol is derived from reduced intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol as well as weight reduction in obese persons. Diets high in complex carbohydrates and fiber are associated with reduced mortality rates from CHD and other chronic diseases. Fiber found in oats, barley, and pectin-rich fruits and vegetables provides adjunctive lipid-lowering benefits beyond those achieved by reductions in total and saturated fat alone. The AHA recommends a total dietary fiber intake of 25 to 30 g/d from foods, not supplements, to ensure nutrient adequacy and maximize the cholesterol-lowering impact of a fat-modified diet. Current dietary fiber intakes among adults in the United States average about 15 g, or half the recommended amount.”


-How do you feel about resistant starch and the current “resistant starch” interest in the dietary industry? Is that a form of fiber that also causes issues, or not? Would you recommend this diet in certain cases?


-How does one specifically “fix” a colon that has lack of bacteria. Does a probiotic work? OR would you need more of an enema approach? The reason I ask is I have seen many folks endorse the use of probiotic and/or butyrate enemas for colonic health.


-How about fecal transplants. How do you feel about those for restoring colonic health?


-When it comes to constipation, what is your #1 solution, in terms of specific ingredients or protocols that can help with it?


-And finally, the million dollar question, do you use a Squatty Potty?

Click here if you want to try any of Konstantin’s supplements for healing the gut or eliminating constipation. To read his book “The Fiber Menace”, simply click here.






Ask Ben a Podcast Question

One thought on “[Transcript] – Constipation, Fecal Transplants, Fiber Myths, Resistant Starch, Probiotics & More With Konstantin Monastyrsky.

  1. penn26 says:

    Ben:  And then it would be what you’d find in grains and brans, and in wheats, and things like that the insoluble fiber? ”
    I disagree. Look at that: https://borehamwoodbjj.wordpress.com/class-notes/

Leave a Reply

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