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My article in today’s JEP talks about sources of fibre and mixed messages (and misunderstanding) of low carb.

Last month saw another study published by The Lancet, which was released with great fanfare across the media; this one was about how you must eat more fibre in order to safeguard your heart. It was also seen as ‘a blow to low carb diets’. Let’s look at these statements; first, fibre.

Read the study and you’ll see an association between increased fibre intake and decreased deaths from all-cause mortality. Note the word ‘association’: this is not, and never has been, a synonym for causation.

Nonetheless, there can be some arguments made for eating fibrous plants:

1) they can supply some good phytonutrients;

2) the insoluble fibre they provide can help you poo (so long as you also have enough water and exercise);

3) their soluble fibre helps your good gut bacteria thrive and they in turn produce vitamin K2 and some valuable fatty acids for your use; and

4) they add variety and interest to meals.

At the same time, there are arguments against eating a whole load of vegetables, grains, beans and lentils, as anyone who gets heartburn, bloating, gas and diarrhoea from some common edible plants will tell you.

This is especially important to note if you’ve had a rubbish diet up until now, so please don’t go eating heaps of fibrous vegetables straight away; ease yourself in over a few weeks.

Anyway, I listened with horror to the expert on the radio to talk about how you can eat more fibre: more fresh vegetables (see above); more wholegrain bread…hmmm, on dodgy ground here, especially when you see what’s added to the unnatural sliced loaves sold in our supermarkets; and more breakfast cereals…no! Don’t even go there!

Cereals are there to get you hooked, not to get you healthy.

In reality, cereals are designed to make profits for Big Food – and, because they are essentially blends of sugar and adulterated, inflammatory fats and other nasties, Big Pharma also rub their hands in glee as their profits mount up.

Am I telling you not to eat breakfast cereals? Well, that’s entirely up to you – but while you’re chomping away, just don’t delude yourself that what you are putting into your mouth is good for you.

As for being a blow to low carb diets, healthy meals involving vegetables, seeds, nuts and berries along with your meat/fish/eggs/fermented tofu/dairy are, er, high fibre and low carb.

Fibre sources and low carb
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