Lets assume the paleo worldview and diet (which we all do believe by definition of our being on this forum)...
Does fiber interfere with the absorption of other nutrients in food?
Specifically: I want to start adding sunflower seed and flax seed to my diet. Both taste good, are plentiful and cheap in my part of the world (Argentina!), have a lot of fiber (which my diet lacks), and supposedly many other nutrients/health benefits. However, I'm wondering if I add sunflower/flax to my usual food (paleo meat! broccoli!) if it will reduce the absorption of the nutrients from these.
Thoughts? Thank you all!
My understanding is that both sunflower seeds and flax seeds contain lectins and will inhibit gut health. Use in limited amounts or avoid.
From Fiber Menace:
"...fiber from fruits, vegetables, grains, bran, and laxatives is the PRIMARY cause of chronic, persistent constipation and related colorectal disorders."
Once I decided to lay off fiber completely, my digestion improved dramatically. Dr. Michael Eades wrote a great thought piece on fiber: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/fiber/a-cautionary-tale-of-mucus-fore-and-aft/
So, we have a situation where a product causes damage to the cells lining a tube, causing them to produce a lot of mucus in an attempt to protect themselves. In the process many of these cells die and are replaced by new cells. And this is perceived as a good thing.
My question is: is it really a good thing?
Fiber speeds passage of food through the gut, which results in less digestion time, which results in less digestion. Plus, as has been said, seeds have phytic acid, which leaches nutrients out of your system. SO yes, they will reduce absorption of nutrients. I would not take fiber as long as I was not getting backed up, and even then, I would only do it for a short time to alleviate the problem but then would taper off. WHne I first went lowcarb, I noticed my digestion was a bit slow for a while, but then my body adapted and now I intake very very little fiber and yet have no problems whatsoever with gut health or motility. In fact, it's probably healthier than it has ever been in my life.
That whole thing about fiber being so important was never backed by good evidence in the first place. It was just an excuse that tried to explain why natural tribes are healthier than Americans. The story was since scientists had already (incorrectly) decided that it could not be the sunshine, meat, and saturated fat that was so good for them, that it must be that fiber is soley responsible for their health! But there was never evidence to back that up and no research since then has provided any further evidence. The real question is where is the evidence that fiber is good for you? There never was any, and that is why fiber is starting to lose it's cache and new health fads are taking its place. My advice, dont worry about eating fiber. There is no long term advantage to scratching up the interior of your gut lining.
the fibers scraping up your cells can lead to colon cancer at its most extreme, its basically the same thing smoke does to a smokers lung tissue.
however pectin and some of the soluble fibers that your gut bacteria can eat can have a beneficial effect on gut health, its the non soluble ones which are like sandpaper to your gut to avoid in large amounts.