Thursday, January 1, 2015

In Search of the Perfect Fiber (Part

In Part 1 we discussed what fiber is, does, and how much we need.  To recap, nearly all governing agencies and nutritional advisory boards recommend that we need somewhere in the range of 20-40 grams of fiber per day.  Less for women, children and the elderly (defined as 'over 50,' ha!).

I proposed that we shoot for a similar amount, 25-50 grams per day, but we should only be counting what has traditionally been called "soluble" fiber, or the type that we now consider prebiotic fiber.  We also discussed that it is probably not necessary to eat an exact amount every day, and even taking a day or two away from fibers is maybe a good plan, in line with ancestral eating patterns.

In Part 2, let's discuss food choices designed around getting as much fermentable/soluble/prebiotic fiber as we can. I've invited three very knowledgeable folks, GabKad, Gemma and Wilbur, to help me write this post.


Food-sourced Fiber

This post is not going to be filled with all those crazy 30 letter words like "Galactoglucomannan" and I really don't even want to discuss fiber types like gums, mucilages, pectin or resistant starch.  When discussing real food, I think it's much better to just think in terms of the food itself.  Also, you'll see that not many fiber charts have been developed to show the soluble/insoluble/prebiotic content of foods, so it's probably best to just count 'total fiber' when looking at real food.  Resistant starch confuses things further.

I think it's safe to say, for those that want to count fiber intake, that 'Total Fiber' as seen on nutrition labels of whole foods is about 2/3 insoluble fiber and 1/3 soluble.  In starchy foods, I think it's safe to say that about 5-10% of all carbohydrates are resistant starch. 

There are some typical fiber charts found at the bottom of this post for reference.

Fiber in Typical SAD diet:

  • Breakfast - Pastry, Pop-tarts, coffee
  • Snack - Candy bar
  • Lunch - Cheeseburger, French fries, diet coke
  • Snack - Candy bar
  • Dinner - Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, 2 pieces of bread, margarine, maybe a veggie like green beans or corn (but probably left on the plate).
  • Snack - Beef jerky, pizza, 6 cans of beer
  • Drinks - Diet soda, Gatorade

I don't see ANY fiber in that!  Maybe a bit. Certainly not 15 grams, and probably 3-5g of prebiotic fiber, nearly all from the bread. 3000-4000 calories. 

Fiber in Typical Paleo diet:

  • Breakfast - Bacon and eggs
  • Snack - Almonds
  • Lunch - Green leafy salad and raw veggies, chicken breast, olive oil, vinegar
  • Snack - Paleo-approved protein bar
  • Dinner - Cooked and raw veggies, fatty meat, fruit
  • Snack - Dark chocolate, almond butter
  • Drinks - coffee in the morning, water all day

1500-2000 calories with lots of healthy choices.  But still, not a whole lot of prebiotic fiber.  The raw and cooked vegetables are a big jump in wise food choices, but most typical salad vegetables and fruits just are not as fiber-rich as one would suspect.

  • Lettuce - 1 cup - less than 1g total
  • Onions - 1/4 cup - less than 2g total
  • Cucumber - 1 cup - less than 1g total
  • Bell Pepper -  1 whole - 2g total
  • Mushrooms - 1/4 cup - less than 1g total fiber
  • Fresh peas - 1/4 cup - less than 2g total

Typical Salad-bar Type Salad - 10-15g total, 2-5g fermentable/soluble/prebiotic fibers.  Typical "Paleo" days contain roughly 10-20g of total fiber with 5-10g of fermentable fibers.

Paleo + Starches (AKA "Perfect Health Diet")

Simply adding cooked, hot potatoes and rice to a paleo type diet is problematic for a lot of people. It usually leads to some initial weight gain unless some forethought is given to reducing calories a bit in other areas.  However, adding in starches does add a bit more fiber to the diet. 

Paleo + PHD + Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF)

If you have read any WAPF information, they are in favor of including many whole grains.  This will add a whole new layer of fibers not found in the typical low carb Paleo or PHD type diets.  The problem is that now most of us are at a level of "carbs" that we don't like and may see a return of weight we so desperately needed to lose. Along with some extra calories also comes some extra weight in the large intestine as your gut flora discovers this amazing bounty you are feeding it.  A well-fed large intestine may weigh 6-10 pounds when full.  A dehydrated, low-carb, fiber-poor large intestine may only weigh half that.

What to do?

Well, we have to eat something, right?  Might as well make each bite count.  I think that one problem is that we get comfortable eating a certain way because we find it keeps our weight stable and it's easy.  I'm all for this, but with a few easy tweaks, you can turn almost any diet into a diet rich in fiber and especially fermentable, prebiotic fibers.

I HATE counting the bits of food that I put in my mouth!  I don't count calories of food or grams of fat.  I think it's counter-productive, but it can be useful just to get some perspective on what you actually eat.  In that regard, I'd just like to point out that learning what foods are high in prebiotic fibers will be helpful if you include some of these high-fiber foods in your diet regularly.

A typical day for me:

Breakfast - Oatmeal cooked al-dente, honey, nuts
Lunch - Salad bar salad, 4-6 oz fish or chicken
Snack - Greenish banana
Dinner - Raw and cooked veggies, serving of starchy veg, 8-12 oz meat, berries, cheese, mushrooms
Snack - Nuts, dark chocolate, dried plantains

1500-2500 calories, 50-100g total fiber, 25-50g fermentable/soluble/prebiotic fiber. 

Tricks:  Pre-cook beans, potatoes, or rice and cool.  Eat some ancient grains like teff, quinoa, or black rice occasionally.  Try unconventional salad items such as Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens and roots, parsnips, raw beets, cold beans, etc.. Make polenta from corn or teff and serve cold.

I think the trick is to just simply incorporate these high fiber foods into your daily routine and do it regularly.  There is no secret amount.  Don't count the grams, but if you do, I think you'll see you can get 50g of total fiber rather easily, especially if you remember to count the added bonus of resistant starch.

Voices of Reason

I asked GabKad, Gemma, and Wilbur to give me a few paragraphs on how they have been incorporating fiber into their day. This simple request turned into about 30 emails where we discussed everything from fiber to family recipes to colonic motility sensors. I'll try to get the relevant bits from each of these amazingly insightful folks (who all asked that I don't call them 'experts').


I think the decision making part is the tough stuff. A person needs to be organized in order to make nutritious food choices these days. There is literally a visual barrage of junkfood purveyors everywhere. And if you don’t see them, you smell them. The only way to ensure healthy eating is to plan ahead. Menu planning for a week is crucial to healthy eating and weight management. This is discipline. Eventually it becomes habit. We have been lulled into a sense of ‘oh it doesn’t matter, you can just pick up something whenever you are hungry’.......NOT. People need to realize that depending on huge corporations to decide what is ‘good’ for us is a fool’s game. And if you don’t keep junk food at home you won’t be eating it. Who said that about ‘if you are hungry eat an apple. If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple then you are not hungry.’ (My father did that to us. He left a bowl of apples on the kitchen table. No cookies in the cupboard. It was ‘if you are hungry, eat apples’.

Salads can include stuff like chickpeas, black eye peas, lentils. People make salads with wheatberries but oat groats are awesome if someone doesn’t want gluten. In other words, salad does not have to mean ‘green stuff only’. There’s your resistant starch. Salads take time for shopping, preparation, cooking..... people don’t have time. They commute for hours every day. That’s part of the problem. They are dead tired by the time they get home and don’t want to start washing, chopping, mixing...choosing, decision making. That’s why menu planning is crucial. We’ve been led to believe that planning ahead is oh so boring and dull. Impulse eating doesn’t work out too well.


I have a family to feed which includes 2 picky teenagers, so I have arrived to a couple of simple ideas how to increase fiber content of our meals, meaning everyday dinners, and lunches and dinners on most weekends. I have no control over my kids breakfasts unfortunately, they feel too independent and eat whatever they like most mornings.

Rule number 1: Everybody is obliged to eat a portion of my mixed salad no matter what, which I prepare every day, and it really does not take much time.
The dressing: olive oil + vinegar + salt + pepper + other spices of choice + perhaps mustard all whipped together.
In goes: finely cubed RAW onion and/or scallions and/or leeks, next sliced/cubed/julienne RAW carrots, cucumber, radishes, celery, tomatoes, broccoli AND cooked and cooled chickpeas [ is that the same as garbanzo? ] or lentils AND a cubed/sliced apple or pear or blueberries AND some nuts or sesame or sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and mix well. This can be prepared beforehand and sit in the fridge).
Add some leafy greens or cabbage before serving. A hint: I sometimes manage to hide even some sauerkraut in that and nobody notices!

Rule number 2: Add some spontaneity to the organized order and careful planning, again using the trick of hiding the "suspicious looking stuff" in a side dish everybody takes.
So for instance: not just simple rice but orange rice: Roast sliced onions in a bit of fat (coconut, ghee) together with some turmeric powder and grounded black pepper, add rice and small orange or green lentils, add water and salt and boil till soft. Nobody has a chance to separate the lentils from the rice, once on a plate, and it tastes great. It can be reheated, too.
Or, use the previously cooked potatoes this way: peel and grate them thin, and add finely grated onion and crushed garlic and some salt and pepper, and fry in a pan. So called Rösti, it used to be traditional breakfast of Swiss farmers, together with coffee.

Another nice potato + sauerkraut + meat idea would be potato dumplings, I keep some in the freezer, see image:

I also fill them with plums, eaten with grated poppy seeds and a bit of sugar.

P.S. My salad remark described the salad part of our dinner only, there is more usually.


Tonight is New Year's Eve. What a great night for exploring food choices! Tim's request for a couple of paragraphs made me think about what I was doing tonight, and as a consequence I remembered a "trick" that I did early on. I'd forgotten all about it.

So our annual tradition is lots of stinky cheese, salami, ham, and bread. A year ago, that's exactly what I had. This year, I had these things again as part of our tradition. But, either from habit or desire, I added stuff - probably 18 raw okra, approximately a cup of blackberries, and 1/4 cup of currants. A quick Google search says there are 6 g of fiber in the okra, 8 g in the blackberries, and 1.2 in currants. A meal that would normally be high fat and low quality carb suddenly has about 15 g of fiber, more than most people get all day. And guess what? I could not eat as much of the "bad" stuff as I might otherwise have.

My "trick" early on in my weight loss is that I could eat what I wanted and until I was full, but I had to eat substantial fiber along with it. The fiber should be mostly in the form of raw vegetables. Eat pizza, but with raw carrots, celery, and arugula. Enjoy a burger and fries, but make sure you have raw onion, raw spinach, and perhaps some (no sugar) pot beans. Or lentils. Put raw green onions on anything that takes it - baked potatoes, omelettes, etc. Eat raw kale, collard greens, radishes, jicama, broccoli, and so on. Eat these things while prepping or heating the rest of your meal. I'm sorry, but forget the lettuce.

There are several benefits. You get more fiber. You are eating more vegetables with more vitamins and minerals. There is little prep time. You are crowding out less healthy foods and eating less of them. There is evidence that food digests less efficiently in the presence of fiber, so you get fewer calories than you might otherwise. Eat what you want, but along with good fiber. Instead of worrying about eating less, worry about eating more fiber!

GabKad Part II:

Gemma, you basically do the same as I, except my kids are grown up and gone. I used to make mixes as well. I’d sautee finely chopped, carrots, celery, onion, mushroom, lightly steamed green beans, red peppers, yellow peppers then add chopped parsley and cilantro..... gently mix it into rice. Volume wise is was 50% vegetables. This way they got a big mixture of vegetables along with the rice. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is a Sephardic recipe for ‘good luck’. LOL!

With mashed potatoes, I’d mash them until as smooth as possible, then mix in cultured butter, incorporate fully and then start adding buttermilk and keep whipping it until it’s silky smooth. Let it sit for a few minutes and voila! They got their fermented stuff in the potatoes. I would buy an entire retail box of brown (cremini) mushrooms from the mushroom farm and make a mushroom stew with onion, peppers, and paprika. They’d stack a volcano of mashed potatoes on the plate, make the hole in the middle and pour mushroom stew into it. At the end, they’d lick the plate clean..... always a favourite. Lots of fibre, lots of probiotic, but not much in the way of resistant starch since the potatoes were mashed.

Funny how back in those days I was not ‘thinking’ along the lines of fibre but just ‘attractive delicious healthy food’. I think food on the plate should have lots of colour because ‘we eat with our eyes’.

During the summer, nowadays being by myself, I’ll come home after work and make a similar salad to yours except no sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Romaine lettuce, mini cucumbers, tomato, white onion, sweet red peppers, chickpeas, tuna in olive oil, lots of chopped dill, cilantro, black olives, capers, and lime juice. (salt).... If not tuna then feta cheese tossed with a bit of dried oregano and then a vinaigrette like yours. That’s my BigAss Salad. Doesn’t need anything else for supper. I put it in a gigantic bowl so I can mix it up nicely and just eat it straight out of the bowl. (Btw, capers are anti-inflammatory.)

I only eat sauerkraut cooked. Raw, naturally fermented makes my guts go crazy. When the kids were young, I’d bake Hungarian sausage with potato chunks and a thick layer of sauerkraut on top. No complaints. The potato would end up not super soft like this. The last 10 minutes I’d move the sausages to the top so they’d get browned.

Green cabbage: shredded. Bacon is rendered in the pan until the bacon bits are crunchy. Remove the bacon bits. Add sliced onion and caraway seeds. Sautee until onion is golden, add the shredded cabbage, raise the heat and stir fry until just done. Serve with bacon bits on top.

Do you ever make grated cabbage with egg noodles? I never added sugar but just fried the cabbage in lard until it was brownish, add lots of black pepper then mix with cooked noodles, put it under the grill and brown the top noodles to crunchy. So they’d get the, in my opinion, relatively not ideal egg noodles but with lots of cabbage.

Sorry Tim. Gemma makes me go down memory lane.....

Wilbur Part II:

In terms of fibers, it might be worth mentioning "not cooking with." I think we've all three mentioned raw stuff as a point of emphasis. Or cooking less.

Also, green onions, leeks, asparagus, fennel, arugula, endive, spinach, jicama, carrots, celery, parsnips (raw), turnips (raw), beets (raw), kale (raw), collard greens (raw), green beans (roast with ghee to get raw edge off, but eat crunchy). In terms of fruit, blackberries, figs. I don't eat many others as I eat baobab and amla as supplements. Blueberries are iffy. The one right now are plump and tasteless sweet. Small, more bitter ones are good. Kumquats are fantastic.

Also, eat a whole bunch of different things. I'm no expert, but some people seem to have issues with eating a ton of beets, say. Eat natural amounts. Put the blender away!

Gemma Part II:

Cooked sauerkraut is always welcome - I make Szegedin Goulash and everybody loves that.


  • 600 g pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 700 g sauerkraut
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 100 g lard
  • 1 - 2 tbsp. tomato purée
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 125 ml sour cream
  • salt, freshly ground pepper
  • water or beef stock


GabKad Part III:

Americans don’t know good food. Ha ha!

Sometimes I’d make what I called ‘war soup’.... it had sauerkraut in it and dried, rehydrated in the soup sourdough rye. There was smoked sausage (Csabai) too and whatever. Leftover roast pork.....potato, onion, garlic.....Tasted great. Sort of ‘everything that’s in the kitchen soup’...

Do you ever make that Russian thing, Okroshka? Love it. So refreshing. Another probiotic/resistant starch/soluble fibre bomb!

Wilbur Part III:

Onion skins are great too! Especially the one that is both papery but soft and pliant. It takes a little more chewing than garlic.

The roots of green onions are interesting too. Sharp bite with almost an effervescent feel on the nose. I've become an onionphile!

Back when I ate green bananas, I used to eat the skins. (Shudder!)

Gemma Part III:

Eating nice mixture or fibers, or something along that slows the fermentation down, a la "acarbose effect". Polyphenols, for instance. Have coffee, or green tea after the meal :-) at least.

And also we thought it might be nice to make a list of high-impact foods high in fiber. Make it your New Year's resolution to keep these on your weekly shopping list and learn new ways to use them!

  • Avocado
  • Brocolli
  • Cauliflower
  • Dark chocolate
  • Eggplant (Wilbur says "eat the skin!")
  • Fresh potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Garlic
  • Gluten-free whole grains (oats, buckwheat, teff, quinoa etc..)
  • Green bananas/Plantains
  • "Greens" (beet, collard, kale, chard, etc...cooked and raw)
  • Honey (raw, local, wax/pollen included)
  • Lentils/beans
  • Mushrooms 
  • Nuts
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Rice (colored, wild)
  • Seaweed
Also, maybe for 2015, start cooking at home more!  Processed food is hopefully already off your menus, but nothing beats home-cooked meals.  If you must eat out, get a salad with no dressing.  It's not realistic to think that you can never eat a restaurant meal again, but beware all of the hidden dangers...oils, sugar, artificial flavors and extra colors added to make you eat more than you normally would.  The ability to control exactly what goes into your meals is empowering, and you'll be able to feed your gut microbes while you're at it.  I know Appleby's has a nice "Heart Healthy" selection but I'm waiting for "Gut Healthy!"

Next up, we'll discuss fiber supplements.  What to take and how to buy.  

Happy New Year



  1. Thank you for a practical post - I am pleased to see that these are the dietary conclusions that I have reached over the past year.
    My question - why the oatmeal al dente? - I ask because, the more you cook it, the more gelatinous is the fluid around the pieces - I thought that meat it is releasing more of the available soluble fiber, ie it is more bioavailable as food for the critters. Do you have any scientific information about al dente being superior, or is it just a personal preference?
    Thank you for your time.

    1. I should have also made a comment in the post about this. I think that it stands to reason that starches cooked al dente, or firm, would have more uncooked RS granules deep within. We discussed an old Irish tradition of cooking potatoes with 'a stone in the middle.' Makes perfect sense, and I do it that way now, too.

      So probably two really good ideas here:

      1. Eat most starches as 'leftovers' (for RS3)
      2. Purposely undercook most starches (for RS2)

    2. hei. regarding 1.Eat starches as 'leftovers' (for RS3). that means Cold without reheating, right??

    3. Reheating is fine, it will still retain RS3 when reheated.

  2. Typo on first post - "....that means it is releasing...."

    Interesting in your table.....
    Oatmeal - dry - if you calculate 1/2 cup dry - soluble fiber is 2.1(1.4x3/2) - that would give you the equivalent of 1 cup cooked, so that the soluble fiber content can now be compared. So cooked gives slightly more than dry.
    BUT - if you look at quinoa - 1/4 cup dry yields 1/2 cup cooked - the dry gives more soluble fiber - any idea why???

    1. Those tables are exactly why I can't recommend counting grams of fiber and why the recommendations I made are in such a broad range.

      I will do a part 4 and include a bunch of science links and charts. The big problem is that there is no standard of measuring fiber. The methods used are quite unreliable. Some methods capture soluble, insoluble, and RS. Other methods miss RS. Others see only the insoluble. It's a real mess!

    2. What about rice? I think I read something about rice not being a good RS when cooked and cooled In Dr. BG blog.

  3. Great post. Lots of practical ideas. I'm making Gemma's goulash this week for sure. Okra is interesting to me. Lots of mucilage. This past summer I came up on the list for a garden plot. Much of what I planted succumbed to fungal diseases and or bugs. I've got a lot to learn. But the two okra plants were stars. Hardy plants and good producers, at least around here. Best of all both my husband and I love them. We are empty nesters. I appreciate that those of you feeding kids have a much harder task.

    1. Just got my first seed catalog in the mail this week! Okra is an interesting, and beautiful, plant.

    2. Just seen an article about fermenting Okra.Supposed to be great tasting.Might try growing some in the UK this year.
      How does fermentation affect RS,any idea Tim.
      Poor Tim,the more he writes the more questions we ask.

    3. oops sorry,seen it all answered below,and the Okra too.

    4. My initial thought when I planted the okra was to ferment them. I even practiced on some farmers market okra. Ended up never fermenting any of our own--we picked them and ate them too fast lol. They are delicious sauteed whole in a little butter. Or for a fancier prep add garlic, cumin and coriander.

  4. last comment - not sure that you can take your chart source at face value - inconsistencies in her/his multiple posts on fiber.... .....
    raspberries - 1 cup - 8.34
    strawberries - 1 cup - 5.94 .....
    raspberries - 1 cup - 6.4
    strawberries 1 cup - 4.4
    Most other items on these food lists on these 2 pages are consistent ( yes, I checked that the quantities were comparable).....for example .... .....
    Almonds - 4.22
    Banana - 3.9 .....
    Almonds - 4.2
    Banana - 3.9

    Call it anal, but I need some internal consistency to view the source as credible. That's how one evaluates any studies/information. Just saying. You can chew me out/scoff if you like, I'm sure someone will.

    1. You'll drive yourself nuts trying to reconcile fiber charts. Read the epilogue of Catching Fire: How Cooking Mad Us Human. It'll give you an idea of many of the problems in determining carbs, proteins, and fats and how these numbers are really rough estimates. The actual numbers would be hard to get and would depend on many factors, including ripeness, how the food is cooked, the size of the particles, what else you've eaten that day, etc. the difference can be very large.

    2. You are so right!
      I actually don't count anything on a daily basis - I was just making an observation. The information provided in this post ( and subsequent ones, I am sure), are an excellent guide to help plan your eating patterns.

    3. I apologize. But I think that in reading these posts you'll start to see why "fiber" is so misunderstood.

      I think one reason that the idea of potato starch as a prebiotic fiber supplement was so widely applauded by many was that it was one of the very first things people could measure accurately and dose accordingly.

      At about 8g of fermentable fiber per TBS, there is nothing that comes close for the price. Other standard prebiotics like inulin, glucomannan, etc.... are close to the same potency, but way more expensive and were steeped in mystery. The recommended doses are always too low to do much good, I think, too.

    4. OK Tim, if you can just consider my thought process, give me your thoughts?? Potato starch is an insoluble fiber, that's why mixing it with water precipitates it. The additonal benefit from oatmeal is not so much the RS portion, but the soluble fiber portion - (?I suppose the beta-glucans), that's what is supposed to help with LDL, etc. I assumed that the gelatinous quality comes from the soluble fiber, not the RS, and that this soluble fiber is more accessible as it cooks more. Kind of the same as when you cook okra, it becomes slimy, from its high content of NSP - specifically inulin. So you'd want to cook it more to maximize that property. Yes/no?
      By the way, I do love the PS - I use a Tbsp in water as a chaser after a cup of my homemade kefir - I figure the bugs have something to hold onto on their way down the GI tract.

    5. The fact that potato starch is a well-known prebiotic and it's also insoluble made me realize early on that the "fiber" labels were misleading. I could never understand why 'soluble' and 'insoluble' get so much play. Those terms mean nothing to us.

      You are right and wrong about cooking. Some fibers/prebiotics are liberated with cooking, same as fermenting, but also others may be destroyed. So best to eat raw, fermented, cooked, and previously cooked in your rotations to get the best of all worlds.

    6. Hey, did a hours hours of surfing - found some answers -
      Cooking does NOT change the bioavailablity of the soluble fiber(inulin, beta-glucan) - al dente works just as well for that aspect.
      In terms of the amylose coils(ie RS content) - my thoughts - the uncooked is RS2, cooking uncoils it. Why not cook a bunch, refrigerate it - some will re-coil into RS3 - and take a portion daily, warmed in the microwave with some extra water.
      The only thing is, if it's like potato or rice, the original RS will never be matched by the quantity of reformed RS. You gave great summary in your Potato Starch post - 1 medium potato, tennis ball sized, 150g or so, can be looked at like this in terms of resistant starch:

      Raw - 22g
      Cooked - .25g
      Cooled - 3.5g
      Re-heated - 4g
      Re-cooled - 4.5g
      Re-re-heated - 5g
      Re-re-cooled - 5.5g
      Re-re-re-heated - 6g

      So bottom line, cook al dente - saving as much of the original RS2 as possible while still making the oats chewable! Make sense?? Does that logic hold?
      I certainly agree with your final point about the fiber variety !

    7. I think that is very sound reasoning! RS2 can represent a large portion of a fermentable fiber if not cooked completely away. And, I think undercooking starches goes back a long way to when we cooked by laying food beside a fire. And RS3 fits well here, too. It's easy to imagine that we ate lots of cooked and cooled starches as rebuilding a fire just to warm up the now cold tubers would not be cost effective in terms of energy required to do so.

      Plus, I find it easier and I like the taste of undercooked oats, potatoes, and rice. And then preparing a big batch when you cook and saving the leftovers in the fridge means less time spent cooking when you make your next meal. In fact, for many years we only ate minute rice and potato flakes because we couldn't be bothered to heat water and wait 20-30 minutes.

    8. Hi
      so you say the soluble vs non-soluble is misleading as in does not tell us what they do,
      but the grouping is accurate? as i see you prefer to call it soluble/ fermentable which provides a better description?

  5. Okra is wonderful fermented, and super easy. You don't even have to cut it. Just stuff them in a jar add whatever seasonings you prefer and pour brine over it. In the summer it is ready in 3 days. It is nice and crunchy.

  6. Not a mention of rhubarb anywhere.?

    1. There is now!

      Making that list was painful to me. I knew I was leaving off a ton of good foods. I should have also included 'seasonal, organic fruits and veggies from the farmer's market' or 'anything from your garden.'

      I love rhubarb. I have 4 or 5 clumps around the house. The sprout and grow at different times depending on the sun/warmth they get. Nothing better in the spring than those first tiny stalks of rhubarb!

  7. I love shredded fermented beets.

  8. This is a fascinating post. I didn't realize how little fiber I was actually eating. No wonder the PS is making all the difference - and I will have to keep it up, because eating the same amount of RS (RS is prebiotic fiber, correct?) will cause weight gain. I actually like the PS as it thickens this mush dinner I like to make into a kind of bowl of paste. To each his own, right?

  9. Anyone here with Rheumatoid Arthritis? Trouble with night shades?

    1. I get arthritis from nightshades, I can't eat dairy, and I have to watch my carbs or I pack on weight. This post is incredibly useful to me, with lots of good fiber ideas and data.

    2. @Madeleine, do you supplement with potato starch? If so, does that give you trouble?

    3. No. I tried it plain, and I tried rinsing it. I don't tolerate it. Plantain doesn't agree with my stomach. So I gave up on the easy starches.

    4. I have mild RA and don't have trouble with nightshades. Over and over through my life I've been told to give them up, have done so but it makes no difference to me so I add them back again with no problems. Perhaps its because I have it so mildly compared to others.

  10. Can you elaborate on colonic motility sensors?

    1. Sure! We were discussing a paper on what coffee does to your guts (mostly good stuff!) and I noticed they were using 'colonic motility sensors' with a few clicks, I found a paper with pictures!

      Coffee Paper

      Motility Sensor Paper w/pics

  11. Tim, do you eat fermented foods?

    1. Gosh, yes! Mostly homemade sauerkraut at the moment, but also yoghurt, brie, salami, pickles, kimchee, kombucha, kvass, and watching over a jug of apple cider vinegar since September.

    2. the other stuff above besides kraut you also make at home? or buy?
      ye i was gonna ask about kraut etc, glad you mention it here
      But i think you should add basic reasons for why we need fibers both types and kraut
      im guessing fibers is prebiotic it feeds the bugs, and kraut etc Is the bugs?

  12. This is our family's new quick breakfast. Our teens love the convenience.


    One batch homemade yogurt. 2 quarts.
    4-5 cups rolled oats (raw)
    ~16 oz. orange juice
    ~8 diced apples
    2 t. Cinnamon
    1 t. Nutmeg

    Mix it all together in a large bowl. Portion into smaller containers. We usually put trail mix or frozen berries on top, and they sit in the fridge, ready to go.

    I like to add some honey, and mix in a dose of fermentable fibers.

    There are many variations to this basic recipe. You can Google Bircher Muesli.

    Like it or not, my family does not like to cook, so I'm often looking for ways to have real food on hand that is ready to go. I roast a big pan of potatoes and red onions in the oven, and have that in the fridge too.


    1. Lucky family!

      So much better than the Cocoa Wheats and Pop Tarts I was raised on.

  13. You mention WAPF....does soaking/sprouting/fermenting affect the fiber content of grains, nuts, and legumes?

    1. I assume it does. I haven't looked into it much. I am a big fan of soaking beans and oatmeal overnight to get some fermentation action going. If I had more time, I'd probably experiment with sprouting seeds and such.

  14. Do you try to balance soluble and insoluble fiber 50/50? Or do you simply just eat a lot of the foods mentioned and then the ratio is the residual?

    Is one whole coconut too much insoluble fiber at one time?

    1. I don;t think it matters a bit. I think that we were all lulled into a false sense of fiber security by seeing that fruit and veggies contain 'fiber' but on closer examination, you see that most of the fiber is the insoluble, non-fermenting kinds. I think it is wise to keep eating all those fruits and veggies, but broaden out a bit to include RS and inulin heavy plants as well as those with mucilages and gums, etc...

      No idea about 'one whole coconut.' There is a store here that sells 'young green' coconuts with the top kind of chopped off. You drink the water, then dig the meat out. It's soft a gooey. I've eaten several of those whole in one sitting and never had any problems!

    2. So you do believe that soluble fiber is more important than insoluble?

    3. Yes and no.

      I believe it is the soluble fiber that does the most good, ie. fermented into SCFA, but the insoluble type aids in the fermentation process and adds other value.

      I think that it seems we have been mostly eating non-fermenting fiber to get our recommended 25-40g/day when we should have been getting way more fermentable, prebiotic fiber types.

    4. But isn't RPS insoluble fiber??

    5. "But isn't RPS insoluble fiber??"

      Nice to see people paying attention! Yes. You are correct, which is why I keep saying that soluble and insoluble labels make no sense.

      When using nutrition labels or charts, soluble seems synonymous with fermentable, and non-soluble is synonymous with non-fermentable. There are several contradictions to that generalization, RS2 being one.

    6. Is it actually are fiber?? In the chart above it says insoluble fiber in a medium potato is 2.4g but @newbie it is listed as having 22g RS, so is this an example of them just ignoring RS2 or is it not an actual fiber even though it is a pre-biotic?

    7. I have been searching for a table with fermentable and non-fermentable fiber in different foods - do you know if that exists?

    8. No, but you just gave me a good idea! Watch for such a list in Part 4. Hopefully this week.

    9. re: Potato Starch - In it's raw uncooked form, it should be considered a prebiotic, fermentable fiber. In cooked/hot form, it's just easily digested starch. In cooked and cooled form, it contains both easily digested starch and RS3, another for of RS that is a fermentable fiber.

      See why this is all so confusing?

    10. Hi Anon,
      Let me try to clarify.....
      We are aiming to feed both our human body and the critters that dwell inside of our guts. If we digest and absorb all of the nutrients first, there are none left for bugs to feed on.
      So, the nutrient in discussion here is starch, and in particular, the component of starch known as amylose, a very long chain. You know they advertise a garden hose on TV, if it's full of water it extends to a long straight hose, but if there's no water in it, it coils up itself. Well, amylose behaves in that way, sometimes straight and sometimes coiled, but it's still the same hose. If it's long and straight, we can digest and absorb it. BUT, if it's coiled and our enzymes can't digest it, it keeps on going to the large intestine and the bugs get to digest it -when it is in that form, we call it resistant starch because it resisted our digestive enzymes.
      So, amylose in some raw foods is long - we can digest it - just a part of plain old starch.
      Amylose in other foods in the RAW state is coiled (known as RS2) - only the bugs can get at that.
      If you cook that same food, the amylose uncoils, it is therefore easily digested by us, it is now just plain old starch, no food for the bugs.
      If you then take that food and cool it down, a small portion of the long amylose will reform a coil shape - we call this RS3 - it is almost the same as RS2. But when this RS3 forms, it is in significantly lesser amounts than the RS2 that was in the original uncooked /raw food. So, in the potato example - the original raw potato has RS2 - 22g. When you cook it, the coiled RS2 converts to starch, so RS2 is only at 1/100th of the amount - .25g. Now you cool it, and and some of the amylose will re-coil, but only 3.5g worth - better than nothing, but the RS content is still 6 times hight in the raw food.

      DOES THIS HELP? Tim, feel free to chime in or correct. I have been quite helped by the knowledge base in this blog, and I'm just trying to pay it forward.

    11. Perfect!

      You left out amylopectin and I usually talk about 'tails' instead of 'coils' but your explanation was accurate and easy to understand.


    12. YES , I did, on purpose - it is simply a fully "human digestible" part of starch, and may just complicate the picture for the new comers.
      Glad to help, I'm sure I'll be the one asking questions on another post!

  15. Excellent post. Was also going to mention coconut...quick search says the "meat" has 7 grams per cup. It would be hard to eat that much in one sitting! Where are the tiger nuts, lol?


    1. I have no problem eating an entire old coconut in one sitting.

    2. Yes, of course! Tiger Nuts should have made the list!

  16. My current one gallon mason jar fermentation crock includes cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and fresh from the garden kale along with shallots, carrots, red bell pepper, and minced garlic and ginger. A packet of Caldwell vegetable starter culture and sea salt and it looks, smells, and tastes great one week in. Vegetable medleys are my favorite ferments. Previous ferment was last garden picking diced turnips with kale. Plain but earthy. I give away fermentation starter kits to friends who seem interested. Most have kept up with it.

    Red cabbage kraut is my favorite but rutabagas and icicle radish with various hot peppers from the garden are also a staple. Briefly boiled okra with a dash of white vinegar then frozen and later thawed is in most of my salads. When the tomatoes were in Pico de Gallo and fermented hot sauce from habaneros, jalapeños, hot banana, and cayennes are still int the refrigerator. PS added in most meals directly to the ferments. Reserved brine as a probiotic tonic now and then.

    Granny Smith apples and bartlett pears on the kitchen table for my first attempt at a a fruit chutney tomorrow. Ginger beets soon.

    Water kefir also when I have the time to revive them and attend to their ways. I even exploded a second ferment flip top bottle one night! Frozen mustard greens and tender greens a plenty. Deer got the crowder peas and green beans this spring but I can't complain. Will try again this spring.

    Dried green plantains stored frozen also a daily staple.

    Tiger nuts and cushaw seeds await the spring planting season.

    No powdered pre or probiotics other than PS. So far, so good. My favorite Tatertot quote, "Probiotics are for people who don't have a garden." Mowed the last of the kale and tilled it under before a rainy weekend ahead. Washing down the tiller afterwards left me muddy as all get out. Garden is finally fallow. For now. Life is good.

    1. Wow! Just now tilling in the kale? Nice! Kale is super-hardy, it's actually a biennial, taking two years to form seeds.

  17. Great post and great comments! I lam going to have to try fermenting okra. I fermented rhubarb this last spring - it wasn't great but it was tolerable for me - others did not think so!!! I don't like to cook either so thanks Michelle for your recipes! Thanks everyone for sharing!

  18. I thought I'd add a little more. Today was a little more typical for me, but yet involved compromise.

    I started the day with an omelette. 2 farm fresh eggs (I get them from a farm). Usually I have cheese, but not today. Before cooking the eggs, I put 1/2 bulb of freshly minced garlic into the eggs. While mincing, I ate the garlic skins. The filling for the omelette was a big pile of spinach, including the stems, and green onion. All the veggies were practically raw. About a Tbsp of homemade fermented hot sauce.

    For lunch, I had leftover Hoppin' John, at least as we make it. Leftover rice. Black-eyed peas, collard greens, okra, tomatoes, celery, and raw green onions. About a tsp of the same fermented hot sauce. The veggies were nearly raw. There was maybe 1 ounce of andouille sausage.

    We went to a movie with my kid and a friend. I had bottled water. Others had popcorn that smelled disgusting to me. I had none.

    Dinner was tuna pasta. I didn't want to cook, but my wife volunteered if we could have that. Tuna, olive oil, fettuccine, onions, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. I minced two extra cloves of garlic, ate them and all of the skins. The vegetable was raw collard greens with stems.

    Over the holidays, I've come to love raw cranberries. I had about 1/3 cup for dessert.

  19. I don't know about raw cranberries, but I once I tasted it, I craved this fermented relish of cranberries, whole oranges, apples with a bit of onion and walnuts. I snatch up all the organic cranberries I can find and make up big batches and freeze them. The orange peel must be full of interesting fibers

  20. First of all thank you for the amazing guide !

    Now, I am still a bit confused on how temperature affects the resistant starch, especially when reheating.

    For example, in one of the older charts lentils were listed with 15 grams resistant starch which looks great- does that number apply to cooked and cooled lentils?

    Does RS3 in cooled starchy food degrade again when you reheat it and should reheating be avoided so lentils and beans etc should always be eaten cold for best RS efficiency?

    And lastly- how does freezing affect RS3 and inulin - can I simply freeze a bunch of lentils and jerusalem artichokes and use them out of the freezer in my smoothies or should they be defrosted in order for RS3 and inulin to become usable?

    Sorry if these are silly questions but this is a lot of new info for me and I want to make sure I get the basics right.

    Oh yeah, one last question please :)

    I don't have a garden and Prescript Assist is way out of my affordable price range but I would like to get exposure to soil based organisms so I was wondering if buying certified organic carrots and potatoes (some other vegetable?) and use them unwashed in my smoothies daily could be a viable alternative?

    Again, I can't thank you all enough for your knowledge sharing and take care !

    1. I think you can safely say that most beans and lentils contain 5-15g of RS3 when cooked and cooled. Eaten hot they will be at the lower end of that range. You can safely reheat them, though, and not lose all of the RS3 you grew while cooling, if that makes sense. Hummus and refried beans are such great inventions!

      Freezing has no effect on RS. It will actually make more RS3. They don't need to be thawed.

      Your SBO idea sounds OK. Just be sure to wash any nasty looking stuff off, and moldy parts. Just handling the produce will expose you to SBOs. It's not like you have to consume tons of them, just get exposure. They will find their way inside!

      I think the best idea is to figure out some way to plant a garden this spring!

  21. I hadn't realised that PS gave me 8 g per tbs, so that's 32 g per day. I've tried to do with less but 4tbs is what I need for best sleep and less just doesn't work the same way. Then a third of a cup of cooked refrigerated lentils, another of rice, then usually cold potatoes most days. Plus onion/leeks, asparagus, carrot, various leafy greens, and salad veges. I've also been adding a half teaspoon of inulin, lupin flour, banana flour and mesquite flour to my 1/3 cup of home made muesli for breakfast. Snack on dried fruit and nuts. Fruit for dessert. Fruit and veges are seasonal, some home grown. So I think I have the feeding about right, but any fine tuning suggestions gratefully received. Interestingly enough if I drop the PS down to 2tbs a day within a fortnight my sleep is not good - say 4 hours interrupted per night, worse if I eat things like more than 2 pieces of dark chocolate or a large serving of ham. Go back to 4 tbs a day and my sleep is much heavier and more stable - though too much chocolate or ham is not good, just that I get 5 hours sleep, not less than 2.

  22. Hello,

    I am French. I'm currently suffering from candidiasis. I would like to know what you recommend me as a good diet to restore intestinal flora. The signs of candidiasis are my white tongue, fungal feet.

    1. Bonjour,
      From what I have heard around here, it may be best to focus on antifungal type foods, especially garlic and onions, and stay away from starchy foods until you beat the candida monster.

      I have no personal experience with candida, but I have learned a lot here. We have a resident expert, Edward Belschner, who has beat his own fungal problems and shares his experience.

      Look at these blogs, and search for Edward in the comments:

      In the last link especially is a lengthy discussion about candida, and a nice post by Gemma:

      GemmaSeptember 21, 2014 at 1:15 AM

      "Candida, a yeast, can hide INSIDE macrophage"

      If only that!

      Let us visit a fungi lab, and see a video included in the paper (at time mark 8 min or so you can see the phagocytosis and hyphal grow of the fungal cell resulting in macrophage killing)

      Live-cell Video Microscopy of Fungal Pathogen Phagocytosis

      Some more thriller reading here:
      The Pathogen Candida albicans Hijacks Pyroptosis for Escape from Macrophages

      Catching Fire: Candida albicans, Macrophages, and Pyroptosis

    2. Thanks you have you a program to fight candida with the good food?

      I read the comment edward and gemma. Now i would like list of food. I eat onions, garlic, leeks, bananas, eggs, artichoke, green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, ...)

    3. I can't remember where, but there is a guy claiming to have fixed his gut issues by eating two crushed, raw bulbs of garlic per meal for a couple of weeks. Supposedly he was pretty sick for the first week, but got better by the second week.

    4. @Tate Metlen

      Garlic indeed, do not forget it!

      From The History of Kamtschatka, and the Kurilski Islands, with the Countries Adjacent (1764)

      " The wild garlic is not only useful in the kitchen, but also in medicine. Both the Russians and Kamtschadales gather great quantities, which they cut and dry in the fun for their winter provision ; at which time boiling it in water they ferment it a little, and use it as an herb soup, which they schani (?) They esteem the wild garlic efficacious a remedy against the scurvy, that they think themselves in no danger so soon as it begins to show itself under the snow : and I have heard an extraordinary account of its virtues from the Cossacks that were employed with captain Spanberg in building the sloop Gabriel : they were so ill with the scurvy, that scarce any were able to work, or even to walk, so long as the ground was covered with snow ; but as foon as the high lands began to appear green, and the wild garlic to sprout out, the Cossacks fed upon it greedily. Upon their sirst (?) eating it, they were covered over with scabs in such a manner, that the captain believed they were all infested with the venereal disease. In about a fortnight, these scabs fell off, and they were perfectly recovered of the scurvy."

    5. Errata: they probably had a lot of fun when drying the garlic in the sun

    6. @ Gemma,
      Sorry I missed the 'drying in the sun' comment significance?

      Also, I read recently that the antibiotic allicillin being so powerful makes garlic a bit devastating to gut microflora. Maybe cooking it is a good idea then so you can destroy the allicillin.
      But caramelizing it destroys the fructans too, so you end up with a nice tasting flavour that has no antibiotic or even prebiotic effect.
      Eating it raw (crushed and lelt for a while to develop the allicillin first) of course you get both antibiotic and prebiotic effects, and as long as it doesn't get hot enough to change colour, you lose the antibiotic effect but not the prebiotic effect. But raw, because you're laying waste to your gut microbiota (like any antibiotic does) the prebiotic effect is sort of canceled out isn't it?
      The vitC in raw garlic still stopped scurvy though clearly. Bur it occurs to me that just munching on a few blades of grass (or even tree leaves) would have provided enough Vit C to prevent scurvy.
      Lastly, the allicillin developing effect of crushing it would be provided by just chewing raw garlic before swallowing it wouldn't it? The allicillin would just develop in your stomach?

    7. I believe allicillin needs oxygen and a few minutes to develop.

    8. @ Tate
      Thanks Not much oxygen in your stomach.

    9. I looked into the garlic, ginger, onion angle sometime back. I eat a lot of all, particularly garlic. At least a bulb per day. I often use a garlic press to crush it, and then let it sit around for a while.

      My understanding is that there is no harmful effect on the gut microbiome. Many studies like.

      The good guys, if sensitive to it at all, quickly adjust. The bad guys die.

    10. @ Wilbur.
      That study was great. Only a transient effect, and some species, like lactobacilli, were even promoted by garlic without having to first develop resistance.
      I've meant to ask people like you who seem to be able to produce relevant studies at the drop of a hat, do you have some kind of archiving system for studies you've read and found useful? Or do you just archive it all in your head?

    11. @ Wilbur
      Just had to confirm. That's a bulb - as in a bunch of cloves - most days?
      That;s at least 35g of inulin right there!

    12. And maybe, the anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties of garlic act mainly in the small intestine where these things should not be!

      On the allicin, I think it is a defense mechanism of the garlic/onion bulbs to heal themselves should they get trampled by a herd of buffalo. Crushing and resting 'hacks' that effect.

      Just to many Blue Zoners eating lots of garlic to ignore.

    13. @Stuart

      This book is almost 300 hundred years old, and some letters are used differently, for instance sun was written as "fun". I copied the text, and ran a spell check to correct it, and some words escaped.

      What matters is the information about spring garlic (or garlic like plants) able to cure scurvy, which was a big topic in those times. Many sailors died!

      We had a lot of fun reading some old books a year ago, and posted some at FTA and I recalled that one about garlic. Which answers the other question of yours - curse my memory! :-)

    14. @ Gemma,
      Are you saying that it was something else in raw garlic than Vit C that cured scurvy. I thought that's why VitC is called antiscorbutic.
      I also have read that the reason the British Navy was so effective, often with much smaller ships/guns was that they discovered the scurvy/ vitC connection before anyone else (one reason British sailors were called Limeys) and their gunnery was faster/more accurate. That's why we're all talking English now rather than some other equally vicious and determined a colonial power's native tongue.
      Such a tiny country the British Isles, and yet the English established a global dominion that it looks quite likely even the Chinese will succumb to. The only thing all the Chinese fiber company employees I correspond with want to do before anything else is learn English.
      And it's all down to VitC and the slight improvement in dental health its use produced by the British Navy.

      The book sounds amazing.btw.

    15. @Stuart
      "Are you saying that it was something else in raw garlic than Vit C that cured scurvy."

      I am speculating here: is a dose of vit C treating the symptoms only, and that "something else" in garlic treating the cause?

    16. @Wilbur do you eat that head of garlic raw?

    17. @Wilbur
      Thanks for the above study. That's something I've always wondered about. As I understand it however, garlic powder has a negligible allicin content.. Did you ever uncover any similar studies using raw garlic? I searched pubmed myself but I seriously need a search tutorial.

    18. The guy who put out syontix inulin has a lot to say about garlic. One of his posts:
      I stopped reading his blog when he closed the comments.

    19. @Madeleine

      What is wrong with raw garlic? Do eat raw garlic (or onions at least).

      I'm afraid those who like to "do wilbur" forget he eats lots of fresh vegetables too, apart of his high fiber mix.

    20. @all.

      Yes, I eat about a bulb of raw garlic per day. Some days more, some days less. Lots of raw onion too. A while back, I had about a month or so where I put raw onion and garlic on everything. I couldn't get enough. My semi regular pizza has at least a whole head by itself!

      I do not recall if I saw any studies using fresh garlic. I do know there were more, but possibly used extracts. I've eaten enough garlic and onion to be convinced it can only do good things for the gut.

      @Gemma Yes, vegetables are top priority. The fibers are intended to make up for the lost fibers from cultivation. Without the vegetables, the philosophy is lost.

    21. @Gemma, @ Wilbur I just wondered. I tried to eat 1/4 of a medium clove mixed into cold brown rice, and it burned my throat and made my eyes water. I'm trying to figure out how to get even one clove down.

    22. @Madeleine

      No stress because of raw garlic! Go slow and do not eat too much in the beginning. Also, some sorts can be particularly strong.

      The traditional recipes to mix raw garlic into something would be pesto and aioli. Enjoy!

    23. Also, you can sneak a clove or more in things like beans, lentils, etc. I found it impossible to eat at first, but I've gotten accustomed to it. As a Gemma says, some garlic is indeed hotter than others. An informal theory of mine is that larger bulbs and cloves seem to be milder.

    24. What about chopping it, letting it sit for ten minutes. Then swallowing like pills, no chewing. Really easy to get down that way. Wouldn't you get the same benefit?

    25. elliebelly - that was exactly my strategy when dealing with garlic in a medicinal way (meaning I wanted high concentrations asap). I'd mince it, then put it on a spoon, put it on the back third of my tongue (to minimize taste) and then slug down a bunch of water. INTENSE - taste, heat flush, intestinal reaction, but very effective for combating a cold (or yeast or whatever). I could do 2-3 cloves this way, once I got practiced at it.

    26. Hmmm.....haven't done it in a while, but when i did it was only one clove a night on an empty stomach before bed. I never noticed any reaction whatsoever. Am gonna start again and see what happens

  23. Thanks for this enlightning post. Please keep sharing.

  24. Hi Tim (yet again),
    I am wondering if there is any advantage, on a mg per mg basis to prefer RS2 vs RS3. They are both coiled amylose, the former in the raw food, the latter in the cooked and cooled food. Do you know if they are used differently by the bugs? or used by different bugs? Do you have any links to this information?

    I ask this because, if they have the same biologic fate, then it is easier to get the daily quota of RS using RS2 food sources. So, for example, if one were willing to chew on raw potato, the the total RS content on a gram basis would be significantly higher that cooked and cooled potato - not that I would particularly want to incorporate that eating pattern.

    I do apologize if this has been addressed earlier. I know this discussion went on at FTA, but thought processes evolve and I wonder what your current thinking is on this point.

  25. I did reread the FTA comments on the post -

    specific comment by Stuart+Mather says:
    November 22, 2014 at 20:36 ...." recognizing that RS3 ‘trumps’ RS2 ".....
    and your response...
    "All this talk of RS2 being ‘better’ than RS3…I wouldn’t bank on it......."
    Did you mean to say "All this talk of RS3 being ‘better’ than RS2…I wouldn’t bank on it....."

    Just trying to get a good solid handle on this - thanks again for clarifying. I know you don't have all of the answers, but I don't want to misunderstand what you are saying.

  26. Hi Newbie - re: RS2 vs RS3; it's really a matter of preference I believe.

    RS2 and RS3 are simply fermentable, prebiotic fibers found in nature. To say one is 'better' than the other is foolish and misleading.

    I think that some people became concerned over the popularity of raw potato starch because it was overshadowing real food fibers.

    My "big thing" is simply that people eat good and get a bunch of fiber in their diet. For most people, that means supplementing or eating something like a raw potato.

    If RS3 were in supplement form, would the people who don;t like RS2 still love it so much?

    From what I can see, in all of the studies, RS2,RS3, inulin, pectin, GOS, FOS etc...are all equal in building us a better gut.

    I don't like magic-bullets, much, and don't think that any of these fibers, on their own, are that magic. For people to try to cast doubt over one fiber or another, or to proclaim that they know exactly which gut bacteria we should be targeting...and then sell you exactly what you need to grow, and test for, that bacteria, is just bollocks.

  27. Hi Tim,
    Just sending this for clarification for don't have to print this comment - I just want to clear the air....
    I had no idea in asking my question that this was a sore spot, related to the issue. Only when I googled RS2 vs RS3 this morning and her blog posts showed up, did I piece it together - that is the "RS3 trumps RS2" thing.
    It is clear to me from my other surfing that they are in fact different might be interested in reading this research ....., .......

    Effect of high amylose maize starches on colonic fermentation and apoptotic response to DNA-damage in the colon of rats
    Plausible explanations that could account for maintenance of high butyrate levels throughout the colon include the RS type, RS amount and/or the dietary fibre content of individual sources of RS and the degree of treatment (specifically hydrothermal treatment). Unfortunately, the present study was unable explain what the critical characteristic of HAMS was that maintained high butyrate levels

    Quite significant differences in effects on butyrate production were observed between the different RS2-type starches, however, on balance the RS2-type starches tended to perform much better than the single RS3-type starch. .... The RS3 'NOVELOSE 330' was the most effective diet at increasing large bowel digesta weight and faecal output; this may be a characteristic of being a retrograded starch.

    All of the RS diets (ie. both RS2 and RS3) and the Cellulose diet reversed the atrophy which was observed with the fibre/RS free Control diet. ......

    In any case - my original interest was piqued because because RS3 is not a natural structure - it is made by humans cooking and cooling RS2 containing foods - maybe we evolved(meaning us and bugs as a biological unit) to utilize it??? Not a question, just musing.

    No need at all to respond - have a great day, keep them coming - even if the posts ask more questions than answer sometimes, they are excellent starting place to get us all thinking.

  28. Does anyone here know where I could order some konjac root noodles in the US? The few places I have found charge more for shipping than for the noodles themselves.

  29. I live in Amsterdam, Holland and I found the Konjac noodles in a couple of Chinese supermarkets in the centre of town. I'm sure there will be chinese supermarkets in the USA. It depends on where you live, and whether there is a Chinese community where you live.

    Jo tB

  30. I may have missed it, but I can find no reference to the use of coconut as a dietary fiber. In a Mount Sinai Hospital fiber chart, one tablespoon of shredded coconut is listed as having 3.4 grams of fiber. My coconut flour package lists two tablespoons as having 5 grams fiber.

    An article by Dr. Bruce Fife states:

    “Coconut is an ideal source of dietary fiber. Coconut has one of the highest percentages of fiber among all plant foods. Seventy-five percent of the total carbohydrate content is fiber.

    “The fiber in coconut acts as food for gut bacteria. Consequently, coconut helps increase SCFA in the gut and helps prevent and relieve symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and other digestive disorders.”


    1. I have been meaning to try out coconut flour and see how it mixes with the other fibers in water. I have no doubt it would be fine in a smoothie, though.

      Coconut flour does not contain starch or RS, and from what I can tell, mostly just cellulose-type fiber, like oat or wheat bran. I think it would be a fine addition to your fiber collection, but just as part of a mixture, not a standalone.

      Here is a paper from 2006: Dietary fiber from coconut flour: A functional food

      It never really identifies the type of fiber present, and shows it has less fermentability to SCFA than wheat flour.

      " The dietary fiber content of coconut flour was 60.0± 1.0 g/100 g sample, 56% insoluble and 4% soluble."

      Remember from the series, "insoluble" fiber is the type that does not serve as food for microbes. BUT, it helps spread the fermentation of the "soluble" or "fermentable" fibers you eat.

    2. Would it be safe to assume that the soluble/insoluble ratios would be the same for shredded or grated coconut as they are for coconut flour?


    3. I think that would be safe to assume. Although the amount of fiber per 100g is probably a lot less in the fresher preparations (shredded/grated) than in flour due to higher moisture content.

  31. RE: oats, any opinions as to rolled or steel cut as to which is more beneficial?

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