3. Myth: I should eat more fiber if I’ve got chronic constipation.
Truth: Yes and no. “Fiber is basically an organic complex carbohydrate which increase stool weight and improve consistency by retaining fluid within the stool,” says Dr. Xenodemetropoulos. However there’s a difference in the type of fiber—soluble (found in some vegetables and fruits and beans and peas) and insoluble (found in the bran portion of whole grains and fruit and vegetable skins). “Soluble fibers attract water and form sort of a gel matrix which has a lot of different properties including bulking of the stool,” Dr. Xenodemetropoulos adds. While it’s good to have a mix of these types of fibers, it’s the soluble kind that should predominate. “I tell patients that we should have 25-30 grams of fiber per day,” he says. (One medium red apple with skin has about 0.9-1g. of soluble fiber for example.) “And predominantly soluble fiber that’s increasing very gradually over a period of a few weeks because your gastrointestinal tract needs to acclimatize.”