Last Updated on September 16, 2020
I once had an ex-vegan tell me that meat has more to offer gut health than fiber. Is that true?
In my opinion, the best case scenario for gut health is a balance between meat and dietary fiber. If you’re only eating meat, I’d want to know more about your digestive and bowel function before passing judgment on your diet.
Moving from being a vegan to eating meat again will result in a shift in gut flora. For example, levels of Bacteroides are higher in meat-eaters. Prevotella tends to be higher in vegans. My recommendation is to never make a cold turkey switch from one diet to another. “Warm turkey” is the way to go instead.
Fiber is exceedingly important when it comes to our health. People who consume substantial amounts of fiber have more stable metabolic rates, better energy, improved sleep, and better libido. They also are protected from accelerated aging by their healthy gut flora. There are other good reasons for having fiber in your diet. It helps with appetite regulation for one.
In my experience, very healthy people with well functioning digestive systems and balanced microbiotas eat a lot of resistant starch. Resistant starch is found in oats, brown rice, legumes, other grains, and root vegetables like potato and sweet potato.
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If you’re not currently doing so already, I recommend incorporating sweet potato into your diet once or twice a week. Just a small piece is a good starting point. Watch what happens to your gut over time as you have a bit of sweet potato twice a week. My guess is that it will calm down. If you start with a high dose of fiber, you can cause constipation, diarrhea, gas, or bloating. Never make a quick change when it comes to the fiber content of your diet.
I can assure you that fiber plays a fundamental role in health. You can’t live a healthy life by consuming meat all the time. Meat and red meat, in particular, has been linked to many cancers. I saw one recommendation out of England that said to limit your intake of red meat to 10 ounces per week. That recommendation was based on top scientific studies out of Europe and the U.S.
Be careful when it comes to meat intake. Don’t overeat red meat. Look at other forms of protein. Fresh fish is a superior protein. Free-range eggs are another excellent option. Balance your protein intake with reasonably good amounts of fiber, but don’t load your plate up with too much meat.