In the absence of fiber, gut bacteria eat the protective mucus layer in the colon, the gut’s primary defense mechanism against intestinal pathogens. In a mouse model, the study found that without dietary fiber, both in chronic and intermittent situations, gut bacteria begin consuming secreted mucus glycoproteins as a nutrient source, leading to the destruction of the mucus barrier. In the study, an eroding mucus barrier along with dietary fiber deprivation, gave Citrobacter rodentium, a mucosal pathogen, increased access to the epithelial layer and caused severe colitis (or inflammation of the colon). Cell
→Takeaway: While we are aware of the incredible benefits of fiber on gut and overall health, this study sheds light on why fiber is so important on a microbial level and how its absence negatively and directly affects the gut and its ability to fight pathogens. The recommended fiber intake is 14 grams per 1,000 calories, or 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men per day. Get your fiber from plant-based whole foods that come from the ground. Your colonic mucus layer will thank you!