I was out to breakfast with a friend today and he's started on the "Karen Hurd diet." I've heard of this dietitian before in my circles and several follow her like a savior. In fact, when my wife was pregnant with our first, she was told that Karen Hurd had a "cure" for morning sickness: soluble fiber.
This morning I found out that Karen also has a cure for high cholesterol (drum roll): soluble fiber.
I've looked into this a bit before, particularly when my wife was nauseous. She brought home a writeup of Karen Hurd's theory and I didn't buy it (this was about 3.5 years ago).
Bile is a digestive enzyme designed to break down the fatty acids that we eat. When we have no fatty acids in our duodenum (the first part of the small intestine and what most people commonly call “the stomach”), there is nothing to digest but YOU! This causes us to feel nauseous.
It seems to make sense that if the bile is meant to digest fatty acids, all we need to do is give the bile the fatty acids it wants to digest. Then the bile will not bother our intestinal lining making us feel nauseous. But, when we eat foods with fats in them, it actually causes a further release of bile. Now we have the original bile making us feel queasy PLUS a new onslaught of this same nauseous-causing substance.
Soluble fiber and bile (or any fatty acid) have a great affinity toward one another. In fact, they will bind so tightly together that they cannot be parted. As no fiber (soluble or insoluble) can cross the intestinal barrier, all the bile that has been bound together with the soluble fiber will exit the body through a bowel movement. That means the bile will not recycle. That means the bile will not grow nasty with accumulating debris. That means you will feel less nauseous.
The story is quite similar in her writeup on high cholesterol:
Our Creator designed our bodies to use cholesterol in the making of bile. Bile is a digestive enzyme that aids in the breaking down of fats in the intestinal tract. If a person can produce a regular supply of bile, then cholesterol levels will drop as this raw material is converted into a useful digestive enzyme.
Soluble fiber binds tightly with bile in the intestinal tract, in fact, so tightly that the bile cannot be reabsorbed through the intestinal tract and return to the liver...Over the course of time, levels will fall to the point of a total cholesterol of 150 or below.
...it is this author’s hypothesis that the liver releases an enzyme at this point of 150 and below that literally melts the hardened plaque off the interior of the blood vessel walls, so that the oxidized cholesterol is then available in the bloodstream for the liver to utilize in the making of bile.
Is there any evidence to support these claims about the interaction between bile, cholesterol, hormones, and soluble fiber? I became suspicious when I read the writeup on morning sickness many years ago, but to hear such a similar hypothesis (bile, etc.) being proposed re. high cholesterol really struck me as odd.
Oddly enough, check out THIS google search for the word "bile" on her site. Quite a few of her writeups mention it. I've never heard of bile being so destructive or such an integral component to various health issues before hearing about this dietitian and want to investigate.