Mr. Monastyrsky graduated from medical university in
1977 with a pharmacy degree. He is also a certified nutritional
consultant and an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science
that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and
nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.
In 1978 Mr. Monastyrsky's family emigrated from the
former Soviet Union to the
United States, where he decided to pursue a
career in the high-technology field, and taught himself advanced
From 1985 to 1990, he worked at two premier Wall Street
firms: at First Boston/Credit Suisse as a senior systems analyst and at
Goldman-Sachs & Co. as a technology consultant to Dr. Fischer Black, the
co-author of the Nobel Prize-winning Black-Scholes theory of options
In May of 1990, Mr. Monastyrsky was invited to
participate along with Mr. Bill Gates in the filmed introduction of
Microsoft Windows 3.0, which forever revolutionized personal computing.
He was the only programmer in the United States to earn this honor
because of his substantial contribution to the development of graphical
user interface and Windows programming techniques.
Between 1990 and 1998, he was the president of Okna
Corporation, a software development company that he founded to market
DeskTop Set — the
very first personal information manager for Windows that he invented. PC
Magazine described it as the “best and best loved” program of its kind,
and between 1991 and 1998 it has repeatedly won all of the major
In 1996, Mr. Monastyrsky began to suffer from diabetes
and a host of related ailments, including the debilitating carpal tunnel
syndrome. Unable to use the keyboard, he turned his attention back to
medicine to find solutions for his rapidly deteriorating health.
He applied the same analytical rigor to the study of
his health condition as he had to technology, and within several years
had completely recovered from diabetes. In 1998, free from the ravages
of carpal tunnel syndrome, he left the technology field to pursue a
career in nutritional research, medical writing, performance, longevity
and weight loss counseling, and health advocacy.
Through his extensive investigations and research, Mr.
Monastyrsky pioneered the fields of forensic
His unorthodox thinking, penetrating analysis, and accessible writings
are ushering in a new approach to nutrition and healthcare in the United
story behind my books...
I Lived To
Tell the Story
I‘d Rather I Hadn‘t Learned
For reasons I didn‘t understand at the time, I first experienced
the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in 1984, shortly
after quitting smoking. Constipation was the most troubling
aspect of it.
It was all the more troubling because during
those years I was quite fit. Each day, for an hour or two, I
briskly walked or ran with my dog—a graceful Russian wolfhound
(borzoi), who needed vigorous workouts to keep him healthy and
So I went to a highly regarded Manhattan doctor, and he
told me to eat more fiber, drink more water, and exercise more. I did
all that, and, thank God, the constipation vanished.
Two years later I developed excruciatingly
painful hemorrhoids. In 1986, I went to another doctor who told
me—you guessed it—to eat more fiber, drink more water, and
exercise more. I did all that, but the hemorrhoids got worse,
and I started experiencing constant pain and discomfort in my
In 1988 I went to another
doctor who finally told me that I may have irritable bowel syndrome—and
he instructed me to eat even more fiber, drink even more water, and
exercise even more. In retrospect, it's hard to blame him for sticking
to this absurd “gold-standard protocol:”
Besides telling you to eat more foods
with fiber, the doctor might also tell you to get more
fiber by taking a fiber pill or drinking water mixed
with a special high-fiber powder.
National Institutes of Health;
Of course, I did all that, and
the pain, discomfort, and flare-ups from hemorrhoids grew much worse, so
in 1990, depressed and miserable, I gave up on doctors, and went to
Barnes & Noble—a favorite “research” venue for take-charge individuals
before the advent of the Internet. One book in particular — Fit For
Life — described a situation very much like mine. It offered what,
at that time, seemed like a logical solution: a vegetarian lifestyle
with even more fiber and water.
embraced this “promising” approach, and by 1994 I was
twenty-four pounds overweight, clinically depressed, and
suffering from a whole range of degenerative conditions specific
to type 2 diabetes. The situation with IBS, constipation, and
hemorrhoids degenerated, too.
Passport pictures don't lie. Same person ten years apart.
From size 32 in 1987 to size 40 in 1997.
All along I kept loading up on carb-heavy juices, fruits, vegetables,
breads, rice, and pasta. Various doctors administered blood tests, but,
as often happens in younger patients, my “fasting plazma glucose” wasn‘t
yet high enough to diagnose me as a diabetic, despite all the obvious
signs—substantial weight gain, polyuria (frequent urination), dry mouth,
constant tingling in the extremities, and a host of other less obvious
symptoms of late stage type 2 diabetes.
— How could they have missed it? — Well, for several reasons, all of
them pretty darn stupid:
Because after 14-16
hours of a straight fast without cheating, the blood glucose
from food and internal storage already vanishes, and you
experience what Dr. Atkins incorrectly called ketosis (the
proper term is lipolysis).
Because younger people
still have a rather active central nervous system (CNS), and
when they stop consuming carbohydrate-dense meals, drinks, and
snacks before the test, the CNS brings the blood glucose down
quite reliably, even among type 2 diabetics.
Because many patients,
including this one, are scared witless of needle pricks into
their veins, and also by the possibility of a life-transforming
diagnosis. Inevitably, by the time they reach the doctor‘s
office, their stress hormones have surged up, and they
experience stress-related low-blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as
opposed to high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). This phenomenon is
called the white coat effect.
diabetes isn't as uncommon as you may think:
Diabetes is frequently not diagnosed
until complications appear, and approximately one-third
of all people with diabetes may be undiagnosed.
American Diabetes Association;
Diabetes Care 27:S11-S14, 2004
Eventually, it all adds up to no good: by the time most patients
are finally diagnosed, the damage from diabetes (most of it
irreversible) has already occurred. In my case, undiagnosed
diabetes worsened my irritable bowel syndrome because anorectal
neuropathy (nerve damage) made me even more dependent on fiber.
What happened next was as liberating as it
appears improbable. In 1996, after passing out from low-blood
sugar (the opposite side of the coin for type 2 diabetics) while
waiting for a green light, I started researching my problems in
earnest. Shortly thereafter, encouraged by my findings, I
abandoned a vegetarian diet and went on a gluten-free,
fiber-free, and low-carb diet. Almost immediately the symptoms
of IBS—abdominal bloating, flatulence, and pain—cleared up, but
not the constipation or hemorrhoids. They got worse.
By the year 1998, I was diabetes-free. Not only
that, but most of the diabetes-related complications were gone,
too: sky-high triglycerides, erratic blood pressure, chronic
colds and infections, painful gout and arthritis, debilitating
carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, migraines, insomnia,
irritability, and depression.
I couldn‘t, though, undo the damage this insidious
disease had caused to my career, bank account, and relationships.
Nonetheless, business failure and bad memories were a small price to pay
for this kind of startling recovery.
To mop up the remaining problems, by the summer
of that year I turned to nutritional research full-time. By the
year 2000, I was finally constipation-free, laxatives-free, and
fiber-free. Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are irreversible, but
luckily they no longer flared up or caused anal fissures and
The same year I summarized my findings in a book
entitled Functional Nutrition: How to Prevent
Nutritional Disorders and Premature Aging with Functional Nutrition.
It instantly became the highest-selling Russian-language title in the
By the year 2002 I‘d lost 24 lbs (11 kg), and scaled down from a
size 40 back to 32, the same size I wore in my early twenties.
Throughout the process I remained vigorous, productive, healthy,
and free of IBS. I also published my second book:
Reversing Metabolic Syndrome: How
Carbohydrates Ruin Your Health and Wealth, and What You Can Do
To Reverse the Onslaught of Metabolic Syndrome, and it
became the second highest-selling Russian-language title in the
By the year 2004,
while researching my first English-language book, entitled
Fixing Up The Atkins Diet: Why Dr. Atkins is Dead, You‘re Still
Overweight, and The Debate Rages On, I embarked on writing a
brief—ten pages, tops—section on constipation because it‘s by
far the most common and troublesome side effect of
low-carb/low-fiber diets, including Atkins‘, South Beach,
Protein Power, and others. By the time I finished writing that
section, it was almost 300 pages long. By the end of 2005 it
evolved into Fiber Menace, and, two years later —
into this web site.
That's me telling Dusik & Nosik,
our beloved cats: “Boys, no dry food in our house!"
And that‘s the “happy end” story behind the genesis of Fiber
Menace, Gut Sense, and this web site. With
close to 50 million Americans with IBS [link]
and over 105 million [link]
affected by pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes aren't that lucky.
Neither are their pets. Not yet, I hope.
side note, I'd completed researching Fixing Up Atkins shortly
after Dr. Atkins' sudden and mysterious death in the spring of 2003. Dr.
Atkins himself passed away while morbidly obese — at 258 lb, — and the
Medical Examiner's Autopsy Report had also noted that he had a history
of heart attacks (myocardial infarction, or MI), congestive heart
failure (CHF), and hypertension (HTN) [link].
The ensuing controversy over the actual causes of his death and his
weight had killed the chances of the successful release of this book.
This Q&A page
brings my story up to date.
What I've learned the hard way over the last
ten years about digestive disorders, you can now learn in just a
few pleasant evenings of reading. And you'll have a huge
advantage: you will avoid the side effects I had to suffer from
and overcome. If you are affected by digestive disorders, you