What is Fibre Diet? What you need and Where to get it | How to Get High on Fibre. Are you constipated at the moment? Four people out of every ten in the United Kingdom will answer yes to that question (assuming they’re not too embarrassed to mention the subject). In twenty percent of the population, constipation is so severe that laxatives are used regularly.
What is Fibre Diet? What you need and Where to get it?
Let’s get down to the bottom line. It’s an amazing (but true) fact that seventy-seven per cent of the
population only excrete between five and seven stools per week. Over three quarters of the total population! On top of that a further eight per cent of people only pass three to four stools a week. That makes eighty-five per cent of us with slow bowel movements ‘No wonder the laxative manufacturers are making record profits But what is the cause of this massive go-slow?
In a word – fibre or rather the lack of it in our diets. Everyone’s heard about fibre – in fact, you can’t escape from it at the moment. They wont let you escape from it. Everywhere you look -television posters magazines – they’re all trying to sell you fibre. You can buy specially formulated high-fibre pills from the chemist, and even the sickliest breakfast cereal now features ‘added fibre: Fibre has become Big Business which is not surprising considering the
enormous size of the potential market.
But although most people have heard about fibre not many actually understand what it is how they get it how much they need and what it really does to them. That’s why they’re getting such a bum deal. For this state of affairs we have to blame the advertisers who are keener to sell you their latest ‘high-fibre product than they
are to ensure that you have an understanding of the nature of fibre in a healthy diet.
One problem that the manufacturers don’t mention, for example is the difference between a product that features added fibre: and another product that may not have ‘specially added fibre: Which product is the healthier and best for you? It’s not easy for consumers to decide, because they’re bombarded with so much propaganda. The answer is that the product that features added fibre may not be the best for you. Because you should aim to get your dietary fibre primarily from natural sources, and not from artificially-concocted products.
What is Fibre Diet? NACNE report!
This is how the NACNE report explained it:
It is suggested that dietary fibre might best be derived from foods, and not from either dietary fibre preparations or foods to which bran and other fibres have been added. By not advocating foods to which fibres are specifically added one is more likely to ensure that the whole grain product will be used and this is more likely to ensure increased intakes of minerals, trace elements and other micronutrients; elemental malabsorption is also then less likely.
So you should forget about the commercial ‘added-fibre foods and concentrate on finding natural food sources of fibre. One way to achieve this is to cut out or cut down on your meat consumption Automatically. Your natural fibre consumption will tend to increase. This happens because meat contains absolutely no fibre. It is therefore useless from the point of view of supplying our essential dietary fibre.
But there is also a further problem with a mea- orientated diet. Because meat is a very heavy, dense food, it tend
to fill you up quickly. It is a very concentrated form of calories, most of them coming from fat. So when you’ve eaten meat, you no longe feel like eating bulkier (but lighter) plant food. Meat therefore acts to minimize the intake of dietary fibre in two ways.
What is Dietary Fibre?
Imagine a honeycomb, with the honey separated by an intricate structure of wax cells. It looks rather like the way that plants organize their own cells, except they’re much smaller. In a plant, the cell structure is made from fibre, not wax, Dietary fibre is, essentially the cell-wall material of plants. The ‘honeycomb’ comparison is actually quite a good one, because one of the fibre’s functions is to ‘lock up the nutrients (i.e. the honey) in the cells, until they are required. In Figure I. you can see that the carbohydrate in the cell is completely enclosed by fibre (thick black outline).
Another of fibre’s functions is to ‘stiffen’ the plant – it acts like nature’s scaffolding. This is what makes plant food chewy. When we cook, mill or process our food in some other way, what we are basically doing is to reduce the strength of this scaffolding, so that we can eat it more easily and also to ‘unlock’ some of the nutrients that the fibre wraps up.
This is one of the objections to some of the processes of our modern food industry — that it destroys the
fibre to such an extent that the micronutrients it encloses are exposed and destroyed. That’s why just adding a cup full of fibre (e.g. bran) to a low fibre diet isn’t as good as eating natural fibrefoods. All you’re doing by adding fibre is to eat the wrapping paper – without getting to the present!
What is Fibre Diet? How to Get High on Fibre
There’s another problem with eating processed food, too. Figure 2 shows the same plant cell as before, but this time after it’s been milled and turned into white flour. As you can see, most of the fibre has been destroyed, and the carbohydrate is now much more accessible.
However, in something like white sugar (or even brown sugar, or molasses) there is no fibre left at all. This is shown in Figure 3. Here, all the carbohydrate (mainly in the form of sucrose) can be immediately absorbed by the body, without having to break down any of the fibrous barriers, because the processing has already taken care
of it. This can present a serious problem to the body. Eating this sort of food creates an instant rise in the blood sugar level, followed by a sharp drop again as the body tries to set things back in balance.
But our bodies simply aren’t adjusted to take in sudden and massive doses of instant energy. They’re much happier when they’ve got some unrefined carbohydrate (i.e. complete with some fibre) to work on. This way, the body can slowly release just the right amount of energy when we need it. It’s a very sophisticated process, which has developed through our evolution to handle a natural diet of fibre-rich foods, and it has worked extremely well for tens of thousands of years. Yet, only in the past 100 years, we have managed to completely upset this delicate process by stripping most of the fibre away from our natural foods, and at the same time drastically
increasing the amount of animal fat in our diet. The combination couldn’t have been worse.
What is Fibre Diet? Rules O.K.
We’ve mentioned carbohydrates, so maybe it would be a good idea to go over a few points about them. Firstly, carbohydrates are one of three principle sources of energy for the body (the other two are fats and protein).
There are three basic types of carbohydrates:
1. Sugars. Both simple and double sugars, such as honey, table sugar, and the sugar found in fruits, are very quickly and easily absorbed by the body.
2. Starches: These are chains of simple sugars, which need the body’s enzyme action to break them down. Found in grains, legumes vegetables
3. Cellulose: This, quite simply, is what we call ‘fibre. The essence of modern food processing is ‘refining, which means separating the fibre from the other carbohydrate that is naturally found in plants.
Sugar cane, for example, is refined to produce table sugar. And wheat (unrefined carbohydrate) is processed to produce white flour (refined carbohydrate), in the process exposing its micronutrients to degradation and throwing away most of the valuable fibre. White bread today contains virtually no fibre.
White bread. Enter the “Saccharine Disease”
Over the past hundred years, one or two individuals have raised their voices to warn people about the dangers of eating a highly processed, over-refined diet. No-one listened to them, of course. Then, in the mid-1950s, some scientists began to formulate a hypothesis for a collection of illnesses they termed the Saccharine Disease.
They argued that there were two main dangers from eating such a highly refined diet. Firstly, it meant that people were consuming highly-concentrated food that was too quick and easy to eat – as a result, they were getting fatter and obese. This new obesity increased the body’s demand for the hormone insulin to deal with all the extra blood sugar, leading to a continuing rise in the number of diabetics.
The other danger, they believed, was a result of the sheer lack of fibre, which was invariably thrown away
during food processing. It was suggested for the first time, that this fibre might have a more important role in the prevention of disease than simply being easily discarded wrapping paper.
What is Fibre Diet? High Meat Means Low Fibre
As we’ve already mentioned, meat itself contains no fibre. But apart from that, the level of meat in the diet has been found to be directly proportional to the lack of fibre – the more meat you eat, the less fibre you’re likely to get. A fascinating experiment, comparing data gathered from Western and African countries showed just how this
Dr Denis Burkitt, a famous advocate of dietary fibre collected information from various populations concerning the size of their stools, the average time it took food to pass all the way through their bodies, and the type of diet they ate.? You can see some of his results in the following chart.
His findings were very exciting indeed. From left to right on the chart, the first group, with the shortest ‘stool transit time, were schoolchildren living in rural Africa, eating an unrefined diet. Their food positively shot through their insides, taking on average less than a day and a half from one end to the other. Next came another group of Africans, this time adults living in villages in Uganda. Once again, their food hardly touched the sides on the way down.
Eating a natural diet
But it is the next group that is so interesting from our point of view. This consisted not of Africans, eating a natural diet. but of ordinary people living in the United Kingdom, leading normal lives, but not eating meat. Despite enormous differences in environment and food availability, the similarity between the U.K. non-meat users diet and the natural African one is very striking.
The next group on the chart consisted of Indian nurses living and working in South India. Once again, their diet would tend towards the meat-free, and their transit times were only slightly longer than the UK. non-meat users.
But then the really big jump comes. The next group has nearly twice as long a transit time as any of the preceding ones. This group was drawn from children at a boarding school in the U.K., eating a refined diet typical of institutionalized catering – greasy. meat-dominated, and low in natural fibre. And the next group is even
worse – naval ratings and their wives, all shore-based in the U.K.
This group had a mean transit time of 83.4 hours, and the longest time was 144 hours. That’s six whole days for the food to hang around someone’s intestines!
What is Fibre Diet? Big, Fast and Regular!
You might suppose that small stools would whizz through the system quickly, but you’d be wrong. For Burkitt found that the larger the stool, the faster it was processed So, for example, the mean weight of stools passed by naval ratings was a mere 104 grams (not even 4 ounces), and certainly nothing to write home about.
On the other hand, the mean weight for rural Ugandan villagers was a mind-boggling 470 grams. Just over a pound! Somewhere in the middle came the UK. non-meat users, with a mean weight of 225 grams (8 ounces), who compare very favourably with South African schoolchildren (275grams/9 ounces) and Indian nurses (155 grams/5 ounces).
The Significance of the Results
This information was crucial to our understanding of the importance of a natural fibre diet. Further evidence has shown that, without exception, countries which have a refined diet in which meat is predominant face a whole range of diseases that less ‘advanced
countries rarely see. Some of these diseases, which can be directly associated to the western, high-meat and fat, low-fibre diet include:
• Appendicitis is the commonest abdominal emergency in the West. Over 300,000 appendixes are removed every year in the United States alone. It has now been experimentally proven that a low-fibre diet makes the risk of suffering appendicitis much greater.
Diverticular disease is a swelling with possible infection and complications, of the colon, and thirty per cent of all people over forty-five years have symptoms.
Cancer of the Large Bowel is, after lung cancer, the most common cause of death from cancer in the West.
But these diseases were all comparitively rare, in the United Kingdom, until the beginning of the twentieth century. Then the amount of animal fat in the diet began to steadily increase, and the amount of raw natural fibre began to decrease. This is how the American diet has changed in less than 100 years – the picture in Britain is much the same.
What is Fibre Diet? The biggest change
A hundred years ago meat, fat and sugar between them only contributed fifteen per cent of the total amount of calories in the diet. Today, the figure is nearer sixty per cent. Perhaps the biggest change in the diet has been the tremendous fall in the quantity of cereal fibre, which has dropped by ninety per cent. Most scientists now accept that there is a definite connection between the diseases mentioned above and the radical change in our eating patterns.
It is not altogether certain how the relationship works and it may take many years to find out scientifically. One theory, for example is that carcinogens and mutagens (such as nitrosamines found in meat) are being exposed to our intestines in much larger quantities and for longer periods (i.e. transit times) than ever before and this
certainly could be one avenue of promising research.
Another theory concerning cancer of the colon again features the high-meat/low fibre dietary relationship. In this theory, the high level of animal fat in the diet causes the liver to secrete considerable amounts of bile acids. Then, the raised fat level alters the bacteria living in the gut some are killed off, and some new ones take over.
These newly-active bacteria get to work with their enzymes on the bile acid, and decompose it to form various cancer-producing chemicals. Now normally, these chemicals would be absorbed by natural fibre. But in this high-meat/low-fibre diet, there’s just not enough fibre to go round.
So the carcinogens hang around in the intestines for a prolonged period until they are finally expelled in
the stools. But in the meantime, of course, our bodies have been exposed to more cancer-causing substances. Once again this illustrates the strong connection between eating too much flesh food and not enough plant food. Quite plainly, it’s out of balance.
Gallstones – Being Kicked in the Guts by a Steak
Gallstones are a very common complaint, and can frequently be exerativo pamil. One sufferer.compared it to being kicked in the pus la hon all the time But if any animals are involved in this comptame is more likely to be the ones we eat. Because Here is now evidence to associate the occurrence of callstones with a lowbre high meat diet. callstones are many composed of solidified cholesterol.
They can be the gall bladder where they can stay quite happily for years However, they can also lead to infection, resulting in tamation of the gall bladder, colic peritonitis, gangrene of the all bladder and jaundice They are more common amongst women than man- nenty five per cent of all women and ten per cent of all men will develop gallstones before they are sixty years old.
What is Fibre Diet? Obese and diabetic
The obese and diabetic are also more at risk It is likely that there is a strong metabolic connection in the
development of gallstones The liver secretes bile, a substance that is high in cholesterol (which literally means solid bile’ in Greek).
and is stored in the gall bladder Lecithin (found in soya beans and com and bile salts together help to keep the cholesterol dissolved in the bile However, if the level of cholesterol becomes so high that no more can be dissolved, then it begins to precipitate, and
Hallstones are the result.
Almost half of all those people with gallstones feel no symptoms. If a stone obstructs a passage however, pain will be felt in the abdomen with nausea and vomiting particularly after eating fatty food. Sometimes cholesterol will be precipitated so heavily that it is deposited around the body, especially in the eyelids It is known
that overweight people have a greater risk of suffering from gallstones Orientals and rural Africans who traditionally consume a low at low cholesterol, high-fibre diet, suffer very little from them.
In addition only humans and domesticated animals have gallstones wild animals do not. This also tends to suggest that the problem is connected with our modem, Western lifestyle. In an experiment carried out in Oxford, England, two groups of women were compared to see if their diets could have any influence on the occurrence of gallstones. The first group consisting of 632 women were selected at random, and ate meat. The second group consisted of 130 women who did not eat meat, and had a diet naturally higher in fibre.
Non-meat eating women
All the women were then given a thorough inspection using ultrasound detection techniques, looking specifically for gallstones. The experimenters found that the meat-eaters were two and a half times more likely to develop gallstones than the non-meat eaters. The scientists concluded that the low-fat, high-fibre diet of the non-meat eating women gave them protection
What is Fibre Diet? What You Need and Where to Get it
According to the government’s NACNE report, we should increase the fibre content of our diet by a full fifty per cent, from twenty grams per day up to thirty grams. A heavy meat diet delivers little fibre but provides fats and other highly concentrated sources of calories that we don’t need. By substituting cereals, vegetables and fruit for meat and meat products we can cut out a product that we don’t have a biological need for, and replace it with one for which we do have a proven need. What sort of food should you eat?
Here is a list of some popular foods with fibre contents:
- Pinto Beans
- Whole Wheat Pita Bread
- Dried Figs
- Sunflower Seeds
- Wheat Bran
- Red Currants
- Azuki Beans
- Brazil Nuts
- Dried Apricot
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Wheat Germ
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Soya Flour
- Baked Potato