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Healthy Food Lover's Newsletter, Issue #14 -- The Catch-22 of Fiber
April 14, 2013
|Hello Healthy Food Lovers,
The Catch-22 of Fiber
The Arctic Eskimos ate an all-meat diet with zero fiber yet they had a very healthy digestive system.
Also, for centuries the North American Indians ate a diet very low in fiber which seemed to provide them excellent health.
So the questions become:
How important is fiber to your digestive tract and health? Is dietary fiber really required in order to have perfect intestinal regularity? or Does too much fiber actually create more problems than it is worth?
Clearly there must be some use for fiber or why would it be pushed on the American people like candy. Well there is always a reason and it may shock you!
The fact that the FDA recommends that we should be getting a minimum of 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day - should have been the "Big" red flag.
Fiber 101There are two main types of fiber - Soluble and Insoluble.
You will find fiber in the cell walls of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.
Fiber is often called roughage and has no calories.
For every gram of fiber you consume - you can block 7 calories and it seems to be very effective with creating weight loss.
However, increasing dietary fiber can lead to cramps, bloating, and gas - so it can backfire on you - pun intended - lol.
Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrates found in all plant foods and will not be digested in your stomach - as the human digestive system is not capable of breaking down plant fibers.
How to Break Down FiberRaw plant foods are very hard to digest - particularly for anyone with digestive issues or yeast problems.
That is why people who go on a raw plant food diet lose so much weight - because you ain't going to get nuttin' honey - pun intended.
Their cell walls must be broken down before plant foods can supply any of their nutrients (minerals, vitamins, enzymes, etc.).
Generally it takes heat or fermentation for plant nutrients to be made available, but the breaking down of cell walls of plant foods can be done using three different methods:
1. Cooking: can break down cell walls.
Cooking plant foods will maximize certain nutrients - minerals in particular.
However, cooking above 350 is not beneficial to human health because it creates too many toxins, so stick to as low a heat and as short a cooking time that is needed to get the job done.
Cooking them long enough until their color becomes lighter and their texture becomes softer will be an indication that the cell walls have been broken.
BTW, cooking food until soft does not remove the plant fibers - it only makes the plant foods more digestible and less irritating to your intestines.
2. Fermenting: bacteria breaks down cell walls.
Fermenting plant foods will pre-digest them by breaking down plant food's cell walls which makes them easier to digest.
Fermenting actually pre-digests them similar to what cooking will do - especially if fermented long enough.
Bacteria, yeasts, etc. that live in your gut will also digest fiber using fermentation.
3. Juicing: removes hard to digest fiber.
Extracting the liquid from fruits and vegetables with a juicer is another way to get nutrients from plant foods.
Also, processing fruits and vegetables in a high speed blender that turns it into a liquid will help to break down cell walls.
High Fiber FoodsFruits: Avocado, Raspberries, Blackberries, Breadfruit, Fresh Figs, Guava, Dates, Pears (with skin), Apples (with skin), Passion Fruit, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Dried Fruits
Vegetables: Artichokes, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lima Beans, French Beans, Dark Leafy Greens, Jicama, Parsnips, Green Peas, Savoy Cabbage, Eggplant, Endive, Kohlrabi, Okra, Sweet Potatoes (with skin)
Legumes: Pinto Beans, Adzuki Beans, Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Navy Beans, White Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas or Garbanzo, Dry Roasted Edamame, Peanuts (with Skin)
Nuts & Seeds: Whole Almonds, Pinon Nuts, Coconuts, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios, Flax Seeds
Grains: Wheat Germ, Bran, Whole Wheat Flour, Amaranth, Oats, Cornmeal, Rye
Misc: Buckwheat, Cocoa Powder, Dark Chocolate, Dried Herbs & Spices
Top High Fiber Foods: Wheat, Rye, Bran of Grains, Most Legumes, Whole Almonds, Pinon Nuts, Flax Seeds, Dark Chocolate, Psyllium Husks
Lower Fiber FoodsFruits: Grapefruit (peeled), Grapes (no seeds), Melons (inside flesh with no seeds), Papaya (inside flesh with no seeds), Bananas (peeled), Strawberries, Fresh Tomatoes (no skin or seeds), Cucumber (no skin or seeds), Sweet Cherries (no seed), Pears (no skin), Peaches (no skin or seed), Applesauce, Fruit Juices
Vegetables: Romaine Lettuce, Boston Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Carrots (peeled), Crimini Mushrooms, Button Mushrooms, White Potatoes (no skin), Red Potatoes (no skin), Tips of Asparagus, Yellow Squash (no seeds), Bok Choy, Zucchini (no skin or seeds), Vegetable Juices
Legumes: Cashews, Tofu, Smooth Peanut Butter
Nuts & Seeds: Pumpkin Seeds, Smooth Nut Butters & Nut Oils, Coconut Cream, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts
Grains: Millet, White Rice, White or Refined Flours (with no bran)
Misc: Tapioca, Potato Starch
Foods that contain No Dietary Fiber: Meats, Eggs, Poultry, Fish, Seafoods, and Dairy.
Soluble & Insoluble FiberThere are basically two types of fiber - Soluble which dissolves in water and Insoluble which does not dissolve in water.
Main Functions of Soluble Fiber:
Foods High in Soluble Fiber:
Fruits: Citrus Fruits, Peaches, Plums, Apples, Avocado (all without skin or seeds)
Vegetables: Broccoli, Carrots (peeled), Brussel Sprouts, Okra, Taro (peeled), Potatoes (peeled), Winter Squash (no skin or seeds)
Legumes: Pinto Beans
Nuts & Seeds: Hazelnuts, Flax Seeds
Grains: Oat Bran, Rye, Brown Rice
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance which softens your stool. Soluble fiber behaves much like a sponge would by holding onto water.
Fruits will often have a higher amount of soluble fiber than vegetables.
These are types of soluble fiber - gums, pectins, and mucilages.
Main Functions of Insoluble Fiber:
Foods High in Insoluble Fiber:
Fruit: Kiwi, Most Berries, Pears & Apples (with skin)
Vegetables: Root Vegetables (with skin), Kale, Cabbage, Green Beans, Celery, Dark Leafy Greens, Green Peas, Garlic, Bell Peppers, Corn
Legumes: Black Beans, Navy Beans, Kidney Beans, White Beans, Lentils, Peanuts (with skin), Soybeans
Nuts & Seeds: Whole Almonds, Flax Seeds, Sesame Seeds (with hull), Sunflower Seeds
Grains: Wheat Bran, All Bran Cereals, Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Corn Bran, Kasha
Misc: Cocoa Powder
Insoluble fiber does not absorb water and moves through your digestive tract quickly.
If eaten improperly, insoluble fiber can create a gut irritation which is similar to scratching your skin with a jagged fingernail - ouch!
These are types of insoluble fiber - cellulose and lignins.
Soluble Fiber versus Insoluble Fiber:
Both soluble and insoluble fiber are considered not digestible by the human body.
Some types of soluble fiber are considered a prebiotic - which is a food that feeds the healthy bacteria. And of the two, insoluble fiber will pass through your intestinal tract mainly intact.
An average diet usually contains a ratio of 75 (insoluble) to 25 (soluble) fiber - ratio should lean more the other way.
Too much insoluble fiber without the aid of soluble fiber can cause diarrhea by moving food through your digestive tract too quickly and even cause constipation by creating a blockage by backing up.
Are You Eating Cardboard?Cardboard is made from cellulose which is typically made from virgin wood pulp that has been processed for various uses.
The fiber supplement cellulose has become one of the most popular food additives or fillers for large "food?" corporations. Food producers save as much as 30% on ingredient costs by adding cellulose as a filler to their processed foods.
The following companies have been reported for using cellulose in a number of their products:
As an example, you can remove as much as 50% of the fat from foods such as cookies and cakes by replacing fat with powdered cellulose - you will end up with a very similar product in terms of the way it will look and even taste.
The bulking action of cellulose when combined with water provides both thickening and stabilizing qualities to the food. Cellulose acts like an emulsion which allows more air to be whipped into products such as in whipped toppings and ice cream.
Cellulose provides a lot of volume to foods, but it is indigestible to humans because it falls into the category of indigestible carbohydrates known as insoluble fiber - it has no nutritional or caloric value.
People who consume foods with a high cellulose content will be tricked into feeling both physically and psychologically full - at least temporarily.
The Catch-22'sToo much insoluble fiber can speed foods through your gut or digestive tract without being absorbed or digested.
You see all the nutrients in your food are absorbed through your gut wall and this takes time.
Therefore, eating too much fiber that speeds up the transition time of your food through your digestive tract will mean a lot less nutrients will be absorbed by your body.
Fiber can also bind itself to essential minerals, so excess fiber can lead to iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium deficiencies. Also important trace minerals like copper may not be absorbed.
On the flip side, too much soluble fiber can lead to dehydration and malnutrition.
Water-soluble fibers can form a thick gel that will interfere with nutrient absorption. This gel forms a barrier that restricts the passage of water soluble nutrients.
Soluble fiber can also block fat from being absorbed. Therefore, blocking fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E & K as well.
Fiber also inhibits protein digesting enzymes - either by blocking their access to food particles or by directly inactivating them.
The bottom line is - that fiber does not really help to feed the human body, but it will feed something else.
Fiber Feeds PathogensIn general your body cannot digest plant fibers. However, bacteria and yeasts - whether they are "Good" or "Bad" - can and will.
Fiber (most notably Insoluble Fiber) is a major food source for pathogenic bacteria and yeasts!
Animals like cows and sheep, that are herbivores (who only consume plant foods) have a digestive system that contains billions of bacteria and protozoa which begin the process of breaking down the fiber cell walls. They also have 4 stomachs to get the job done properly.
These animals have a digestive system built for fermentation - humans not!
So therefore, consuming too much fiber along with carbohydrates will change your large colon into a "makeshift" type of fermentation chamber - which can create a lot of gas, bloating and many other digestive problems because you are not an herbivore.
And if you have a high amount of pathogenic bacteria or yeasts in your body, the result will be the production of alcohol and other toxic substances which can destroy your bowel tissues - causing painful ulcerations.
The toxic by-products made by these pathogens are one of the principal causes of inflammatory bowel diseases and some people may even feel "drunk" after consuming a high-fiber carbohydrate meal.
Don't Feed the Gremlins!!One of the biggest pathogens is Candida and its fungal form is responsible for more health problems than most people could comprehend.
Overgrowth of Candida is associated with:
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
In its yeast form Candida actually has a healthy function in your body and that is to eat up or decompose putrefied food matter that is a result from improper food digestion.
However, Candida in its fungal form will actually start to decompose you!
Candida is heavily associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome as they can eat away at your intestinal wall. They can then spread into your bloodstream which can then take them to a host of other tissues.
So they are relatively "nice" yeast until certain conditions turn them into a "Gremlin" which is their fungal form. This is the form of candida that can wreck havoc throughout your whole body.
Conditions that will make candida turn into a gremlin are Undigested Food in your colon and Sugar - which plant foods rich in Insoluble fiber and carbohydrates provide.
Candida also has the ability to survive like a Cockroach and can live in an acidic as well as an alkaline environment. Shockingly, they actually seem to prefer an alkaline environment.
So it's when the "Good" bacteria start to disappear and you provide the necessary conditions for Candida to thrive - that they will turn into their fungal form or "The Gremlins"!
What Kills Good Bacteria:
What Promotes Good Bacteria:
Your large colon needs a large supply of colonies of "Good" bacteria which make lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, etc. in order to keep pathogenic bacteria from taking over. Remember soluble fiber can help to feed good bacteria.
In a perfect "internal" world, candida will live in peace with the good bacteria and it is important to note that it is the "Good" that will keep Candida under control.
A good analogy would be that when enough "Good" people get together and take back their power from the "Gremlins" of this world - you will have a happy place to live in again.
May the "Good" Win,
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