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Eat More Fiber ~ [Issue 0799-1]  Wellness Weekly
 Jul 07, 1999 12:42 PDT 

Fiber consists of the starches, gums, pectins and cellulose-like
compounds as well as the starches that are not absorbable, which make
up the "tissues" of plants. At first glance, fiber may seem a little
boring compared to some of the herbs and hormones popular in the
press these days, but its properties truly are remarkable.

We eat far too little fiber. Official agencies like the FDA, the
National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and
the American Cancer Society, all agree that our daily intake of fiber
should range from 25 to 35 grams per day for adults. Yet, most of us
eat less than 10 grams.

Fiber comes in two forms: soluble-found in many fruits and beans, and
insoluble-found in the hulls of grains, seeds, skins of fruits and
vegetables. Some foods like oats and psyllium contain both types. It
is easy to see why most of us do not obtain enough fiber from our
diets, which are usually low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains.

One valuable effect of fiber is mechanical: adequate intake decreases
the transit time of food traveling through our digestive tract. Fiber
absorbs water, so stools are naturally larger, softer and easier to
be moved through. Faster transit time means less contact time for
toxins and a reduced risk of colon problems. Stool does not collect
in out-of-the-way areas of the bowel, so there is less chance of
infection developing. And, with less straining required to pass a
softer stool, the probability of developing hemorrhoids is usually reduced.

At the same time, soluble fiber delays stomach emptying. This in turn
delays and spreads out the absorption of sugar, resulting in a more
normal pattern of insulin secretion as well as better control of
blood sugar. Fiber also binds cholesterol and bile in the digestive
tract, preventing their reabsorption and re-circulation. If less
cholesterol is absorbed, its level in the blood goes down. The liver
makes bile from cholesterol and if more bile is lost in the gut, the
liver will use up cholesterol to replace the bile, again resulting in
lower cholesterol levels.

Fiber also binds and reduces the absorption of dietary fat, which can
help with weight control. Decreased fat absorption also means
decreased absorption of fat soluble toxins and this may help to
explain a decreased risk of breast and prostate cancer with higher
fiber intake noted by some researchers. Fiber stimulates the
secretion of the hormone cholecystokinin, which alerts the brain that
we've had enough to eat. High fiber meals also tend to be bulkier and
contain fewer calories.

A diet high in fiber promotes the production of short chain fatty
acids, which in turn result in a more acidic colon and a healthy
population of "friendly" bacteria. This facilitates detoxification
and bolsters our natural defenses against parasites and fungi.

Finally, through its beneficial effects on weight, cholesterol and
glucose metabolism, higher fiber intake is associated with a
decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. If you are not already
consuming 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day, take the necessary steps
now to do so. This is one of the easiest and most important things
you can do to make a dramatic impact on your overall health! -
George R. Gilson, Ph.D., M.D.


If you are convinced that you need more fiber in your diet, and would
like more information on two great nutritional supplements containing
both soluble and insoluble fiber, (plus other essential nutrients),
please see the following:

- COLODYNE - http://www.aomega.com/ahs/c0188b.htm - 100% natural
fiber, herbs, and beneficial micro-flora, great for the digestive system!

- SLENDERLEAN - http://www.aomega.com/ahs/s1207b.htm - High-quality
and sugar free fiber, whole grapefruit puree, and shape plus herbs,
great for weight loss and fat binding!
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