Fibre(A) Essay, Research Paper
GUT ISSUES Life Sciences SIGWe share many experiences with the kings of old:pastries, for instance, and home entertainment andvacation trips to far-off lands. Ancient-day commonfolk knew nothing of such things. Then again, theyweren’t constipated… We are. Not all of us, of course. But enoughCanadians so that some doctors call our aconstipated society. And even if you’re notconstipated, your present day diet may be leadingyou to more serious complaints like disorders of thelarge intestine or colon. These, too, wereafflictions of of the upper classes of old. Why? Because in general the rich refined their food, alongwith their lives, and so stripped it of an odd butessential ingredient called dietary fibre. Like its fellow carbohydrates, the various types ofdietary fibre are the product of sunlight, water andcarbon dioxide combining in green plants. Most formpart of plant cell walls. But unlike the othercarbohydrates, fibres do not break down into sugarsin the human digestive system and then course throughthe blood stream fueling muscles and nerves. Rather,when eaten they tumble intact through the stomach andsmall intestine and end up in the colon wherebillions of bacterial feed on them – in turn producingintestinal gas. No wonder, then, that dietary fibrehas been unwelcome in many of history’s nicerneighborhoods. Even 20th century doctors reasoned that since thebulky material provided not a single nutrient, itwould only strain already troubled guts. Accordingly,they recommended low-fibre diets for patients
suffering from hemorrhoids and other colon disordersoften found in the West. But then, about 15 years ago,the prescription was reversed as researchers foundthat poor Africans, who eats lots of fibre, rarelysuffer from such complaints. Fibre, the researcherslearned, actually eases the bowel’s burden by mixingwith water and other food residues to create large,Soon, nutritionists came to see the low-fibre diet ofmost North Americans as a culprit in the onset ofdisorders ranging from tooth decay to heart attacks. Increasing the consumption of certain kinds of fibre,they found, could slow the body’s absorption ofsugars to which diabetics are sensitive, and ofcholesterol, which may lead to heart disease.Furthermore, fibres fight obesity. They’re filling,especially the pectins in citrus fruit and the gumsin some beans. And they’re mainly indigestible. So dieters eating lots of fibre are likely to eat lessof other, more fattening foodstuffs. As for why populations on high-fibre diets seem toexperience fewer colon cancers, no one knows for sure. In any case, there is no doubt that fibre is nature’slaxative, the dietary key to regularity. Nutritioniststherefore advise you to stay away from foodscontaining processed and refined ingredients such asbleached flour and white sugar. Remember that meatscontain little fibre and that overcooked vegetablesand fried foods have lost much of theirs. Nevertheless, fibre supplements are usually unnecessary. Merely ensure that your diet is full of fresh fruitsand vegetables – and some of the most fibrous foodssuch as bran cereals, whole wheat breads, peas, beansand lentils – and you, too, can eat like an old-timepauper.