A clip from The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell
‘…Even though fiber was not digested, it was vital for good health. Fiber is able to pull water from the body into the intestines to keep things moving along. These undigested fibers, like stick-um paper, also gather up nasty chemicals that find their way into our intestines and that might be carcinogenic. If we don’t consume enough fiber we are susceptible to bowel cancer, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Dietary fiber is found exclusively in plant-based foods. This material, which gives rigidity to the cell walls of plants, comes in thousands of different chemical variations. It is mostly made of highly complex carbohydrate molecules. We digest very little or no fiber. Nonetheless, fiber, having few or no calories itself, helps dilute the caloric density of our diets, creates a sense of fullness and helps to shut down appetite, among other things. In doing so, it satisfies our hunger and minimizes the over-consumption of calories.
High-fiber foods also happen to be high in iron, meaning that the higher the consumption of fiber the higher the consumption of iron. Iron intake in rural China was surprisingly high when compared to the average American intake and it was far more associated with plant-based foods than with animal-based foods.
Less bulky diets (i.e., low-fiber diets) was associated with a higher risk of cancer (usually breast and “intestinal” cancers). The results showed that high-fiber intake was consistently associated with lower rates of cancers of the rectum and colon. High-fiber intakes also were associated with lower levels of blood cholesterol. Of course, high-fiber consumption reflected high plant-based food consumption; foods such as beans, leafy vegetables and whole grains are all high in fiber…’