11. High-Fiber Diets
It is claimed that this single dietary factor plays a role in such diseases as appendicitis, diverticular disease, polyps of the large bowel, cancer of the bowel, irritable colon, hiatial hernia, gallbladder disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, obesity, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, and dental disease.
Dr. Benjamin H. Ershoff, a research professor of biochemistry at Loma Linda University and the University of Southern California, points to many studies conducted during the past twenty years that he says indicate the beneficial effects of plant fiber-containing materials when administered to animals fed on low-fiber diets. But the beneficial effects are seen when this fiber is part of the natural food and not separated from it.
In 1943, two American medical investigators observed that immature mice who were being given a compound related to vitamin C—glucoascorbic acid—developed a severe condition characterized by growth failure, diarrhea, hemorrhages beneath the skin, hair loss, and death. But the condition developed only in mice who were being fed on a highly-refined ration. It did not develop at all in mice fed similar doses of glucoascorbic acid in conjunction with a natural food stock ration or in mice fed the refined diet supplemented with dried grass.
In 1954, Ershoff showed that alfalfa meal, when incorporated in the diet was similarly effective. He continued to see if any known nutrient in the alfalfa meal might account for the phenomenon. It was not a nutrient that was responsible. When juice was extracted from the alfalfa, it had no effect. But the whole alfalfa with pulp included provided beneficial results.
It turned out that various grasses—rye, orchard, wheat, fescue, and oat—were also effective. When cellulose was tried, it had a moderate effect, considerably less than that obtained with the fiber—containing alfalfa and varied grasses.
"Nearly all disease," says Denis Burkett, "has more than one causative factor. Not in any of these diseases would suggest that fiber deficiency is a sole causative factor, merely that it may be one important factor. What I would emphasize is that a fiber-depleted diet is a common factor, common to a number of characteristic Western diseases. It is a major factor, I believe, in some, a less important factor in others, but it is common to each of them and offers the only reasonable explanation put forward, I think, why these diseases are associated."
These diverse diseases are related because the underlying cause is the same in each. That is, an unhealthy and unnatural diet plus other poor living habits. A natural diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds will provide us with all of the proper nutrients needed to ensure a state of health. The natural fiber will be there in proper amounts and we do not need to think about providing this one ingredient separately. The fiber is the undigestable part of the plant and we receive no nourishment from it anyway. It is certainly not so important as is claimed. It is not any "cure" since it is an inert substance that passes through the digestive tract unchanged. It is discarded by the body in this way because it is nonusable.
The mice fed on an unnatural and refined diet became sick not because of lack of fiber alone but because of the presence of toxins in an unnatural diet. This diet was foreign to their body and was not sufficient to promote health. When some of their natural foods were given, such as alfalfa, health was restored because their organism was once again provided with the nutriment they needed, and healing and normalization took place. This was certainly not due to the fiber present in the diet but due to the many factors in their natural diet that are essential for their particular requirements.
Many human disease conditions are associated with low-fiber diets consisting largely of refined breads, cereals, sweets, etc. However, this again is not due to the lack of fiber alone. Other aspects to take into consideration are the presence of toxic elements and lack of vitamins, minerals, and proteins in 'these refined products. Merely adding fiber in the form of bran will not decrease the toxicity of these foods.
Our natural foods are complete with all nutrients including fiber and these are the foods that will provide the conditions for health.
Home > Lesson 65 - There Are No Cures
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