The high fiber diet It is known that dietary modifications are recommended by the physician in a variety of diseases that include, among others, the ‘obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, renal failure, inflammatory bowel disease and numerous other diseases including dyslipidemia and diverticulitis of the colon.
We have cited some of these diseases on purpose in order to introduce a brief discussion of those diets that are precisely characterized, in particular, by a modification of their fiber content. Just to bring some examples we can say immediately that the variation of the content and quality of fiber in a diet can sometimes solve the problem of a brilliantly functional constipation (see our previous note on constipation) or, in some cases, the opposite of chronic diarrhea.
We have already alluded to deliberately dyslipidemia to remember, from the beginning of this exhibition, which has now been demonstrated by numerous studies that some water-soluble dietary fiber, taken in large amounts, can reduce, for another example, also cholesterol levels in the states of hypercholesterolemia.
we refer especially to the fibers supplied by bran, seeds of Lanciola, from beans, peas, beans and other legumes from which they can reasonably be associated with drug therapy for these metabolic diseases.
It ‘s also known that the rest of the bran of cereal, in a totally different field, is added with good results to the diet of patients with colonic diverticulitis.
BUT WHAT IS FOOD FOR FIBER?
Until some time ago with this term is meant to indicate a mixture of substances including lignin and some non-starch polysaccharides such as cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and certain gums and mucilage.
In simpler terms we could define dietary fiber as that part of certain plants which does not undergo digestion by the human digestive enzymes. But it is, however, even of substances consisting of real nutrients which must not, therefore, be regarded only as inert materials that increase the fecal mass (and therefore useful in chronic constipation idiopathic) or even simply as agents that increase the sense satiety in dietary treatment of obesity.
Indeed, to be fair, now you should not speak of “dietary fiber” (or dietary), but you should rather use chemicals more precise definitions, such as the term “complex carbohydrates” to describe a group of substances that includes not only cellulose, lignin and gums food, but also includes a fraction of the starch content in the diet (10%) and that, not being attacked by pancreatic enzymes, behaves the same way as the fibers. We will not adopt this term, however, especially here, because we want to do science communication, and do not wish to abandon a widespread expression and asserted itself now in common usage.
THE BENEFITS OF DIETARY FIBER
Dietary fiber, therefore, (soluble and not) in fact have many useful properties that affect the intestinal ecosystem, and often play a real clinical function: increase in fecal mass, decrease in colonic intraluminal pressure and improved intestinal transit, decreased formation of free radicals and reduced absorption of nutrients, slowing gastric emptying and proven cholesterol-lowering effect. It follows that a high fiber diet is helpful, and so indicated in the treatment of constipation, diverticulosis of the colon, “IBS”, gallstones, obesity, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia ( As we have often pointed out).
We can not investigate the effects of fibers useful in many other diseases, but we can not excuse ourselves, before concluding, from emphasizing the possible correlation, which is accepted by many scholars, including cancer of the colon and low in dietary fiber.
We can however say with confidence that replacement of a “normal” diet with foods high in dietary fiber (say on another occasion of the “Mediterranean diet”) is an effective means to provide for many patients a healthy diet more and often with therapeutic effects demonstrated.
Probably in the near future will be highlighted other positive aspects of a diet rich in foods containing an appropriate fiber content (20 – 30 grams a day), but even now, on the basis of scientific data acquired, we can recommend such use in the prevention and treatment of many, important pathological disorders which mainly concern the digestive system and the intermediate metabolism.