Dietary fiber is an essential element in human nutrition for far more reasons than we suspected just a few years ago when it was often dismissively referred to as “roughage”. It is the “feedstock” for the human microbiome – a small ‘brewery’ weighing 3-5 lbs located in the first part of the colon.
Atherosclerosis was a rare disease in the 1920s. By 1970 it had increased 900%. The microbiome normally produces a ‘statin-like’ compound; perhaps there is a connection. Human mothers produce milk with over 150 carbohydrate (sugar) molecules that babies can’t digest. Could they be needed to feed the microbiome?
AHS-2 confirms that white SDA vegetarians (mostly lacto-ovo vegetarians), live the longest of any well documented human group, ~8 years longer than the US population. Dietary fiber is a plausible (but partial) explanation. The microbiome produces a Tamoxifen-like agent from flax and sesame seeds.
In the past, a major source of dietary fiber was wheat flour. When flour mills changed from millstones to steel rollers (1880-1910) most of the wheat fiber could be (and was!) removed. It was combined with the wheat germ and sold as pig and cattle feed. These critical contributors to human nutrition have never been replaced.
For over 100 years food processers have been removing food fiber. This improves taste and increases ‘addictive value’. They have also removed omega-3 fatty acids to lengthen shelf life. To reverse this 100 year trend ‘dessecorp’ – processed spelled backwards! – high soluble fiber, oat and wheat breakfast cereals can be formulated.