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  • To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

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    Old 07-03-2010, 10:55 PM   #1
    rheanna
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    To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    Y'all, I'm posing a question for discussion that has been rolling around in my brain for a while (can you hear it rattling in there? )

    We hear that we should be getting lots of fiber in our diets, so that we should be eating whole grains and beans and veggies and fruits (rather than juices) and nuts and seeds and such like. We're supposed to be getting soluble as well as insoluble fiber. My vague understanding of that is that grains and beans would count as soluble (because they absorb water as they cook?) and that most veggies and fruits as well as seeds and nuts would count as insoluble (because they don't absorb water?). Uh, please enlighten my ignorance.

    But regardless, my main question is about grinding. Fiber in our diets give bulk, slowing down digestion so that the good organisms can do their good works in our intestines. So, is the fiber doing its job of providing bulk if it's ground up? How much grinding is ok before the food is providing all the other nutrition except fiber?

    An example: I put a tablespoon of ground flaxseed in my cereal in the morning (along with lots of other good things, but let's just look at flaxseed for the moment). I have read that the outside of flaxseed is so hard that whole flaxseed passes intact through the digestion system, so that the other nutrients, such as fats and protein, are not available to the body. The whole flax then is just coarse fiber. So, I grind it fairly finely in my coffee mill. Thus I am getting the fats and protein, but am I now getting any worthwhile amount of fiber? I am assuming that I am indeed getting fiber, as I notice that if I put too much ground flaxseed in my cereal, then my intestines happily (???) produce a much softer by-product a day later. I have learned to cut back on my flaxseed consumption.

    Babies and adults with certain health conditions are given ground up foods, because they have no teeth or their digestion systems cannot handle too much roughage. They are getting the fats, carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals of the food, but how much fiber are they getting?

    OK, the floor is open for discussion.

    --Rheanna

     
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    Old 07-05-2010, 01:51 PM   #2
    JohnR41
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    rheanna,

    If you consume, for example, one tablespoon of flaxseed, just grind it slightly, if that's possible. I have never done any grinding so I don't know from personal experience.

    When is fiber destroyed? I believe that vegetable fiber can be destroyed by overcooking. The fiber breaks down. Ever notice that broccoli gets soft and mushy if you cook it too long? I think that indicates the fiber is breaking down. I could be wrong I but that's my belief.

    Grinding grains and seeds: I think if one grinds seeds or whole grains into powder or flour, it may take away from the fiber quality to some extent. I'm not 100% sure about this but I don't worry about it because I don't use any ground up products.

    Dr. Gundry has said: If you take 100% whole grain and grind it into a fine flour, it's not whole grain anymore. And his main objection to grinding is that it gets absorbed too quickly into your system.

    Last edited by JohnR41; 07-05-2010 at 01:53 PM. Reason: delete a word

     
    Old 07-05-2010, 03:53 PM   #3
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    That's an excellent topic!

    Your statement about soluble vs. insoluble fiber and absorbing water is fairly correct. Yes, soluble fiber will absorb water and swell while insoluble obviously does not.

    How much grinding? Well, the less you can grind probably the better and the less you can boil your vegetables probably the better. The more the fiber is left intact before chewing probably the better off you will be. But don't get overly concerned, because you chew it up anyway right?

    Now what John said, about grinding let's say whole wheat into a flour, yeah that would jeopardize the integrity of the fiber quite a bit. And obviously juicing a carrot would destroy it all vs. eating a raw carrot.

    But in my opinion, if you want to chop stuff up before you use/eat it, fine go ahead but try to leave it as "rough" as you can, if in fact your goal is overall fiber consumption.

    Insoluble fiber is what is considered when people talk about "cleaning themselves out." This type of fiber is what is most commonly used to clean the intestines for example. You can get this from green leafy vegetables, fruit and vegetable skins, wheat bran, seeds and nuts, etc.

    Soluble fiber is used mainly for two things: binding to fatty acids and lowering total cholesterol. You can get soluble fiber from oat and oat bran, dried vegetables like peas and beans, flax seeds are an example, oranges, apples, carrots. Another thing that soluble fiber does is it absorbs water in your stomach, swells, and forms a gel, which actually prolongs emptying of the stomach which has health benefits because you stop eating.

    With all of that said, if you want to grind go ahead, but just try to have a fair mix of ground and unground items in your diet. Eat raw carrots for fiber and go ahead and juice 'em if you want the vitamins in the carrots to be more bioavailable.

    Sorry that's so long. I hope it was somewhat helpful.

     
    Old 07-15-2010, 04:23 AM   #4
    rheanna
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    Thanks, guys, for the explanations!

    There was a guy named Horace Fletcher who was called the "Great Masticator" (don't snicker, children -- mastication means chewing!). He advocated chewing each mouthful 32 times before swallowing. I'm a bit too impatient to do that, but mothers do admonish their children to chew their food a bit before swallowing so as to appear somewhat civilized, and scientists say that the first part of digestion starts with the saliva in the mouth. With that logic, I'm inclined to believe that both grinding and chewing our foods produce largely the same result -- that the food is broken up into finer bits so that our digestive system can better handle it. What I means is, what is the difference between grinding up whole foods and chewing those same foods? Do people who politely chew their dinner lose nutrition and fiber as opposed to the ones who gulp down their foods without much chewing?

    --Rheanna

     
    Old 07-15-2010, 12:46 PM   #5
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rheanna View Post
    There was a guy named Horace Fletcher who was called the "Great Masticator" (don't snicker, children -- mastication means chewing!).
    I didn't know you were a comedian.


    Quote:
    .... What I means is, what is the difference between grinding up whole foods and chewing those same foods?
    Here's a test you can do: See if you can take a biscut of shredded wheat, chew it, and turn it into wheat flour. Or take uncooked oatmeal, chew it, and turn it into oat flour.



    Last edited by JohnR41; 07-15-2010 at 12:52 PM. Reason: delete a line

     
    Old 07-15-2010, 03:36 PM   #6
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    That's just it John. I think we're talking about 2 different things. If you are going for strict nutrition, then yes, the finer the food (without loss of actual nutrients) the more bioavailable are those nutrients. If you are going for fiber, then yes, the more you chew, the less rigid the food material and the less fiber you obtain. High fiber doesn't necessarily mean high nutrition/vitamins. You have to compare apples to apples (no pun intended).

     
    Old 07-16-2010, 10:10 AM   #7
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    Last night I tried chewing my food 32 times and I think it's just about right. It's good advice if you have the patience to keep it up. Chewing 32 times breaks down the food so it's ready for further digesting (in the GI tract) but not so much as to lose the fiber content. (Assuming that the food is not overcooked to begin with.)

    Last edited by JohnR41; 07-17-2010 at 10:15 AM. Reason: spelling

     
    Old 07-17-2010, 10:48 AM   #8
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rheanna View Post

    Babies and adults with certain health conditions are given ground up foods, because they have no teeth or their digestion systems cannot handle too much roughage. They are getting the fats, carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals of the food, but how much fiber are they getting?

    OK, the floor is open for discussion.
    They can always manage to get some fiber and I suppose something is better than nothing.

    How about older people who "cannot handle too much roughage"? I wonder why they can't. Perhaps less stomach acid might be one reason. Another might be less bacterial flora. And they might have developed diverticular disease. Diverticulitus, a rupturing of the intestines, is caused by a lifetime of eating a low fiber diet. More than half the population over age 60 has this disease. A low fiber diet could also be the reason for having less bacterial flora.

    Last edited by JohnR41; 07-19-2010 at 09:09 AM. Reason: spelling

     
    Old 07-25-2010, 03:56 AM   #9
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    Re: To grind or not to grind? The question of fiber

    Grinding just changes the structure. It doesn't remove anything, so all the fiber is still there. It just releases the inner parts into the open, equally with the fiber, so all the nutrients can be absorbed.

     
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